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View Full Version : So I'm looking to buy a new gaming headset...



omamder5
10-21-2012, 05:30 AM
I had been using Turtle Beach P11 Headphones to game, on both my PS3 and G75, and just about a week ago, the right cup stopped producing sound, unless I fiddled with the wire at the volume control-box. Obviously, it was a frayed wire, so I popped it open and tried to resolder the wires (no warranty left), but was unsuccessful.

What really angered me is the absolutely abysmal quality of the cable, using 1/10 mm or so copper cables for all the wiring. Of course it's going to stop working! The kicker is that I only bought this set a year ago, for 60 bucks, and it has gone through totally normal, non-abusive use. We had a set of Sony headphones that worked for 13 flipping years (!) until I sat on them and broke a cup off. Seriously, one year? This stuff is just made to disintegrate.

Anyways, I am obviously back in the market for a new set that would work with both my laptop and Playstation, but I have a new requirement.

It has to have a detachable cable, or have the ability to replace the cord with some user-friendly method, that doesn't involve soldering. Also, it would be perfect if I could then buy a replacement cable or two, because, in all likelihood the quality will be down the toilet, so I'd like to have some backup on top of the warranty, which leads me into my next point:

Either a detachable cable, or a proven warranty, be it extended or lifetime, that's going to allow me to replace the set if something goes wrong, with a reasonable amount of leeway for the 'cause' of the defect. Basically, I want to know that I can get a replacement without having trouble 'proving' that I didn't abuse the product, or have the defect mysteriously become outside of the warranty's limits. I have heard a lot of not-nice things about warranties, and I want to be sure I'm at least reasonably backed up.

The Steelseries Flux looks like it has a detachable cable, and works with PS3, apparently. Any others?

[Update] I got them! Read the posts below.

dedaciai
10-22-2012, 06:11 PM
Hi omamder5,

Sorry to hear about your old headset. A few questions regarding your needs/wants

- Do you need a detachable or built in mic?
- What is your budget?
- Do you use an external amp?
- Do you plan on using this headset for anything else like music and movies?

omamder5
10-22-2012, 07:41 PM
Easy enough.

- A mic is nice, but not entirely necessary. Retractable or at least have the ability to fold away, detachable is not necessary. I could live without a mic, but it would make gaming online a bit trickier. Bottom line, no mic doesn't mean I won't look at it.

- I'm probably looking at an absolute maximum of $150, hopefully less than that. That high price would only be justified by superb construction.

- Don't use an external amp, don't feel the need even though it could improve the sound quality. I'm not big on it.

- I have Sennheiser HD 205's, and I use those for music on ipod or tablet. However, I wear glasses, and the Sennheisers are too tight with them on; they dig into my temples very painfully. So this new set would be for laptop gaming, playstation gaming, and movie watching on a big screen.

Also, a playstation-specific set is not necessary, but is an option. I could simply get an audio cable splitter and hook up a regular 3.5 mm jack set to the playstation, although I'm not sure how this will affect simulated surround sound, since the Sennheisers are pretty crap for directional audio during laptop gaming usage.

dedaciai
10-23-2012, 12:37 AM
Cool. Thanks for the info.

I currently own both the Vuclan ANC and Razer Cacharias.

Vulcan
Pros:
- GREAT in game positional sound
- detachable mic
- detachable cable
- GREAT natural noise blocking ear cushions
-protective case comes with it

Cons:
- Only so so with music (I had to really mess with my equilizer to make these sound good with music)
- Sound stage is not as nice as with an open back headset...usually not a concern with gaming though

Retail at $119.99US - you may be able to get them for less if you look around. I have a big head and wear glasses at times and these could get a little tight on the temples when wearing glasses and if you have a big head. :-)

Razer Cacharias

Pros:
- Crazy comfortable
- flip up mic
- Really good all around sound (i.e. music, games, movies)
- Soft velour ear cushions are glasses friendly
- Good sound stage

Cons:
- The highs can get distorted at times
- cable is not detachable

Notes on Cacharias: You can find this headset for about $70 or so. I have had this thing for almost two years and have dropped it many times without it breaking.

Other Notes: Go for a stereo headset...all of those extra little drivers are nothing but gimmicks in my opinion - you only got two ears right ? :-)

Also, I would also look at a good music head set like something in the Sony MDR series or Audio Technica Reference Headphones. Below is a link to a website that may have you asking more questions then gettiing answers and tons of audio candy to boot :)

http://www.head-fi.org/

omamder5
10-23-2012, 05:49 PM
Thanks for the detailed reply!

