If you're familiar with Major League Gaming tournaments, you're likely aware that Astro Gaming's Mixamp Pro has been the staple device for providing multi-platform surround sound and team chat to the headset-wearing pros. Things are set to change this fall, however, as Turtle Beach has announced its own partnership with MLG that'll usher in the release of its first ever tournament-focused gaming audio-wares.
To start, the TM1 Tournament Mixer will be the "exclusive" sound hookup for MLG when it hits the streets, effectively replacing the Mixamp. The unit will provide
virtual surround sound game sound chat functionality to any headset with a 3.5mm jack. One TM1 can provide six players with individual sound whether they are on the same team or playing 3 vs. 3, and two devices can be daisy chained to provide a whopping 12 channels of separate audio. Notably, the TM1 can also support a broadcast feed (details below).
On the headset front, TB is blending its programmable audio know-how and recent foray into lifestyle headsets into what's dubbed as the Seven Series. Details are slim, but the first two models set to up the ante on the likes of Astro's A40 and the Sennheiser PC360 will be the Ear Force XP7 and Z7. Each headset features a portable design, detachable microphone and an optional inline remote / mic, so you won't be you stuck to only using 'em in your living room -- unlike pretty much of all the company's past headgear. You'll naturally be able to download your preferred audio settings using TB's Preset Community Portal, which will also include "presets customized for specific [MLG] tournament games."
There's sadly little in the way of pictures at the moment (aside from the TM1), but we'll be getting some hands-on time with prototypes of all the goods at E3 next week. Hit up the press release past the break for further details in the meantime.
Update: We've been informed by a Turtle Beach rep that the TM1 does not provide virtual surround sound. Furthermore, it seems to be an actual mixer, rather than a Mixamp alternative for consumers.
Update 2: We've just gotten a clarification from the company about how the TM1 will work with headsets:
The TM1 provides a closed chat network, like the Mixamp does. It can also pass-through Dolby, but it doesn't process it for stereo headphones. The XP7 comes with a control unit (it has a four-pole headphone jack), which is what processes surround sound. We will be providing MLG with both TM1s and control units for all tourney players to use.
You can output the TM1's chat feed [the broadcasting feature] and mix it into a livestream so viewers can hear what the players are saying. There's also an input so you can feed in whatever audio you choose for all players to hear that are hooked up to that TM1 unit, be it music or even a shoutcaster feed.
Turtle Beach and Major League Gaming Partner to Introduce
Advanced Pro Series Tournament Headsets and Mixer
Products to Be Previewed at E3 and Slated For Release Later This Year
VALHALLA, NY – May 31, 2012 – Turtle Beach, pioneers and market-leaders of the gaming headset category, and Major League Gaming (MLG), the world's largest competitive video game league, today announce a multi-year product and marketing partnership under which Turtle Beach will develop the official headsets and audio equipment of Major League Gaming. The first official products offered under this partnership will be MLG versions of the all-new Ear Force XP7 and Z7 MLG Pro Circuit Programmable Surround Sound Headsets for console and PC play, along with the Ear Force TM1 Tournament Audio Mixer. Slated for release inFall 2012, working prototypes of these exciting new game audio products and others from the Turtle Beach line will be available for preview in Turtle Beach's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)booth; Los Angeles Convention Center South Hall #2447, from June 5 – 7, 2012. MLG Pro Players will be on hand to help introduce the new products, with appearances in the Turtle Beach booth daily from 2-3 p.m. PT.
Developed specifically for console and PC tournament use, the XP7 and Z7 headsets significantly raise the bar for tournament and competitive online multi-player performance. The most technologically advanced headsets on the market; they are part of the new SEVEN Series line of high-performance gaming lifestyle audio products offered by Turtle Beach. Working in partnership with MLG, Turtle Beach plans to release final versions of the XP7 and Z7 headsets and TM1 audio mixer at MLG Pro Circuit competitions later this year. Complete details regarding Turtle Beach's line of official MLG Pro Circuit Products will be issued in the coming months.
XP7 and Z7 headsets will feature Turtle Beach's acclaimed Programmable DSP Technology for the ultimate in customized immersion and competitive advantage, making the XP7 and Z7 some of the most precise and powerful tournament headsets on the planet. Ongoing collaboration by Turtle Beach and MLG will deliver unique audio presets customized for specific tournament games, maps and levels that can be loaded onto the XP7 and Z7. These and many others will be available for download via Turtle Beach's Preset Community Portal.
The SEVEN Series is the ultimate "Swiss Army knife" of headsets for passionate gamers on the move. Using a variety of unique cables and connectors, the SEVEN allows gamers to effortlessly move from console or PC to smartphones, tablets or portable gaming devices. A removable boom microphone, optional in-line mic with multi-function controls, lay-flat ear cups and much more, combine with a dramatic new design and stellar audio performance to offer the features that avid gamers demand.
Turtle Beach will also preview working prototypes of its new TM1 Tournament Mixer. Developed as the ultimate audio mixer for console and PC LAN tournaments, game centers or home use, the TM1 enables crystal clear communication for up to six individual players. Additional options allow a single unit to deliver three versus three team play, the chaining of units for up to 12 audio channels, a broadcast feed and numerous other competition features. Combined with the XP7 and Controller, the TM1 represents the single most powerful revolution in game tournament audio.
"At Major League Gaming, our mission is to create the most competitive environment in e-Sports," said Sundance DiGiovanni, CEO of MLG. "We look forward to working with Turtle Beach and to utilizing the XP7 and Z7 headsets and TM1 mixer at our Pro Circuit events and offering exciting new audio products to our fans."
"Quality audio is a competitive advantage whether you play at home or in a tournament," said Bob Picunko, Turtle Beach's Chief Marketing Officer. "This partnership allows our audio engineers and MLG's tournament experts to work closely to deliver the best possible, high performance tournament equipment for professional competitors and gamers at all levels."
The marketing and product partnership between Turtle Beach and MLG intends to deliver more unique and exciting game audio products, new technologies and lifestyle excitement in the coming years.