Corsair Void Surround Hybrid Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Corsair blew us away with their new Void gaming headsets, offering exceptional performance, comfort, style and very competitive prices that have made them an instant success with gamers around the world. Now Corsair is back again with their latest model, the Corsair Void Surround Hybrid Gaming Headset and if it’s anything like their Void USB Dolby 7.1 RGB, Void RGB Wireless 7.1 or their Void 3.5mm Stereo , we’re going to be in for a real treat with their latest.

“Enter the VOID—the innovative and exciting new family of advanced gaming headsets from Corsair. Whether you choose wireless, USB, or stereo powered audio gear, you will always be one step ahead of your enemies with fast forward design, spectacular fidelity, universal compatibility, and innovative on-headset controls – enabling you to command your gaming soundscape without hitting pause.” – Corsair

The Void Hybrid comes very well equipped, with a unique USB adapter system that allows it to work effortlessly on PC, Mobile, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, meaning it’s going to be a one-stop shop for all your gaming needs, at home, or on the go. Of course, you’ll also find the usual thrills from the Void headset, such as that comfortable microfiber padding, a noise-cancelling microphone, on-headset controls and more!

  • Genuine Dolby 7.1: Treat yourself to 7.1 channels of accurate and immersive surround
  • Universal Compatibility: The mobile-compatible connector works with PlayStation 4, Xbox One and mobile devices. The included USB Dolby 7.1 sound card unlocks genuine Dolby surround for PC
  • Embark on Marathon Gaming Sessions: Microfiber-wrapped memory foam ear pads enable extended play
  • Unlock legendary audio: Oversized 50mm neodymium drivers bring the action to life with brilliant range and precision
  • Crystal Clear Voice Communication: The noise-canceling microphone on the VOID headset puts your voice in the spotlight—and nothing else

The packaging is nicely designed, keeping in theme with other Corsair Gaming hardware and the previous Void series headsets. On the front, we can see that it supports Dolby, Corsair Utility Engine, multiple devices and features 50mm drivers.

Around the back, a more detailed run down on how the headset can connect to multiple devices, as well as some information on the noise-cancelling microphone, format support, and on-headset controls.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation as well as a simple quick start guide.

There’s a small USB dongle soundcard included, this isn’t needed for connecting to all devices, but as you can see, it takes a USB port and outputs it to a 3.5mm jack for the headset, and there’s a small LED indicator on there for the Dolby feature.

Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum Wireless Headset Review

Introduction


Gaming headsets come and go with rapid succession in this industry, some great, many good and a lot that are fairly forgettable, but every now and then, something big happens. Today is one of those days at eTeknix HQ, as one of the most important headsets in recent years has landed on our desk and its expected to be something truly special. I am, of course, talking about the Logitech G933, following in the footsteps of the legendary G930, highly regarded as one of the best wireless headsets on the market, the G933 looks to make everything bigger and better than ever before.

“Patent pending advanced Pro-G audio drivers are made with hybrid mesh materials that provide the audiophile-like performance gaming fans have been demanding. From your favorite music to expansive game soundtracks, the Pro-G drivers deliver both clean and accurate highs as well as a deep rich bass that you would expect from premium headphones. Experience incredible 7.1 surround sound with Dolbyreg; or DTS Headphone:X Surround Sound,* creating lifelike in-game special awareness, allowing you to clearly hear enemies sneaking around or special ability cues.”

The Artemis is very well equipped, offering support for virtually any audio device, including games consoles and PC. Despite being wireless, it comes with a simple USB-powered transmitter that can be used to turn any wired audio jack into a wireless compatible device, and that’s something that simply cannot be ignored, as it opens up a huge range of devices for use with the Artemis. Add to that high-end 40mm drivers, a high-quality microphone, LED lighting, rechargeable wireless functionality, a fold away microphone, and more.

“G933 Artemis Spectrum works with PC, mobile, home theater devices, and game consoles, including PS4 and Xbox One. One headset for all your devices lets you take G933 Artemis Spectrum from your gaming rig to your gaming console and your mobile devices. You can even connect your home theater to the USB-powered wireless mix adapter and listen to TV shows, music, or movies wirelessly without disturbing the people in your home.”

For a quick look at some of the cool features on offer, check out the official product trailer from Logitech.

The packaging doesn’t give away much information on the front, but it does give you a great image of the headset and first impressions are that it looks pretty awesome!

Lots of technical details dotted around the back and the side of the box, most notable are the 16.8M RGB lighting, Dolby and DTS X support.

The headset is very nicely packaged with lots of protection to keep it safe in transit.

The headset out and you’ll find a simple visual guide to setting up the basic functions of the headset.