I saw a Razer Carcharias (?) at Futureshop, and it's true that they looked comfy with those soft cushions (I can't remember if I tried them on or not). Bowever, despite what you say, I'm still a little concerned with the build when I'm dropping 70 bucks on plastic that looks like it came out of the dollar store. Also, non-detachable cord....waaahhh! Sound is decent, though, I'm sure.

Now those Vulcans sounded interesting, but what I'm guessing are stiffer cushions on the cups might make for a painful wear with my thicker glasses. I'll have to look that up.

Now, what I was really looking into yesterday was just what you said, regular audio 'phones for music. I found something that might just be the winning number when I saw the Shure SRH440's at London Drugs. I even popped open the box and tried them on. Detachable cable (yes!) and loose enough to wear with my glasses. Not the most comfortable set in the world, but decent, and from what I've read it has very accurate sound. I tried it with my ipod, but without any burn-in, it's not going to give me the best sound, anyway. $130 at LD, but I found a pair on eBay in Canada for $100, plus shipping. I'll keep looking, but for now those seem like the most attainable, best value choice.

dedaciai
10-23-2012, 07:01 PM
No prob, omamder5. Post back and let us know what you decide on. Cheers!

omamder5
10-23-2012, 07:54 PM
Without a way to actually try on the Vulcans, I can't really go for them in case they end up being as uncomfortable as my Sennheisers with glasses - and those things hurt!

Do you have any knowledge of using a female 3.5mm to male RCA splitter with the PS3? Will this affect sound quality or the simulated surround effect during games? I'll have to get a splitter and try it with my cans today...

dedaciai
10-24-2012, 01:18 AM
Without a way to actually try on the Vulcans, I can't really go for them in case they end up being as uncomfortable as my Sennheisers with glasses - and those things hurt!

Do you have any knowledge of using a female 3.5mm to male RCA splitter with the PS3? Will this affect sound quality or the simulated surround effect during games? I'll have to get a splitter and try it with my cans today...

Regarding your first statement, the leatherette cushions on my vulcans are pretty soft. I have a big noggin and I have problems with almost all headsets (except the cacharias). I have not tried the vulcans with my glasses, but I could see there being a problem since they are slightly tight on my head with the band out (yes...my head is big :-( )

With regards to your second statement, I am not sure since I don't own a PS3. I would assume the degradation in sound quality won't be too bad as long as the cables aren't terribly long. However, maybe someone else on the forums with more audio experience can chime in.

omamder5
10-24-2012, 03:15 AM
Regarding your first statement, the leatherette cushions on my vulcans are pretty soft. I have a big noggin and I have problems with almost all headsets (except the cacharias).

The P11's, while not extremely loose, somehow managed to be comfortable with glasses over long periods of use, but the headband sometimes hurt the top of my head a bit. Another problem is that I don't have a very small pair of glasses, which would be great for gaming. The arms of mine are really quite wide and thick.



I would assume the degradation in sound quality won't be too bad as long as the cables aren't terribly long.

Actually, I just tested this, and I'm glad to say it seems to work pretty awesome. I got a 3.5mm female > RCA male, RCA female > RCA female, and volume control adapters from The Source totaling around 40 dollars (!), and I planned to just test them out with my HD 205's, return them, and get the same stuff cheap online. However, when I got home I realized I could just use the adapter off of the old Turtle Beach, which got rid of one adapter and went straight from 3.5 mm to RCA female! So those pieces of trash actually had a use.

With the volume adapter in, I can pick up details I never could with the P11's. Trying Gran Turismo 5, the bite of the Murcielago's rev is shiver-inducing, and the stereo phones reproduce the Doppler effect quite admirably. The only problem I noticed is that I can't turn the sound up high enough. So, I guess my next question is...what did you say about those amps? Haha.

dedaciai
10-24-2012, 10:58 AM
Actually, I just tested this, and I'm glad to say it seems to work pretty awesome. I got a 3.5mm female > RCA male, RCA female > RCA female, and volume control adapters from The Source totaling around 40 dollars (!), and I planned to just test them out with my HD 205's, return them, and get the same stuff cheap online. However, when I got home I realized I could just use the adapter off of the old Turtle Beach, which got rid of one adapter and went straight from 3.5 mm to RCA female! So those pieces of trash actually had a use.

