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Review : Sharkoon X-Tatic SX & X-Tatic SP headsets

To begin with, we should note that the X-Tatic SX and X-Tatic SP are using the exact same drivers and amplifier; thus there is not the slightest difference between them when it comes to sound quality and/or volume levels. The following page reflects the audio performance of both headsets.

Since both the X-Tatic SX and X-Tatic SP are headsets clearly aimed at PC and console gamers, gaming tests take priority in this review. The large, powerful 40mm drivers offer excellent sound clarity and depth, enhancing the realism of sounds such as footsteps and gunshots, but their low-end (bass) part is a bit too powerful, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage of the firm bass is that action scenes, with a lot of gunshots and explosions for example, become a breathtaking experience. It also enhances the overall scenery and atmosphere of the game, making sounds such as the wind, the rustling of leaves and other natural sounds more obvious. The disadvantage is that the powerful bass overwhelms everything else during action scenes and the user might miss critical notifications and/or high-end range sounds, which can be a problem for serious gamers.

A good movie viewing experience depends on comfort just as much as on sound quality. Despite their weight, the padded headband and large ear cushions of the X-Tatic headphones make them very comfortable even after hours of use. If you live in a warmer climate your ears will feel hotter than usual after you have been using them for some time but that is natural and it would actually feel a lot worse if you were using cheap headphones with faux leather cushions. The audio experience is breathtaking but not without flaws. The sound depth makes for excellent, crystal clear dialogues and natural sounds, while the deep and powerful bass makes action scenes breathtaking. Unfortunately the strong bass once again is magnificent through chaotic action scenes but drowns other high-tone sounds and even dialogues at the same time. Think of the action scene which takes place halfway through the famous monster movie “Cloverfield”, where a marine platoon assaults the monster while the protagonists make for the subway; you are going to feel as if you are in the battlefield, with the machine guns and rifles blazing right in front of you and a tank shaking the very earth before your feet. Unfortunately you too would almost die there because, much like Jason in the movie, you are not going to hear your friend screaming his lungs out for you to run towards the subway. The strong, intense action sounds make dialogues difficult to comprehend in any similar situation.

When it comes to music the X-Tatic headsets are nothing more than mediocre, except perhaps if you enjoy listening only to pieces which consist of heavy bass, with few or no high range details. Any audiophile would warn you that the X-Tatic headphones are useless for serious musicians; the deep bass is not such a huge problem but the inability to reproduce clear high tone sounds certainly is. The easiest of examples would be a good piece of classical music, such as Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”; most people will not be able to recognize half of the instruments no matter how hard they might try. Try a piece which has some low-tone instruments in and the bass utterly drowns out the entire high tone range and even a large piece of the medium tone range. 

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