[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]Headsets are all the rage in the gaming market, and recently we have seen a huge spike in the number of 5.1 and even the occasional 7.1 surround sound headset. Some of the headsets claim to offer a virtual 5.1 surround sound and others, like the Tritton PC510 HDa Gaming Headset we reviewed a while back that offer ‘True 5.1 surround sound’ . The CM Storm Sirus 5.1 Gaming Headset certainly claims to offer the true surround sound experience and for fairly well founded reasons.
Each side of the headset in fact has 4 individual speakers, giving you, front, rear, centre and bass on each side. The positioning of such has been designed so that the front speaker emits sounds just in front of your ear – and as its so close to your ear it only has to be a tiny amount to feel like its coming from several metres in front of you during a game – this is of course similar for the rear speakers and the centre ones.
The headset is a stylish dark grey and black with the CM Storm logo lighting up with an emerald red when powered. The headset is fairly chunky but is fairly light.
The usual looking CM Storm quick start guide is included.
One of the main features of this headset is the in-line control which is quite something special and in itself has several features. Primarily, of course it is to adjust the volume control, but with the aid of the button in the centre you can adjust the other 4 channels individually. On top of this you can also mute the headset and the microphone individually.
The normal means of connection for this headset is to use the ‘Tactile Mixing Console’ and plug it in via 2 USB connections, which like all the connections on this headset are gold-plated.
CM Storm have however included a secondary cable, which allows you to plug this headset directly into your 5.1 sound card or onboard surround sound, this does also require a USB port, but doesn’t give you any volume controls over the headset.[/wpcol_1half]
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Once installing the drivers from the CM Storm website we were a little disappointed with the options that were available to us. The first page allows you to alter just the master volume and the front channel – although this does allow for some fine tweaking after the left and right balance to make sure it sounds equal to you.
They have also included a very limited settings page, which gives you a few options that quite frankly aren’t going to make much difference to the usability of this headset.
Although the software options might be limiting it really doesn’t detract from how good the headset is. The sound quality is excellent and the surround sound is pretty stunning. We did however feel that the bass wasn’t as punchy as other similar headsets although it did seem to ooze sound quality instead – that said, once you turn it up it is still packing a punch.
We were certainly very impressed with the ‘Tactile Mixing Console’ which allows for on-the-fly changes to the surround sound to make sure it is perfectly balanced to your taste, it also allows quick and easy access to mute the microphone which is very useful while gaming. We did like the rotating volume control which had a nice weight to it and spun easily, but at the same time it allowed you to precisely change the volume level or the level of one of the channels. The led’s also give it a very professional look and it will certainly look good on any desk. Our only concern is with the choice of connectors which we suspect after time may not stay together with the weight of the cable on them.
Turning to the comfort of this headset we were certainly pleasantly surprised, due to the size and bulky looking build of the headset we expected it to be quite heavy and most likely sit awkwardly on your head. That is quite far from the truth even though they are certainly not the lightest headset we’ve tested they exert very little pressure on your head and neck. The fit is also very tight and with the thicker ear pads we found that we could hardly hear any external noises. This certainly bodes well for being fully immersed into a game.
The most important aspect of any headset is the sound quality, and while this is has one of the best ‘true 5.1’ surround sound set-ups i’ve heard delivered from a headset, it is more impressive that it does this with a sound quality that really is second to none. We were not fully convinced by the balance between the bass and the other frequencies in certain scenarios but that did seem to depend on the source more than we were expecting. The bass certainly has an impressive sound, it is a nice rounded tone while remaining quite punchy, although it certainly isn’t too powerful. As previously mentioned, the surround-sound ability of this headset is truly impressive, and it felt the most natural yet, with the sounds feeling like they come from behind you when going through the rear channel and similarly for the all the other combinations.
The only criticism we could find, is that the price is a fairly hefty at around £110 which we appreciate is probably a bit more than most computer or even serious gamers would want to spend on a headset. That said, this headset is nearly a masterpiece in engineering and quality, it looks good, feels good and performs extremely well, but we feel that unless you are desperate to have this headset or are a serious, nearly professional, gamer then this headset has been priced out of most consumers price range.