If you’re looking for plenty of style from your gaming headset but don’t want to pay a ton of cash, then the Turtle Beach Recon Spark might look like it fits the bill perfectly. However, its flaws quickly begin to surface once you get over how nice it looks.
Currently available only in a white and lavender design, the Recon Spark is a wired headset, making it universally compatible with all platforms. Plug it into a 3.5mm jack on the console controller, mobile device, or PC/Mac, and you’re ready to go. It even comes with a splitter cable if your system has separate microphone and headphone jacks.
Turtle Beach Recon Spark specifications
Technically, the Recon Spark is practically identical to the similarly budget-minded Recon 70 line. They look almost the same. However, the Spark has a steel-reinforced headband, a textured design pattern on the side, comes with a splitter cable, and is currently the only model that comes in purple lavender.
Otherwise, the Recon uses the same 40mm stereo speaker drivers, short and rigid flip-to-mute mic, and faux leather foam-padded earcups that make wearing them with glasses comfortable. As a person who wears glasses, I greatly appreciate that last bit. The only control the wired headset sports is a small volume dial on the left side. But one major difference is that the Recon Spark retails for $50, which is $10 more than the Recon 70 for pretty much the same audio performance and a sturdier headband.
The Recon Spark is also exclusive to the Turtle Beach website and Target stores, so these limited edition headsets may be slightly less accessible than many other Turtle Beach products.
Wearing the Recon Spark
The Turtle Beach Recon Spark has a high sense of style that fits into gaming situations or listening to music while out on the street. Its steel-reinforced headband gives it a strong feel while maintaining its light weight. It also features ear cups that turn 90 degrees so that they can rest comfortably around the wearer’s neck. However, even at full extension, these headphones were a bit too small for me and noticeably pressed against the sides of my neck.
The Recon Spark’s relatively diminutive size was also at odds with my gigantic head. I wouldn’t say these headphones were outrageously uncomfortable, but they’re just tight enough to make me want to avoid wearing them for too long. Although the cushions are supposedly made from a breathable material, my ears frequently became uncomfortably hot. But to the Recon Spark’s credit, the legs of my wide glasses were never an issue, and it took about an hour or two before things got terribly uncomfortable for me.
As for the sound quality, the headset delivered strong performance for its relatively low price point. The speakers are loud but not especially rich, which is about what one would expect from the price category. Gunshots and explosions in Wolfenstein: Youngblood sound kind of flat. Turning on Windows Sonic for software-based surround sound helped things, but not by much.
Still, the sounds like footsteps, the mechanical stomping from Panzerhunds, and enemy chatter could be clearly heard. So, the Recon Spark doesn’t deliver the best experience, but it does provide an enjoyable one.
Noise isolation is excellent, with outside sounds being all but shut out. That said, it’s difficult to tell whether that’s by design or because the headset was squeezing so tightly against my skull.
The small microphone easily flips up and down and stays in place. Flipping it all the way up automatically mutes it. It’s barely noticeable if you take out outside. But switching it all the way down brought it right next to my cheek, which wasn’t quite far enough to completely pick up my voice.
The main complaint I got from other players was that my normal speaking volume came in a little soft. Going into settings and cranking the microphone gain all the way solved this issue, but it also caused the mic to pick up every ambient sound in the room. These included the fans from my desktop computer, clicks from my keyboard, and the creaks from my chair. They were all picked up, and the mic doesn’t have the low noise cut to deal with them.
So, instead of bombarding my teammates with every little sound in my room, I decided to go with the softer mic.
A good Spark?
The Turtle Beach Recon Spark has a great deal going for it, and it’s certainly a headset that will fit into almost all occasions – and they look great if you’re playing on a livestream. Just keep in mind that it’s fairly small, which doesn’t go well with large heads like mine. I guess the major benefit of being able to try them out at Target stores is to find out whether or not they’re a good fit.
But there’s no getting around the fact that you can get about the same audio performance and versatility from the Recon 70 headsets for less money. Not to mention, wired headset users may rather have the Recon 50 headset, which also costs $10 less than the Spark while sporting larger ear cups and a long, flexible, removable mic. You wouldn’t have the steel headband in either case, which can be a significant trade-off, so you’ll need to figure out if you need the extra durability. Also, purchasing a less expensive headset means you can put the savings toward getting an audio cable splitter if you need one.
With all things considered, it can be difficult to fully recommend this headset. The decision on whether to pick it up mostly comes down to whether the aesthetically pleasing style is enough to convince you to buy it. In any case, you’ll have a decent sounding headset that will provide an enjoyable gaming experience without costing too much money.