Turtle Beach Recon Spark – Design and Features
Front and center to the Recon Spark experience are 40mm speaker drivers. They’re housed in moderately large ear cups that easily fit around my (not-small-but-not-overly-large) ears.
The constructions of the Recon Spark headset is largely plastic, with the shell of the ear cups, the mic arm, the headband, and the size adjustment sliders all made from plastic. There’s also a small plastic volume dial on the left ear cup.
I flexed the headphones a bit, and beyond the bending anyone would normally subject them to and they held up fine. They didn’t even creak, only making slight clacking as the size adjustment sliders moved around in their housing.
The flipside of the plastic is that it feels rough to the touch. It’s not coated or anything, and there are plenty of hard angles. That said, it’s better than the hard angles I dealt with on the IOGear Kaliber Gaming Fokus II mouse, since none of the hard angles are jamming into my ears on these headphones.
One part of the construction isn’t plastic. There’s metal in the headband, but it’s in a slot with plastic, so doesn’t entirely stand out on its own. It’s most visible when the size adjustment sliders are slid out. It’s a nice touch, and helps it keep up with the design of the Corsair HS35, which also features metal in the adjustment sliders.
Comfort is a minor concern for the Recon Spark headset. The cushion on the top is thin, resulting in noticeable pressure on the crown of my head. Beyond this, the comfort is acceptable, but unexceptional. The ear pads are stuffed just enough with memory foam to even out the pressure and keep the clamping force from pushing the speakers into my ears. While the ear pads are largely faux leather, the inside lining is a breathable mesh. The pad openings are also wide enough to prevent uncomfortable pressure on the rim of my ears.
The ear cups have plenty of swivel and rotation, so the can get a proper fit around the ears. But, the size adjusters of the headband don’t slide out very far, so the headset won’t easily stretch to fit around larger heads. When bending the headband, the very top ends up flexing more easily than the sides of the headband, and will actually begin to bend in the opposite direction — something I haven’t seen in a pair of headphones before.
For people with glasses, the ear cushions have a ProSpecs design that prevents them from creating too much pressure on glasses’ earpieces by using a softer foam in that area. When I threw a pair of sunglasses on, sure enough, I didn’t feel any awkward pressure points. Overall though, compared to the Corsair HS35, the Recon Spark falls just a little short in comfort.
The Recon Spark design gets some points for the microphone. It offers a flip-to-mute function that works perfectly. And, though the mic is on an arm without any position adjustment, it stayed conveniently at the side of the mouth, where it didn’t get in the way when I tried to take a drink in the middle of a game.
The Recon Spark comes is primarily white with lavender accents on the size adjustment slider, the Turtle Beach logos on and inside each ear cup, the cable, and along the strip of plastic where the ear cups meet the cushions. Only that last section features a metallic, shiny look that could have spruced up more parts of the design if it were elsewhere as well. You’ll probably either love or hate the design. The cable is rubber and ends in a 3-pole connector, but Turtle Beach includes a splitter cable that also effectively doubles the cable length.
Turtle Beach Recon Spark – Gaming
The Recon Sparks performance can be summed up as good and OK. In other words, nothing is bad, which is impressive in its own right for a headset in this price range. The 40mm drivers are par for the course in a budget headset, though there are offerings at this price range that feature larger 50mm drivers. That said, they can pump out sound plenty well. I spent hours gaming and listening to music with the Recon Spark headset, and never once was I let down by the sound quality.
I played several hours of Friday the 13th, and the headset delivered all the freaky ambience needed as Jason lurked around the camp. In Insurgency: Sandstorm, the audio came through clear and powerful. Explosions and air strikes blasted through the headset, and the shouts of enemies in buildings nearby had all the realistic presence I’m used to in this game. When I had to listen for enemies, the sound was clear enough for me to pick up where they were coming from and train my crosshairs appropriately.
The headset offers modest noise isolation thanks to the faux leather ear pad lining. With music playing, I could easily drown out most of the external sounds in a somewhat busy cafe. That’s a step above the minimal isolation I got from the Corsair HS35, and the headset still didn’t get too hot inside.
The Recon Spark headset has decent-to-strong tonal balance. Aside from how well it held up in games, I took it through plenty of music where the balance is extra noticeable. The Man’s Sleep Forever came through beautifully with the mid-high vocals, background sounds, slow swelling ambiance, violins, and all coalescing. Even as the deepest notes came in, nothing was washed away. I had listened to Of Montreal’s Spiteful Intervention on the Corsair HS35 and found the treble lost to the bass frequencies, but the Recon Spark handled the balance better.
The mic leaves a little to be desired after the impressive sound quality of the headphones. It is on the weaker side, and accentuates nasally sounds more (perhaps as a result of its positioning; it sits right next to my cheek, about two inches from the edge of my mouth). My teammates on Discord never complained, though. They’ve had to listen to me switch mics on the regular, and often are quick to call out a bad mic, but didn’t for this one. But, in my own sound recording check, it didn’t have any of the ‘oomph’ offered by the impressive Corsair HS35 microphone.
There are definitely some highs and lows in the Recon Spark’s performance, but nothing goes low enough to be bad. And, the audio output is strong enough to make up for the microphone.
The Turtle Beach Recon Spark gaming headset has an MSRP of $49.95 and since it just came out it’s the same price online.
Turtle Beach Recon Spark Gaming Headset
On Turtle Beach
This article was originally published by IGN.COM