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Customer Review

1,193 of 1,233 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review for audiophiles, September 12, 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Wireless Stereo Headset - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
I am seeing a lot of superlatives being thrown around in these reviews. It can make it difficult to determine if this is the right product for you. I would say that for MOST audiophiles and nearly all other ps3 owners, this is a worthy purchase. There is however a segment of highly discerning audiophiles that this will simply not suffice.

I struggled at first to determine what I thought about the product. What I ultimately concluded was that for convenience and ease of use alone, this is a worthwhile product that is close to the correct price point. I locked in when the preorder price was $65 here on amazon, so I am definitely satisfied with the value. $100 may have been close to the high point, but I still think it is a decent value for what you get here. Here is the breakdown:

- The virtual surround is not going to blow you away. Like others have pointed out, it makes the low end sound a little thin, and some realism is lost in the process. I have a difficult time determining which I prefer, stereo or virtual surround. For sports games, I prefer stereo. For shooters, virtual surround does offer a little bit of directional recognition, so it is useful, but again, nothing impressive.

- I am a borderline audiophile. I have spent upwards of $500 on headphones before, and have considered the purchase completely worth it for the fidelity provided. My current favorite is the Shure SE 535: [...]

I would say that high end headphones have spoiled me to the point that I could never consider this sony product as exceptional sounding. It is not. I can't really listen to this product at high volumes without getting ear fatigue very quickly and noticing the sound signature short comings. I prefer to listen at a very low volume (~25%) because it still provides a degree of immersion that I was not able to achieve at night, or even during the day, if I didn't want to be blasting the home theatre. Which brings me to my next point:

- For pure convenience and reliability, this purchase was worth it. If I want to watch a movie with headphones on, I will be using my shures, no doubt. If I am going to sit down to a long session of an epic single player game, I will probably plug in the shures (I use a 25 ft headphone extension cable to reach the couch BTW). But if I'm gaming online, or just playing a quick game of Fifa or NBA 2K11, or any other casual session of gaming or online browsing, I am definitely not going to put myself through the inconvenience of tethering myself with cables from my ears to the receiver. It's just not practical. And that is where this headset will earn its value in spades. It's so easy to just pick the headset up, turn it on, and get a fairly immersive gaming experience. To be honest, since receiving the headset in the mail last friday, and a weekend of gaming, I have not had the desire to use anything except this wireless headset. It's so nice to not have anyone in the house even know I'm there, whereas before I would be getting constant requests to turn the sound down.

- Comfort is a huge plus. These are among the most comfortable headphones I've ever placed on my noggin. The leather used is plush and of suprising quality. I'm impressed. They are lightweight and just barely noticeable. Another valuable aspect of this product that makes me happy I ordered them.

- Being able to use this wirelessly with my laptop is also a plus. Plug the dongle into the usb, press play, and listen to some tunes. I won't be doing this much, since the shures are already so minimalist. But it's nice knowing I can.

- The ability to have crystal clear chatting is the icing on the cake. Can't do that with the shures. I had not used voice chat since the original Xbox days, and I forgot how fun it can be when gaming with friends. It's like they are right there with you.

So, even for audiophiles, I would say this is a product to consider. However, there is that 10% segment of audiophiles that constantly get upgrade-itis, and only want the highest end product out there. If this is you, you already know that you should be seeking out a better headset.

For me however, I'd much rather save the extra money for a worthwhile audio upgrade that isn't specifically tied to gaming or a computer. Why spend an extra few hundred dollars or so on a gaming headset when that money could be used more effectively to upgrade some other area of your audiophile life. Unless you game an unhealthy amount, the money can be better spent elsewhere.

*****Update (9/13/11): I just wanted to mention something that I am noticing about the negative reviews. Some people are complaining of static. I have absolutely none. In fact, you would think the headphones were off completely during loading screens it is so quiet. The people complaining of that are experiencing interference with some other device, probably a wireless router near their ps3. There may be other devices that create interference. I have experienced none whatsoever. I use a powerline adapter to get internet to the ps3 from the computer on another floor rather than a wireless router, so it is not an issue for me.
*****

*****Update (9/21/11): I just wanted to say I now prefer the virtual surround exclusively when gaming. Maybe I just had to get used to the sound. It's still not very convincing, but the sound stage is wider and more realistic than the stereo, even on games that don't require much directional recognition of sound.