Finally, a collection of cables which include a 4-pole 3.5mm cable for use with mobile devices, which features a built-in in-line controller, an RCA passthrough cable and a USB to Micro-USB cable. Finally, we’ve got a 3.5mm to 2.5mm adaptor.

Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. TE 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset Now Available

Competitive gaming is big business, as like any other sport, having the right equipment can help you perform better and also just improve the experience for you personally. Mad Catz has been working closely with pro gamers for years now, so it comes as no surprise that their latest headset is tailored to be suitable for that market.

“The F.R.E.Q. TE 7.1 is a new tournament quality 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset optimized for competitive multiplayer gamers with an unrivaled level of audio personalization and an advanced dual microphone system for precision communication with teammates.” Said Mad Catz.

The name is a bit of a mouthful, it looks like a bad pick from the bag while playing Scrabble, but I don’t doubt the performance of this headset. Having used the F.R.E.Q.5 and the F.R.E.Q.7 over the last couple of years as part of (one of) my gaming setups, they’ve proven they can last a long time, sound great and provide a comfortable fit and the new TE looks to follow the same design cues as its predecessors.

“Connecting via standard USB, the F.R.E.Q. TE 7.1 delivers highly immersive 7.1 surround sound via state-of-the-art audio customization software, placing the gamer in the heart of the action and in full control over their audio landscape. High quality 50mm audio drivers present the audio with precision clarity, providing the gamer with a full 360 degrees of positional awareness. In addition, the removable boom microphone with dual-chat mic system work in unison to actively cancel out environmental background noise and boost the clarity of the gamer’s voice to teammates.” Added Mad Catz

“As the next generation in our award-winning F.R.E.Q. line of high performance gaming audio headsets, the F.R.E.Q. TE 7.1 exemplifies Mad Catz’ commitment to delivering products tailored to needs of today’s competitive gamers,” said Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz. “In-game audio is vital to the performance of the player, and we believe that our F.R.E.Q. TE 7.1 will offer the competitive edge eSports and competitive gamers require to stay ahead of the competition. We’re confident that our strong line up of products spanning multiple gaming formats will see us build considerable momentum as we move towards the Holiday’s and into 2016.”

For more information, or to order your own F.R.E.Q. TE 7.1, check out the official Mad Catz store.

 

Corsair Gaming VOID RGB Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset

Introduction


The latest Corsair gaming headset is here at last and like many Corsair headsets we’ve seen in the past, it’s set to be a must-have, premium grade product. Corsair teamed up with the design team at BMW with the aim of creating one of the most functional and extremely comfortable headsets on the market. When you’re wearing your headset for many hours while you’re gaming, comfort is obviously an important factor, so it’s an aspect of this headset that I’m eager to test out.

The Void isn’t just about style and comfort, as Corsair has packed a lot of cool features to make this headset not only look, but also perform like a premium headset. You’ll find InfoMic & CUE control, ergonomic ear cups, RGB lighting, powerful 50mm drivers, a noise-cancelling microphone, high-end wireless technology and more!

  • Dolby 7.1 multi-channel surround delivers lethally accurate positional audio
  • RGB lighting for individual customization or synchronization with other Corsair RGB devices
  • CUE Control enables rapid on-the-fly audio adjustments
  • InfoMic LEDs relay instant visual status of audio and mic settings
  • Efficient 50mm neodymium drivers deliver staggering bass, scintillating highs, and powerful lows
  • Microfiber-wrapped memory foam ear pads for extended play
  • Unidirectional noise-cancelling microphone makes gamers’ voices loud and clear
  • Wireless USB extension dock (VOID Wireless SE only)

Check out the video below for a quick run-down of some of the features and design aspects of the headset.

As you can see from the packaging, we have the Void RGB Wireless Dolby 7.1 Gaming Headset at our disposal today, this is the top model of the range, so we’re expecting great things from it today. The packaging is nicely designed, with all the major specifications detailed on the front, as well as a nice image of the headset.

Around the back, a more detailed run-down of the features, such as the microfiber/memory foam earpads, 2.4Ghz Wireless technology, and Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation, such as the manual and warranty guide.

There’s a high-quality USB cable, which is used for charging the headset, as well as a cool looking USB dongle for the wireless connectivity.

Turtle Beach Earforce Z60 DTS Headphone X Review

Introduction


Turtle Beach are one of the leading names in the gaming audio market. They’ve got one of the most recognisable brand names in gaming and they’ve built themselves a great reputation for providing gamers with a wide range of headsets that cover virtually all budgets and formats. The headset I have at my disposal today is targeted at the mid-market, with a very reasonable price tag of around £79.99. This isn’t so expensive that it’s into the premium grade, but still more than enough money that you’re going to be expecting a great range of features and solid performance.

