When's the last time you fired up a monitor and thought, "Wow, the speakers in this thing are amazing!"? Probably never. The best you can really hope for from the tinny cans that manufactures shove inside of monitors is serviceable audio, but more often than not, they simply suck. Granted, nobody goes shopping for a monitor and puts audio quality at the top of their list, but c'mon, is this the best the industry can do? Maybe not. Asus promises a better audio experience with its new Designo MX27AQ, a 27-inch WQHD (2560x1440) monitorwith embedded ICEpower Bang & Olufsen technology.
Kingston said it's begun shipping its new HyperX Cloud II headset featuring a retooled USB sound card audio control box with 7.1 virtual surround sound. It's a hardware-based solution that doesn't require any special drivers -- just plug it and get grooving (or fragging) with independent audio and microphone volume control. There's also a button to toggle on 7.1 virtual surround.
Whenever talk turns to audio, Sennheiser is a name that inevitably comes up. And with good reason -- we've sampled several different Sennheiser brand headsets and earphones over the years, and more often than not, we end up liking what we hear. Will that trend continue into 2015? Time will tell, though in the meantime, Sennheiser is talking up a big game at CES with several new and expanded headphones in the pipeline.
We obviously favor gaming on the PC, and that's not about to change. However, we also recognize that some gamers like to groove on multiple platforms. Apparently so does Asus, which just announced its Strix 2.0 headset with support for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, smartphones, and tablets. Granted, you may look a little funny wearing one of these things on the bus as you battle enemies on your smartphone, but hey, the option is there.
Unlike desktop PCs, you can't just open up your laptop and insert an audio card for discrete audio processing. However, there are USB-based solutions, including Asus' new Xonar U3 Plus, a pocket-sized USB sound solution with a built-in 150-Ohm headphone amp, DSP (digital signal processor), and other features. According to Asus, the Xonar U3 Plus is essentially a smaller version of its existing Xonar U5 and gaming-oriented U7 Echelon Edition with Sonic Radar.
Asus recently announced a new gaming headset called the Strix 7.1. While it retains the same “iconic” owl-eye design as the Strix DSP that the company announced in July, this newest member of the Strix family differs from the DSP in one big way. Unlike the DSP, which has two massive 60mm drivers, the Strix 7.1 has as many as ten discrete drivers.
In anticipation of Blizzard's upcoming multiplayer online battle arena game, audio peripheral company Turtle Beach announced today the availability of its Heroes of the Storm PC gaming headset. The headset features swappable speaker plates depicting iconic Blizzard characters from the past 20 years, including those found in its Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft franchises.
Sometimes it feels like speaker makers have forgotten about PC gamers. Long gone are the days when multimedia speaker announcements were fairly common, but don't despair, not all companies have hightailed it out of the PC gaming space in a Klipsch-like fashion. Gaming peripheral maker Razer has been dabbling in audio and its newest product announcement is the Leviathan, a 5.1 channel Dolby surround sound bar for gaming and movies.
Snazzy looking headsets for different types of gamers
SteelSeries today announced the launch of its new Sibera headset family consisting of several different models. Each one takes aim at gamers (as opposed to music and movie buffs) with a variety of options and price points ranging from $60 MSRP (Sibera RAW Prism) all the way to $200 MSRP (Sibera Elite Prism), the latter of which is an an upgraded version of the Sibera Elite.
German peripherals maker Roccat just added the Kave XTD Stereo to its growing line of audio peripherals, along with a combat themed version that it's calling Kave XTD Stereo Military. Other than the color scheme, these two headsets are the same -- both sport 50mm neodymium magnet drivers shoved inside padded earcups. According to Roccat, these are ultra-lightweight but durable headsets.