The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 was a wildly successful gaming headset, delivering decent audio and battery life on a budget. Now, the company is releasing a second generation version of the headset, no doubt hoping to nail it in the same way. This gaming headset comes built with the next generation of consoles in mind, meant to capitalize eventually on the spatial sound capabilities of the Sony PlayStation 5.
However, the PlayStation 5 is still a ways off—is a future-proof headset any good to use now?
Editor’s note: This review was updated on September 25, 2020 to include answers in the FAQ section.
Who is the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 for?
- Gamers looking for something simple that’ll work across platforms, including ones that haven’t come out yet.
- At-home workers who need something wireless they won’t have to charge too often.
What is the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 like to use?
Brand new though this headset may be, when it comes down to it you know what to expect if you’ve used on from Turtle Beach in last couple years. This looks and feels a lot like the company’s Recon line of headsets, with a few tweaks, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 is an entirely plastic device, with a sturdy hinge system that allows for a decent amount of tilt and rotation. The headband features a leatherette-covered cushion, and has quite a bit of tension to it—at first I actually found it a little too tight. Regardless, the headset feels very secure, which is especially important with wireless gaming headsets, given you’re probably going to move around a little more with it on than with a wired headset.
The headphones feature ear pads covered in mesh fabric designed with grooves underneath to make wearing glasses more comfortable. The ear pads themselves are pretty soft, and getting a decent seal isn’t terribly difficult. The mesh fabric doesn’t isolate as well as something like leatherette, but manages it heat well, which is great for longer sessions.
Visually, this looks nearly identical to the Turtle Beach Recon 200, with exception of the microphone. Where older Turtle Beach models feature a microphone on the side of the left headphone, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 microphone folds into the headset. It still works exactly the same—flip it up to mute and down to talk—but it looks a little subtler.
On the other hand, the controls look pretty much the same as other headsets, only more cluttered. The headset sports a power button, audio mode button, volume dial, and mic sidetone dial in a row on the back of the left headphone. I found myself fumbling back and forth between the mic and volume dials while trying to adjust volume mid game more than once.
Using the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 is largely straightforward, with a couple caveats. This wireless gaming headset connects to your PC or console of choice using a 2.4GHz wireless USB dongle. Thankfully, there’s nothing you need to do to set the headset up past plugging it in—the Turtle Beach Hub app exists solely for updating the headset’s firmware, so it’s easy to skip. Pairing with the dongle can take a little bit longer than you’d expect—it sometimes took up to 30 seconds during the review process—but otherwise I didn’t really run into any issues.
While the software complement is blessedly minimal, the headset still has a couple bells and whistles. It comes loaded with four EQ presets you can toggle between using the mode button. On top of the default signature sound profile, there’s a bass boost option, a bass and treble boost option, and a vocal boost option. I didn’t find a lot of use for them, but they do noticeably change how things sound.
How is the battery?
Turtle Beach advertises 15 hours of playback on a single charge and in our testing, we found it performed considerably better than that. Playing at a consistent output of ~75dB, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 lasted over 21 hours of playback on a single charge. If you listen on a lower volume than that, you might get even better performance. There’s no reliable way to tell exact battery charge level, but after a couple hours plugged in with the included USB-C cord you’ll be ready to game again after the battery dies.
Gaming with the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2
Gaming with the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 is about as straightforward as it gets. The headset we reviewed is designed to work with the PC, PlayStation 4 (and PlayStation 5!) and the Nintendo Switch. An Xbox version compatible with both the Xbox One and upcoming Xbox Series X is coming a little later in September. Just plug the headset’s dongle into your platform of choice and that’s all you’ll need to do to get stereo sound streaming through to your ears. When the PlayStation 5 launches, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 with support the platform’s built-in spatial audio standard, but you’ll have to settle for stereo on the PlayStation 4.
However, the lack of any virtual surround sound isn’t much of a barrier if you’re not into games like Fortnite or Valorant, which rely on directional audio cues more than most. Games like Risk of Rain 2 and League of Legends sounded great. On PlayStation 4, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 nailed the balance between game sounds and music in Persona 4 Royal.
How does the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 sound?
The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 sounds pretty accurate for a gaming headset. There’s a notable de-emphasis in the high range around 4KHz, but otherwise the headset has a pretty neutral-leaning sound profile.
Frequency response like this means music of pretty all genres will sound exactly like they should. The dip in the highs means, the sounds of some strings and cymbals might come through a little less clearly, but not so much that you’d really struggle to hear them.
A good example of this comes in Choke by I DONT KNOW HOW BY THEY FOUND ME. Pretty much every part of the song comes through clearly, but the tambourine that plays in the background during the chorus becomes difficult to hear if you’re not intentionally listening for it.
In game, a sound profile like this means that pretty much everything should come through just as loud as game developers intended, so you shouldn’t observe much auditory masking making it hard to hear nuanced sounds like footsteps. The sound signature deviates from standard gaming headsets, because most alternatives amplify bass notes to a silly degree. Although it’s cool to hear booming explosions, this can ultimately get in the way of gameplay.
While the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 sounds pretty great, it really doesn’t do a great job with isolation. Blame the mesh covering the ear pads, or the rigidity of the foam, or even the grooves for the glasses—even with an adequate seal, this headset offers an inadequate level of attenuation. Don’t expect this to block out much of anything, whether you’re at home or not. Potential upside: you almost certainly won’t have to worry about missing the doorbell.
How is the microphone?
A lot of Turtle Beach gaming headsets feature very accurate microphones, only to suffer from very notable volume problems. With the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2, the microphone is just as accurate as you could hope, without any volume issues to speak of. This is one of the best gaming headset microphones on the market, full stop. You still probably don’t want to record a podcast with it, as it just doesn’t sound as good as dedicated microphones do, but for it should work splendidly for calls over Discord or Zoom. Have a listen for yourself:
Should you buy the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2?
If you want something wireless, yes, you should certainly invest in the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2.
The $99 price range of the gaming headset market is really crowded with great options. While that’s less true with wireless gaming headsets, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 easily carves out a spot for it as one of the best. This is a comfortable, great-sounding gaming headset with solid battery life, and an excellent microphone.
However, great though this is, there other options if it isn’t quite what you’re looking for. If it’s less important to have a wireless gaming headset, the Razer BlackShark V2 sounds just as good, costs the same amount, and has fantastic isolation for a gaming headset. Additionally, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless offers a little more in the way of Switch compatibility, and better battery life.
Regardless, if you just want something simple that sounds good, this is among the best wireless options out there—even more so if you want something for a new generation of consoles around the corner.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 use a USB dongle which operates on a radio frequency to connect to your platform of choice.