The Z60 is designed to work with PC, as well as mobile platforms and comes equipped with a great range of features that should provide us with some impressive audio, or at least I’m hoping it does! The Z60 is the first headset on PC to utilize 7.1 channel DTS Headphone:X Surround Sound and it pushes this new virtual surround technology through a pair of powerful 60mm drivers.

The Z60 comes equipped with a detachable boom microphone, a USB controller with built-in soundcard for plug-and-play compatibility with desktop PC/MAC and a hard wired 3.5mm cable on the headset for plug-and-play mobile use.

The USB in-line controller is really nicely designed. Not only is this the DTS Headphone soundcard, but it features all the controls you could ever need in a compact unit. The game and chat audio are on separate control dials and there’s a dedicated microphone must switch on the side.

One of the cooler features, which I’m really looking forward to testing, would be the mode switch, which allows you to tailor the surround mix for different kinds of media, such as movies, music and gaming.

The microphone is fully detachable and has an adjustable boom to help you find the optimal speaking position. I really like detachable microphones as it’s not often I need one and it bugs me when it’s in front of your face and not being used.

The headset itself has a sleek and somewhat understated look. There’s a nice mixture of soft matte finish plastics and some glossy back covers on each of the drivers.

The headset is trimmed with a little bit of red detailing to help keep it looking a little bit interesting. There’s a thick foam padding on each ear cup and a very comfortable feeling fabric coating that will be very welcome during those long gaming sessions.

The headband is thick and durable to help keep the headset in place, but it’s also very light weight so that it doesn’t become bothersome during extended use.

The interior of each ear cup is big enough that the headset will fit over-the-ear. Combine this with the thick padding and the closed back design and you should find it very easy to get lost in the game world and block out virtually all external noise.

The side extenders lock firmly at each position and there’s a good range to each side; perfect for a wide range of head sizes.

Each ear cup can be rotated to lay flat, which is a lot more comfortable when you’re wearing the headset around your neck between games.

Overall, a very nice looking headset that avoids much of the garish flair we often see on gaming headsets. It feels durable, lightweight and initial impressions are that it’s very comfortable.

Shogun Bros Ensense Commander Series Pro Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Today is a good day in the office, Shogun Bros are one of the newest players in the peripherals market and they’re back again with their second feature review here at eTeknix. When I reviewed their Ballista MK1 gaming mouse it proved that the company knows how to make a great peripheral without the need for a crazy budget, it was packed full of features, had great build quality, really nice aesthetics and competitive performance. Now they’re launching their first headset and if it is half as good as their gaming mouse, then we should be in for a real treat today.

The Ensense is the latest headset on the market to feature vibration drivers to give the sound some extra thump. Targeted right at the heart of the gaming market the Ensense is said to be perfect for everything from enjoying your games at home to competitive eSports. All the usual bells and whistles you would expect from a premium headset are included, such as a high-quality microphone, Virtual 7.1 surround, configurable sound and a whole lot more, so lets get stuck right in and see what the Ensense has to offer!

50MM Extra Large Pro Audio Driver

  • Superior Neodymium Magnet
  • Professional Tuned Crystal Clear Voice
  • Tuned Monitor Level Sound Precision
  • Optimized Sound Boost Logiv Chips

Ergonomic Design

  • Ultra Thick PU Leather Ear Cushion
  • Ultra Thick PU Leather Head Cushion
  • Customizable Head Size Fitting

Powerful Remote Control

  • Backlit Control In Darkness
  • Mute, Microphone, Volume and Ensense Control

Tough Military Spec

  • Anti-interference – Best stable and fast
  • Signal (USB Magnet)
  • Tough – Military Fabric Cable
  • Cable Management Band

Extreme Cool Outlook

  • Futuristic Design
  • Backlit Logo
  • One Body Design
  • Vacuum Electroplating

Magic Voice

  • Change your voice to male, female and even dinosaur and small creatures

The packaging is nicely designed, lots of bright colours, specifications dotted around the box and a side window to give us a sneaky peak at the actual headset.

Around the back we have a more detailed run down of the features and specification.

In the box you’ll find the hard wired headset, a quick start guide and a driver CD.

Gadget Porn – Denon Unveils Their First Dolby Atmos Receivers

I love a good quality surround sound system, not only for watching movies, but also for gaming. While many enjoy gaming at their desk, I tend to run an extended HDMI setup to my big screen so I can enjoy certain PC games from the comfort of my couch, and being able to play PC games and movies through a high-quality AV receiver and in 3D on a 46″ TV is one of the great joys of PC gaming and how versatile it can be.

