AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset Review

Waco - 2012-12-12 20:59:33 in Speakers/Headphones
Category: Speakers/Headphones
Reviewed by: Waco   
Reviewed on: March 6, 2013
Price: $41.99

AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset Introduction:

What really brings a game to life? Is it the graphics fidelity? Is it the realistic sound? Is it the incredible physics engine that tricks your mind? I would argue that the whole experience is what takes a game and transforms it into something that captures your imagination and your attention. When any one part lacks to a serious degree you end up feeling like something is missing even if you can't pinpoint exactly what it is.

One oft-overlooked part of a serious gaming setup is the audio; more often than not the onboard motherboard audio is used with a cheap set of speakers or headphones. This doesn't exactly lend to total immersion when things like HDD access interference and overall bad sound quality interrupt your gaming trance with real-world annoyances. AZiO intends to solve that conundrum with its Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset. With its 40mm audio drivers and 30mm "Vibration Drivers," it intends to replace that stale boring audio experience with something that sucks you into whatever game you happen to be playing.

 

AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset Closer Look:

There's no question about it: if you're looking at this package you know what you're getting. With a very prominent and full-color image on the front of the box you cannot possibly see this GH808 headset on the shelf without knowing exactly what they are. AZiO has very clearly marked this packaging with the Levetron gaming series branding as well as all of the basic features that come along with that top-end Levetron brand. The GH808 headset boasts USB connectivity, circumaural ear-cups, "enhanced bass", and a digital volume knob. The back of the package spouts off a few more in-depth specifications that you can read more about on the Specifications & Features page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The AZiO GH808 Gaming Headset can be clearly seen through the convenient window built into the front of the box. Behind the plastic you can see just how attractive the GH808 headset actually is: with its muted red accents and black body it's quite easy on the eyes. Sliding the carrier out of the packaging reveals the GH808 in its true beauty – but can the sound back up the looks of this assembly of plastic, steel, and iron? Keep reading to find out if it's an alchemical nightmare or an amazing transformation from lead to gold!

 

AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset Closer Look:

Getting a bit antsy to see what this headset actually looks like? Me too! Extracting the GH808 from its packaging is an easy affair and reveals a headset that, if I may be perfectly honest, is gorgeous. Holding it in your hands exudes quality and the black and red styling really grabs attention. The frame for the most part is entirely garbed in glossy and matte black accompanied by muted metallic red accents and flame red USB connectivity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left earcup of the AZiO Levetron GH808 headset there are a few controls that you need to be aware of. First and foremost there's a convenient volume control to keep you from blowing out your precious eardrums when some obnoxious website decides to unexpectedly do a Kamehameha on your ear drums. On the other hand, if you do want to have said website blow your eardrums into tiny little shards, there's a small button that toggles the vibration feature on and off. That's right, the GH808 gaming headset actually has a pair of vibration drivers built into the frame to reinforce the low-end sound of the headset without actually producing the deepest frequencies that many people can't actually hear. This is a feature that many will likely enjoy – but apprehension is what I feel when thinking about a headset that doesn't actually play the whole frequency spectrum and instead replaces it with vibration and tactile feedback. Music may be felt but it has to be heard before it really means much.

 

 

These shots are redundant but I wanted to highlight just how attractive this headset really is. Maybe AZiO profiled me to figure out that black with red accents pulls on my heartstrings but in the end I don't really care. This headset really is just a joy to behold.

 

 

The microphone on the AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset is extremely adjustable. From full extension back to completely hidden, the rotation is smooth and the microphone automatically mutes when retracted into the left earcup.

 

 

 

 

The AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset is designed first and foremost to be as comfortable as possible. With an over-the-ear design along with the fairly cushy headband, the GH808 promises long-term gaming comfort with none of the usual pains involved in multi-hour gaming sessions. The flame-red USB cable is long enough to be out of the way at all times and won't contribute to rage quits or anything of the sort while fragging your enemies.

 

 

 

What use is a comfortable headset that only fits a select few? AZiO clearly did its homework here as the GH808 not only fits my fairly large melon but also fits comfortably on my better half's somewhat petite skull. The smallest setting is extremely small and the largest setting should accommodate nearly any brain bucket without issue. The USB cable does, curiously, have a magnetic choke a few inches from the end of the cable but it's small enough and light enough to stay out of the way.

