I like the HPA2's. They've seen almost daily use since I got them in for review. At first, I wasn't too keen on them. They were heavy, and it took quite a bit of time to hook up all the cables. But after a short time, the quality starts to shine through. Then it hits you: these headphones rock. By that I mean, they are made of solid metal, with lots of cables, and they require AC power to run. These headphones are not sissy, no they have Force. In fact, they have 8 speakers and 5.1 channels of Force.
Paired up with a decent sound card (like Auzentech's X-Fi Prelude, for example) and a decent game (like Bioshock, for example), the HPA2's delivered the best headphonesurround sound experience I've had. There were tense, creepy total immersion moments in games, bullets whizzing by--causing me to duck, and for once, I actaully heard a believable EAX effect, occlusion. This performance does take a lot of tweaking with both your sound card and the HPA2's amplifier to get it out. Once dialed in though, they worked exceptionally well with games that supported surround sound. Voice performance with the included microphone and Skype was excellent, and callers had no problem hearing my rather geeky voice, very clearly.
In subjective impressions, I found the HPA2's varied from good to great, but not quite to the level of our reference Grado headphones. I found the sound a little dark with voices, but the extremes, the highs and lows, we pretty darn good. I generally left the rumble set to 0, mostly because the HPA2's had plenty of bass for me without it. You can crank the bass if you wish, but have your dentist on quick dial. It can shake your fillings. For movies, I found the HPA2's hit their stride, and showed what they really can do.
Just so you don't think it's all rosy, there are a few minor glitches. They are a little on the pricey side, and they get docked for a lack of gold plated hardware on the connectors, if for no other reason than looking good. I do wish the LED light on the amplifier also illuminated the volume knobs. In addition, although the HPA2's have a fairly balanced sound, they don't quite match a decent pair of stereo headphones.
Overall, the HPA2's are the best surround headphones we've tested, good for gaming, good for music, and great for movies.
Stuff That is Always at the End.
Special thanks to Voyetra Turtle Beach and Vivek Sukumaran for sending the sample over. Do we really need to send them back? And to Hilbert for bringing me back from vacation.
Turtle Beach Earforce HPA2 Surround Sound Headphones Turtle Beach unleashes the Earforce HPA2 Surround Sound Headphones to gamers with lousy neighbors and a headphone fetish. With 5.1 surround, an independent amp, a microphone, quality construction, and decent comfort all combine to make an exceptionally complete package. A decidedly high-end product, the HPA2 are not cheap, but they do deliver. The only downside is that you still might have lousy neighbors.