I hope this review helps customers to better evaluate whether this is the right headset for them. Feel free to leave comments or questions and I'll do my best to provide more information.
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Comments

Tracked by 9 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 64 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 12, 2011 4:31:04 PM PDT
jrk says:
Very helpful. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 5:10:48 PM PDT
Matt says:
Nice review. I am an audiophile myself. I game now with a bluetooth in my ear sitting in a room in front of a Sony 55 inch Bravia 3D TV and surround sound wired through my Onkyo receiver into a 7.2 channel Energy speaker system. I love pure, crystal clear, booming sound. I love (literally) hearing footsteps on my left or my right. HOWEVER, doing all this at 12am can sort of be a bit much for my cranky wife who's in bed down the hallway. :) In comes these headphones......

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2011 5:53:44 AM PDT
Jimi says:
Thanks for the comments. I figured there were potential customers that needed more info than "Best Purchase Ever!!!" and other such nonsense.

As everything in high end audio goes, incremental improvements in sound quality come at large price premiums. So for that extra 10% of performance, you are going to shell out a disproportionate amount of cash. The goal is to find the sweet spot in the spectrum for your level of use (and your degree of audio addiction). That's what I did with the shures, and I will never be able to settle for a pair of earbuds that aren't at least as detailed and enjoyable to listen to.

I wouldn't necessarily say that this headset has achieved that same sweet spot regarding sound quality alone, but it certainly has for all the other reasons I have mentioned. And you know, I have actually started to warm up to the sound to where I can push the volume slightly higher without being so critical of the shortcomings. Maybe there is a burn-in period with the drivers, or perhaps this is the psychological burn-in that comes with getting used to a new pair of headphones. Either way, the audio is becoming less and less of a negative (even though it was only a minor negative from the start) the more I use them.

When it comes down to it, no set of headphones will ever replace a good set of speakers and a capable receiver. You can't replicate that level of separation and immersion, you won't be able to obtain the visceral experience created when those speakers physically move air, allowing you to feel the sound with your entire body. You can spend $1000 on a pair of headphones, and that just won't happen. So, don't expect this headset to come anywhere close to replicating 7.2 surround. It would be a major technological feat, and would cost several times the amount that a good home theatre set up would.

So like I said in the review, save your money for upgrading something else. This headset does everything you need it to do admireably, and at a nice price point (though admitedly, a much nicer price point for those that managed to lock their preorder in at $65).

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2011 7:40:01 AM PDT
Mike O. says:
Hey Jimi, great review! I had a couple questions though: Does the Mic work well with the PC and does the 7.1 surround work with all games on PC? I've heard some people say that the mic input level was not adjustable and was grayed out in the windows sound options, basically leaving the mic at a extremely low and inoperable volume. Is this true? Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2011 7:48:37 AM PDT
Jimi says:
I haven't tried the mic on the PC. Sorry. I'm at work, but might try it out tonight.

As far as surround on the pc, sadly, I don't believe so. I think that feature is exclusively for PS3 games.

Try starting a product discussion to get the answers you are searching.

Posted on Sep 13, 2011 8:41:05 AM PDT
I also use high end headphones at night. Just hoping the sound is fairly close.
Great review!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2011 8:51:56 AM PDT
Jimi says:
I was trying to indicate that it's not really the same league as say a $500 pair of headphones. You may be disappointed. But you have to weigh the pros and cons. Comfort and convenience make up for the drop in fidelity going from the shures for most occasions. If I'm going to sit down for a movie or play MGS4 all night or something, I'll use the Shures, if going with the surround system is out of the question.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2011 2:21:59 PM PDT
J. Rosati says:
Is there anything that a headphone specific company like sennheiser makes comparible to this but with better sound quality and maybe for not too much more money? Or is what you are saying that this is the best thing out there for the $100 to $200 range.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2011 4:42:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 16, 2011 5:41:46 AM PDT
Jimi says:
If all you are looking for is a pair of headphones, then you can do much better for $200 or under sound qualilty wise. If you are looking for wireless and voicechat, then this is the best value out there IMO.

Check out head-fi.org if you are looking to go the headphone route. Be warned that the more you read this site, however, the more likely you are to spend a lot of money on audio equipment you never knew you needed.

Posted on Sep 16, 2011 12:46:41 PM PDT
D. Click says:
Question: Are you supposed to be able to hear yourself talk when playing multi-player? For some reason I cannot hear myself, I've messed with it for a couple hours and cant get it to work.
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