So long as you have an Atmos compatible movie or game, of which I’m sure their aren’t many just yet, then the new Denon X4100W and the X5200W AV receivers are perfect for those of you who have a spare $1,399 or $1,999 burning a hole in their wallet. Featuring the new Dolby Atmos system, the new audio engine will push 7.1.2 channel surround; that’s seven point surround, with a sub and two overhead speakers!

4K video processing, AirPlay, DLNA, Atmos and just about every other high-end feature you can imagine is on offer here and while I personally couldn’t afford this AV receiver, I damn well know I want one!

Seems excessive now, but in a couple of years the tech will come down in price and you’ll be wondering how to used to game without an Atmos surround setup.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Roccat Kave XTD True 5.1 PC Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


The Roccat Kave XTD has been one of my most anticipated headset ever. Not only was the original Kave 5.1 headset was nothing short of incredible, but the new one promises to improve on many aspects of the previous model. I first got hands on with this headset at CES 2014 last January, and I’ve been wanting to really put it through its paces ever since. With Roccat having a rock solid reputation for making some of the best performing, feature packed and stylish gaming products the PC market has ever seen, I have very high expectations of the Kave XTD.

The Kave XTD 5.1 headset really stands out from the crowd, mostly because it is a true surround headset in a sea of headsets that offer virtual surround technology. There are barely a few great headsets out there that can do an above average job of virtual surround. To my ears, virtual surround is a tacked on software gimmick to what is still just a stereo headset. The difference between a true surround headset and a virtual one can be profound and it will be great to hear if Roccat has gotten it right with their 5.1 configuration. This is achieved by having three drivers in each ear cup, that’s two 40mm drivers and a 30mm vibrational driver. That last part is the most exciting, and well get to why very soon.

“Nobody does it like ROCCAT. With two 40mm driver units and one 30mm vibration unit per ear cup, a fully immersive, genuine surround sound experience with pitch-perfect crisp and clear audio is ensured. The Kave XTD 5.1 Digital’s three high-end driver units are aligned precisely at a 12° angle, matching the natural form of your ear. This alignment provides a real – not virtual – 5.1 surround environment in which you can pinpoint enemy locations easily, giving you the edge over your opponents.” read the Roccat website.

Roccat is well-known for their extensive feature sets and the Kave XTD is no exception. Aside from real 5.1 audio, the XTD also features a high quality multi-channel sound card, USB connection, Bluetooth smartphone pairing, a desktop remote and a noise cancelling microphone. Aside from the extra features, the core hardware is pretty robust too, with powerful drivers, a very good quality microphone and a lightweight 335gr design.

The packaging is really nicely designed, there is a side window that gives you a sneaky peak at the headsets design and there are a few details of the features scattered around the box.

Around the back we have a more detailed run down of the extra features, as well as another side window on the box, giving you a view of the desktop remote / sound card unit.

Ozone Onda Pro X-Surround Pro Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Today I get to take the latest headset from gaming peripheral experts Ozone, the Onda Pro X-Surround Pro Gaming Headset. It’s been a long time since I reviewed an Ozone headset, in fact the only Ozone headset I’ve reviewed prior to this one would be my first ever review here at eTeknix around two years ago, which was the Ozone Onda 3HX, so it will be interesting to see how much Ozone have changed in that time.

eSports is a big industry these days, it doesn’t matter if you’re competing in a pro team and big events, or just working your way up the ladder by playing games at home, it never hurts to have a range of good peripherals at your disposal. A new headset might not make you world #1, but being able to hear everything on the battlefield, or having clear chat audio with your team can make a big difference.

Targeted at the pro gaming market the new Onda Pro is packed full of features such as DSP to help improve / tweak audio performance , a detachable omni directional microphone, powerful drivers, comfortable padding and support for both PlayStation 4 and PC. Pro or not, it’s sub £70 price tag also makes it reasonably affordable too, so it does have a lot of appeal to a wider gaming audience.

The box is really nicely designed, with a clear image of the headset on the front as well as a quick rundown of the major features, these include the advanced X-surround sound, dynamic bass technology, vocal environment noise cancellation and ultra lightweight materials used in its design.

Around the back we have a more detailed run down of some of the features, including the comfortable headband, powerful drivers, detachable microphone and the in-line remote control.

The box is actually a slip cover, inside which you’ll find a sturdy presentation style box.

Inside that box you’ll find a lovely zip-up hard case, perfect for transporting your new headset to LAN events.

Underneath the hard case you’ll find a full colour user manual that talks you through many of the DSP features and the general setup procedure.

