Mad Catz didn’t just have a new mouse to present us today, they’re also ready with a new headset under the TRITTON brand. The new headset is called the Katana and it is a HD 7.1 Wireless headset, but it isn’t an ordinary one. The Katana is the world’s first headset to draw its audio signal directly through HDMI to deliver eight channels of uncompressed sound for pure high-definition audio quality. With near-universal compatibility across gaming consoles, PCs and smart devices, the Katana HD features state-of-the-art DTS Headphone:X audio technology that faithfully recreates the spatially accurate immersive sound experience from your favorite game.
The TRITTON Katana is the new flagship headset and comes with a flagship pricetag too. It can currently be pre-ordered for $249 and is expected to ship during December 2015.
The headset itself features 50 mm drivers and crystal clear interference-free chat through an omnidirectional boom mic. The earpieces feature intuitive controls to control your audio, mute the mic, tweak the volume or change the EQ settings. The drivers have a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz and the microphone has a frequency response from 20Hz to 5kHz.
Along with the Katana HD 7.1 Wireless Headset and the omnidirectional boom mic, you also get the heart of the operation, the headset nase station with a 1 meter long USB to Micro USB Power Cable. The HDMI pass through is truly a great idea and one that makes the setup a lot easier. No need to worry about multiple audio devices any more.
A 1 meter HDMI cable is also included as you’ll need one extra when using pass through than without. Mad Catz also added a USB to Micro USB headset play-and-charge cable that is 1.5m long and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm chat cable for Xbox One users. No matter what platform you’re using, you’ll be able to use the TRITTON Katana HD Wireless Headset.
Wireless Range: 33ft (10m)
HDMI with Full Pass-Through
Driver Size: 50mm
Headset Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Microphone Frequency Response: 20Hz – 5kHz
Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
Battery Life: 20 Hours
The Katana headset is available in black and orange as well as white and orange version.
Time after time I have been blown away by the high quality headsets that come from the Mad Catz camp. They’ve got several great ranges to their name such as Tritton, Cyborg and their own branded stuff, but no matter which I’ve tested, I’ve always come away smiling. Their headsets range from the spectacular 7.1 Warhead, which will set you back around £250! To the award-winning mid-ranges such as the 720+ for a little over £100, all the way down to the model we’ll be taking a look at today, the Tritton Kama.
The Kama is the budget end of the Tritton range and it’s a tempting bargain at a mere £20. A lot of retailers sell it closer to £30, but you don’t have to be a genius to know how to use Google Shopping search and grab yourself a better deal. What I want to find out today is just how much of the high quality and performance that we’ve come to know and love from the brand has been lost (if any) from the focus on affordability. Based around their popular Kunai series of headsets the Kama should have a strong head start, especially given we’ve reviewed no less than three different models of the Kunai and all of them have been award winners.
At the budget end of the range we’re not expecting record-breaking performance from the Kama, but Mad Catz have surprised us before with their budget friendly models and it certainly would be nice to see something similar happen today. As you can see from the specifications below we have a decent length cable, 40mm drivers and a standard 3.5mm connector (4-pole). So let’s get right to it and take a closer look at what else the Kama have to offer.
Cable Length: 3.3ft/1m
Speaker Diameter: 40mm
Ear Coupling: Supra-aural (On-ear)
Magnet Type: Neodymium
Frequency Response: 20Hz–20kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <1%
Resistance: 16 ohms
Audio Input Type: 3.5mm Connector
The packaging features a nice clear image of the headset on the front, detailing the support for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.
Around the back we have a few details about the specifications (see above) as well as some information about the in-line controller, but of course we’ll be taking a closer look at that in a moment.
The only thing you’ll find in the box is the headset, which comes hard-wired. Obviously you don’t need anything else and extras will no doubt have been avoided to keep costs down.
It was over a year ago that we took a look at the Tritton 720+ headset and while it was a while ago, I remember it was an absolutely stunning piece of tech. Mad Catz know a fair bit about making a great headset, and they’ve proven it time and time again with hit after hit, and while the 720+ my be a little older now, it’s still one of the best on the market, and now it’s available for PC users, not just for consoles.
Featuring powerful 7.1 surround sound, the headset is equipped with extra features such as Dolby headphone Technology and its fully plug-and-play compatible. The 720 + brings Tritton’s surround sound hardware to the competitive PC gamer.
Connecting directly to the USB port, without the need for additional power, setup is simple making the 720 + highly portable and ideal for tournament play. In addition, the in-line controls can be easily detached at any time, revealing a 3.5mm jack, allowing connection to a wide variety of mobile and smart devices. Gaming at the PC may be great, but being able to hook the headset up to your iPad or Tablet means you can kick back and relax, and not have a need for multiple headsets to play on other devices.