With the volume adapter in, I can pick up details I never could with the P11's. Trying Gran Turismo 5, the bite of the Murcielago's rev is shiver-inducing, and the stereo phones reproduce the Doppler effect quite admirably. The only problem I noticed is that I can't turn the sound up high enough. So, I guess my next question is...what did you say about those amps? Haha.

Glad to hear you got the 205s to work on your PS3. I have heard from several people that a good music headset will always run circles around a gaming headset - even expensive ones. And you got it to work on the cheap is a plus!

With regards to it sounding low, I also have the same problem with my Vulcan if I don't increase the gain to between 60-100 Ohms even though the headset is rated at 32 Ohms. Now that you have $150 dollars to play with since you got your HD250s to work, you may want to look in to an amp:) An amp should last you a long time and you'll be able to use it on a multitude of devices too if you get the right one. I have heard the Asus one has gotten some really good reviews and the one by Astro gaming too

omamder5
10-24-2012, 03:29 PM
Well, I've just taken the plunge and placed the order on the SRH440! Ended up costing $120 (yikes) with taxes and shipping, but considering it would've run me $146 at LD, I guess I'm satisfied. My parents aren't going to be too happy, but what can you do...

Once I get them, I'll be sure to update you guys on its performance, since this is obviously not a gaming headset, and it'll be interesting to see how it goes. I've seen it recommended against for gaming, but that was by a basshead, so I'll have to compare to my Sennheisers.

As for an amp, I'll read up on some audiophile forums, but I don't want to spend too much money... :C Saving for an education and all...

Thanks for all the talk!

dedaciai
10-25-2012, 01:41 AM
Yes, let us know how those nice pair of cans work out for gaming. And yes to saving up for education too. I am about to finish graduate school in engineering and it was expensive but worth it. :)

Hyugafe
11-06-2012, 10:26 AM
Even if it might be late, I want to tell you my story with headsets, last 4 years I was plagued by cable and speaker problems with my headsets and they have been in very casual use. I had Turtle beach, Logitech and Sennheiser PC series ones from 100-150 EUR range.

Two weeks ago my Sennheiser one started to have problems with right speaker.. That was enough, I was ready to put bag of money to headsets what just work. With some research I found Beyerdynamic mxm-300 what was... quite pricy (299 EUR).. But I do hope that putting more money to headphones I will get at least more than one year of usage..

omamder5
11-09-2012, 09:42 PM
They have arrived! The SRH 440's are here!

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I actually got them about a week ago, but I've been steadily using them and compiling my thoughts. So far, I like what I see. I'll split this "mini-review" into a few sections.

Build
The actual construction of these phones is pretty acceptable for its price. Not the best I've ever seen, certainly, but for their aesthetic purposes and cost, they offer reasonable sturdiness. The whole chassis appears to be made out of matte black plastic that is relatively thick and strong, and has a soft-touch feel to it. Not quite rubberized like the case of a G75 or G55, but not shiny-smooth and cheap-feeling like some Razer products, either. The driver housing has a cover (the part with the logo on it) that is made of metal, with the Shure and SRH 440 logos engraved from it, rather than being glued on. The band is flexible and can be twisted forwards and back if needed, and the padding on it is of a smoother faux leather. The ear pads are made of a similar material, and while the padding is smooth and sorta-squishy, it's nothing you would call "plush" or "obscenely soft."

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Comfort
Wearing these headphones is a a foray onto both sides of the good/bad line. They are loose enough for me to wear comfortably with my thick glasses, without causing any discomfort from pressure on the temples. The cups can swivel horizontally a few degrees in each direction, and can also tilt vertically. Additionally, the headband can extend quite a lot; it has numeral markings ranging from 1 to 10, and I leave them at about 3 on both sides. This ensures that there should be almost no issues with the fit, and I'm sure they'd fit most anyone to a reasonable degree. However, here's where the bad comes in.

The headband is very lightly padded; in fact, the padding is almost nonexistent. It doesn't appear to have a hard metal or plastic arch piece, instead seeming to use a harder rubberized piece for flexibility. This means that without padding, you're relying on the band itself for softness and comfort, and unfortunately it doesn't really cut it. After an hour or so of wearing, sometimes 2 or 3, it will feel like the band is jamming into the top of your head a bit, and you have to shift it around your head or take a break. It's not terrible, but it could definitely use more, and softer, padding for added comfort. That would really help these cans.

