SteelSeries Siberia V3 Headsets Launch

Subject: General Tech | October 1, 2014 - 04:31 PM |
Tagged: steelseries, siberia, siberia v3, prism, headphones, headset, gaming headset

My last headset was a SteelSeries Siberia V2 and it served me well. The headband was snug, in a good way, against my head and the ear cups were comfortable. Both the headphones and the microphone sounded great from my subjective listening. It died after about a year and a half, though (specifically its right speaker). Still, again, it served me well, especially considering how much usage they saw on any given day.

Now they announced a new family with four siblings, ranging from $60 up to $200 (USD).

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Starting with the cheapest, the Siberia Raw Prism, we have a USB headset with a colorful glow. It has a microphone built into the left ear cup. Unlike the rest of the Siberia line (and the Siberia V2), the mic is not retractable. You cannot extend and position it in front of your mouth. It is USB-only for Windows, Mac, and PlayStation. This USB powers and controls the aforementioned "colorful glow" through their drivers, customizable to 16.8 million colors. It has a $59.99 MSRP.

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The next level up is the true successor to the V2, the Siberia V3. The price jumps quite a bit, to $99.99 MSRP. Like the V2, it has a retractable microphone and a snug-fitting internal headband. Also like the V2, it has two 3.5mm plugs when used with the included three-ring 3.5mm to dual 3.5mm (one headphone, one mic) plug adapter. No USB support though, at least not without an external sound card.

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Which brings us to the SteelSeries V3 Prism, with an MSRP of $139.99. Instead of 3.5mm, it uses USB. I mean, how else will you control the 16.8 million colors, like the Raw. Unlike the Raw, it is a series of dots rather than a thin, circular strip. It also has a better microphone than the regular V3 (more sensitive and a wider range in frequency response - although those metrics are pretty useless when they are not charted in a graph). Again, instead of 3.5mm jacks, it uses USB. Like the Raw, you cannot connect this to a 3.5mm device. For that, you need to go up to...

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... The SteelSeries Siberia V4 Elite ($199.99 MSRP). Surprisingly, the microphone has a lower frequency response and sensitivity than the V3 Prism but, again, that does not mean that it is worse. Its speakers have a very high sensitivity, 120 dB, which likely means that they can get loud. The connector is detachable and comes with three ends: dual-3.5mm, three-ring 3.5mm, and a USB sound card. Also included, a 6-foot USB extension cable.

The headphones are now available at the SteelSeries store.

Source: SteelSeries

Creative Introduces Sound Blaster E5 Portable USB DAC and Headphone Amp

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2014 - 08:44 AM |
Tagged: usb, Portable Audio, headphones, Headphone Amp, DAC, D/A Converter, Cirrus Logic

Creative has added a new member to their portable Sound Blaster "E" series lineup with the E5. 

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This new multi-function DAC and headphone amp features a reference-grade D/A converter chip from Cirrus Logic, the CS4398, which supports up to 24-bit/192kHz PCM audio (and technically DSD 2.8MHz/5.6MHz, though this does not seem to be implemented here). In addition to the realistic analog reproduction possible from a high quality chip like the CS4398, the Sound Blaster E5 provides amplification via a Texas Instruments TI6120A2, which Creative says gives the E5 a "best-in-class 600 ohm headphone amplifier".

Another aspect of the E5 that sets it apart from the previous E1 and E3 models is the inclusion of optical digital input/output, to go along with USB and dual 3.5mm headphone jacks. The two 3.5mm jacks can simultaniously drive two pairs of headphones, and on the back of the unit there are additional 3.5mm jacks for microphone input, line input/output, and these double as optical input/output via mini TOSLINK. (This might be geared for portable use, but would serve as a fine external sound solution for desktops as well!)

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The input stage of the E5 uses another Cirrus Logic chip, the CS5361, enabling high quality recording options from various sources at up to same 24-bit/192kHz. While supporting external microphones (as well as line/optical input) the E5 also has "built-in beamforming CrystalVoice microphones for audio recording and calls". And while the E5 is employing Creative's SBX sound processing chip, this DSP can be switched off with a button on the side of the device - a welcome option for serious music listening from high-resolution source material.

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The Sound Blaster E5 also supports digital input from iPhone and "select" Android phones (listed compatible devices include the Samsung Galaxy S4/S5, Galaxy Note 2/3, and Nexus 5/7). For portable use the E5 has a built-in rechargeable 3200mAh lithium polymer battery, which Creative says will provide up to 8 hours of playback per charge.