“We believe the combination of excellent sound quality and simplified connection will make the 720 + an extremely appealing proposition for passionate PC gamers.” said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz. “With quality, accurate sound so important to competitive gaming, we believe that the 720 + will allow us to grow our market share in the PC audio category.”
A simple button press on the 720 + initiates Dolby Headphone technology, providing 7.1 surround sound to enhance directional awareness and create a detailed, spacious 3D audio landscape. When listening to stereo audio, Dolby Pro Logic IIx processing will up-mix sound to create a highly authentic 7.1 channel effect. In addition, the 720 + features Selectable Voice Monitoring (SVM) which allows gamers to hear their own voice through the headset should they choose. I found this effect to be a little disorientating at first, but its certainly beneficial when you’ve got the game audio cranked up a little high.
Thank you Mad Catz for providing us with this information.
In the last 12 months we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a wide range of products from Mad Catz and their related brands, Tritton, Saitek and Cyborg. In that same time we’ve had the further pleasure to review not one, but two Kunai headsets, the first for the PS3 / PS Vita and we followed that with a review of the Wii U / 3DS edition. Today we complete the set and bring you the third in the Kunai series with an in-depth look at their new mobile edition aimed at users of Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod.
Mad Catz already have one of the hottest ranges of peripherals on the market that spans PC gaming, consoles and mobile and the Kunai Mobile is just the latest addition to their already very successful range. Priced at around £43 here in the UK it is also competitively priced against brands such as Rapoo and Genuine, as there are very few, if any popular gaming brands making headsets anywhere near this price range. However, Mad Catz have long been known for their excellent value and if the Kunai Mobile prove worth just as headphones, then the extra mobile features could be a huge win for the Kunai.
As you can see from the specifications below, the headset features a good cable length, powerful 40mm drivers, in-line controller, built-in microphone and interchangeable covers. However, what we really want to do is see how the headset looks and the of course, put it to the test, so let’s get right to it and see if the Kunai have the looks and performance required to survive in the mobile arena.
Cable Length: 3.9ft/1.2m
Speaker Diameter: 40mm
Magnet Type: Neodymium
Frequency Response: 20Hz–20kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <1%
Resistance: 16 ohms
Audio Input Types: 3.5mm
Kunai Stereo Headset with In-line Audio Controller Featuring Integrated Microphone
2 Additional Sets of Interchangeable Speaker Tags
The packaging is nicely styled, matching the rest of the Tritton range with a great image of the product on the front as well as a few details about the headsets features. Also detailed at the bottom is the compatibility, which is listed as iPod, iPad and iPhone. It is worth pointing out that this really applies to the in-line controller, other wise the headset and microphone will work with any standard 3 or 4 pole 3.5mm audio output.
Around the back we have a more detailed run down of the features, as well as a simple user guide to the main functions of the in-line controller. This includes details on answering calls, the location of the microphone and adjusting music volume.
Removing the slip cover and opening the box we find that the headset is very well packaged, with just one side exposed to be visible from a window panel on the side of the retail packaging.
In the box we found a few extras, these include a simple upset setup guide, warranty information, a few Tritton stickers and two sets of clip on covers.
Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. announced this week that the shipping of their new Tritton Kunai Mobile Stereo Headset has begun. The Tritton Kunai Mobile Stereo Headset is compatible with most popular handheld consoles, Windows PC, and Mac, as well as smart phones and smart devices. When used with compatible Apple products, the Kunai provides the ability to adjust volume, answer calls, and control music on-the-fly via the convenient in-line audio controller.
Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, said, “The TRITTON Kunai range was designed to deliver an ideal balance of performance, value and aesthetics, a combination which has resonated with the passionate gamer. Today’s announcement will allow us to introduce Kunai to a broader mobile segment who we believe will be extremely receptive to our headset.”
The TRITTON Kunai Mobile Stereo Headset is available in matte black, matte orange, matte blue, and matte red colours. If it is even half as good as the rest of the Tritton and Kunai ranges that we’ve reviewed here at eTeknix, then this should be a great little headset for those people on-the-go.
We’ve got got one here in the eTeknix office and you can look forward to a full review very soon.
Thank you Mad Catz for providing us with this information.
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.
Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. have announced that it has joined forces with Electronic Arts to create a new range of Titanfall branded gaming products in time for the the games release later this year.
Expected to be in stores for the launch of Titanfall, the Titanfall branded product range includes TRITTON gaming headsets, R.A.T. mice, S.T.R.I.K.E. keyboards, F.R.E.Q. gaming headsets and G.L.I.D.E. gaming surfaces. All of which has walked away with a multitude of awards from us here at eTeknix, as well many other awards around the world.
“Titanfall has earned critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including Best of Show, Best Original Game, and Best Online Multiplayer at this year’s E3 conference. Mad Catz is excited to bring a range of cutting-edge, innovative, Titanfall-branded products to gamers in connection with one of the most anticipated game launches in recent history,” said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. “The Titanfall license builds on Mad Catz’ strategy to align our product portfolio with AAA content that appeals to passionate gamers.”
