on 29 June 2014
I've had these headphones for around a year now so I thought it high time to post a long-term review.
• The main construction is a black plastic - it does feel lightweight and cheap; however the headphones have taken a few knocks over the year and have stayed sturdy, so the build quality doesn't seem to be an issue. However, they do start to creak after a while and can creak when you're moving your head around - this can get quite irritating.
• The cups and headband are sponge with a blue net fabric material. I've generally had no issues with them at all, the cups and band are very comfortable and I've had no trouble with them for longer sessions.
• The microphone has a rubber coating and doesn't feel as flimsy as some other headsets I've had in the past.
• The cord is long and covered with a blue fabric. It feels very tough and I've again had no problems with it. Doesn't tangle as easily as plastic cord either, so that's another plus. There is an in-line volume and mic control which is unfortunately very poor - the plastic seems to be poor and it doesn't feel like a quality piece of the kit.
• Overall, the sound is very good. The surround sound works excellently and the software that comes with the headset seems to work well at boosting the effects. I've certainly had no problems in game with it.
• The microphone sound is also decent - voice is of good quality and there is little to no background noise or hiss. I haven't had any issues with the sound dropping out like other reviewers appear to have had.
• However, one issue that I have seen a couple of times is the fabric covering on the cord - you can hear it clearly when it rubs against your clothes. Can be quite annoying!
• The inline volume control is poor - when changing the volume I've had some issues with the sound not being balanced. I've found that you need to fiddle around with the control a bit before the sound comes back fully in both ears. This is my main gripe with the headset - it feels like they could have spent a tiny bit more money on one little thing which would have improved the overall quality immensely.
+ Good surround sound
+ Construction overall is on the sturdy side
+ Plenty of cable length (if you need it)
+ Comfortable over long periods of time
+ Microphone is clear and easy to use
- Creaking from the plastic can be annoying
- Scratchy sound of cable against clothes can also be annoying
- Foam/fabric has a tendency to absorb sweat and discolour over time
- Really poor quality in-line control can lead to sound dropping in one ear
on 9 April 2014
For some context up front, I'm a heavy user of headsets for my work, with multiple voice and video calls globally each day, plus a bit of PC gaming and movie watching here and there.
I finally took the leap to buying a better quality set over the usual generic £20 headsets, because if you use an item day in day out, why not have something that's more enjoyable to own. Well, these are a massive step up. I have none of the issues other people have had, and in terms of sounds and build, they're great. Few points:
- build quality: No they are not a supreme quality £200 headet, so there is a bit of plastic on plastic creaking when you move your head around, and the no-tangle material cable scrapes on your clothes and is audible in the headset, but i don't really care about these issues as i keep my head quite still. oh and final thing is that the padding on the ear cups is a little firm and you can constantly feel them pressing on you, but again not something i care about.
- sound quality: i have no idea how good expensive sets are, but these are very very good. i tested the surround sound and it does work, albeit subtly. music and movies are transformed, and video calls sound almost like I'm in the room on the other end. i can listen to stuff all day on these with no ear pains, while my other cheaper sets hurt after 20-30mins.
- cost: a bargain for £50-60. highly recommend.
- practicality: this is a small point in the grand scheme, but for me its a big one. the ability to plug into usb or a 3.5mm jack is amazing. during my work day i plug and unplug these multiple times, and the ability to just plug these in when a video call comes in and it just work is great.
Highly recommend if you're on a budget.
Logitech have recently upgraded their gaming gear, and the g430 headphones are an update to the existing G35.
The G430 headphones are a traditional pair of headphones with lots of nice extras that make then interesting for gaming...
The headphones sound really good on a 7.1 audio enabled game. The one I tested with was Company of Heroes 2, which worked flawlessly. On Skyrim, FC3 and ARMA 2, the headphones were particularly good: the headphones seemed to really bring out the ambient sounds in these 'world sandbox' games.