Battlefield 4 Graphics Performance Overview With Current Generation GPUs

Introduction


Battlefield 4 has been one of the biggest game releases so far this year for gamers on all gaming platforms. The FPS title from EA and DICE has got off to a relatively shaky start with numerous audio, graphical and gameplay problems across the various platforms it was released on. In fact for many Battlefield 4 owners the game is still in a dysfunctional or buggy state, but you can expect (or hope) that EA and DICE will begin to patch and fix the majority of the problems within the coming weeks as they have said they will. The shaky launch aside, what most PC owners/gamers want to know, if they haven’t already found out, is how do current generation GPUs perform in Battlefield 4 on the PC?

Today we put that question to the test with an extensive, albeit not entirely complete, range of current generation AMD and Nvidia GPUs. On the AMD side we have the R7 260X, R9 270, R9 270X, R9 280X, R9 290 and R9 290X while on the Nvidia side we have a few more offerings with the GTX 650 Ti Boost, GTX 660, GTX 760, GTX 770, GTX 780, GTX 780 Ti and GTX Titan. All of the aforementioned graphics cards are current offerings and to the sharp-minded readers you will notice some graphics cards are missing. Mainly the current generation lower-end graphics cards from both AMD and Nvidia are absent, that includes the Nvidia GTX 650, GT 640 GDDR5, GT 640 DDR3 and the AMD R7 250 and R7 240. The main reason for not testing these graphics cards, other than that we didn’t have most of them, is because they simply aren’t that capable of running such a high end gaming title. Of course that’s not to say they can’t but given the nature of the resolutions we test (mainly 1080p or above) and the quality settings our readers like to see (very high or ultra) these GPUs simply aren’t cut out for the test. Arguably they are more aimed at gamers with 1366 x 768 monitors tackling medium-high details but I digress. The system requirements for Battlefield 4 reveal a similar picture, if you want a smooth gameplay experience then you need an AMD Radeon HD 7870 or Nvidia GTX 660 or better. However, those system requirements show you very little about what you can expect at different resolutions.  So without any further ado let us show you our results and show you exactly how AMD and Nvidia’s offerings stack up!

Optical Output On Xbox One Limited To Stereo Only

The Xbox One has literally just become available, however there is news going around that anyone with a surround sound headset will not be able to use them to their full potential at this moment in time. This is going to be severely bad news for a large number of people who own a high-end headset from the likes of Turtle Beach and Tritton to name only a couple as the new consoles optical output will only support two channel audio until an unknown date.

Albert Panello, the Director of Product Planning at Microsoft has made a statement that indicates that there will be an update coming in the future that will unload the full Dolby capability of the optical output, thus allowing surround headsets to run at their full potential. In the statement, he did specify however that if you were to own a Dolby only HDMI receiver then you should be able to get uncompressed 5.1 or 7.1 sound to your speakers as this has been made available.

“Dolby Digital is coming post launch. This was a SW scheduling issue pure and simple, and I know people are disappointed, but we will have it. Anyone with a HDMI receiver should be fine, as we pass the uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1 through HDMI as well as DTS. Even if you have a Dolby only HDMI receiver, you will still get 5.1 or 7.1 sound since those receivers should accept uncompressed surround. For the Dolby only headsets, my understanding is that these will work but you will only get stereo audio since we only pass Stereo and DTS through the optical port. I have not tested this myself, but I’m told it works. Regardless, I understand this is an inconvenience, but again we’re going to have Dolby coming.”

There is not any mention as to why full surround capability has been left out from the Xbox’s optical jack and there could be a number of reasons why, but there is the reassurance giving that it will be coming – we just don’t know when this will be at this moment in time.

With the battle against the PS4 just kicking off, there is the possibility that there will be some disgruntled customers who can’t use their existing hardware to its full capabilities, however this will become clear over the next week or so.

Source: Tweaktown

Nvidia Shows 4K Surround Gaming With Assassin’s Creed IV

Got a spare $20,000 for your next gaming rig setup? If you answered yes, then lucky you! But if like me you’re are shopping on a more modest end of the PC gaming market, then here is something for you to at least drool over. Nvidia took to showing off a monster gaming rig, fitted out with triple 4K displays running Assassin’s Creed IV, that’s 24.9 Megapixels of gaming gorgeousness.

4K gaming is the new buzz word, the new “cool”, the new target for benchmarking and while it may still be out of the reach of many gamers, not only because the GPU power needed is pretty epic, but also because screens often cost around £3000 / $4500 each. Adding three monster screens and 3 high end GPU’s into a finely tuned gaming rig to push triple 4K is an incredibly expensive endevour, but the end result is truly something to behold.

