I usually use Bose Quietcomfort 2s but after a lot of use the rubber has started to come off all over the place. I was interested to see how the Sound Blaster Evo FX compared.
Lookswise they are ok, a bit flash for a 40+ male, lit up red at the sides. Not quite as over the top as Dres but they do stand out. Comfort wise they are quite small over the ears, being 40mm, also they don't adjust over the head, so all in all I did find them a bit uncomfortable.
Using the supplied red wire the sound was perfect, very rich with excellent stereo effects, slightly more bassy than the QC2s. Button wise there is a rolling volume control plus track buttons.
I failed completely to get the headphones to pair wirelessly, both on an iPad and iPhone, even using the Sound Blaster Central software. This was not a major issue because I didn't really mind using a cable (although have to say it was a tad annoying to fail to get it done). The is NFC for wireless but obviously the iPhone doesn't have it.
I like the way the headphones folded for storage in the supplied case, which is ok, if a bit flimsy for £200.
All in all not bad headphones, the look and feel would suit a teenage boy (my son is 11 and loves them).
Recommended with limitations.
♫ Audio Sources
PC (direct via USB & through VDAC+Graham Slee Solo SRGII Amp)
Galaxy S3 using MortPlayer (via Bluetooth / NFC and standard audio cable)
I was pretty excited to get these headphones and with Creative renowned for high quality audio products I was expecting something special.
They're aggressively styled, with eye catching red illuminating ear cups resulting in a pretty cool looking headphone. The headphones are made almost entirely of high quality plastic and seem fairly robust, they fold down nicely and can be stored in the supplied cloth pouch.
♫ Connectivity & Functionality
The EVO Zx headphones/headset offers and impressive range of connectivity options from USB, NFC, Bluetooth along with the standard audio cable. These are the first headphones I've used that include USB connectivity, bypassing the computers audio card and working directly with the Sound Blaster EVO desktop control panel.
For sound on the move, the headphones utilises Bluetooth and NFC for connecting wirelessly to smartphones, with the ability to answer calls directly from the headset a welcome addition. Downloading the Android app from Google Play and setting up the headphones to work is simple: Just enable NFC on your phone, tap it against the ear cup (but take any rear cases off) and the headset will be recognized instantaneously, and the ear cups will change to blue for a second to confirm successful pairing. The wireless function works well, but I do sometimes experience split second pauses when listening. Battery life is OK at around 8 hours and will cover most daily commuting, you can monitor battery life from the App, which is great and when the battery does die, the headphones work passively using the standard audio cable.
Both the Sound Blaster desktop control panel and Android/iPhone Apps provide SBX profile audio settings, which gives you a choice of Music, Movies and Gaming sound profiles. Each of these profiles can then be customized to your liking, with options such as Surround sound, Crystalizer, Bass and Dialog plus (which enhances voices for movies). Furthermore, there's a standard EQ, which is useful and works well. These settings can be enabled and disabled using the desktop controller, app or the SBX button on the headphones, with the headphones also having a useful play/pause/answer button in the middle, skip buttons and volume controls to the side.
Along with Audio customization, there's microphone enhancements called CrystalVoice - This provides noise reduction for eliminating background noise and also offers the choice of many different hilarious voice effects, from Aliens and Robots to Elves and Munchkins etc.... I must admit, I've enjoyed using those during phone and Skype calls.
Both wired and wireless sound is similar and they sound fairly good, they're dark, forward and upfront sounding, somewhat lacking neutrality. To be analytical, the higher frequencies seem to be dampened slightly by the bloated mids and poorly extended boomy bass, resulting in a congested sound. I found the headphones slightly more balanced with the SBX settings off, but bass suffers. When switched on, the overall sound is amplified and the bass can be quite overwhelming. Their overall sound will satisfy most casual listeners and they can go loud without distortion, although I think critical listeners and audiophiles may be somewhat disappointed. I personally much prefer the sound of my Audio Technica ATH-M50, but they're not the most suitable headphones for commuting and need to be amped (using my Fiio E11), as do the great sounding Sennheiser HD 25-1 II and recently received momentum on ear headphones.
The synthetic leather ear pads are quite soft, although the cups aren't big enough to fit around my ear and they don't quite fit snugly on the ear, which results in an insufficient seal and I feel discomfort after 30 mins of listening. They are fairly good at blocking a small amount of external sound and don't leak much sound either, so they're good for commuting. The headband is comfortable, so no issues there.
♫ Overall, These are decent headphones that should satisfy casual listeners and their extensive range of connectivity options make them a good choice for those on the move.
♦ Brief ♦
I'm an owner of several Creative products ranging from sound cards to speakers and have had nothing but good experiences from them, so I was really excited to get my hands on these because "Quality" comes to mind when thinking about Creative's range of products.
Upon unboxing I was in awe by how amazing these looked, the black & metallic red colour theme makes them look very stylish indeed!
Then it came to holding them and you can really feel the high-quality level that these were made with from the solidness of the exterior to the premium feel of the materials such as the ear-cup cushions.
It's safe to say these gave a very good first impression.
♦ Sound Quality - Wired ♦
I have to admit, I was a bit impatient when it came to charging these, so as I knew these worked with depleted power by using an audio cable (included), I did just that by connecting my phone to these and blasted on the music expecting something special... but that didn't really happen, in fact the quality I heard was beyond sub-par and the music seemed very washed out, so around 20 seconds later I disconnected then reconnected the cables which seemed to do the job as the sound was very good, though the Sound Blaster app will not recognise the headset when connected this way, so you have no customizability unless it's through your devices own settings.
♦ Sound Quality - Bluetooth via Mobile/Tablet ♦
You will need to go to the app store and download the "Sound Blaster Central" software, this will allow you to get the full functionality of these headphones.
Honestly I was really impressed by the quality, it has a good amount of bass, the instrumentals were clear and so were the vocals. Sometimes with different artists I myself changing the equalizer settings through the app to get the best audio quality, but most of the time I found the default settings were just fine.
For those who really don't like bass, you can easily adjust this to a much lower level through the sound blaster app.
However those who do like a kick of bass will be pleased, however those who like heavy bass I wouldn't recommend cranking it up too much as it's just overwhelming and well... just sounds a bit sloppy.
♦ Sound Quality - Bluetooth via PS3 ♦
The PS3 does recognise these headphones and you can technically use them, however the only thing that gets transferred is chat audio, not game audio. I believe this is down to the PS3 rather than the headphones because most PS3 wireless headphones come with special dongle.
When I had done the microphone test through the PS3, I found it to be rather average, also due to the fact the ear-cups cover your ears, you can't hear the TV well making these headphones not user friendly with consoles.
♦ Sound Quality - PC Via USB ♦
Before you connect the headphones to your computer, it is recommended to download the "Sound Blaster EVO Zx and EVO ZxR Software Pack" which has two difference versions; one for PC and the other for Mac.
If you don't get playback from the headphones once the software is installed, right click the speaker icon and the bottom right of your screen, click on "sounds", go to the "Playback" tab and right click on "Speakers" with the subtitle of "Sound Blaster EVO Zx" and choose "Set as default device".
I found myself really enjoying listening to music through the PC, all the beats were very clear and really was a pleasant experience.
I also tried out the audio when watching a bit of a movie & played some games using the appropriate audio profiles and once again, nothing bad I could say about it.
♦ Microphone Quality ♦
- Bluetooth: -
The first time I had tested the microphone was via Bluetooth on my mobile phone, the results weren't actually that good as my friend said that it sounded like I had placed my phone in the corner of the room and it wasn't very clear.
However, after looking on Creative's website, I had found a firmware that "Improved microphone performance in USB connection" & "Improved Bluetooth connectivity for NFC pairing", whilst it stated an improvement when connected via USB I still wanted to retest the microphone via Bluetooth and surprisingly my friend said it was crisp & clear.
So was this because of the update or did the headphones have a funny 5 minutes? I couldn't really say, but the fact is they work well now.
- PC via USB: -
I had tested the microphone when connected to the PC after the firmware, so can't comment on what it was like before, but what I can say is the quality is amazingly clear when using it with the PC.
