There’s two sides to the Thrustmaster Y350P: the headset itself, which is fundamentally a standard passive wired headset, albeit one boasting huge 60mm drivers, and the Y Sound Commander, an amp unit that connects directly to your Dualshock 4 and provides the active bass and 7.1 virtual surround sound.
Opening the box is a no-frills affair, with a simple cardboard container housing the headset, Y Sound Commander and mic boom arm. Compared with other headsets that sit around the £100 mark – it’s £119.99 on Amazon – it doesn’t capture the premium feel in the same manner that many of its competitors do.
Removing them from the packaging and the headset feels light and solid, though the matt and gloss black plastic that makes up the majority of the unit feels quite cheap to the touch and it’s a common design to other Thrustmaster headsets. Our review unit was the Ghost Recon Wildlands special edition, meaning that it had some pretty cool skull motifs on each arm and within the earcups, while the Ghost Recon logo sits on the thick foam padding under the headband.
Both earcups are cushioned with memory foam, and while they’re comfortable and provide a good degree of isolation from external noise I did find my ears warming the longer I wore them. Overall the lack of weight really helps to prevent too much fatigue when wearing them for a long time.
The removable mic boom arm features a solid curved piece, with a flexible section close to the connector. It’s a simple matter to plug it, simply pushing it up into the earcup housing, and on the whole it stays where you set it, though it doesn’t boast the absolute rigidity that some headsets do. Microphone output is accurate though and other players were able to hear me clearly without any problems.
To all intents and purposes, the Y Sound Commander looks like something designed for use by Batman, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to think that every time you connect the bat-shaped peripheral to your controller. You simply lock it into place beneath your DualShock 4 – the equivalent Xbox One headset, the Y350X comes with an amplified designed for its controller – connecting via the 3.5mm headphone connector. It does add a bit of heft to the controller, but it’s nothing too bad.
The amp unit itself has plus and minus buttons for master volume and bass, along with controls for its 7.1 surround sound, mic, and feedback. They’re closely spaced, meaning there may be a few unprompted mix-ups, but they get the job done, while a line of LEDs gives some visual feedback on how loud or high you have the settings. Obviously all of this functionality needs power – despite no mention of how to charge it, or indeed a charging cable – but it’ll charge via the same micro USB cable you use for your Dualshock 4.
The 7.1 surround is surprisingly atmospheric, and it’s here that the headset is at its best. With the bass set relatively high as well there’s a real drama and depth to explosions and soundtracks, while dialogue manages to cut through well. The audio spacing isn’t class leading, but you’ll certainly be able to differentiate the direction that gunshots or explosions are coming from in games like Overwatch or indeed Ghost Recon Wildlands. Listening to the PS4’s Spotify app was also enjoyable, after some tinkering with the volume levels, and with the 7.1 enabled its a great deal of fun.
Unfortunately turning the 7.1 function off takes a lot of what is meaningful away from the headset’s output, leaving you with a flat and uninteresting soundscape. The difference is huge, so much so that I can’t imagine using the headset without it. The headset is also sold as being compatible with mobile devices, and I’ve often used my Sony Pulse set for listening to music on my phone. I would have tested the Thrustmaster set in this way – my HTC 10’s 24bit DAC tends to get the best out of most things – but the 3.5mm connector is an odd shape meaning that it simply won’t work.
Obviously your own phone or device may work without a hitch – the Nintendo Switch was fine for instance – but there’s little guarantee if you’re looking for compatibility across the board. Generally though you’re not going to want to, as the headset alone is less than impressive. Offering a muddy, uninspiring response, those 60mm drivers favour the bass and middle frequencies too much, and without the amp to pour a decent signal into them, you’ll likely not bother take them out on the road with you again.
Having said that, the Y Sound Connector is capable of bringing the best out of most half-decent headphones with a 3.5mm connection. It certainly lifts the PS4’s standard output by a decent measure, so it could be worth considering if you’ve got a beloved pair of wired headphones that you feel need a little more oomph.
The Thrustmaster Y350P is an interesting package, and when using the 7.1 surround sound set-up it’s capable of making any gaming experience more involving. However, the headset itself is a step behind others that are available in the same price bracket, with lacklustre audio and questionable long-term comfort and build quality, making the Y Sound Connector the real star of the show. For those looking for a wired 7.1 surround sound solution, the Y350P is still worth considering, despite its lack of versatility, but there are better options out there.