Is this the new budget champion?
True to their name, Corsair’s new HS50 STEREO gaming headsets offer traditional 2-channel sound from a similarly traditional headphone design. These are certainly ready for gaming with a detachable microphone and universal compatibility with both PCs and consoles, and budget friendly with an MSRP of only $49.99. How do they stack up? Let’s find out!
- Driver: 50mm Neodymium
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 111 dB (± 3 dB)
- Mic Type: Unidirectional noise-cancelling
- Mic Impedance: 2.0k Ohms
- Mic Frequency: Response 100Hz – 10kHz
- Mic Sensitivity: -40 dB (± 3 dB)
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 160 x 100 x 205 mm
- Weight: 319g
- Warranty: 2 years
- Available Colors: Carbon, Green, Blue
- Corsair HS50 STEREO Gaming Headset: $49.99, Amazon.com
Nothing about these say “budget” when you look at the packaging and first unbox them, and they have a substantial feel to them like a pair of premium headphones - not at all like an inexpensive gaming headset.
Introduction and Specifications
Logitech has been releasing gaming headphones with a steady regularity of late, and this summer we have another new model to examine in the G433 Gaming Headset, which has just been released (along with the G233). This wired, 7.1-channel capable headset is quite different visually from previous Logitech models as is finished with an interesting “lightweight, hydrophobic fabric shell” and offered in various colors (our review pair is a bright red). But the G433’s have function to go along with the style, as Logitech has focused on both digital and analog sound quality with this third model to incorporate the Logitech’s Pro-G drivers. How do they sound? We’ll find out!
One of the main reasons to consider a gaming headset like this in the first place is the ability to take advantage of multi-channel surround sound from your PC, and with the G433’s (as with the previously reviewed G533) this is accomplished via DTS Headphone:X, a technology which in my experience is capable of producing a convincing sound field that is very close to that of multiple surround drivers. All of this is being created via the same pair of left/right drivers that handle music, and here Logitech is able to boast of some very impressive engineering that produced the Pro-G driver introduced two years ago. An included DAC/headphone amp interfaces with your PC via USB to drive the surround experience, and without this you still have a standard stereo headset that can connect to anything with a 3.5 mm jack.
The G433 is available in four colors, of which we have the red on hand today
If you have not read up on Logitech’s exclusive Pro-G driver, you will find in their description far more similarities to an audiophile headphone company than what we typically associate with a computer peripheral maker. Logitech explains the thinking behind the technology:
“The intent of the Pro-G driver design innovation is to minimize distortion that commonly occurs in headphone drivers. When producing lower frequencies (<1kHz), most speaker diaphragms operate as a solid mass, like a piston in an engine, without bending. When producing many different frequencies at the same time, traditional driver designs can experience distortion caused by different parts of the diaphragm bending when other parts are not. This distortion caused by rapid transition in the speaker material can be tuned and minimized by combining a more flexible material with a specially designed acoustic enclosure. We designed the hybrid-mesh material for the Pro-G driver, along with a unique speaker housing design, to allow for a more smooth transition of movement resulting in a more accurate and less distorted output. This design also yields a more efficient speaker due to less overall output loss due to distortion. The result is an extremely accurate and clear sounding audio experience putting the gamer closer to the original audio of the source material.”
Logitech’s claims about the Pro-G have, in my experience with the previous models featuring these drivers (G633/G933 Artemis Spectrum and G533 Wireless), have been spot on, and I have found them to produce a clarity and detail that rivals ‘audiophile’ stereo headphones.
Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2017 - 02:23 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wired, surround, Pro-G, logitech, headset, headphones, gaming, G433, DTS Headphone:X, drivers, 7.1
Logitech has released their latest surround gaming headphones with the wired G433 Gaming Headset, a 7.1-channel (via DTS Headphone:X) model that is latest to use the company's Pro-G drivers.
