SteelSeries exclusive audio bundle, the Arctis Pro and GameDAC

Subject: General Tech | March 22, 2018 - 04:47 PM |
Tagged: steelseries, Arctis Pro, GameDAC, 9018Q2C, DAC, audio, headset

At first glance $250 seems a bit on the pricey side for a SteelSeries gaming headset, however it also ships with a seperate DAC which explains the pricing.  The build of the Arctis Pro will be familiar to anyone who has seen the wireless Arctis 7, inside are a pair of 40m neodymium drivers with a 20-40,000 Hz frequency response.  The DAC is an ESS Sabre 9018Q2C DAC and offers optical, USB and a 3.5mm line out, the second 3.5mm port labeled mobile is an input so you can play music on the run.  The one thing it does lack is a way to connect to other gaming headests, which may be a deal breaker for many.  TechPowerUp gave it very high marks for audio playback, calling it the best they've heard yet this year.

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"The $250 / €270 Arctis Pro + GameDAC is SteelSeries' new flagship gaming audio system. It consists of an amazing gaming headset based on an improved iteration of the Arctis 3, 5, and 7 and the GameDAC, a high-quality external USB sound card equipped with the ESS Sabre 9018Q2C DAC chip and a host of advanced features, fully usable and configurable without any drivers."

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Audio Corner

 

Source: TechPowerUp
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: HyperX

Introduction and First Impressions

HyperX announced the Cloud Flight at CES, marking the first wireless headset offering from the gaming division of Kingston. HyperX already enjoyed a reputation for quality sound and build quality, so we'll see how that translates into a wireless product which boasts some pretty incredible battery life (up to 30 hours without LED lighting).

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The HyperX Cloud Flight with a closed-cup design that looks like a pair of studio headphones, and in addition to the 2.4 GHz wireless connection it offers the option of a 3.5 mm connection, making it compatibile with anything that supports traditional wired audio. The lighting effects are understated and adjustable, and the detachable noise-cancelling mic is certified by TeamSpeak and Discord.

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The big questions to answer in this review: how does it sound, how comfortable is it, and how well does the wireless mode work? Let's get started!

Continue reading our review of the HyperX Cloud Flight wireless headset!

Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Reference Platform

Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2018 - 07:50 PM |
Tagged: VR, snapdragon 845, reference platform, qualcomm, mobile, headset, development

Qualcomm has another mobile-related announcement ahead of MWC, introducing a new VR reference platform based on the Snapdragon 845 in collaboration with HTC. As the new Snapdragon 845 boasts much more powerful graphics from its Adreno 630 GPU compared to the Snapdragon 835 - which was behind the previous mobile VR platform - this represents an important step forward in the mobile VR space.

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The increased graphics horsepower isn't the only aspect of the Adreno 630 that should translate into a better mobile VR/AR (now rolled together into the term "XR" for extended reality) experience, as the gains in graphics performance we saw from the SDM845 reference platform are said to come with 30% power savings as well as Adreno Foveation, which allows eye-tracking to direct resources only to the area where the user is looking. Thus Foveation allows for, literally, focused GPU resource allocation, which should translate into better performance with less hardware overhead.

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The Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform also boasts 6DoF, or "6 degrees of freedom", which incorporates external cameras to improve free movement compared to the previous 3DoF limitations:

"Together, 6DoF and SLAM deliver Roomscale - the ability to track the body and location within a room so you can freely walk around your XR environment without cables or separate room sensors – the first on a mobile standalone device. Much of this is processed on the new dedicated Qualcomm Hexagon Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and Adreno Graphics Processing Unit within the Snapdragon 845. Qualcomm Technologies’ reference designs have supported some of the first wave of standalone VR devices from VR ecosystem leaders like Google Daydream, Oculus and Vive."

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Qualcomm's goal with the new Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform is to support "the next wave of smartphone and standalone VR headsets", and it seems that mobile hardware is starting to catch up to the ambitions of what is now being called XR.

Source: Qualcomm

CES 2018: HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless Gaming Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2018 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: wireless, kingston, hyperx, headset, headphones, gaming, Cloud Flight, CES 2018, CES, 2.4GHz

HyperX has announced their first wireless headset with the Cloud Flight, and with it the promise of a whopping 30 hours of battery life on a single charge using its 2.4 GHz connection.