 

 

AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset Specifications:

Interface:
USB
OS Support:
Windows XP/Vista/7/8, Mac OS X 10.5 or Later
Sensitivity:
95dB
Cord Length:
6.5 ft / 200 cm
Net Weight:
400g (0.88 lbs)
Driver Diameter:
40mm
Bass Unit Diameter:
30mm
Mic Sensitivity:
-39dB
Warranty:
3 Years Limited

 

AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset Features:

 

All information courtesy of: http://www.aziocorp.com/product/peripheral/headset/gh808.htm

AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset Testing:

To be honest I have no idea what to expect coming into this review of the AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset. In the past I have come to realize that most USB-driven headsets offer exceptionally noise-free audio reproduction even if the headsets themselves may exhibit a few less desirable qualities. With its large stereo drivers and tactile feedback drivers I expect the GH808 to be a high-impact headset even if the sound quality may suffer due to the reliance on vibration for deep bass response instead of actual audio reproduction. AZiO has positioned the GH808 as a high-end gaming headset – keep reading to see if this gorgeous headset lives up to its marketing prowess! Testing will involve serious music listening sessions, a few movies, and of course, serious gaming to determine whether or not this attractive headset deserves to grace your noggin.

Testing Setup:

 

 

Comparison Headsets:

 

Games:

Wow. Impact is something seriously lacking in most "gaming" headsets these days. I can honestly say that with the vibration drivers enabled not even the most ambitious bass-head will be left wanting in any game with a good soundtrack. Bass makes itself known with actual impact through the headset and gunshots will certainly keep you alert. The vibration drivers make themselves known quite readily at any volume setting. Clarity in gaming in also quite reasonable and directional awareness won't be hampered by any fake surround processing. One noticeable fault is that when the headset volume control is set at a low level (I would estimate 20% and below) there is an extremely obvious amount of distortion and channel crosstalk. This is a bit odd coming from a USB headset but the weakness is quite easily avoided by using software volume control for low-level output. Overall the GH808 performed quite well in games and had no obvious drawbacks (other than the low-volume issue).

 

Movies:

With built-in tactile transducers for impact I expected a lot when firing up a few of my favorite movies. Sadly, I have to report that while AZiO claims the vibration drivers can play down to 10 Hz, they clearly drop off drastically below approximately 45 Hz. That may sound deep enough but in movies where audio information is quite often represented in 30 Hz and below bursts of sound, the lack of low-end impact is quite disappointing. For example, the popular Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring has an extremely loud inverse bass drop in the opening scene; unfortunately the AZiO GH808 completely misses reproducing most of the impact that is normally felt since it lacks low-end response. If your primary concern is accuracy and impact for movies (especially modern movies with extremely deep bass tracks) you might want to look elsewhere. Clarity and separation doesn't seem to be an issue for non-bass frequencies though, so while the bass is lacking the rest of the spectrum is not.

 

Music:

If the AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset has a serious weakness music is it. While I do admit that I am overly critical of many so-called "gaming" headsets when it comes to musical reproduction, the GH808 is more of an offender than most. The GH808 is not lacking in volume nor impact in the midbass and up regions, but the reliance on the vibration drivers to handle the bass region leaves the whole headset sounding pretty flat with any serious listening. Additionally, when cranking the volume up with the headset turned up, the digital volume level cannot be pushed much over around 70% on clean source material without running into fairly obvious distortion. The headroom is nice for more quiet sources but combined with the lack of any real bass response the GH808 is fairly disappointing overall for critical listening. If you're searching for a loud headset with great impact you will probably be happy, but if you do like to listen to music and feel the music at the same time you will likely want to look elsewhere.

AZiO Levetron GH808 USB Gaming Headset Conclusion:

Overall I have mixed feelings here. The AZiO GH808 offers an interesting mix of features that cater to some interests while absolutely ignoring others. On one hand the vibration drivers do offer an exceptional level of impact in most games, even at ridiculously stupid volume levels. On the other hand I feel like they are a bandaid to cover up the real lack of audible output from the 40mm stereo drivers used to reproduce the actual output frequencies. For gaming they rock, without a doubt, but for movies and critical music listening most will likely be happier with a more traditional set of cans.

Now, with all of the prior complaints in the open, we get down to the brass tacks. Will this headset make you grin when you get shot at in Call of Duty, Battlefield 3, or Bioshock: Infinite? Absolutely, unequivocally, and without a doubt. At the same time they will probably make many cringe slightly when listening to well-known music or movies with deep bass tracks. For gaming, however, they do provide an exceptional level of interaction that is hard to match with many other similarly-priced headsets.

Wrapping everything together here is difficult. The GH808 clearly have substantial gaming prowess even if they lack fidelity in more serious listening sessions. It's hard to discount the real impact imparted by the vibration drivers when playing games; it's pretty hard to ignore a gunshot when it is literally shaking your head. Combined with the extremely attractive casing it's hard to complain too much about this $42 headset. If you play games and you don't use your headset for critical listening, it's time for an upgrade. No, seriously, go get these. At $42 they're a steal!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: