High-End Gaming Headset Roundup -- Check Out These Sweet Cans!

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Joe C

I like these reviews.  I have to say I am partial to headsets like the <a href="http://www.gamingheadsetreports.com/report-dont-buy-the-logitech-g930-7-1-until-you-read-this/">Logitech G930</a> , but just because it was my first headset.  Been in the market for either Sennheiser or Ear Force.  I may reconsider though.

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pcfitness

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Talcum X

 Interesting.  I like to read customer reviews of products after reviews such as these to see what the masses had to say about their purchace.  Come to find out, the Senneiser got better overall reviews than the Plantroics. The Plantronics got some major mixed reviews on NewEgg.  Especially about the 5.1 claim.

***********

Every morning is the dawn of a new error.

"In Ireland, there are more drunks per capita than people."  -  Peter Griffin

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BizSAR

There reviews are great and long overdue.

Did you consider the EDGE Accoustics GX400 earphones (http://www.edgeacoustics.com/products/gx400/)?

I would suspect they would stand up quite well against the best headphone counterparts.

~BizSAR

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billysundays

This has been a long awaited round up review. Great job Reed.

I'm glad you guys have thrown in an opinion on the use of multiple speakers in headsets to reproduce 5.1 surround sound. I remember you also gave Turtle Beach’s Ear Force HPA2 headset props for the same reason.

There're more than a dozen brands now touting thier own multi-speaker surround sound gaming headsets for PCs and consoles. Most opinions I've read online make them out to be gimmicky, while affirming the combination of quality headsets with HRTF technology, like Creative Lab's "CMSS-3D", to be the only way to go.

Here's my question to anyone in the MaxPC staff. Seeing as the Medusa's "aural positioning was the best we've heard", would you say that the multi-speaker solution is better than the conventional use of HRTF with headphones?

Any readers have an opinion?

By the way, Reed, where's the review of the ASTRO A40 GAMING HEADSET by
Will Smith? I was sure it would've been feature in this round up.

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whisp

Will told me he had the review for that headset nearly finished when I was working on this one.

 Currently I would go with a quality stereo headset and rely on a good soundcard to mix the surround. 5.1 headsets have a ways to go from what I have seen, for whatever reason they always seem to produce degraded audio quality. The latest X-Fi soundcard had surround positioning just shy of a true 5.1 headset, the difference was not as much as you would think.

"we Plan for Tomorrow, but we Live for Today"

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billysundays

On Astro's website there's a review of the A40 headsets by a Will Smith for "Official Xbox Magazine"? Does Will Smith also write for "Official Xbox Magazine"?

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billysundays

scratch that, i just read Smith's bio.

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foyleman

You don't need a desktop mic to sound good. There are studio quality headsets with microphones.

I have a Sennheiser HMD Pro 280  headset with mic. You have to solder on the cable end that you plan to use. I soldered on a balanced microphone plug for my mixing board. Then I run the mix through to my Creative Soundblaster Audigy soundcard.

I get asked all the time, "How do you sound so good? What do you use?" This is it.

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PDeath

I am very happy with my Steel Series 5Hv2s, the're great if you prefer anolog 2.0 through your soundcard instead of usb.

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billysundays

actually, sirphunkee, they've featured 3 turtle beach headsets in the past. do a quick search. they liked the Ear Force HPA2 headset (june '07"). i wonder how they would compare it to these headsets.

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sirphunkee

Exactly, I was just hoping to see them compared directly to the Sennheiser and Plantronics models

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sirphunkee

I'm also surprised that not a single one of Turtle Beach's gaming-worthy headsets got a mention...they have several models all across the pricing spectrum, some of them 5.1, and all of them better than several models that were included in this roundup (IMO).

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joe2

i read several positive reviews so i bought the medusa progamer 5.1 v2 for $130.

within 2 weeks they stopped working. the power somehow got cut off or the flimsy plastic switch broke. i barely used them (only wore them 1-2 hours a day) and treated them very well.

they were almost new so i thought it would be easy to get them replaced. unfortunately they have a really nasty service policy:

 

in order to get them repaired i had to send them to england ($40 shipping) then IF they decided to repair them, i had to pay to have them shipped back (another $40).

so, $80 to have them repaired, IF they decided to repair them. otherwise i would get a bill for a repair charge.

i've never heard of a company that makes you pay $80 in shipping to repair an obviously defective product. my 24" monitor stopped working after 3 years and Acer paid shipping both ways and repaired it for free. my microsoft keyboard stopped working and they sent me a new one, no questions asked, no charge.

to add insult to injury, the emails from their service department were curt, bordering on rude. apparently when you buy the headset the money goes to germany but when you repair it the headset goes to england, so they have no motivation at all to provide you with good customer service. i don't know why they would run their company that way but if i convince a single person not to buy this headset i'll feel better about wasting $130.

(i bought a $40 creative fatality headset after i threw away the medusa and it was more comfortable and sounded better anyway.)

