Beautifully packaged with a combination of brightly coloured premium cardboard and transparent plastic, the Tritton Ark 100 stereo headset is aesthetically quite different to other Tritton headsets I’ve used.
The matte black and bright green gives the headset a premium finish, and the band is adorned with several glossy T idents of the Tritton logo. Overall the Ark 100 is very smart, and when it’s all lit up with the motion-dynamic RGB LED lights, well… it’s something else.
It’s just a shame that unless you play with friends in the same room, or have a nearby mirror, nobody will get to see the awesome light show the Ark 100 displays – from cycling lights to pulsing colours mimicking breathing or a heartbeat. It really is a neat touch. An ambient glow surrounds your head and bounces the light around – great if you have anything nearby that is reflective – meanwhile, the lights also show which EQ setting you’re using. But the light show just isn’t apparent to the wearer, and a beep system would have made far more sense.
Unfortunately, the lighting system was of little use to me, other than helping to drain the AAA batteries that power the headset. A pair of batteries will give you around 10 hours play-time with lights, or 25 hours without. It’s strange then that the headset isn’t powered via a rechargeable battery – charged via a micro USB – but I guess this was a decision to keep the cost down.
You can of course use the Ark 100 in passive mode, available at the flick of a switch. In this mode none of the lights or buttons are active, meaning you won’t be able to use any of the headset’s functions – fine in the short term – but not great as you won’t be able to use the Ark’s superb EQ settings.
While there are only three settings to choose from: optimal, bass boost or treble boost, these three are more than enough to get the most out of the headset, and with two drives at the helm, the sound output is damn impressive. At the centre is a 60mm driver for bass and mids, while a 10mm driver handles the higher sounds. For a stereo headset, there sure is a lot of spatial depth to the sound and it sounds wonderfully crisp and rich, although there is an audible hiss during quieter moments.
Speaking of crisp, Senior Editor Greg commented that my voice via the headset’s mic was the ‘crispiness voice’ he has heard over Xbox Live – I’m not so sure on the use of crispiness – but Tritton, feel free to use that in your accolades! Indeed, the mic is of a great quality; no distortion, no background noise, and it stows neatly by swinging the boom arm into the left ear cup. It even has a red light at the end warning you when the mic is muted or when the batteries are low on power. The Ark 100 also features selective voice monitoring, a function not nearly enough headsets utilise.
Something else quite different to other headsets was the decision to make the headband a standard size. While the headset can adjust easily to different shaped heads, it does so by sliding the position of the ear cups up and down within the headband, locking in place so they won’t slip while you’re wearing them. It’s rather odd, but the Ark 100 fit my head as comfortably as those that had a more traditional headband. It’s extremely light too, and super comfy with memory foam padding on the headband and the ear cups. I also didn’t notice any excessive heating on my ears, which is a bonus if you game as long as I do!
The Ark 100 is a neat headset that with a few tweaks could make it even more fantastic. Raised nubs on the buttons would help to find essential modes, like volume or EQ changes, more easily. A removable 3.5mm cable would help keep the headset more neatly stowed when not in use and future proofs it against any cable fractures. And the power… it really needs a rechargeable battery that can be connected via micro USB. But my main issue with the Ark 100 is that I needed to use the Xbox guide blade to control the chat/game balancing – which I’m not a huge fan of. Having control via a puk or on the headset itself would have been far easier to tweak sound balance on the fly.
The Ark 100 delivers some incredible sounds and you can pick them up for as little as £69.99, making them an easy choice over some of the more ‘premium’ positioned stereo headsets on the market, which really can’t hold a ‘light’ to the impressive two driver system that Tritton have engineered.
Thanks to Mad Catz and Tritton for supporting TiX