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Features and wireless connectivity

On the Xbox One, this thing is an absolute champ, and it's got great range. Playing Sea of Thieves, I had a solid, steady connection throughout play. During some downtime, I walked to each corner of my apartment, including to different rooms, thereby placing significant electronic devices between me and the console. The connection stayed steady throughout.

One feature I especially enjoyed on Xbox is the game/chat dial. This allows you to adjust the balance between game audio and chat audio at will. That functionality doesn't work on PC where game and chat audio usually aren't distinct sources, but on Xbox it's a great feature that any gamer's going to find useful. I was tweaking it as action crested and dipped to fit my preference. Since both volume adjustments on the headset are easy to find and use, I never felt like it was a burden to tweak the settings.

PDP promises 16 hours of battery life in standard use. While I didn't bring out a stopwatch, that figure feels pretty accurate with my use. I left the headset idling, and it took about 24 hours for it to drain while just sitting turned on but not hooked up to an audio source. Charging it back up took a few hours. Unlike a lot of wireless headsets and headphones I've worn lately, it also will work while charging.

For equalizer options, the pickings are pretty slim but at least they're there at all. The button toggles between a standard, more balanced audio, and a bass-boost version. The difference between the two is clear, and we'll get into that more below.

Audio quality and EQ

The overall audio profile of the headset leans heavily toward bass, and I wouldn't recommend buying the LVL50 primarily to rock out with. Plugged into my PC and with the bass boost turned off, I used the LVL50 to check out some of my favorite tracks. Honestly, they all sounded weird. Listening to rock music, unusual parts of songs stood out. When the bass boost feature is turned on, the low end feels even bigger—distractingly so, when it comes to music.

The bass lines and guitars in Metallica's Of Wolf and Man are particularly prominent even with the bass boost off, and vocals often feel flat and recessed—Dio's Holy Diver stands out as an example of this. The last thing I want from a Dio track is flat vocals, after all. Even on hip-hop tracks like Notorious BIG's Hypnotize, the voices were underwhelming. While the audio was mostly fairly clear, during particularly sensitive tracks like Yes' Roundabout, I heard some static, or perhaps even a little distortion. If you use this headset to watch videos or listen to music in between gaming sessions, the bass boost should be turned off for those.

I didn't have that issue with any of  games I played, however, including Sea of Thieves and Sekiro on Xbox One X and Anthem and Doom on PC. I found the headset to be plenty loud, and the amount of 'boom' felt appropriate for the games I was playing. Explosions sound especially good with the bass boost turned on, and gunfire in general has a satisfying crunch to it.

On the mic side, my multiplayer partner for most of my testing said that while one of my other headsets—the Logitech G Pro—sounded better, the LVL50 was loud and clear and provided clean audio. For reference, the G Pro is priced about the same (sometimes more), but it's wired and has little in the way of onboard controls, probably leaving enough production budget for a better microphone. Anyhow, here's a little audio clip of the LVL50 microphone:


PDP LVL50 microphone