The headphones are designed for longer use consistent with gaming than are traditional audio headphones. They are light and comfortable and the ear cups are washable. The cups are also naturally noise cancelling (because they isolate your ears well). The cups are cloth covered (not PVC), so they allow air to your skin and ears, so won't leave you with sweaty ears that many cheaper headphones give you. I've worn my G430 for a couple of hours gaming and not had any issues (and no red marks around the ears!).
The headphones also come with cloth covered wires rather than the cheaper plastic covered wires. The cloth wiring on my gaming mice has lasted for ages longer than the plastic wiring as the plastic is more prone to crack and snag, so I expect the same of this headphone's wiring. The wiring is also very long (it comes with its own Velcro tie so you can shorten it though), so that's another plus.
You get a nice noise cancelling microphone boom. On my old Fatality gaming headphones, you had to physically unscrew the boom when it is not in use, and as usual, once you unscrew it, you invariably lose it ( this is my main reason for getting the G430: I have lost the microphone boom on the Fatality). You won't lose the boom on the G430, as it folds up out of the way when not in use.
The headphones can either be plugged into your computer via a standard stereo jack and microphone jack or via a USB adapter. If you use the jacks, the 430 acts like a traditional stereo headphone plus mic. If you use the USB adapter (and have the G430 driver installed on your computer - Windows only), then the headphones become a pair of 7.1 surround sound headphones.
Note that If you have an existing sound card or motherboard audio device, then the USB adapter will appear as a new device, and you have to select it before you will hear anything in a game (right click on the speaker icon on the task bar, select `Playback devices' and make `Logitech G430 gaming headset' the default device). That had me scratching my head for a while, because I thought the G430 was just a pair of headphones and not a physical sound device!
The really good thing about the USB adapter being a physical sound device in its own right is that it is bypassing your computer's audio completely. Some laptops in particular have awful audio (as their inbuilt audio is designed with laptop speakers in mind), so having the G430 with its own separate audio device is a good thing!
So, lots of good extras that make the G430 very suitable for gaming. Ok, now for the gotchas and oddities I found whilst testing...
I heard a little bit of crackle on one or two games (esp Call Of Jurez: Gunslinger), and it seemed to be very game specific. Reducing the volume away from 100% generally fixed it, but as this is a new product, I expect that crackle is down to teething issues with the driver. Nevertheless before parting with cash, I'd have a quick look on the usual gaming forums to see how much of a problem it is at the time of your expected purchase. In any case its not cripplingly bad like some of the Creative sound cards that had latency issues a couple of years ago.
*** Update: the crackle seems to be down to performance: you will hear crackle if your cpu/GPU is loaded by a game. I confirmed this by setting off a 100% cpu usage process whilst watching a youtube video, and the youtube audio always starts to crackle slightly. However, I see crackle on both my slow system and fast system (see specs at end), so it may be a databus issue rather than CPU performance overloading. I would recommend any potential buyers to review the web forums to see if this issue is fixed before buying. ***
The 7.1 surround sound is emulated in the USB adapter: the G430 is not a true 7.1 headphone set and actually has only two (fairly average) speaker drivers. Im not convinced that emulated 7.1 audio is particularly a bad thing, but I was surprised to find that you can plug *any* pair of headphones into the USB adapter and get the same 7.1 sound - the Logitech driver is for the USB adapter only and it doesn't know which headphones are connected to it! Well, thats a cause for experimentation if ever there was one! I tried it with a pair of proper audio headphones (Sennheiser HD 25's, which I use for listening to music at work) and they - not unexpectedly - blew the G430 away (the bass has to be heard to be believed!). However, my years-old Fatality gaming headphones also now sounded pretty cool!
You don't even need the USB adapter because whatever it does can be done for free: Google `Razer surround'. That is a free application that gives you the emulated 7.1 on any computer and any headphone, so using that with high end audio headphones that can handle deep bass (i.e something like my Senny HD 25s) should give you something far better than any dedicated gaming headphones. So if you are thinking your old gaming headphones are sounding a bit weak or have decent (but not gaming) headphones, try them with the Razer surround before parting with any cash... but get it quick as its only free for a limited time.