♦ Comfortability ♦
Initially I thought these were extremely comfy, however after 30-45 minutes of use they can get a bit uncomfortable, I think this is because these don't quite go all the way over my ears, maybe I just have big ears... but nevertheless for me it's an issue, so I can't imagine myself watching a whole film without having a few breaks in between to rest my ears.
♦ Overall opinion ♦
These are a stylish pair of headphones that are clearly made with high-quality materials.
By being able to connect these to devices via wire or wireless definitely them good for multi-purposes.
Although at the start I may have had a bad experience with the sound, this must have been a brief connection issue as I haven't experienced the same issue since, and now they deliver quality sound.
The addition of it's app/software available for your mobile phone/tablet, PC & Mac enables you to customise the sound for your needs.
All that said, these are available for a premium price so it all boils down to whether you're willing to fork out all that money for a pair of these.
Even though I really like this product, I personally wouldn't find myself splashing out such a high amount of money to buy these purely because I don't think I would use them enough to justify the cost, however if this is something you would probably use a lot for multiple devices, then I would recommend them.
I have had the great pleasure of using these headphones for the last couple of weeks. Bearing in mind that I've tried many different headphones, here is a list of reasons why I like these so much:
+ They contain a sound chip which is based on Creative's core product, their PC sound cards. When used in conjunction with the app or the software provided, this offers up a huge range of ways to tweak the sounds you're listening to, until you find the combination that suits your ear best - I can't stress how impressed I am at how intuitive and easy it all is to do, too. You can bypass the whole thing if you prefer (but why have these functions if you don't use them?) - the sound can come through direct if preferred. I was always of the opinion that I only wanted to hear music the way it was intended to be heard, without the artificial colouration that graphic equalisation introduces. I've changed my mind, because the sound produced is so enjoyable and easy to tweak for further delight. What the sound chip can do for a standard piece of music compressed at 192bps is astounding - it seems to fill in detail, somehow. My expensive Sennheisers, exquisite though they are, would only have highlighted that compression. These are headphones designed for modern digital needs; they can compensate for losses, and they do the job with flair.
+ The amplification is POWERFUL. One problem I have with a lot of the more traditional headphones is their low level of volume. I got around this by getting a FiiO E7 Portable Headphone DAC Amplifier, which totally transformed the volume and added sparkle and presence. These headphones sound like they have an E7 built into them. The bass sounds like the aural equivalent of looking into a hole so deep that you can't see the bottom. The separation between - and the enthralling soundstage created - engages the ears in such a way that it's easy to miss your stop on the way to work.
+ The amount of thought put into these headphones becomes apparent as you gain familiarity with their design: the ability to link via bluetooth to two devices simultaneously is a typical example, as it means that you can watch a film with the headphones on, and know that you can hear if anyone calls you on the mobile because it's connected, too! You can connect via NFX (near filed communication) by tapping your device against it, if you're running the right app - all these things add up to a really favourable user experience.
+ For film, gaming and listening to dialogue the detail sucks you in. Creative talk about how the headphones can produce everything the human ear can possibly hear, but what I really found impressive was that, for example watching a crowd scene, I could make out very clearly what a lot of the people in the background were saying, too. It wasn't intrusive or confusing, rather it felt like seeing a picture where every field of vision is in focus, regardless of the depth. For watching films and gaming in particular, the '3D' experience is quite astonishing when you set up everything just how you'd like it.
+ They are designed with equal priority placed on functioning as a headset for taking calls and playing games, watching movies and listening to dialogue and audio. Instead of spreading its capabilities thinly across them, the EVO does them all with ease. Given the relatively small size of the earpieces, they've crammed a lot of wizardry inside them - there's the graphics chip, the impressive battery, the 40mm drivers, the amplification circuitry, the astounding microphone technology which somehow blocks out virtually all background noise... these headphones really do feel like they've been waiting for technology to catch up, so that they can finally be made.
+ The physical layout of the buttons on the earphone are really easy to use without looking; the ridge and contours guide your fingers to the right places.
+ You have the option to use a headphone cable if you prefer to connect that way. This is really great, because so many wireless headphones make older equipment incompatible by not providing the choice. If your battery runs out while you are travelling, the cable gives you the option to continue listening without needing power.
