The Best ANC in Gaming

$329 is asking a lot for a headset, especially for an active noise canceling headset that doesn’t come from the likes of Apple or Sony. But the Turtle Beach Stealth Pro headset lives up to its name by offering a clean look that gives it universal appeal, but also dedicated gaming features that other ANC competitors lack. And the ANC here is good. The likes of the AirPods Max are probably still a better pick for people who are deep into Apple’s ecosystem, and Sony’s WH-1000XM5 are probably a little better if you don’t care about anything but sound quality. But if you like to play a little Fortnite or Apex Legends on the side, the detachable boom mic, 2.4 GHZ connectivity, and backup battery will serve you well here, and the cans will still sound great.

The Turtle Beach Stealth Pro looks clean enough for the subway

Turtle Beach experimented with a slightly different design for the Stealth Pro. The company drifted away from the Stealth series’ standard ovular aesthetics towards an all-plastic body with a metal headband and round earcups. Though the earcups are rotatable and can be made to lie flat around your shoulders, which is great, the hinge is a little tight. While an overly loose hinge can be a pain, this one misses the sweet spot in between the two.

Both the earcups make up for the hinge with hidden surprises. The right one sports a wheel that doubles as a volume control dial. That’s standard, but the wheel sports a customizable (via the Turtle Beach Audio Hub app) button right in its center (more on that later). The left cup is even cooler. Its plate can be opened up to reveal the battery, which you can then swap out for a spare. Yeah, the Stealth Pro comes with two batteries in the package, so you can swap one in as the other loses charge, similar to the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. The same earcup also hosts a small plate covering the headset’s boom mic port for when it isn’t installed. It’s little features like these that make the design of this headset so thoughtful.

Turtle Beach Stealth Pro in box

Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

The Stealth Pro is a pretty good-looking headset. I wouldn’t say it’s the most gorgeous pair of cans I’ve ever seen, but it is definitely decently appealing and doesn’t scream “gaming.” The inclusion of optional RGB lighting could’ve definitely upped the game without sacrificing that universal appeal, but it’s not like you’d see it while wearing the headset.

Accessories-wise, I was thoroughly impressed. You get a wireless transmitter that delivers a 2.4GHz lag-free connection, charges the battery packs, and can even charge other devices with a built-in USB-A port. There are also two battery packs as mentioned above, as well as two Type-C cables of varying lengths. You also get the aforementioned boom mic and a carrying pouch for the headset. The velvet pouch exudes sophistication, offers protection, and features a pocket for cables, too.

A lightweight wireless headset that’s good for glasses

I could wear the Stealth Pro all day long and still be at ease. That’s thanks to the generously-padded leatherette-coated memory foam earcups and headband. It essentially feels like a feather atop my head. The thick ear cushions also ensure that my ears are kept away from the metal grilles on the inside of the earcups, so that the cartilage doesn’t come into contact with it–a pretty common issue with over-the-ear headphones. The large circumference of the earcups also provides a sound-proof, secure seal and greatly contribute to pretty decent passive noise isolation.

The headband plays its part in providing a comfortable fit. Not only is it adjustable and nicely padded, but it’s also thick enough to keep the weight of the headset evenly distributed on your noggin. Overly thin headbands put a lot of pressure on a small surface area and end up being unpleasant for longer gaming sessions.

Turtle Beach Stealth Pro

Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

The Stealth Pro is equipped with Turtle Beach’s “ProSpecs” glasses-fitting technology, which I was pleasantly surprised to see isn’t just a marketing gimmick. Unlike many other on-ear headphones, the Stealth Pro gave sufficient space to my glasses and didn’t put pressure on them. If you don’t feel the same way, you can actually change the amount of relief the foam gives you by removing the earcup and pulling an adjustable ribbon.

My biggest issue with the Stealth Pro’s build is that, while the metal slider on the headband does a good job of offering flexibility, it is way too tight. And no, I don’t mean firm–I mean tight. It is very difficult to adjust the headset, and you need to apply a significant amount of force to do so. A headband as tight as this is definitely not preferable in the middle of an intense gaming session.