The Sound Blaster E5 will be available in October for $199 at Creative's online store (and likely various other retail outlets).

Source: Creative

Sounds like it is time for a roundup; headphone style

Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2014 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: audio, roundup, headphones

The Inquirer has put together a list of the 14 best headphones released so far this year, including both on ear and over the ear styles.  You won't find a single Beats model in this roundup but you will hear about a wide range of best in class headphones from a wide variety of uses from the cheapest pair that still sounds good to the best ones for travelling.  Just don't buy the ones with frogs on them.

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"Long gone are the days when people felt too embarrassed to wear a hefty pair of cans on their heads in the fear that they'd be accused to trying to look like an Ibiza DJ wannabe. The hype about on-ear headphones has helped convince the masses that, "Actually, these clumsy looking music accessories are pretty cool," or, "Why shouldn't I wear them with pride on the Tube after forking out hundreds for them?""

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: The Inquirer

Upgrade your cell phone headset

Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2013 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: MP4Nation, headphones, Brainwavz HM9, audio

The MP4Nation Brainwavz HM9 are portable over the ear headphones with a mini-jack connection, perfect for laptops and mobiles without a proprietary jack.  Those using it on a cellphone will appreciate the microphone built in to the wires as well as the extra length that is provided.  TechPowerUp liked the sound and design of the headphones but caution you to pay attention to the price, at the $120 preorder price they are a good bargain; not so much at the recommended $150 price point.

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"MP4Nation is well known for their budget friendly headphone lineup. These solid over-ear headphones also come with a huge bundle and are built for a life on the go. Their pre-order price of $119 makes them a good price/performance option, too."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: TechPowerUp

ThermalTake at CES 2012

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2012 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: thermaltake, Power Supplies, Keyboards, headphones, CES 2012, CES, cases

Last year at CES, ThermalTake had a rather sparse room of equipment to show off.  This year, the room was much fuller in terms of new and interesting products.   ThermalTake is a company that is not afraid to jump into new categories, and in this case we are seeing two areas that are a bit foreign to most PC enthusiasts.

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ThermalTake was one of the first companies that did not have a background in power supplies to actually move into that industry.  The first series of power supplies were actually quite impressive for the time, and they helped to set a new standard that would eventually be followed by the likes of Coolermaster and Corsair.  This year they are introducing some improvements in their design and component choices that should allow them to approach the quality and features of industry leaders like Silverstone and Corsair.  ThermalTake has the Platinum series which promises up to 93% efficiency and the platinum rating.  They are also offering slightly lower gold rated supplies that are now available in white.  ThermalTake is a rather fluid company when it comes to products though, and it will be interesting to see what actually gets delivered to market vs. what all was shown.  We will see the Platinum series and the white products, but some details may change as well as differences in cable choices.  They did show off the massive 1475 watt unit which is also able to power your arc welder...

Read more about this visit here.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ThermalTake
Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Cooler Master

True 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Cooler Master is a household name in the PC case world, and an established player in the cooling industry.  Not content with those two areas, Cooler Master has expanded into power supplies, keyboards, mousepads, and a plethora of other accessories where they apparently make a tidy bundle.  Coolermaster is now moving into a new area; gaming audio.  Under the “CM Storm” brand, Coolermaster is releasing its own set of cans.

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We were sent a production quality sample, but it did not come in the retail box that is availble now.

Cooler Master is hoping to deliver a profound audio experience to users with their CM Storm Sirus (not Sirius mind) True 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headphones.  The design and packaging certainly look impressive, but what counts in the end is the sound emanating from these products.

Read the entire article here.

Psyko's new gaming headset isn't just a Carbon copy of their last model

Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2011 - 11:01 AM |
Tagged: headphones, headset, psyko, gaming, audio

The new Psyko Carbon headset sports 7 speakers, including 40mm subs, which is supposed to surround your head with sound.  With that insane amount of power it is no surprise to see that this headset comes with its own amplifier.  The real question is whether the PsykoWave speaker virtualization technology which is intended emulate positional sound like you would have with properly set up speakers.  The Tech Report knows how well it works, so you can visit them to find out for yourself.

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"Psyko Audio Labs has updated its surround-sound gaming headset with a new Carbon model that offers a number of upgrades and a lower asking price. We have a listen to see if the Carbon is a good alternative to traditional virtualization methods."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner