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Turtle Beach Recon 500 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Jul 30, 2021 at 09:50 am
Turtle Beach Recon 500 Picture
7.6
Neutral Sound
4.8
Commute/Travel
5.4
Sports/Fitness
6.0
Office
5.2
Wireless Gaming
7.2
Wired Gaming
7.1
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are wallet-friendly wired gaming headphones. Although they're fairly barebones in terms of extra features, these decently comfortable over-ears have a detachable boom mic that offers an excellent recording quality and can separate your voice from ambient noise. They have a warm sound profile with extra boom that can help emphasize sound effects in gameplay. However, they have simplistic controls and a plasticky design. They also lack companion software, so you won't be able to adjust their sound to your liking.

Our Verdict

7.6 Neutral Sound

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are good for neutral sound, although their sound profile is more warm than neutral. While they have a fairly neutral mid-range, vocals and lead instruments are boxy and veiled. They also lack a thumpy low-bass, and a bump in the high-bass adds extra boom to mixes. Unfortunately, they lack companion software to help you adjust their sound to your liking. They're also prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.

Pros
  • Decently comfortable fit.
  • Great mid accuracy.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
4.8 Commute/Travel

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are poor for commute and travel. They have a bulky design that can be hard to carry with you, especially as they don't have a carrying case to help protect them. They also really struggle to block out the low rumbles of bus and plane engines. On the upside, they're decently comfortable.

Pros
  • Decently comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
  • Bulky and not very stable.
  • No IP rating.
5.4 Sports/Fitness

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are disappointing for sports and fitness, though they're not designed for this purpose. While they're comfortable, they can fall off your head with moderate head movements, and their audio cable can snag on something and pull them off your head. They're also not very breathable.

Pros
  • Decently comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Not very breathable.
  • Bulky and not very stable.
  • No IP rating.
6.0 Office

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are mediocre for office use. Although they're decently comfortable, the ear cups can trap in heat, which could become uncomfortable over time. They also have some trouble blocking out ambient noise like office chatter around you. On the upside, you can detach their boom mic to help them look more casual.

Pros
  • Decently comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
5.2 Wireless Gaming

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are wired-only headphones and can't be used wirelessly.

7.2 Wired Gaming

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are decent for wired gaming. They have full mic and audio compatibility with consoles that have an AUX port. Their boom mic has an excellent recording quality, and you should be heard clearly if you're speaking in moderately noisy environments. However, they lack sound customization features and don't support channel mixing.

Pros
  • Great overall mic performance.
  • Decently comfortable fit.
Cons
  • No companion app or customization features.
7.1 Phone Calls

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are satisfactory for phone calls. Their boom mic does an excellent job of recording your voice, and you're heard clearly, even in moderately noisy environments. Unfortunately, they lack active noise cancelling, and they struggle to block out ambient noise around you.

Pros
  • Great overall mic performance.
  • Decently comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
  • Bulky and not very stable.
  • 7.6 Neutral Sound
  • 4.8 Commute/Travel
  • 5.4 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.0 Office
  • 5.2 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.2 Wired Gaming
  • 7.1 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jul 30, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Jul 26, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are sleek headphones. They look fairly plasticky, and our model is all black, except for silver accents around the ear cups. There are manufacturer logos on the ear cups as well as on the headband. If you want to make them look a little less gamer-centric, you can remove their boom mic for a more casual look. These headphones also come in another color variant called 'Arctic Camo' if you prefer a different look.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.77 lbs
Clamping Force
0.9 lbs

These headphones are decently comfortable. They have a lightweight fit and don't clamp on your head too tightly. However, they can move around a bit with quick head movements, which could be annoying.

5.7
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Mute/Unmute
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 have sub-par controls. There are only two physical controls: a mute-unmute button and a volume wheel. Luckily, they're easy and intuitive to use. The button is clicky and has different depth positions for mute and unmute, though it's not a big change. The scroll wheel also stops at min and max.

5.8
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 7.4 ยฐC

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 have middling breathability. They trap in heat, which could make your ears feel warm over time. They're not designed for sports use and could make you sweat more than normal if you're doing moderate physical activity.

