Now, the first thing you’re going to notice about the HS1 USB gaming headset is that it isn’t the best looking set out there. It’s bulky, the color choice is uninspired, and the odd decision to pad the bottom and top of the headband gives the whole thing a sort of bloated aesthetic. There—now that that’s out of the way, we can talk about the reasons that Corsair’s first headset kicks ass.
For one, it sounds great. That supersize chassis means more room for big, beefy 50mm drivers. These give the HS1 clear highs and bass that’s great for a pair of headphones. The dynamic range is also stellar, letting everything from gunshots to quiet, ambient background noises come through with excellent clarity.
One of the selling points of HP's Envy 14 Beats Edition laptop has been the Monster Beats Solo headphones you saw Dr. Dre sporting in the television advert. Due to "supply constraints," HP is no longer bundling the cans, Engadget reports.
As for pricing, HP has gone and knocked $100 off the Envy 14 Beats Edition, lowing the starting configuration from $1,250 to $1,150. It's worth mentioning that you can get the Beats audio experience from the regular Envy priced at $1,000 to start, albeit with a Core i3 370M processor instead of a Core i5 460M.
HP's Beats audio technology essentially entails a beefed up EQ, a Digital Signal Processor (DSP), the inclusion of an amp, and a board layout intended to provider cleaner audio output.
Sennheiser's probably best known for its line of high-end earphones primarily for listening to music on the go, but the company also offers a line of gaming headsets. That line got a little larger today with the introduction of a handful of new units, including the new flagship PC 360.
The PC 360 is the followup to the PC 350. It combines open-air speaker technology with a noise canceling microphone into a headset that's purportedly comfortable to wear with "velvety-soft ear pads and large ear cups."
There's also the PC 163D with virtual 7.1 channel, 360-degree audio, the slightly larger PC 333D also with virtual 7.1-channel sound that adds Dolby Headphone technology into the mix, and the PC 330 G4ME featuring closed acoustics with a flip-up design similar to a DJ's headset.
The PC 360 ($300), PC 163D ($210), PC 333D ($240), and PC 330 ($160) are available now.
Razer didn't become arguably the most popular gaming peripheral maker on the planet by accident, the company did it by pandering to its target audience. It started simple enough with the release of the Boomslang gaming mouse over a decade ago, and continues today with the announcement of a line of peripherals intended specifically for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty fans.
"We have been anticipating the moment we could get these gaming peripherals into the hands of gamers and StarCraft players," said Robert 'Razerguy' Krakoff, president, Razer USA. "We could not be more happy with the massive feedback we’ve received over the unique APM (Actions-Per-Minute) Lighting System feature and remarkable design. This new line offers StarCraft II players a great new way to complement and customize their real-time strategy gaming experience."
There are three StarCraft themed peripherals in all, including the Spectre gaming mouse ($80), Marauder keyboard ($120), and Banshee headset ($120). Each one sports the StarCraft II logo and multi-colored LEDs.
Look for these devices to start shipping in November.
Zound Industries, makers of the, um, Coloud / Hello Kitty headset, has partnered with Marshall to develop a pair of Marshall branded cans for your skull.
Marshall specializes primarily in amps of various sizes, and as far as we can tell, the Marshall Headphones will mark the company's first foray into headsets.
"Nothing has been compromised when expanding the Marshall heritage of big stage performance to the individual enjoyment of good music," Marshall said. "These headphones are conceived from Marshall’s time-tested fundaments of performance and endurance, designed to thrive on daily use and to render music the way it was meant to sound, no matter what your flavor is. The greatest of effort has also been put into the aesthetics, making the headphones ooze of that iconic Marshall look."
Other than a partial sneak peek at the design, Marshall is keeping tight lipped about its upcoming headset, which is slated to launch on November 15, 2010.
Creative wants you to know that they've just launched the world's first truly 3D audio headsets, unlike those other 3D sets you may have read about, which apparently aren't the real deal. So how exactly can Creative make that claim?
"Creative gaming headsets are the only headsets in the world to deliver a true 3D immersive experience -- with sound coming from around you, above you, and from below. As games have evolved and 3D video has become the norm, Creative headsets with THX TruStudio Pro are the perfect complement, providing gamers with a completely immersive, mind-blowing 3D audio and video experience," said Steve Erickson, VP and GM for audio and video at Creative.