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strykyr

I just bought the Pantronics set last week.  Was listening to Me and Bobby Mcgee and I swear I heard pages turning and a mic stand being moved in the background.  The beginning of hells bells...The sound the Nano suit makes in Crysis...wow.  Thses things have to be the best sounding 'phones I have ever heard.  I don't realy use the little sound card that came with it.  I have an Audigy 2 Platinum and the 2 jacks on the drive unit suffice and drives them better.  The mic picks up fly farts.  What kept them from getting a 10? 

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whisp

 If the rating system was based stricly on a price/performance ratio, the headset would have easily been given a 10.

"we Plan for Tomorrow, but we Live for Today"

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ProtoJMB

Hey, good article. I shall refer my friend to it, as he was looking at some different headsets.

 Anyways, you said "although it would be amazing, we have yet to see a high end optical headset"

 Well apparently they DO exist! A company called TRITTON Technologies (I've never heard of them) makes high end optical headsets that can be used with anything that has an optical port, including PC's with optical ports either onboard or with the latest round of soundcards. I think it would be worth checking out. They actually make two different kinds, a lower tier and then a super high end that will be coming out soon. They are also DOLBY Digital 5.1 certified headsets.

 This headset is under $100 on newegg:

 http://www.trittontechnologies.com/products/TRIGA600.htm

 This headset only has an "OUT OF STOCK" placeholder on newegg, but the website says it's a coming soon product. It's WELL OVER $100:

http://www.trittontechnologies.com/products/TRIGA611.htm

It'd be cool to see a review of those, see how they stack up to the analog brethren. = D

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billysundays

Those headsets were announced so long ago, and MaxPC has already reviewed two of trittons headsets and found them to be mediocre, so don't hold your breath.

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Manolo71

Billisunday i have to defer on your comment about the TRITTON'S cans, I have a pair of AX360 (http://www.trittontechnologies.com/products/TRIGA600.htm) for almost two years now, i buy those when 2142 hit the market, and the only thing i can say this can's rock my ears, first of all the only down side is that you have to tweak the control the find that sweet spot, and yes they are digital, i have them conected to my X-Fi fatality titanium and it work great. I have 2142, F.E.A.R.,HALF LIFE 2,S.T.A.L.K.E.R (SHADOW & CLEAR SKY), COD4, CRYSIS, WORLD AT WAR, with no problem at all. I can wait to try FAR CRY 2 & FALLOUT 3,

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mitpatterson

Good article Reed, but where are the prices and links? 

mitpatterson

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billysundays

(Reed) Regarding your review of the Plantronics, I'll assume that "we found its directional mixing...close to that of an X-Fi soundcard" means that you guys find Creative Lab's "CMSS-3D" HRTF to be superior to the "Dolby Headphone" technology. That being the case, I think it would be worth noting that the Plantronics headset can also be connected to your souncard via its analog connection, and they're about $150 less than the Sennheisers.

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whisp

I believe I did - "The 777's come with a detachable "5.1 Dolby Headphone USB soundcard" that allow for either analog or USB input"

 I have been told not to mention price in the reviews unless its a HUGE factor. You are right though, I should have mentioned that the price difference between the two was very large.

"we Plan for Tomorrow, but we Live for Today"

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billysundays

My bad. Weird that i missed that. I must have read the article 4 times before i posted a reply, i just didn't correctly parse what you were trying to say.

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sirphunkee

I think the Sennheiser's have dropped in price, they're widely available now for $160 online (but the plantronics model is holding steady at $90-$100)

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Sever

Saw Reed sporting the Plantronics GameCom 777 at Nvision they were sweet would get a pair but i have 2 steelseries 5H v2 and i love them. Great review Reed hope to see more.

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captrespect

Great reviews!

 Anyone have a recomendation of a good mic I can clip to my headset or shirt?  I've already got a good pair of headphones I don't want to give up, but I still have that stupid desktop mic that came with an old computer. 

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whisp

I have a few different recommendations I could give, but none of them are anything special when it comes to quality..

"we Plan for Tomorrow, but we Live for Today"

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Skiplives

 

If you want a good stand mounted mic, go for something like the Blue Snowball - B&H offers it as a kit with a stand, shock mount, and pop filter.  You can also get a wide choice of clip-on mics.  Go to a music store rather than a computer store for this.  If you are an instrument/gear-head, take a breath and don't walk out with a pro ADC and boom for your new Neumann U87.  :p

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TheMurph

The Snowball, eh? Last I checked, that didn't work on Vista whatsoever.

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killerxx7

you missed out the zalman 5.1 headset brialiant headset for the price!!

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whisp

I contacted Zalman and they told me the headset was no longer being supported really and had nothing new to send.

 I forget "exactly" what they said, but it was something along those lines..

"we Plan for Tomorrow, but we Live for Today"

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Velcrow

I had a pair of the Creative Fatal1ty's and loved them. Damn cat ate the wire. But I'll be ordering another pair for sure. They were very comfortable and sound was good for the price. Mic picked up everything I said well. Can get a pair of the analog version for around $45 on Amazon. I prefer analog since it runs directly through my sound card.

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sirphunkee

"...flush against your shoulders."

"...flush with the headband."

It's "flush", not "plush"

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norman

fixed, thanks!

-- Norm

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