If you spend your gaming life in titles such as Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or you’re barely holding it together waiting for Black Ops 4: Blackout to finally launch, the sounds of digital combat will be familiar. You’ve likely honed your ears to the distant drumming of gunfire, nearby footsteps, and the incoming high-pitched whine of a dune buggy kitted up with a small arsenal of weapons ripe for the taking.
These are staples of any battle royale game; familiar cues that span almost every single game in the genre. Enhancing these sounds is one of the few tangible, tactical advantages you can take onto the battlefield. With the skill floor always threatening to drag you under if you lag behind, it’s more important than ever to pick the right weapon from your peripheral armoury for the job.
Enhancing your talent for survival with focused audio and clear aural imaging is key when that final circle draws close, and that’s something a set of old, yellowing 2.1 stereo speakers just can’t reproduce. No gamer wants to be on the receiving end of a shotgun blast as they enter a building, griefed by some 13 year old in a pink bear outfit dancing over their corpse.
But, with a great headset on your dome, you can dominate the battlefield and show those tenacious tweens who’s boss. Luckily, a quality gaming headset that combines audio, voice clarity, comfort, and compatibility isn’t hard to find, nor does it need to be massively expensive.
Turtle Beach is throwing its very large and established audio hat into the PC gaming ring with the Atlas lineup, led by the top-end Elite Atlas. Clear and analytical audio is a gamer’s deadliest weapon, and directional audio has made it to the top of the feature list with Turtle Beach’s flagship design. The Elite Atlas comes with two 50mm Nanoclear drivers, able to drive loud and detailed audio directly at your eardrums.
With high-quality audio in hand, those nefarious nippers no longer pose a threat to you or your team. Instead, you’re the danger, quietly dispatching enemy combatants before they even know what hit them, or adroitly evading foes thanks to the best in-game radar around: directional audio.
Take Fortnite as an example. Directional audio – sound that is replicated to appear as though it exists within 3D space – is particularly noticeable when you’re traversing the ever-changing isle. Enemies firing from a distance are easily located, and players rummaging in the streets below echo across the landscape, pinging their location to anyone who wishes to jump them for their loot or silently get clear without engaging.
Audio can even be used to locate loot drops. Crammed behind walls, in caves, or stuck in an attic without access, treasure chests littered around Fortnite’s map are often hidden to all but your ears. Clever sound design, augmented to your advantage by a powerful gaming headset, can not only give you a more immersive experience, it can actually help you strategise, gain an advantage on the enemy, and even uncover rarer, more deadly weapons. That can make the difference between a game-winning run or a bottom 50 knockout.
But sound alone is not always enough to carry you to victory in the face of a well-organised team. Some of you might be able to get by on skill and a little luck, but communication is critical to consistent success in any battle royale squad mode. Every member might believe they are ‘carrying the team’, but the road to victory royale is a damn sight shorter when a squad communicates effectively and clearly.
And no tool is more important to a strong squad than a solid microphone. From planning your initial descent into the playing field to pulling off clutch plays as the circle brings the action to a head, a clear noise-cancelling microphone, in the mouths of the right squad, is often mightier than even the best sniper rifle in the game. Especially in Call of Duty Black Ops 4: Blackout, where rapidfire gunplay and breakneck TTK rules supreme… nothing is more deadly than a well-planned surprise attack.
The Elite Atlas features Turtle Beach’s TruSpeak technology and pro gaming mic. This noise-cancelling microphone, complete with manoeuvrable arm, is able to deliver clear audio no matter how vocally engaged you are. Yes, even if your in-game etiquette is questionable at best once the action kicks off, you’ll still be heard loud and clear – however unfortunate that may be for those around you. With full audio and voice support for Fortnite on Switch, the Elite’s noise-cancelling pro gaming mic can even net you Victory Royales away from the comfort and relative quiet of your own home.
The Elite Atlas encompasses everything Turtle Beach has learned over its long tenure in the headset market, distilling great audio, clear voice chat, and glasses-friendly ergonomics into a single $100 (£90/€100) headset. Built from the ground up for PC gaming (but compatible with most consoles for cross-play), the entire Atlas range – whether that’s the Elite Atlas, Atlas Three, or Atlas One – has been tailored around PC gaming professionals to deliver performance proven to be capable of topping global leaderboards.
A gaming headset alone will never make you an esports pro. But if you want to take your squad to the next level, take luck out of the equation, and start dishing out payback for all those times you’ve been relentlessly hounded by gangs of tween hoodlums griefing you for lack of anything better to do. A solid set of gaming cans is unequivocally one PC accessory you don’t want to dive in to a battle royale without.