I’ve fairly given up on the idea of having a truly wireless multi-console headset, with chat. I was able to do this seven years ago, using a Turtle Beach setup that ran $249.95 MSRP and needed firmware updates. But work it did — hell, it even paired with my iPhone — and it handled four consoles, even if the back of my entertainment center looked like C-3PO’s pubic hair.
Thanks largely to the fact the PlayStation 4 will accept USB mikes but the Xbox One won’t, such one-size fits all ambitions are frustrated, likely forever, for the multiplatform power user. (There is an Xbox One set from Astro Gaming that I’m told will work with a PlayStation 4, or you can buy multiple standalone base stations to be sure. Either way, one of those units is $299.99)
Comes now PDP, whose multitasking peripheral solutions we’ve appreciated before. A week ago, they launched their LVL50 line which, for game-like prices, makes buying a couple of headsets a reasonable idea for those who have multiplayer favorites on both PS4 and Xbox One. And at $49.99 for a wired pair, $79.99 for wireless, you don’t sound like you’re inside Iron Man’s helmet, either.
No, these headsets are not cross compatible, and there’s no effusive, pointilistically technical rundown of the audio capabilities to give — they work, and that’s it. (Moreover, the wireless pair that PDP asked me to try, for Xbox One, worked right out of the box — and that is literally the first time that has ever happened for me.)
Wired cans (I tried ones for the PS4) work just like any headset with a 3.5 mm jack (which means, yes, they work with a PC, microphone too; but my premise here is multiple consoles). The audio is clear and sufficiently loud, but wired, you’ll be adjusting that and the chat audio from the console itself. Its lone frill is the mike mutes when you flip up the boom (it’ll lock into place to let you know when it’s all the way up). As for the cord, the good news is that it doesn’t get in the way. The bad news is it’s only four feet long. This is something more appropriate for a PC (and even then, I don’t have much range of motion plugged into my desktop monitor). If you buy wired, you’ll need an audio jack extender.
The extension cable notwithstanding, I could recommend the wired LVL50 if you just need a headset-and-microphone for your secondary console, and you don’t want to go with whatever Microsoft or Sony packed in the box years ago, assuming you did not throw it away like I did. If the game is anything you’re sinking a lot of hours into, go with the wireless (I tested the Xbox One’s).
It’s for the convenience mainly — but also because you get a chat-specific volume control on the headset, and an extra audio mode, a bass boost that delivers some strong atmospheric sound. Wireless function is handled by a dongle — so if you have an OG Xbox One, keep that in mind, as its USB ports are not in convenient locations. The unit charges with a mini-usb cable (provided, but no adapter) so keep that in mind, too.
I have a soundbar with surround-sound satellites on my television, and the directional audio in the LVL50 gave me better situational awareness in Tom Clancy’s The Division than they do, so that’s a plus. As for the chat microphone and audio, PDP is touting a “bi-directional noise-canceling microphone with passive noise filter.” More or less it works as intended in that I could understand others and they heard me. I didn’t notice anything startlingly clear (or wrong) with that end of the audio. One thing, though, on the wireless headset, know that turning the chat volume all the way up completely mutes the system audio, and vice versa, per a test I ran with the Xbox One’s voice message thingy.
Multi-console setups may be a first-world problem but if you’ve gone in for both a PS4 and an Xbox One, PDP’s price points make dedicated headsets for both not too ridiculous an extravagance. At any rate, I have more confidence in the stability and quality of these things than in just whatever off-the-shelf thing I could find at the Walmert.
We may never go back to the days of a true all-in-one solution, and I wouldn’t say two of these headsets are the next best thing. But they’d still be cheaper than that Astro rig I mentioned, if not as convenient.
Available in GameStop or through PDP.com. We tested a wireless Xbox One unit and a wired PlayStation 4 headset, both provided by PDP.