The emulated 7.1 sound requires the G430 driver to be enabled, and that works for Windows only. So if you are on a Mac, you are out of luck (well, actually, you have bought a pair of standard stereo headphones and microphone).
With the G430 you are missing the programmable preset keys you had with the G35, but get an (arguably) slightly more comfortable pair of headphones... but otherwise you get essentially the same headphones. This is not an update to the G35, so if you have one of those and are happy with them, stick with them rather than upgrade to the G430.
Some of the controls are not changeable in-game. The wired controller only allows volume changes. For changes in bass boost and mic level, you have to go through the driver, and to do that you may have to jump out-of game. mic level I can live with (most games allow you to change it from the game settings anyway), but a hardwired bass bosst would have been nice for when you want to stop hearing big bass explosions and need to instead listen carefully to what your teammates are saying.
So to conclude...
The G430 is the replacement for the older G35. They are not an update though, and note that the headphones are really aimed at Windows users. Nevertheless, the G430 makes for a good feature rich pair of gaming surround headphones. The crackle loses the headphones 1 star, but I'm assuming it will be fixed. Two or even three stars off it isn't - please have a look at the forums to see if the issue is fixed before buying.
One final thought to end on: headphones and speakers (and even your sound card) are things that do not become obsolete in the same way that graphics cards and CPUs do. Audio does not generally get superseded quickly, so a pair of headphones should last you some years and probably will outlast your current computer. Choose wisely, and on the basis that you will have them for a while!
*** My specs ***
Fast gaming computer: Alienware Aurora 980 Xtreme (o/c to 4GHz and watercooled), NVidia GTX 770 (o/c 10%), 24GB, Windows 8.
Slow gaming computer: Custom built rig, Q6600 (o/c to 3.6GHz and air cooled), ATI 6870 (o/c 8%), 8GB, Windows 7.
*** Games Tested ***
Company Of Heroes 2, Skyrim, Far Cry 3, Dishonored, Call Of Jurez: Gunslinger, ARMA 2, RUSE.
on 13 April 2016
Hand on heart I'm not a hifi buff who can talk with authority about flattened bass notes in the 7 tachyon range. I just wanted a decent pair of headphones that could hide the external world and give me surround sound for DVD and games. I have a 7.1 sound board and a 5.1 pair of headphones that connect to the soundboard, but the phones were getting a bit rattily and temperamental, a bit like me, but that comes with age.
I was a little sceptical as these didn’t use the on board sound card at all, but plugged directly into a USB socket, but at this price I thought I wouldn’t bankrupt myself if they were no good.
The phones plugged in and without any other faffing around they just worked. It comes with a little test utility where you can hear the effect of music, film and gameplay as well as hearing each individual speaker. It really does seem to be true 7.1 surround sound and enhances game play something wonderful. I kept turning as I heard enemies behind me. The sound quality sounds excellent to my untrained ear, especially when I’m winin’ to Alison Hinds beats.
They are fitted with a mic on a swivel boom, so when not in use you can swivel it out of the way. The cable has a mute switch for the mic for those occasions when a sudden swing of the mouse lands hot coffee in your lap. People have complained that the cable touching the headphones can make a noise as it drags across the surface, which is true but easily avoided with a little bit of cable management. The cable length is generous. If anything a little long, meaning I keep the excess wrapped up in the attached Velcro tie.
They enclose my ears completely, providing isolation from the surrounding environment, resulting in one or two cold dinners when I don’t hear Er Indoors calling me.
They do have a bit of a plasticy feel to them, but the trade-off for that is they are very light. I don’t experience any discomfort with them, even wearing glasses, and can wear them for longer than it takes for Er Indoors to complain that I’m neglecting her.
All in all, I’m very pleased with them.