5.5
Design
Portability
L 8.1" (20.5 cm)
W 10.8" (27.5 cm)
H 2.2" (5.6 cm)
Volume 189.85 inยณ (3,111.00 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 aren't very portable, which is to be expected for gaming headphones. The ear cups can swivel to lay flat, and you can detach their boom mic, but you won't be able to fold them up for easier storage. You can check out a photo of the headphones in their default position here.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
6.5
Design
Build Quality

These headphones have an okay build quality. They're mostly plastic, and although there's a metal plate inside the headphones, they still feel a little cheap. Unfortunately, their audio cable isn't detachable, meaning if it gets damaged, you may need to replace the entire unit. Like most gaming headphones, they also lack an IP rating for dust and water resistance, although we don't currently test for it.

6.5
Design
Stability

These headphones have okay stability. They can move around your head if you make quick or high-intensity movements. Their audio cable can also snag on something and pull them off your head. However, if you're gaming on the couch or at your desk, they should stay in place.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Turtle Beach Recon 500 headset
  • Detachable boom mic
  • Manuals
  • Turtle Beach sticker

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.59 dB
Treble Amount
-3.9 dB

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 have a warm sound profile. Although they lack a bit of low-bass, they have extra boom, which can help emphasize sound effects in gameplay. However, dialogue can sound a little boxy and veiled. These headphones also lack companion software, so you won't be able to adjust their sound profile to your liking.

5.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.17 dB

The frequency response consistency is sub-par. They're very prone to inconsistencies in bass and treble delivery due to their fit, seal, and positioning. You may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or glasses.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.9
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.89 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
36.68 Hz
Low-Bass
-2.67 dB
Mid-Bass
1.83 dB
High-Bass
4.24 dB

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 have very good bass accuracy. They lack a bit of thump and rumble, but the rest of the range is underemphasized, resulting in extra punch and boom.

Note: These headphones are prone to inconsistencies in bass delivery. Our measurement represents an average response, and your real-life experience may vary.

8.2
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.39 dB
Low-Mid
0.27 dB
Mid-Mid
2.83 dB
High-Mid
1.87 dB

The Turtle Beach Recon 500's mid accuracy is great. The low-mid is quite neutral, so vocals and lead instruments are present in your mixes. However, a bump in the mid to high-mid makes the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments sound somewhat boxy and honky.

7.7
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.46 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.08 dB
Low-Treble
-1.48 dB
High-Treble
-13.98 dB

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 have good treble accuracy. The low-treble is a bit underemphasized, which can veil vocals and lead instruments. Sibilants like cymbals are bright and present.

Note: These headphones are prone to inconsistencies in treble delivery due to fit and positioning. Our treble accuracy measurements represent the average response, and your real-life experience may vary.

6.7
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.38 dB
Dips
1.21 dB

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 have okay peaks and dips performance. The dip in the low-bass means mixes lack thump and rumble. A peak in the high-bass adds extra boom while a dip in the low-mid thins out vocals and lead instruments. Another peak in between the mid-mid and high-mid can also make vocals and lead instruments sound boxy and honky, but a small dip in the low-treble can slightly veil the upper harmonics of these sounds. Sibilants like cymbals are also piercing due to the peak in the mid-treble.

8.6
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.25
Weighted Phase Mismatch
9.11
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.26
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.67

The Turtle Beach Recon 500's imaging performance is excellent. The weighted group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting in transparent treble and tight bass. The L/R drivers are also well-matched in amplitude, frequency in phase response. The slight peaks in phase response's treble range shouldn't be audible for most users. That said, this left and right match ensures the accurate localization and placement of objects like footsteps in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our model, and yours may perform differently.

6.2
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.08 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
4.5 dB
PRTF Distance
15.09 dB
Openness
5.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.9

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 have a mediocre passive soundstage. The soundstage is perceived as wide and as if coming from speakers outside your head. However, they have a closed-back design, so it also doesn't sound very open or spacious.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.2
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.482
WHD @ 100
0.163

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is decent. There's a couple of peaks in the treble range, but it can be hard to hear with real-life content. Most frequencies otherwise fall within good limits, which should result in fairly clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Boom

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when using these settings.

Isolation
4.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-12.74 dB
Bass
-0.32 dB
Mid
-11.83 dB
Treble
-27.14 dB

The noise isolation performance is poor. They don't block out any of the low rumbles of bus or plane engines. They do a somewhat better job of cutting down ambient chatter, although it probably won't be enough for a shift at the office. Luckily, they're able to isolate you from the high-pitched hum of an AC unit.