Unfortunately, MadCatz are being super sneaky, not releasing any images of the new designs or perhaps maybe even new features on these products. I’m sure details will come soon enough, but for now we can at least have a refresh of what the current product range looks like.
Stay tuned for more information as we approach the release of Titanfall.
Thank you MadCatz for providing us with this information.
When it comes to picking the right peripherals for your system, it is safe to say that you are going to be spoilt for choice and regardless of your budget it will be hard to narrow down your choices for each component. While the keyboard and mouse options out there may be seemingly limitless, so too are the choices for audio equipment.
Today we are taking a quick look at five of the best headsets on the market for £100 or less (for our American friends that’s approx $150 at time of writing), hopefully offering something to suit many different budgets and while we do know of a few great headsets well above £100, even well above £200! They’re not often the play thing of your average consumer or gamer.
Budget is important, but so is performance and while I can’t admit to having tried every PC headset on the market, I have certainly seen more than a fair share of them. All the headsets I list in this article are ones that I have personally owned, tested and have written full reviews of here on eTeknix, so full review links will be provided. I’m not going to tell you these are the five best headsets on the market, these are my personal choices, if you think you know of a better headset for the same price range, by all means post it as a comment below and help others by sharing your advice in a constructive manner.
Were going to be looking specifically at PC headsets today and it doesn’t matter if you just want to game, watch movies in peace or Skype call your friends, I’m sure we have something here that will suit you. All prices were taken as approximate from Google Shopping and were correct at time of writing.
This weeks Gamescom event has been huge and one of the best things we have seen so far has to be the Mad Catz launch party, which played host to some great games, a chance to get hands on with the latest Mad Catz has to offer and some tasty local food too.
The biggest thing here of course is the Mad Catz STRIKE 3 keyboard which was revealed at the event as well as their latest Android console, next-gen compatibility and more.
The new wireless controller that can be paired via bluetooth was on show along side their new Android games console, the market is a little crowded with these kind of gaming systems in recent months so it will be interesting to see how it performs when we bring it in for review in the coming months.
There were plenty of things on offer, from prizes to gaming tournaments and even a world record holder for the speed run of Resident Evil 4 showing off his skills.
We don’t have many details on the keyboard and other peripherals right now, but enjoy the pictures and well be working hard to bring you more information from Mad Catz with reviews of their new products, as well as extra coverage from this weekends iSeries event in Telford.
Stay tuned for even more coverage of Gamescom over the next few days.
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
Mad Catz, Tritton, Saitek and Cyborg, you may know some of or all of these brand name, but one thing you may not know is that they’re all divisions of the same company. Mad Catz have been making quite a name for them selves recently and while they do have a strong history and some great products that span many years and several gaming generations, its their latest brands and products that have been taking the gaming world by storm.
Over the last year we’ve seen a few entries to the F.R.E.Q headset range, first up we had the F.R.E.Q.5 headset, the F.R.E.Q.5 Red and now the F.R.E.Q.7 which have come under the various brands such as Saitek, but are all fundamentally Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. Headsets. the F.R.E.Q.5 has long been my number 1 personal headset of choice, ever since I wrote the original review for the product it literally hasn’t gone a day without being used for my daily gaming, music and skype activities.
I was ecstatic to find out I would have the opportunity to review this headset, and there was only one question in my mind when I saw it “do I finally have a contender that could temp me away from the F.R.E.Q.5?” Well that is what I hope to find out today, but given the performance of the previous model, the F.R.E.Q.7 certainly has its work cut out.
Mad Catz have a very clear cut product naming strategy, one that is well demonstrated by their R.A.T. mouse range, the R.A.T3, R.A.T.5, .RA.T.7 and R.A.T9 rank in order of low to high in terms of features, performance and price. Starting with the 3, the most budget friendly and the 9 being the most feature-laden premium product. The same principle is applied to the F.R.E.Q.7 and while it looks almost exactly like the previous model it does have some upgraded hardware which we’ll be taking a closer look at in just a moment.
Even the packaging for the new headset bares a striking resemblance to the previous model, very little is different here, the only tell tale signs that we have a new product are the Dolby Digital Pro Logic II badge on the box and of course the new product name.
around the back of the box we have a quick run down of the major features of the set, the most notable being 7.1 surround sound and 50mm drivers. You can also see here the detachable microphone and a photograph of a headset stand that is now included with the device.
In the box I found a well written instruction booklet, detachable microphone, 3.5mm to USB braided cable, USB to USB braided cable and of course the headset its self.
The microphone feels very well made and features a highly adjustable boom, red LED mute indicator, and as you can see it’s also fully detachable from the headset.