An ANC headset with customizable controls

The controls on the Stealth Pro are pretty straightforward. Apart from the aforementioned volume wheel, the right cup hosts a bluetooth pairing button, a power button, and a button for toggling on the headset’s active noise canceling (branded as “Superhuman Hearing”). The ANC button doubles as a mute/unmute button when it’s pressed for two seconds. The same cup also hosts a Type-C charging port. As one of the three buttons is textured, it is very easy to tell which control you’re about to press without looking. This makes the layout pretty intuitive.

Gaming noise canceling that actually works

If you’re into treble, this is the headset to go for. The high-end audio on the Stealth Pro is some of the cleanest and clearest I have come across. Overall, the sound features exceptional layering, but the treble especially stands out. The bass is great, too, but this headset will be especially useful for tracking high-pitched sound effects, like gunshots. It’s not overdone or excessively heavy. I had a great time playing Call of Duty: Warzone 2 on this. The spatial sound came through easily, making my game extremely immersive. The mids are spacious too, and the soundstage is impressively wide.

The active noise canceling mode on the Stealth Pro actually works, despite its silly name. And compared to one of my latest favorites, the JBL Quantum 910 Wireless, it is so much better. It significantly muted all the noise coming from the playground that I live right next to. And that is something not a lot of headphones are capable of. Sounds of all frequencies were quieted down; whether they were high or low pitch. Also, the Stealth Pro thankfully doesn’t have the annoying hum most ambient or transparency modes on ANC headsets do, meaning there’s no interference if you need to quickly check on your surroundings.

Turtle Beach Stealth Pro battery in earcup

The Turtle Beach Stealth Pro has two batteries, which you can swap out by opening one of the earcups.
Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

The multipoint connectivity on these cans is some of the smoothest I have ever seen. I was connected to my PC via the wireless transmitter and was simultaneously paired to my iPhone via Bluetooth. When I got a call on my phone, I just had to receive it and the rest was all sorted automatically. The volume of my game went down a bit so I could hear my call better. The switch was extremely seamless and didn’t require any extra effort on my side.

There’s also wired USB-C connectivity for a reliable power backup (but no 3.5mm audio connectivity), but with both batteries offering up to 12 hours and one always charging in the background, you don’t have to worry about your headset running out of juice.

The range of the Bluetooth is impressive. I tested it by walking around my house, and even with closed doors between the headset and my phone; according to my friend on the phone, the connection didn’t stutter for even a second.

Turtle Beach Stealth Pro wireless transmitter

The Turtle Beach Stealth Pro wireless transmitter doubles as a charging puck for the battery.
Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

Turtle Beach’s Audio Hub is, for a change, a companion app that’s actually useful. It has a clean and easy-to-use interface, and offers a lot of bass and treble-focused equalizer presets as well as the option to customize your own. It offers mic settings, too, so you can tweak its sensitivity and noise gate. My personal favorite feature was the function remapping one, where I was able to customize the function of the volume wheel as well as the ANC button. You can use the wheel to control a number of things such as mic monitor volume, ANC level, bass boost, treble boost, noise gate, and mic sensitivity. The ANC button can be used for turning the noise gate on/off, cycling between game presets, or as a multi-function button.

The detachable boom mic works, but the built-in mics are cleaner

After a one-hour call with a friend, we concluded that the detachable boom mic is a solid 7 out of 10. While it did a good job at transmitting my voice clearly, it isn’t the best at canceling background noise. They could hear the hum of my tower fan, so much so that they were bothered by the noise. They also reported that my voice sounded a little more “sharp and tinny” than it usually does. Switching to the built-in beamforming mics made them happier. Apparently, it’s “cleaner and clearer.”

Turtle Beach Stealth Pro

Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

Should you buy the Turtle Beach Stealth Pro Gaming Headset? 

The Stealth Pro is the best gaming headset Turtle Beach has produced to date. It sports a unique design, and the two-battery feature gives it a long battery life. It hosts an easy and intuitive control layout and an extremely comfortable fit. The treble and sound imaging is great, and so is the noise-canceling. It’s got pretty impressive dual connectivity and a very useful companion app. I just wish it featured RGB lighting and a less-tight adjustment slider. A little more noise reduction on the boom mic would have been great, too.

It is admittedly a big investment, but it is going to be worth it. It checks all the boxes that a gaming headset should offer, plus has a few convenience features, like that backup battery and that glasses-fit adjustment.

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