The style of the new G433 is quite eye-catching, with four colors (black, red, blue, and blue camo) of a unique fabric finish that Logitech says is hydrophobic (repels water) for enhanced durability. The G433 primarily function as an analog headphone (with a 3.5 mm plug) unless an included USB DAC/headphone amp is used, giving PC users access to DTS Headphone:X surround up to 7.1 channels and customizable EQ via Logitech's Gaming Software. The microphone is a removable boom style with noise reduction to help improve voice clarity, and Logitech has used a 5-element double-grounded cable to eliminate crosstalk and prevent game audio from bleeding into voice.
The G433 arrives with an MSRP of $99, making the headset the least expensive Pro-G option to date, but this comparatively low price tag for a premium option still provides the buyer a complete accessory pack including the USB DAC, alternate ear pads, two 3.5 mm audio cables (one with inline mic), a 3.5 mm audio/mic Y-cable, and a fabric storage bag.
The Logitech G433 is available now, and with a pair on hand will have a full review up very soon!
Introduction and Specifications
The G533 Wireless headset is the latest offering from Logitech, combining the company’s premium Pro-G drivers, 15-hour battery life, and a new, more functional style. Obvious comparisons can be made to last year’s G933 Artemis Spectrum, since both are wireless headsets using Logitech’s Pro-G drivers; but this new model comes in at a lower price while offering much of the same functionality (while dropping the lighting effects). So does the new headset sound any different? What about the construction? Read on to find out!
The G533 exists alongside the G933 Artemis Spectrum in Logitech’s current lineup, but it takes most of the features from that high-end wireless model, while paring it down to create a lean, mean option for gamers who don’t need (or want) RGB lighting effects. The 40 mm Pro-G drivers are still here, and the new G533 offers a longer battery life (15 hours) than the G933 could manage, even with its lighting effects disabled (12 hours). 7.1-channel surround effects and full EQ and soundfield customization remain, though only DTS effects are present (no Dolby this time).
What do these changes translate to? First of all, the G533 headset is being introduced with a $149 MSRP, which is $50 lower than the G933 Artemis Spectrum at $199. I think many of our readers would trade RGB effects for lower cost, making this a welcome change (especially considering lighting effects don’t really mean much when you are wearing the headphones).Another difference is the overall weight of the headset at 12.5 oz, which is 0.5 oz lighter than the G933 at 13 oz.
Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 10:02 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wireless, headphones, CES 2017, CES, bluetooth, aptX
On the high-end audio side of things Audio-Technica has added to its wireless headphone lineup with both on-ear and in-ear models featuring aptX technology for high quality Bluetooth audio.
ATH-DSR9BT and ATH-DSR7BT headphones
The high-end ATH-DSR9BT and ATH-DSR7BT are Audio-Technica's first wireless headphones with their new Pure Digital Drive system:
This new technology keeps the audio signal completely digital from the audio source to the headphones’ drivers, without the need for D/A conversion stages that typically degrade the sound quality. Traditionally, the digital signal goes through a series of steps that process and transform the wireless signal. This presents several opportunities for distortion in audio quality. Our Pure Digital Drive technology eliminates the opportunities for disruption and distortion that occur in the conversion stages, providing users with a high-quality listening experience.
SonicFuel ATH-AR3BT headphones
Other new models include a "high-performance/high-value" offering in the SonicFuel ATH-AR3BT on-ear headphones, a compact folding design with a new dynamic driver "to deliver richly detailed sound" that the company says "sets a new value standard for high-performance on-ear wireless headphones" at its $119 MSRP.
ATH-CKS990BT and ATH-CKS550BT in-ear monitors
In-ear options ATH-CKS990BT ($199) and ATH-CKS550BT ($119) in the Solid Bass series feature "Dual Magnetic Field drivers with Multiple-Transition diaphragms for improved sound", and will provide better wireless functionality and better controls than previous models.
All of these new wireless headphones and in-ear monitors will be available this spring.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 12:01 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wireless, Pro-G, logitech, headset, headphones, gaming, DTS Headphone:X, CES 2017, CES, 7.1 channel, 40mm
Logitech's newest gaming headset is the G533, a wireless model that boasts superior sound quality, reliable wireless performance, and long battery life.