The new headset features near identical construction to the F.R.E.Q.5 and this is no bad thing, the mixture of high quality metal and plastics still makes this one of the best made headsets on the market.
Each ear cup is finish a mixture of plastics, the softer looking main body and the glossy black which features the Mad Catz graphic. Here you can also see a small plastic circle on the ear cup, this is a removable cap to protect the microphone socket, Mad Catz have nicely included a little notch on the headset stand which will hold the plastic peg when you don’t require it.
The left ear cup features the Dolby and Microphone buttons, while the right holds a high quality, metal construction volume toggle wheel.
Exposed wire from the headband to the drivers has been lovingly covered with a black and red braiding that will help protect the cable, but also adds an extra styling touch.
Soft leather padding should provide extra comfort during long gaming sessions,and a hollow rubber strip on the headband is extra soft to touch, but still feel supportive when on your head. The headset is fully adjustable and features high quality sliders that shouldn’t wear out over time. The addition of having rotatable ear cups allow you to wear the headset around your neck, handy for when you need to take a few moments rest between games.
The plastic moulded base may not look much but its a perfect way of keeping your headset stored on your desk and a welcome addition to the bundle.
As you can see, the headset clips onto the base nicely, serving as much as a presentation display as it does a storage device. Here you can also see the detachable boom microphone.
Setup & Installation
For use on the PC Setup was as easy as plug-and-play as windows found the basic drivers with ease for the USB connection. Of course this can be even easier if you only wish to use the 3.5mm jack plug, which is even compatible with smartphones to allow for use as a mobile headset, MP3 players or just about any 3.5mm equipped audio device.
The official software can be download from the Mad Catz website and this allows you to control volume, EQ and dolby on/off settings. Dolby mode only works via the USB cable and is not a feature you can use via the 3.5mm jack plug on something like an MP3 player.
When I reviewed the F.R.E.Q.5 I put the headset through its paces with a whole range of music and was amazed by the quality and also the performance of the various EQ settings. Judging from the specification on the box the F.R.E.Q.7 features identical drivers but after just a few songs I am certain they have made some tweaks and changes to the performance. Bass, mid tones and high frequencies are clearer than ever and I’ll be damned if I can think of a headset that sounds this good at playing back my music, excluding maybe a few pro audio focused sets that cost several hundred pounds more.
Movies was much the same as music, simply jaw dropping clarity for stereo drivers and the Dolby mode does an impressive job of giving you a wide audio field, bringing the sound away from your ears and filling the virtual room. I tend to find that virtual Dolby tech can be a little disappointing and that it tends to hollow out the sound, yet it looses none of its punch here.
Gaming is the real winner for the F.R.E.Q.7 as this is fundamentally what it was designed to do and its definitely where it shines through the most. The high quality microphone is perfect for online gaming, the powerful drivers manage to keep the low rumbles of bass in Battlefield 3 free of distortion and the wind in Skyrim can be heard roaring behind you with the Dolby mode enabled.
I use my personal F.R.E.Q.5 every day and I decided to put the F.R.E.Q.7 through all my daily tasks, long Skype calls, listening to music, gaming, wasting time on YouTube and most importantly to me playing my guitar, which I have loopped through my PC. I have to wear a headset for about 6 hours a day and its important that its comfortable and performs to an enjoyable standard on a daily basis and The F.R.E.Q.7 didn’t fail me once.
I think its pretty obvious at this point that I really like the F.R.E.Q.7, and I fear I may have come across somewhat smitten with the headset yet even though that may be the case, its for good reason.
The quality of the materials used in their construction and the overall build quality here is second to none, the overall finish is of a premium, high quality and highly durable product, add the general attention to detail that has gone into their design and overall style, which I admit may not be to everyone liking, but that much is true of any product and your already an long way to justifying the three digit price tag that goes with them.
While build quality and style alone can be enough to tempt some people to make the purchase, the thing that really matters to me is the audio performance and best in class sound quality is something that the F.R.E.Q.7 seems to do with ease, its virtually faultless in its execution of even the most demanding audio selections right across their full volume range and that is a rare thing in any headset. Not that you would want to take these to max volume of course as the drivers are likely to blow your ear drums before long.
Priced at around £130 / $200 US the F.R.E.Q.7 is far from cheap, but you do get a lot for your money in terms of quality and performance, so much so that I would still say the headset is excellent value for money. If you want to be amazed I can’t recommend the F.R.E.Q.5 headset enough, it’s about 30% cheaper, looks near identical and out performs just about anything on the market today, but if you want to be blown away then you need to be saving up for this model, plus you get a free plastic stand to display them on, and every extra feature counts when your spending over a £100.
I’ve already upgraded my headset to a F.R.E.Q.7, and that makes this a true editors choice product, the question for me now is, will it ever be topped, maybe Mad Catz will make a F.R.E.Q.9 and change the rule book once again, but only time will tell.