THX purportedly had a hand in helping develop the new Sound Blaster 3D Tactic Alpha and 3D Sigma headsets, which use proprietary advanced algorithms to blast audio at your eardrums from above, below, and all around. From a hardware standpoint, the 3D Alpha comes with 40mm Neodymium drivers, a detachable noise-canceling mic, and a dual-mode USB 2.0 adapter that allows the headset to be used in analog mode.
The 3D Sigma boasts the same feature-set, except the drivers are 50mm and it comes with a steel core headband. These are also the first headsets to come with customizable profiles.
Look for the 3D Alpha and 3D Sigma to ship later this month for $60 and $90, respectively.
Corsair entered this world as a memory maker, but now dabbles in a whole host of products and peripherals. The company can now add headsets to its resume with the launch of the Gaming Audio Series HS1 USB gaming headphones.
"We set out to develop a headset with the performance that gamers demand, while also providing the pristine audio reproduction required for multi-channel movies and high bit rate music," stated Jim Carlton, Vice President of Marketing at Corsair. "The Audio HS1 easily meets both these challenges."
Corsair claims the use of 50mm drivers means there's less distortion than what's "produced by smaller, more typical drivers." The HS1 sports a circumaural, closed-back design, replaceable memory foam ear pads, uni-directional noise-canceling mic on an adjustable boom, and an inline volume and mic controller.
The HS1 is supposedly shipping now, but if you can track down a vendor that's selling it, your Google-fu is strong.
Bose has gone and released three new in-ear headphones that, while still on the high-side for earbuds, are somewhat reasonably priced. These include the IE2 ($100), MIE2 ($130), and MIE2i ($130).
The IE2 buds are suitable for mobile gadgets, like MP3 players, iPad/iPod, and anything else you use to listen to music on the go. Both the MIE2 and MIE2i are better suited for mobile headsets and come equipped with an in-line microphone and one-touch answer/end button for switching between music and phone calls. The MIE2i, as you might have guessed, is aimed at Apple device owners.
All three models are the first to use Bose's new "StayHear" tips, which Bose claims "fit easily inside the bowl of the ear, while naturally conforming to the upper ridge of the ear."
Look for the IE2 and MIE2 to ship on August 23, 2010, with the MIE2i to follow suit in October, 2010.
Engineers designing earbuds face a choice these days: Should they build earbuds that support a variety of devices and perform a host of functions, or should they focus exclusively on digital media players and audio quality? The engineers who designed Razer’s Moray Plus Mobile Gaming Communicator decided to go for the gusto—and they almost made it.
The Morays can do a lot more than pump the latest Eels album down your ear canals. They come with an iPhone-compatible, in-line, omni-directional microphone; adapters for Sony’s PSP 2000/3000 and Nintendo’s DS/DS Lite handheld gaming systems; and a split stub cable you can plug into your PC’s headphone and mic jacks. Razer also thows in a padded carrying case that you’ll actually want to hang onto: It zips shut, includes mesh pockets for each accessory, and doesn’t look like your sister’s jewelry bag.
The Psyko 5.1 takes the idea of 5.1 surround sound in a gaming headset to its logical extreme. Not content with using two drivers to simulate 5.1 surround sound, the Psyko 5.1 actually packs seven drivers into the headset; five for directional sound, and two for bass. The Psyko isn’t the first headset with that many drivers, but the way it uses them to achieve its surround-sound effect is truly unique.
It’s a bit complicated to explain, but we’ll try: When gaming on a traditional surround-sound system, when a sound is played on the front-right speaker, the sound from that speaker hits your right ear a millisecond before your left ear, from the front. With the Psyko 5.1 headset, the same bullet sound would also be played primarily on the front-right speaker, except that now it’s located on the right half of the headband. The sound then travels through an acoustic channel, and is piped into the front of both ear chambers. Because the sound originates on the right side of the band, it hits your right ear first, producing the same effect as a physical speaker. Sound from the rear speakers works the same way, but is piped into the back of the ear chambers.