[Edit 16/08/13: Here's the things I don't like very much - the internal battery has a projected lifespan of 'more than' 2 years. Given the high price of this product, most buyers would expect a longer guarantee for what is an essential part of the product - without a functioning battery, the user is forced to use the cable, therefore rendering the sound processing inaccessible. Although Creative are very confident in their rechargeable battery technology, I have taken a star off for this; whatever happens, these headphones have a limited lifespan as far as the chip processing is concerned.
Personally, I'd still pay the price of these headphones because they really suit my ear; I've gone through many pairs being perfectly satisfied with their sound, and these really sing for me, but is it right that a product costing £200 should be so disposable?
Many thanks to Golden Eagle for input - see comments below.
Edit 20/08/13: Creative stress that it would only be in exceptional circumstances that the battery would last for only two years. Their spokesperson was keen to stress that Creative's battery designs are according to international standards, certified independently as well as by their own department. To be fair to Creative, they sound very confident that any problems relating to battery life will be resolvable by their customer service department. They state that they were unable to establish the upper limit of the battery, due to other variables.]
Some minor niggles:
- They look like they've been designed by technicians rather than designers: given the intimate fusion between fashion and a lot of gadgetry, I feel there's an opportunity missed here. I do have to admire the practical functionality the design offers, but they're not going to win a beauty contest.
- They're quite heavy (understandable really).
- There seems to be no compatibility with games consoles or minority operating systems. My Chromebook and Wii feel a bit left out.
- They leak sound at high levels, which makes them unsuitable for commuting. This is because the cups sit on top of the ear rather than around it.
- The pouch it comes with is slightly too small to comfortably accommodate both headphones and leads, and it's not leather.
- the eggbox cardboard inset inside the box was a bit tackier than the price would deserve, I think.
- you can't change the sound of the music in real time (the ability to do so would be ridiculously complex and demanding, no doubt); rather, you have to slide a button to an estimated place, then playback goes silent momentarily while it adjusts.
- they take 8 hours to charge, and they last for about the same, I've found - although not using the sound processor extended this by a significant amount. I didn't want to take them off, and found it hard to find time to charge them.
- According to Creative, the internal battery should last for 'at least two years'.
I could go on for many more paragraphs about the many features and functions, trademarked system names and other things, but I just don't have the space that it needs to do so here, and you can read the manufacturer's words in the product descriptions - all I'll say is that for once, I feel that I've found a pair of headphones that actually justify their price. Maybe some purists will throw their hands up in horror at the technical tour de force on display here, but I've been convinced. Amazingly there's another set in the EVO range priced above this one; I can only boggle at how good they must be!
Treat yourself, the partner or even the dog if you have to - but find a way to get a pair of these into the house. Your ears deserve them. The soundstage sparkles, the mid-tones are warm but authoritative, and the bass is a throbbing yawning chasm, all existing within a huge capacity for more - all if required, and not compulsory. The immediacy and presence of the experience is exhilerating at times. These are going to go down as classics in a few years' time, without a doubt.
on 29 July 2014
Simply the best pair of headphones that I've ever used. I use them all the time for PC gaming, with a separate mic. Mics are great as long as you don't listen to anything loud like Titanfall. Overall a great headset.
First off, the headphones are easy to pair up with your device, and the free smartphone app is a simple way to adjust the settings and features. Likewise, you can download the PC / Mac software for free, plug them into your computer and administer them that way if you like. They also charge from the USB connection, and a full charge seems to last a good while (certainly a few hours of constant listening).
On the default, factory settings, the sound is extremely bassy and a bit 'fudgy' for my liking, and it took quite a bit of fiddling with the settings to get it right. That said, I completely love the SBX Crystalizer feature - it makes a huge difference to my ears, filling out the frequencies and making tracks sound full, bright and as complex as they were meant to be before compression. The great sound processing is what you'd expect from what is, more or less, a high-end computer sound card in a pair of headphones.
Podcasts and talking books also come to life thanks to these features, which although meant to enhance music tracks, work a treat on voices too. Narrators and presenters fill your head when you have these on, and as they do a great job of silencing outside noise too, they're perfect for switching off and zoning out to your favourite programmes.
Likewise, the phones are super for making hands-free calls or Skyping - the built-in microphone picks up the voice very clearly, and I had no problems wandering around, yards from my phone, with crystal call quality.