Each of the three Asus PQ321Q 31.5 4K Ultra HD monitors is running at 3840 x 2160 in portrait mode, giving you a total of 6480 x 3840 resolution. Which according to my own made up statistic is about as many pixels as you need to melt your brain. Three GTX Titan 6GB cards make up 18GB of GDDR5 memory and the rest of the PC is no slouch either, the Maingear Shift gaming PC. Gameplay may have been relatively smooth, but even triple Titans were being stretched to their limit and some graphics settings were wound down from maximum to keep FPS at a good pace.

Thank you Legit Reviews for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Legit Reviews.

Attitude One Tunguska 7.1 USB Surround Sound Headset Review

Today we take a look at a brand that is somewhat new to us here at eTeknix. While yes we have heard of Attitude One, we’ve even seen their products at various trade shows and online, but we’ve never had the chance to get hands on with their products and try them for our selves and the Tunguska Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound Headset is hopefully just the first product of their range that we will be taking a look at.

I’ve heard good things about A1 from industry types and general consumers too, this got our attention and it’s great to see a new name in the office. While I can’t say I’m bored with the offerings from the other big names in the industry, it certainly never hurts to have more options available to you, especially from a consumer perspective.

As always, we will be looking for a good level of design, build quality, performance and value from this headset and with a price tag of around £60  the Tunguska are certainly set to be competitive and if the performance matches the feature list, then we could in for a real treat here, so let’s get straight to the good stuff and see just what this headset has to offer.

As you can see, the A1 Tunguska come in a brightly designed box, you can’t miss a bright orange box among the crowd and this would definitely stand out at retail. There are a few features labeled on the box such as the noise cancelling microphone, 3 meter cable, USB connectivity and the virtual 7.1 drivers (stereo speakers with software produced surround effects).

The box folds out to give us a proper look at the headset and first impressions are good, although I think the white and blue clashes with the orange a little (actually, that orange clashes with everything).

Around the back we have more feature details such as the “unique 4 piece padded headset and comfortable ear cushions”, “high-sensitivity mic and mic mute” and the “high-quality 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets and membranes”. Overall a fairly standard but well equipped feature set, so let’s get them out of the box and take a closer look.

First thing out of the box was an easy to read user manual that guides you through general setup, as well as a mini CD-Rom with the standard driver software, although with included drivers I would always recommend you check the manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers first, it’s still nice to see some included as most companies no longer include any drivers at all.

The headset we have today is finished in matt black, gloss white and neon blue, a very stylish colour scheme that makes me think of the film Tron, I like that movie, so I’ll take that as a good thing.

The headset features a really bold, durable design that really stands out thanks to a mixture of chunky panels and soft edges that seem to blend retro and futuristic styles into one, it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste but I think they look great.

The headband features plenty of soft padding that provides good fit and long term comfort.

The ear cups are covered in a soft leather-like material with a soft cloth backing, enough to keep a firm fitting over your ears but not so much that you cut off all air flow.

The chunky microphone is surprisingly light weight but it isn’t removable, however it can be folded upwards out of the way or adjusted up and down to find the best speaking position.

Moving away from the main headset we have a small inline controller which features 7 small LED lights in the center, volume control button and master mutes for the microphone and headphones. It’s fairly small but it feels well made, although I fear the cable joins could be better reinforced here as this is a common point for wear and tear damage on headsets.

The cable is braided and this should aid with its life span, plus it also looks good and is generally harder to snag or tangle than grippy rubber cables.

Hook up the headset to your computer and the two pairs of lines one each ear cup light up in an electric blue that compliments the blue trim, it’s a fairly subtle lighting effect but an effectively cool looking one.

Setup & Installation

Setup was as easy as plug and play, windows detected the audio device straight away as the headset has its own internal sound card. Installation of the driver CD took a few minutes and a restart but nothing more than a couple of simple clicks to get through. The software was really comprehensive and offers plenty of features to tweak and tune the audio to your liking.

Since this is a virtual surround headset there is only one driver in each ear cup, so software steps in to do the processing magic and create the effect of multiple speakers. You can choose from stereo, quadraphonic, 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound (shown as 2, 4, 6 & 8 channel). Then below that we have the Virtual 7.1 mix enable, output modes (system) and on the right you have the ability to adjust distance, volume and rotation of any of the channel speakers, this is a feature I wasn’t expecting and being able to tweak this was fantastic for fine tuning the sound scape.

There are a few more tabs that cover general system volume levels and voice effects, but the most interesting is the EQ page which allows for full customisation of DSP effects and EQ. There are multiple presets and each can be tweaked and saved to a profile. Unfortunately though you cannot save master profiles for the software for each job so between movies, gaming and day to day tasks you would need to come into the software and adjust things manually to your liking for each application.