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On the subject of padding, the ear-pads themselves need some work, too. While they appear very deep indeed from the side profile, their width (which can completely enclose your ears) means that they end up being quite shallow, to the point that the tips of your ears quite often come into actual contact with the drivers, or their metal housing, behind the thin fabric mesh, inside. This can lead to pressure discomfort, and occasionally requires a bit of fiddling. The ear pads are also not puppy-fluff soft; they're almost stiff. However, this does not produce any discomfort. I just wish they had simply added more padding to both the band and the cups, that would've really elevated the plush level.

Sound
The most important bit, of course. When looking at headphones with the ability to spend as much as you want, those $150, $200, even $250 sets can start looking pretty attractive, with all their superior sound and style. However, if you temper your thirst for expensive excess and remember that a few years ago you didn't even know that "sound" and "quality" had any correlation in the same sentence, you'll realize that "not-the-best" quality is not the same as "poor" quality.

To that end, these headphones sound great! They have a wider soundstage than my Sennheisers, or at least, that's what I interpret. What I mean is, they make the music I listen to sound further from my ears, and more "open" than my Sennheisers do, which is not a bad thing at all. They have, in my opinion, plenty of bass, unlike some have mentioned, and overall provide a good quality sound experience. Getting these phones, I was afraid that dubstep music and gaming gunshots would sound tinny and lifeless, but that's not the case. The bass beats come loud and tight, and you can hear all the rumbles, bangs, squeaks and rattles crystal. I haven't the most experience in high-quality sound, but for a gaming and movie freak, and a quality junky like myself, these do very well for all my needs, which range from RTS and FPS gaming, to blockbuster movie and TV show viewing, to tasteful and rocking music listening. I hear no problems with these headphones, and I hope they serve me well into the future, perhaps like my old, indestructible Sony's did!

A few final points remain.

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The carrying case, pictured here, is nothing special, and is in fact almost identical to the one I got with my Sennheisers, but it does the job. With the removable cord, it's a cinch to fold them up and slip into the case, if you just want to hide them overnight or you're planning on throwing them in a loose bag to take with you. They won't offer much (or any, really) protection against drops, but for scratches and bumps, it's just fine. Speaking of the cord...

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It's a very nice, coiled sucker that can extend to infinity if you need to. It's very nicely rubberized, is thicker than my Sennheiser cord, and the detachability is a total boon in all situations. Need to pop the cans in their case? Take the jack out and slip them in. Need to reach over to grab something, but the cord's stuck in a nook? Detach the cord, and reach away. Need to place the headphones on a table, but want to leave the cord plugged in? Detach and place wherever you want. The instant versatility is a great bonus, and of course, if problems arise with the cord over time, just get a replacement. You can order the exact same one (you need to, because it attaches via a special bayonet twist-clip, and is 2.5mm on one end, 3.5mm on the other) for around 20 bucks. I should be picking up at least one more cord from a local store pretty soon, just in case. Finally, the 3.5mm - 6.3mm gold plated adapter is, again, identical to my Sennheiser one, and is in fact interchangeable. Used it with my electronic piano, worked fine and sounded great.

Overall, great phones, worth the money (I ended up paying $120 with shipping and taxes), and they suit my needs very well. They look professional (if not "k00l" or "hip"), and they sound fantastic, actually beating out the HD 205's for sound, in my opinion. For gaming? Hell yeah. I only wish Shure had provided softer and thicker padding in the three critical areas, because with that, these headphones would've gotten a 9.5/10 instead of 8. But still, i use them with my PS3 and G75 just fine, so don't let anyone tell you that you can't game without a pair of Turtlebeaches....screw those guys, anyway...

dedaciai
11-12-2012, 12:48 PM
Nice review, Omamder5!

IMHO, I think most people who play games, watch movies and listen to music on their rig would be better off going down the dedicated circumaural audio headset instead of a gaming headset with a built in mic. You typically get better sound and you can buy a good separate mic for around 20 bucks or so. Plus, you don't have to worry about keeping track of where you put your removal headset mic.

From my own experience, I don't even use the removable mic on my Vulcan and just use the mic on my Phoebus. The mic stays in a box somewhere...which reminds me "Where is it?" lol.