6.6
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
41.83 dB

The Turtle Beach Recon 500's leakage performance is okay. The leakage is spread out across the range and sounds fuller than in-ear headphones. If you like to listen to your music at high volumes, a very small part may be audible in loud environments like an office.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
Yes
Detachable Boom
Yes
8.5
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
20 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.07 dB
HFE
8,736.03 Hz
Weighted THD
0.787
Gain
29.32 dB

The microphone has an excellent quality. Your voice sounds clear, natural, and full-bodied to whoever's on the other end of the line.

7.5
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
33.74 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
7.5
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
7.5
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The noise handling performance is good. It can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise like cars passing by an open window, so your teammates shouldn't have too much trouble understanding you.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length 4.56 ft (1.39 m)
Connection
1/8" TRRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones have a 1/8" TRRS cable that can be plugged into consoles or devices with an AUX port.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio + Microphone
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

You can plug the Turtle Beach Recon 500's 1/8" TRRS cable into your PC's AUX port and receive full mic and audio compatibility.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones are fully compatible with PS4 and PS5 consoles by plugging their audio cable into the controller's AUX port.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 have full mic and audio compatibility with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S via their 1/8" TRRS cable.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 come in two color variations: 'Black' and 'Arctic Camo', which is a grey and white camouflage motif. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are wired gaming headphones. Like other headphones from this manufacturer, like the Turtle Beach Recon 200, they have a simple design with a well-performing boom mic. However, their fit isn't very breathable, and they feel a bit plasticky. They're also not compatible with Turtle Beach Audio Hub companion software, so you won't be able to tweak their sound to your liking.

Check out our recommendations for the best gaming headsets, the best gaming headsets under $100, and the best headsets for PS5.

HyperX Cloud Alpha

The HyperX Cloud Alpha are somewhat better gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Recon 500. The HyperX are more comfortable, feel better-built, and have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer. However, the Turtle Beach's mic has a better recording quality.

Razer BlackShark V2

The Razer BlackShark V2 are slightly better gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Recon 500. The Razer are more comfortable, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and they're compatible with Razer Synapse software, which offers a graphic EQ plus presets so that you can tweak their sound to your liking. However, the Turtle Beach's boom mic offers a better overall performance. 

Turtle Beach Recon 200

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are better wired gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Recon 200. While both headphones are comfortable, the Recon 500 have a more neutral default sound profile and a better overall microphone performance. However, the Recon 200 can be used wirelessly and have a bass boost feature.

HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II

The HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II are somewhat better gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Recon 500. The HyperX are more comfortable, feel better-built, and their mic offers a significantly better noise handling performance. However, the Turtle Beach have better treble accuracy.

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Beats Solo Pro Wireless and the Turtle Beach Recon 500 are designed for different purposes. The Beats are wireless on-ears that are better suited for casual use. They're better-built, have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and have active noise cancelling, so they're able to block out a good amount of ambient sound around you. They also have an H1 chip, so you're able to seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem. Conversely, the Turtle Beach are wired gaming headphones. They have a significantly better overall microphone performance and a more comfortable fit. 

Turtle Beach Recon 70

The Turtle Beach Recon 500 are slightly better gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Recon 70. While both headphones are comfortable, the Recon 500 are better-built, and their boom mic does a significantly better overall performance.

HyperX Cloud Stinger

The HyperX Cloud Stinger are somewhat better gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Recon 500. The HyperX are more comfortable, feel better-built, and their mic has a significantly better noise handling performance. However, the Turtle Beach have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Wireless

The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Wireless are better for wireless gaming, while the Turtle Beach Recon 500 are better for wired gaming. The 600 are more comfortable, feel better built, and have under 24 hours of continuous battery life. However, the 500 have a more neutral default sound profile, and their boom mic offers better overall performance.

HyperX Cloud Alpha S

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S are better wired gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Recon 500. The HyperX are more comfortable, have better controls, and feel significantly better built. They also have a virtual soundstage feature, though we don't currently test for it, and can be used via wired USB. However, the Turtle Beach's mic has a better recording quality.

Logitech G433 Gaming Headset

The Logitech G433 Gaming Headset are better wired gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Recon 500. The Logitech are more comfortable, feel better-built, and have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer. They also have a better overall performing boom mic and are compatible with G HUB software, which allows you to adjust their sound to your liking using the graphic EQ and presets.

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