Performance

I was eager to test out the multi channel sound on this headset so rather than jump straight into a gaming environment I started with a few movies. I chose the blu-rays of The Hobbit and Transformers 2 since I know one has a rich musical score and some interesting soundscapes while the other has some thumping low end bass noises that can often distort weak drivers. First impressions were pretty good with the stereo mode enabled, the drivers are loud and powerful, but there was a definite slope in the EQ that left the mids feeling fuzzy and the bass feeling a little low, but by no means disappointing.

Enabling the 7.1 (8 channel mode) with the virtual surround made a big impact, but it came at the cost of overall max volume. I tweaked in the speaker distances to increase their volume, applied the large room DSP and decided that the Classic EQ was the best pre-set. Suddenly the headset went from being a “good” headset, to an absolutely fantastic one. Bass was thick, deep and distortion free with a room filling distance that you rarely get on a headset, the mid tones warmed up nicely and had lost their rough edge and the high tones became clearer and more pleasant. I think that the drivers are not very well balanced out of the box but my EQ tinkering knocked some sense into them and the sound became  fantastic for watching movies after I had made my adjustments.

Of course you may like different settings, but that’s the joy of this headset, it’s very customisable, at least to a certain extent. Push the high tones more than a little and they sound awful, same goes for the mid tones, you will benefit better from reducing the frequencies around the one you want to raise and increasing your volume, either way, great results can be found, it just takes some tinkering.

Gaming performance was on par with movies and while the effects have little to offer to games like League of Legends, fans of Skyrim and Battlefield will love the wide soundscapes, thick bass notes and clear dialogue. The noise canceling microphone is good too and while it’s nothing incredible I rarely find anything remarkable about microphone testing these days, it’s on par with the competition and sounds loud and clear, which is pretty much all you could want from a microphone.

Music playback was the real winner for me and while this benefitted from switching to stereo mode, you could still have fun with the EQ and there are a few tracks in my collection that few headphones get right, So You Die by Bloodbath is a real bone shaker that often sounds wobbly in weaker drivers, the acoustic warmth of All About Eve by Steve Vai is easily lost on many sets also but that really wasn’t the case here (although it’s worth pointing out the YouTube links I’ve provided here will not do them justice either, they’re just to give you an impression of the sound I was testing), so long as I kept the Classic EQ mode enabled, most of the other presets made powerful changes but often with negative effects to the range.

Final Thoughts

Overall I think it’s safe to say that I really like this headset, It’s full of little imperfections but it makes up for them in some really big ways and the overall sound quality is more than enough to make me part with my hard earned cash to buy a pair.

The overall appearance of this headset is of a cheaper product trying to look like a more expensive product, the design is chunky, features a lot of shiny plastics and some flashy lights, but I think A1 got the balance right and while there is a slightly cheaper look and feel to the headset, it does maintain a coolness that is often lost in this price range. They’re pretty well made too and while I fear they may smash with a few hard knocks and bumps, there are few headsets out there that wouldn’t.

Sound quality is impressive although you should really get stuck into the EQ and get things in line first. While I would argue that this is mostly personal preference, there really is a lot of extra performance and quality to be found through some simple EQ and DSP tweaks that benefit all listening scenarios. I did complain that you can’t set different profiles to tab between for music, movies, gaming etc but I found that once I had the optimum dialed in, I didn’t want to change anything other than between stereo and virtual 7.1 anyway.

It’s not all perfect though and as I said, build quality isn’t as heavy duty as the looks, the in-line controller leaves a lot to be desired although it does provide the basics and the stock audio performance is a little hollow at times.

eTeknix says: “The Tunguska is a reasonably priced mid-range headset and it packs an impressive feature set that makes it competitive in a crowded market. It’s a little unrefined in some areas but its an impressive product overall. I think this shows great promise for Attitude One and the Tunguska 7.1 is a great product for this price range.”

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Powerful EQ and DSP settings
  • Virtual Surround actually works
  • Good quality microphone
  • Braided cable

Cons

  • Cheap in-line controller
  • Some freqencies sound rough without EQ adjustments
  • Some cheaper feeling plastics

 

Upgrade Your Stereo Headphones To 7.1 With Razer Surround Software

Razer Surround is a state-of-the-art audio engine that provides 7.1 virtual surround sound with any stereo headphones. The current generation of virtual surround technology often provides in accurate listening experiences because individuals perceive sound differently based on their distinct ear sizes and shapes. As such, virtual surround sound traditionally falls short compared to discrete surround sound set ups.

With the patent-pending Razer Surround audio engine, users have the option to calibrate their personal surround sound settings through a series of listening tests to match their preferences, giving them far superior positional sound over traditional virtual solutions. Razer Surround gives gamers a truly individualized 7.1 surround sound and attuned 3D audio experience, allowing them to acoustically pinpoint exact locations of opponents in game, providing “the unfair advantage” in gameplay.

