Top positive review
22 people found this helpful
Satisfied at last!
on 9 November 2010
Over the past years of using the default Xbox 360 Headset, I had become increasingly frustrated with the comfort and sound quality of the device. It's by no means awful, but I'm the sort of guy that likes to lose myself in the immersion of a game without having to constantly adjust or be bothered by tiny inconveniences. It became particularly apparent when Halo Reach was released and I could never hear my friends clearly over the sounds of explosions, and what I did hear was muffled and all sorts of different volumes. I'd had enough, I decided it was worth investing in an upgrade.
My first choice was the Turtle Beach X11 headset, due to a generally positive review base and cheap price. I looked at the fancier wireless models but just couldn't justify spending that much money on a headset when I already have amazing speakers connected to my xbox. On first use, I wasn't amazingly impressed by them. They were of course better than the Microsoft model, and had more features and adjustments, but the sound quality was still far from great and there was just too many wires dangling all over the place. I had to return them, and my search continued.
At this point I was a little stuffed for ideas. While doing my research, I discovered there isn't too many Xbox specific headsets available. Either the products were too crappy and cheap, or too expensive to be worthwhile. So this lead me into looking for Xbox adapters so I could buy a PC headset and use it for both. At this point, it's worth mentioning I use a lot of PC communication as well, such as MMO raids and Skype. Anyway, again, I found the adapters either seemed too cheap, or too expensive. Recurring story going on here. It was when I was browsing through SteelSeries' other PC headsets that I discovered the 5XB's and finally, I saw something that could have potential.
THE ACTUAL REVIEW
Needless to say, before too long I was convinced this was the headset for me. They look sleek, have all the features of the Turtle Beach X11's and more. Upon receiving them, all my hopes and suspicions were met positively. I am pleased with every aspect of them, save for two minor annoyances that I'll get into briefly later on.
Firstly, sound and microphone quality. I'd say these were the two main reasons I wanted to upgrade in the first place. I was not disappointed. I have a pair of rather yummy M-AUDIO monitor speakers connected to my PC and xbox. Their sound quality is brilliant and they are probably one of my favourite posessions. These headsets, unfortunately, do not compare and fall short on quality. But I'm not complaining. They still follow the same values of decent sound quality and accuracy over MORE BASS IS BETTER. The sound from these headsets is concise and accurate enough, yet still provides plenty of bass presence to keep your heart pounding in heavy action.
On the voice communication side of things. It's impossible to get perfect voice quality on Xbox Live. Most people still use the default microphone, and the technology in place to stream voice over the internet is compressed noticeably so the sound quality is never going to be great. Needless to say however, the experience is far greater than the default headset. At the very least I could ALWAYS hear what my friends were saying, and they could hear me equally as clearly. What makes this twice as good is the addition of the LiveMix device you attach to the bottom of the controller. It really does do what it says on the tin. When your friends speak, it lowers the game volume enough so you can hear them clearly. It's a subtle and brilliant addition that I dare say I could never play without again. I love it. And what's brilliant is if I ever want to upgrade my headset again, I can now buy any pc headset and plug it straight into the LiveMix box and experience the same glorious effect with no hassle at all.
Finally, I'll talk about the rest of the device. The little features they stick in just to add icing to the cake. First off, the look of the headset itself is great. Black and green may not be to everyones taste, but when I see this headset on my desk, I just want to put them on straight away. They just look like they're designed to get the job done.
Comfort is also a major issue when considering headsets. I think it's important (as sad as it may be) to forget you're actually wearing the thing when it's on your head. They have to be light, comfortable and unobtrusive. The 5XB achieves this easily. I have to say I hate headsets where the cushion lies on your ear. It tends to ache after an hour or so and I hate that feeling. These however have cushions that go around the ear, and are nicely padded and ventilated so that wearing these feels very nice.
I also love the microphone system that lets you coil it up inside the left earpiece when not in use. When it is out, the microphone is easily adjustable and picks up voice at all angles fine. The braided cable is a nice feature. It feels very strong and quality work. It's also far less irritating when it occasionally brushes across your arms, unlike the plastic/rubber cables. Last thing to mention is the fact the entire headset can be broken down into three pieces incredibly easily. I haven't needed to use this feature personally, but I tried it once and it was a piece of cake to do and I imagine is more useful for some.
For the price I've paid for this device (I think it was around £75 at time of purchase) I think I've got the exact headset I was after. It's bang inbetween the crappy low level headsets and the expensive £100+ unnecessary ones and I'm very satisfied. I use it with nearly all my devices now, xbox, pc, tv, ds and my mp3 player (when I'm not outside, hah). The only thing that could possibly make this headset any better would be the inclusion of 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound, and/or wireless connectivity. Yet, I know this would substantially add to the cost, so I'm quite happy without.
I nearly forgot about the two minor problems I mentioned earlier. They're that much of a none-issue! When I first used the headset I got noticeable squeaking noises, changing in volume depending on the angle the LiveMix device was connected to my controller. I soon discovered this was the controller port itself, and switching to another controller solved the problem. There is still a tiny tiny squeak sometimes, but I never notice it usually. The other small problem is the fact the cable for this device is really really short. I actually like this however as it means you haven't got a ton of cables on your lap connecting to your controller. It does mean though that connecting this headset to a pc is a pain if it's far away, making it literally impossible to use UNLESS you have some handy 3.5mm extension cables which I do, thus making the entire problem not a problem.
Anyways, I hope this review helped to those who dared read the entire thing. Sorry it was so long, I wanted to cover everything, and express how much I love his headset despite it's few flaws.