A piece of kit that no self-respecting gamer can be without these days is the headset ensemble. Ever since online gaming went viral, and the virtual gaming world gained a voice through technology advances, integrated headphone and microphone sets have become essential. The fun of playing online lies as much as in the banter, as in the onscreen action; so much so that, without a working headset, it almost feels like you’re playing on your own.
The Steelseries headsets are seriously designed to cater for this team-based gaming market. They aim to deliver a top quality soundscape, which is geared to the fidelity needed for good game play. Crisp and precise sounds are enabled by a powerful and rich soundscape, pushed through 50mm speaker drivers; the frequency response is a nice fat 18 to 28 KHz.
Steelseries have also made something of a trademark out of their Steelseries retractable microphones. When the microphone is fully retracted, you can be fooled into thinking you are dealing with top quality music headphones, rather than a gaming headset. The microphone has a uni-directional receiver, so that your teams, and competitors, do not pick up on side noise- such as embarrassing comments from parents in the room with you. It’s pickup sensitivity is -38 Db.
Another important attribute is robustness – you need a headset that will perform, and keep you in the loop, without failing. This Steelseries headphone is plastic, with a chunky square design. Quite cleverly, it is easily dismantled into 4 pieces. That enables you to pack the headphones safely when traveling.
Comfort is also part of the design, with the headphones being both lightweight and well insulated. The sound insulation is important in order minimize background chatter. Such out-of-game noise can be distracting and even literally fatal (in the virtual world that is). However, if you want to hear others playing in the room with you, the ear cushions can be swapped to use a ‘hear-through’ cloth.
The cord is a nicely generous 3m (or 10 feet), and has a built in volume control for your cans, as well as your microphone. That can be a handy feature if you need to adjust volume without having to mess about with the game console or PC volume dial. However, the connections are via a double 3.5mm jack system (a separate one for the microphone and the headphones) which makes setup a little less convenient than a USB connection.