"The Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset features professional grade wireless technology, patent pending Pro-G audio drivers and DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, for advanced audio performance and wireless convenience. The Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset also features a long battery life and high performance design, for comfort over long gameplay sessions."
The Pro-G drivers were previously found in the flagship Artemis Spectrum gaming headsets, which I was highly impressed by when I reviewed them a year ago. The new G533 model incorporates much of the same functionality as the wireless G933 headset, with advanced driver technology and DTS Headphone:X 7.1-channel surround effects.
As to the wireless performance, Logitech states that their system is low-latency, completely lossless, and resistant to interference:
"Featuring advanced lossless digital audio transmission, the Logitech G533 delivers wireless convenience and incredible high fidelity sound at a range of up to 15 meters’. The headset maintains a strong connection, even in noisy Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) settings and when there are dozens of wireless signals in proximity."
Specifications for the G533 Wireless Gaming Headset from Logitech:
- Driver: Pro-G 40 mm
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 107dB SPL/mW
- Charging Cable Length: 2m
- Battery Life: 15 hours
- Wireless Range: 15m
- Size: 197 mm x 189 mm x 85 mm
- Weight: 350 grams (12.5 oz)
- Pickup Pattern: Cardioid (Unidirectional)
- Type: Pressure Gradient Electret
- Size: 4 mm
- Frequency response: 100Hz-20KHz
- Warranty: 2-year limited hardware warranty
The G533 Wireless Gaming Headset will retail for $149.99, with availability slated for this month.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Introduction and Specifications
The Prodigy G231 is the budget-minded gaming headset in the Prodigy line, and with a standard analog connection Logitech has emphasized stereo sound quality in lieu of the simulated surround effects found on their pricier G633/G933 models. I tested these headphones with a variety of material to find out how well the G231 works at providing entertaining audio, and how comfortable they are in the process.
Plain old 2-channel stereo can still offer a fantastic listening experience for music, gaming, and movies - when it’s done right. Things like the perceived “width” of the stereo sound, clarity of audio across the frequency spectrum, and dynamic shifts in volume can go far in providing an immersive experience - even without surround effects. Logitech’s existing gaming headsets (G633, G933) performed very well as stereo cans when connected with a 3.5 mm cable, and if this G231 comes close it presents a good value proposition.
Still, 7.1 channel sound, even if it is being simulated with single-driver designs like Logitech’s, obviously has a lot of fans, and for good reason. Willingness to accept 2-channel headphones for gaming will be up to the individual, and just as there are enthusiasts who would no sooner accept simulated surround as use a sound bar in their home theater, there are listeners who believe that dedicated drivers are essential to proper directional surround in a gaming headset. Multi-driver presents its own issues for a cohesive experience from a variety of content, and stereo music in particular just sounds better from a pair of high quality drivers.
Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2016 - 12:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: USB 3 Type-C, headphones
There will be an improvement in audio support on Type-C USB connections which will decrease power demands, as USB Audio Device Class 3.0 specifications have just been announced. When compared to the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB audio is a power hog which will shorten the amount of time your battery will last on a phone or other mobile device but it seems that the USB-IF have been working to overcome this issue. Product manufacturers are looking forward to this as USB can be isolated from other internals far more effectively than the 3.5mm jack which would allow them to waterproof their devices.
Hopefully the new compliance testing regime brought about after the consequences of using a bad cable to charge your laptop will ensure we do not have any related problems with audio devices. The Register does remind us that Bluetooth 5 is yet to be commonly found on mobile devices and could offer yet another 3.5mm nail in the coffin.
"Hear that, children? That's the sound of another set of nails in the coffin of headphone jacks in mobile devices."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- BlackBerry throws in the towel on building its own smartphones @ The Inquirer
- Official: Windows 10 has hit the 400 million device mark @ The Register
- Microsoft makes massive changes to MCSE and MCSD @ The Register
Introduction and First Impressions
The Fatal1ty by Monster FXM100 gaming headset is designed to be very lightweight for a comfortable fit, while delivering powerful sound. It uses what the company calls “fHex720 Sound Chamber Technology”, which is said to provide clear, natural sound without distortion. In this review we’ll take a look at the design, and then explore fit, comfort, and (most of all) audio performance.