The multi-function button for remote operation simplifies some operations, and the controls are generally well-placed to reach quickly and perform basic functions. However, the default settings seemed a bit odd to me - a double press does not, as I expected from other headphones, skip to the next track, but starts a phone call to my last-phoned contact on iPhone. Odd!
Also, despite some hefty padding on the ear pieces, I have found them a little uncomfortable to wear for long periods. Maybe I have a big head! But it's something to watch out for if you don't like a snug fit. They tend to press quite hard on the ears, squashing them to your head. The adjustment strap allows some give up and down, but not outwards, which is where I think the problem is. Probably related to this is the fact that they're not sound-tight, either - friends and family could hear my music playing on louder volumes (and believe me, they go LOUD - probably far too loud to be honest, as you'd be risking ear damage at the top settings).
All in all, I feel I should really like these more than I do - they have all the ingredients of a superb piece of kit for a music-lover, but it's not quite perfect. Still, if you can get the mix just right, they offer a superb listening experience (and they look darn cool too).
I was pleasantly surprised by these headphones after being sceptical as to how they would compare to the standard headphones (ones around about the £20 mark). There is definitely a difference in sound quality compared to what I am used and all the added features make these a great pair of headphones. However, given the price this would be expected and these headphones will certainly not be to everyone's liking. Let's go through what I like and dislike about them:
- The sounds quality is great. I do not have much experience with expensive headphones so can't compare with that but the difference between these and a normal pair is very noticeable.
- The headphones look well made and not `cheap' and the lights on the side blend in well with the headphones.
- I have my headphones paired with my android phone via Bluetooth and connecting is extremely easy (I do not have an NFC device so have not been able to connect using that).
- The wireless works great and has a fairly good range - I have been a room away and had no problems. There is also a headphone cable if you would prefer not to be wireless.
- The Android (and IPhone) app works well and shows you the battery on the headphones and has other features like allowing you to switch Surround Sound on or off.
- Battery life of the headphones seems quite good (easily a couple of hours or more) and does not take long to charge via USB.
- While the headphones look well-made quite often when I've been wearing them and move my head a bit I can hear loud creaking from the joints in the headphones - this is mildly annoying and not something I would expect (perhaps mine are just a bit dodgy?) but it does not occur all the time.
- Personally, I am not overly fond of the bright red colour. These are great inside my house but I would probably not wear them outside mainly because they are very bright. I acknowledge some people will love the look but it is just not for me.
- One of the features of these headphones is that they can be paired to two Bluetooth devices at once (say if you had a phone and an Ipad so that you can switch between them easily). I did this with my laptop and my phone but as my laptop has a bluetooth mouse I have the Bluetooth on permanently and ran in to a lot of difficulties trying to connect instead to my phone. In the end I just unpaired my laptop as it was not worth all the trouble. I understand this would not be an issue for most people and it works fine if you only have the Bluetooth of one device on but it was still annoying and there was no clear way to choose which device you wanted to be connected to.
Overall, I am very pleased with the headphones and would recommend, however they are definitely far from perfect and would not suit everyone.
These are a fun and endlessly useful set of headphones. The tech features are fantastic - the noise reduction is just amazing. This is the first Bluetooth device I've used that's reliable enough to make decent phone calls with.
As actual headphones, they're a less bulky than they look in the pics, but they're far from discrete. For style, they bridge a fine line between cutting edge cool and showy 'gamers PC', which is pretty much the Sound Blasters heritage. They're comfortable to wear, and battery life is very good - I've worn them for hours around town.
Sound quality is fine to my ears (beefy in the low end and bright in the percussion), though they're probably not aimed at serious audiophiles. I like them a lot.
on 4 February 2016
Absolutely excellent fantastic the train home and office
on 3 June 2014
Worked for the first week and then after plugging into laptop via USB got the message usb device not recognised. Tried on my desktop and the same. Bluetooth worked ok because it is not working via direct connection, the software which comes with the headphones cannot be activated to change listening profile. Also a little bit on the heavy side.
I also have the creative Recon3d Omega and cannot distinguished the difference. Perhaps I am getting old and my ears are failing me!