on 27 April 2012
An astonishingly good set of headphones even if they were twice the price that is being asked for them.
The headphones themselves, in terms of their construction, seem to be of very good quality, with none of the cheap, creaky plastic you might find in some other headphones. The ear muffs fit comfortably over my entire ear (my ears are on the large side) and are cushioned comfortably against my head by the padded velvet type ear muffs, and on top of my head, by the similarly padded and covered headband. The headband will go over pretty much anyones head I think, and has just enough spring loading in it to keep it firmly attached on your head, without giving you a headache or ear ache. Cable quality seems good, and it ends in a standard USB connector with none of the bulk associated with some USB headphone connectors, so for those of you with crowded USB sockets, it should fit in without problem and without you having to swap all your USB plugged items around in order to get it inserted. The mic arm on the headset is of the usual 'boom' style and can be moved up and down through a 90 degree arc. It is also flexible and can be bent towards or away from your mouth. On the left hand ear muff of the headset itself, there is a button to turn the Dolby NR on/off, a mic mute switch, and a volume control. The Dolby button lights up with a blue light when the Dolby is turned on.
These headphones have a set of drivers supplied with them on a CD, and these should be installed before plugging in the headphones and will require a system reboot for them to be enabled properly. Once the system has rebooted, plug the headphones in, and wait for them to be detected and the appropriate drivers installed. Once finished, there will be a "Plantronics Gamecon" icon available in the bottom right hand corner of your system tray in the notifications area. Within this control panel there are simple settings for either turning the Dolby on/off or changing the headphones sound between using them for gaming, or using them for listening to music/watching movies.
Gaming: - Sound quality for gaming is nothing short of astonishing. Quite the best set of headphones I have used, and brings gaming sounds out that were previously muffled or indeed totally unheard by me, before using these headphones. As these headphones also offer simulated 7.1 Surround Sound, I am sure you are wondering how effective it is. Well, I can tell you it is very effective indeed, giving accurate, high quality, directional sound that will let you know where every sound in your game is coming from - obviously very important in games like the FPS genre, when you are coming under fire. That's not its only use however, as I have found the headset gives vastly improved quality of sound in MMO's such as WoW and SWTOR, to the degree that it again lets you hear things you hadn't heard before, and as a result provides you with greater immersion in the games environment.
Music/Media Audio: - Music and sound quality, in stereo mode, is again, excellent. This headset in fact outshines some midrange Sennheiser audio headsets that I have, that were more than twice the cost of this headset. I would be perfectly happy to use this headset for audio on a long term basis, and I am pretty fussy about music audio quality, so that probably is a strong recommendation in itself. Similarly, when watching movies with this headset, the 7.1 surround sound works extremely well, providing a high quality soundscape that adds to the experience considerably. Certainly this latter function is a worthy substitute for when everyone has gone to bed and you want to watch that new movie in surround sound, but can't turn your AV Amp on :-)
Mic: - Again, excellent. It has built in noise cancelling, works happily with Skype, Teamspeak, Ventrilo etc. and those on the other end of my calls, tell me it is the clearest sound quality they have ever heard from a headset, and it apparently sounds like I am sitting next to them. The noise cancelling seems to work well too, eliminating background noise when you are multiplayer gaming over the internet.
Given Plantronics background in audio headsets intended for voice conferencing, it is perhaps not all that surprising that they can turn their talents to producing decent gaming headsets. What did surprise me however, was just how good this headset is for the money. For the paltry sum you are paying for this headset, you are getting the best gaming headset I have yet heard or used, and a headset that will also double for audio, for those that listen to music or watch movies on their PC. When you buy this headset, you will be buying a top quality device, with superior sound to items that cost more than twice as much. Buy with confidence, people.