We received the version of the headset currently being sold at retail, and while it's marketed for console gaming and mobile use (with a single 3.5 mm connector), an adapter for PC use is available. To evaluate PC sound I simply plugged the headset into my computer’s headphone jack, but if you need to split the headphone and microphone output (the headset’s 3.5 mm connector is a 3-conductor plug that handles both) you’ll need an adapter. We were told that the version of the headset that will be available for purchase online will include this adapter.
Monster lists these features for the FXM 100 headset:
- Designed for Long Wear and Comfortable Fit
- Built Strong and Durable to Take Anywhere
- Exclusive fHex720 Sound Chamber Technology
- Game-tuned Pure Monster Sound
- Detachable Noise Cancelling Microphone
- Exclusive Sound Chamber Technology
- Game-tuned Pure Monster Sound
- Custom Built Drivers for Maximum Detail
- Detachable Noise Canceling Microphone
- In-line Audio Controls
- Tangle-free Cable
- Comfortable Over-Ear design
(Curiously, there are no specifics - driver size, sensitivity, frequency response, etc. - listed for these.)
One of the biggest features of this headset is its weight, and at just 6 oz it's a very light pair of gaming headphones. Just how powerful can the sound be when the total weight is so low? Let's find out!
Introduction, Specifications, and Design
More than an ordinary pair of headphones, the SINE headphones from Audeze feature planar magnetic drivers, and the option of direct connection to an Apple Lightning port for pure digital sound from the SINE's inline 24-bit DAC and headphone amp. So how does the "world’s first on-ear planar magnetic headphone" sound? We first had a chance to hear the SINE headphones at CES, and Audeze was kind enough to loan us a pair to test them out.
"SINE headphones, with our planar magnetic technology, are the next step up in sound quality for many listeners. Instead of using ordinary dynamic drivers, our planar technology gives you a sound that’s punchy, dynamic, and detailed. In fact, it sounds like a much larger headphone! It’s lightweight, and folds flat for easy travelling. Once again, we’ve called upon our strategic partner Designworks, a BMW group subsidiary for the industrial design, and we manufacture SINE headphones in the USA at our Southern California factory."
Planar headphones certainly seem be be gaining traction in recent years. It was a pair from Audeze that I was first was able to demo a couple of years ago (the LCD-3 if I recall correctly), and I remember thinking about how precise they sounded. Granted, I was listening via a high-end headphone amp and lossless digital source at a hi-fi audio shop, so I had no frame of reference for what my own, lower-end equipment at home could do. And while the SINE headphones are certainly very advanced and convenient as an all-in-one solution to high-end audio for iOS device owners, there’s more to the story.
One the distinct advantages provided by the SINE headphones is the consistency of the experience they can provide across compatible devices. If you hear the SINE in a store (or on the floor of a tradeshow, as I did) you’re going to hear the same sound at home or on the go, provided you are using an Apple i-device. The Lightning connector provides the digital source for your audio, and the SINE’s built-in DAC and headphone amp create the analog signal that travels to the planar magnetic drivers in the headphones. In fact, if your own source material is of higher quality you can get even better sound than you might hear in a demo - and that’s the catch with headphones like this: source material matters.
One of the problems with high-end components in general is their ability to reveal the limitations of other equipment in the chain. Looking past the need for quality amplification for a moment, think about the differences you’ll immediately hear from different music sources. Listen to a highly-compressed audio stream, and it can sound rather flat and lifeless. Listen to uncompressed music from your iTunes library, and you will appreciate the more detailed sound. But move up to 24-bit studio master recordings (with their greater dynamic range and significantly higher level of detail), and you’ll be transported into the world of high-res audio with the speakers, DAC, and headphone amp you need to truly appreciate the difference.