Razer Surround is available as a complementary software add-on, integrated within Razer’s Synapse 2.0 application, offering virtual 7.1 surround sound and storing individual audio signatures in the cloud.These settings can be accessed any time and will automatically update new systems to previous calibrated settings.

In recognition of the support that the gaming community gives Razer, and in solidarity with its trade partners in gaming, Razer has waived the US$19.99 price for Razer Surround through December 2013, so that people who sign-up during this period will get a free copy of the program.During this time frame, users will also have the option to make a donation of any amount to Child’sPlay (www.childsplaycharity.org) after their download start. Everyone signing-up from Jan. 1,2014,onward, will pay the full price of $19.99.

Features:

  • Calibrate to your individual preferences
  • Pre-configured calibrations for all Razer Audio products
  • Bass boost – For a thundering bass
  • Sound normalization – Reduce loudness variation
  • Voice clarity – For crystal clear incoming voice communication
  • Voice level – Adjust the level of incoming voice communication
  • Custom & 11 pre-set equalizer settings
  • Works with any stereo headset/headphones

While the donations to Child’s Play are purely voluntary and users can choose to download Razer Surround for free, Razer hopes that through this initiative users can together with Razer help children in hospitals around the world enjoy games like we do.

Child’s Play’s stated mission is “… to improve the lives of children in hospitals around the world through the kindness and generosity of the video game industry and the power of play.” As of the date of this release, the philanthropy had raised more than US$5 million in contributions.

“With the individual calibration of Razer Surround, we’re setting a new standard in 7.1 virtual surround sound,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director. “We’re a big believer of giving back to our fans and the gaming community, and making Razer Surround available free with a donation to Child’sPlay in 2013 is a testament of our commitment to giving back to current and future gamers of the world.”

For more information about the Razer Surround, please visit www.razerzone.com/surround

Thankyou Razer for providing us with this information.

Computex: G.SKILL Display Ripjaws D71 Gaming Headset

G.SKILL International Co. Ltd. have just released their first gaming peripheral rangeand it’s a massive departure from their typical product ranges which focus mostly on RAM modules. While earlier we brought you a report of their truely epic “true 7.1” Ripjaw R71 headset, here we have a little more down to earth Dolby 7.1 headset and when I say down to earth, I mean on part with nearly any other flagship gaming headset on the market!

G.SKILL have already earned them selves a solid reputation within the system building and overclocking community for some incredibly cool products, both in terms of design and their performance and this is something that has also worked well in the PC gaming community, as well as eSports.

If they’re reputation means anything then these new G.SKILL Ripjaws R71 headsets should be pretty awesome and judging by the looks of them they’ve lost absolutely not of the funky and extreme style and colour choices that set G.SKILL memory products apart from the competition. We’re still waiting on prices and an official release date, but we’re sure this information will follow very shortly and we also hope to have some in for review in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that.

The D71 are packed with features and aside from being Dolby certified, they feature an ENC Microphone (environment noise cancelation), 30mm drivers, custom EQ and an inline controller and plenty of style.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix.

Mad Catz Equips New Headsets With AM3D Audio Enhancement Technology

Mad Catz Interactive are well known in the gaming industry for some of the coolest peripherals around, not only in terms of style but also well known for their high end performance and build quality, so what better way to improve on their designs than to bring support for yet another high end and very cool feature! Today saw Mad Catz announce an agreement with AM3D to utilize AM3D Audio Enhancement Technology across a new range of GameSmart enabled wireless Gaming Headsets.

AM3D Audio Enhancement Technology will enable wireless GameSmart headsets to deliver precision surround sound audio over Bluetooth. AM3D Virtual Surround Sound is based on binaural synthesis using head-related transfer functions (HRTF) to create virtual sound sources, providing an accurate audio sound stage during gaming.

With a 2.0 channel input (stereo or multi-channel down-mix), the signal is enhanced to produce a multi-channel-like surround sound signal, delivering profound surround sound perception and an enhanced center; optimum for gaming as well as movie and music playback.

Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. stated, “We believe the audio technology provided by AM3D will prove ideal for use in gaming applications, allowing us to deliver precision surround sound via Bluetooth on our GameSmart range of mobile accessories.”

“AM3D is pleased to partner with Mad Catz as both companies are very passionate about improving the gaming experience with superior sound,” stated Jacob N. Andersen, Senior Vice President, AM3D A/S.

Virtual 3D can often be a mixed affair in terms of quality, but if this is anywhere near as good as the FREQ7 then you can colour me interested.

Thank you Mad Catz for providing us with this information