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"With a solid, gaming-grade wireless connection, incredible 30-hour battery life, and signature HyperX comfort, Cloud Flight allows you to play uninterrupted for longer. The closed cup design helps keep you immersed, while the durable steel slider and high-quality construction mean it’s built to withstand daily wear and tear."

The new Cloud Flight headset is compatibile with PS4/PS4 Pro as well as PC, and the optional wired connection allows use with anything that supports a 3.5 mm connection. Other features include 90° earcup rotation, adjustable lighting effects, and the detachable noise-cancelling mic is certified by TeamSpeak and Discord.

Specifications from HyperX:

Headphone

  • Driver: Dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
  • Type: Circumaural, Closed back
  • Frequency response:
    • Wireless: 20Hz–20,000Hz
    • Analog: 15Hz–23,000Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sound pressure level: 106dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
  • T.H.D.: < 2%
  • Weight: 300g; 315g with mic
  • Cable length and type: USB charge cable (1m) + Detachable 3.5mm headphone cable (1.3m)

Microphone

  • Element: Electret condenser microphone
  • Polar pattern: Noise-cancelling
  • Frequency response: 100Hz-7,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: -45dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)
  • Battery life:
    • LED off: 30 hours
    • Breathing LED: 18 hours
    • Solid LED: 13 hours
  • Wireless Range: Up to 20 meters

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The HyperX Cloud Flight wireless gaming headset is available now for $159.99, and our testing is already underway so expect the full review soon!

Corsair's HS50 continue to recieve kudos

Subject: General Tech | December 15, 2017 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: stereo, review, neodymium, HS50, headset, headphones, gaming, corsair, 50mm, audio

Sebastian was not the only one who listened to Corsair's new HS50 gaming headset, several other sites tested out this $50 headset and offered their thoughts.  The Tech Report contrasted this headset with their favoured Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones which cost roughly three times as much.  They found the audio to be somewhat clearer on the more expensive headset as you might expect, but Corsair's offering came very close and offer congratulations on the quality they managed on such an inexpensive pair of headphones.  Check out their review in full right here.

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"Corsair's HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset boasts solid build quality and classy looks, plus a Swiss Army knife's worth of compatibility. We gamed with the HS50 on consoles and listened to its musical chops to see whether it's a winner for $50."

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Audio Corner

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

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!

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Specifications:

  • 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

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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.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair HS50 STEREO gaming headset!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Specifications

Corsair has released a premium version of their VOID headset with the VOID PRO family, which includes wired and wireless option boasting major improvements to the previous designs.

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“We made it better. Building upon the success of CORSAIR’s VOID series of headsets, VOID PRO features various significant enhancements across comfort, sound, mic quality and wireless performance designed to provide an even better gaming experience. VOID PRO resets the bar and delivers best-in-class performance.“

Surely, every major segment of the PC accessory market has reached saturation at this point, with the gaming headset market one of the most crowded. Companies need to offer more than just style and value to differentiate at the high end, with sound quality - including the microphone - now beginning to get some much-needed attention.

At times, aggressive styling and an apparent obsession with low bass seemed to dominate design choices, but a more balanced and accurate sound provides the kind of fidelity that can transform gaming and entertainment into a truly immersive experience. So, can Corsair match the improvements of such competitors as Logitech and provide a more premium sonic experience? We will find out!

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless SE gaming headset!

Fnatic Gear Duel TMA-2, build your own headset

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2017 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: audio, fnatic gear, Duel TMA-2, headset

Fnatic Gear found something unique to offer with their new headset, swappable components to let you assemble the headset you want.  It comes with both on-ear cups and over-ear cups and you get to choose which you prefer to use, or one supposes you could have different cups on each ear if you so choose. You can also choose between a 2m boom mic cable or a 1.2m cable with an in-line mic.  As to how they sound?  Drop by Kitguru to look over what they thought about the quality and the differences between the cups.

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"The Fnatic Gear Duel TMA-2 headset is pretty unique for a gaming headset as it is actually modular. This means it comes disassembled and you can put it together yourself using different combinations of the supplied components to create a headset that best suits you."

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Tech Talk

 

Source: Kitguru
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

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!

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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.

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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.

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Continue reading our review of the Logitech G433 7.1 Wired Surround Gaming Headset!

Logitech's G433 7.1 Gaming Headset: Stylish Looks and Pro-G Drivers for $99

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2017 - 02:23 PM |
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.

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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.

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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.

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The Logitech G433 is available now, and with a pair on hand will have a full review up very soon!

Source: Logitech