Ozone Spark and Attack Headset ReviewnVidia_Freak - December 19, 2010
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Because the Spark and Attack are gaming headsets, more weight will be given with regards to how they perform while gaming. However, in order to determine how well rounded these headsets are, they will also be tested with stereo music to help judge the overall sound. Test system specifications are shown below. The same test system is used throughout the duration of testing.
- Processor: Phenom II x6 1055T @ 243x14
- CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-C12P-SE14
- CPU Fan(s): Noctua NF-P14
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5
- Memory: 2x2GB G.SKILL F3 PC3 12800 9-9-9-25 2T @ 1620
- Video Card: XFX HD5870 1GB @ 900/1250 + BFG 8800GT (PhysX)
- Power Supply: XFX BE 850w
- Soundcard: ESI Juli@
- Amplifier: Little Dot Mk. V
- Software: foobar2000 1.1.1 w/ ASIO4ALL
- Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 750GB
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Comparison Headphones and Headsets:
- Corsair HS1
- AKG K240 Studio/K701, Grado 325i, Sennheiser HD 201/457/485
Keep in mind that sound is very subjective and also that this review is intended to be as objective as possible. In order to give an opinion on the sonic characteristics of headphone, a somehwat subjective comparison needs to be made. Refer to the above listed comparison headphones and headsets to understand where my opinion comes from.
The Spark's sound signature can be described as muffled. Bass is not overpowering but it lacks punch and is somewhat flabby. Mid-range is particularly honky and fatiguing which doesn't make these the best choice for extended use. Treble is recessed and the mid-range bump certainly exasperates it. Overall, the Ozone Spark is not a very musical headphone.
To test the Spark during gaming, several rounds of multiplayer L4D2 were played. During gaming, the Spark is average in its delivery of positional cues. Positional sounds such as those from Special Infected, are fairly easy to pinpoint. Guns sound somewhat like banging a wooden spoon on an aluminum trash can because of the honky mid-range. Also because of it, long gaming sessions can be rather fatiguing if you don't turn the volume down. But, that just makes things hard to hear and locate in general and might cost you the game. The microphone is also very average. Voice is transmitted loudly, but not any clearer than most headsets. The control pod's location is rather high up and is somewhat hard to get a hold of if you're used to the traditional position that is located more toward the waist. But, the toggle switch does mean that accidental microphone muting shouldn't happen very often.
The Spark is not an uncomfortable headphone. However, grip is very light and uneven. Those with larger heads will not likely notice this but the uneven grip should present itself across heads of all shapes and sizes. The grip is slightly stronger on the right side than it is on the left and as such creates a slight volume bias toward the right side. Adjusting the right earcup two to three notches lower than the left alleviates the channel imbalance but wearing the headset unevenly feels very odd (editor's note: maybe the reviewer's ears aren't level ).
There's certainly no shortage of bass with the Attack but it isn't overwhelming. Bass is dominant, but not bloated, not particularly flabby nor particularly punchy. Simply, rather average. Both mid-range and treble are partially veiled by the bass but both are clear and mid-range isn't honky. During testing, the Attack performed best with electronic music. The Ozone Attack is much more musical than the Spark but is decidedly average.
The Attack is much better for long gaming sessions because it's not as sonically fatiguing. However, the curious oblong shape to the earpads will physically fatigue your ears because the sides have a tendency to rest on them. Gunshots are clear and you can almost feel the percussion waves. Positional cues come across about the same as they do with the Spark. The microphone, like the Spark's, is average. Your teammates will hear you and not be surprised by the amount of clarity. Also as with the Spark, the Attack's control pod is very high on its cable but it also has a toggle switch. For gaming, this is the better overall headset.
The Attack is nearly a mirror copy of the Spark in terms of comfort. It is not an uncomfortable headphone however, grip is very light and uneven. Those with larger heads will likely not notice this, but the uneven grip should present itself across heads of all shapes and sizes. The grip is slightly stronger on the right side than it is on the left and as such creates a slight volume bias toward the right side. Adjusting the right earcup two to three notches lower than the left alleviates the channel imbalance but, wearing the headset unevenly feels very odd. Additionally, the oblong shaped earcups rest on the ear rather than around it, even on those with smaller ears. Despite having a light grip, this does create slight discomfort after approximately one hour.
Before I move on to give my final opinion on these headsets, a mention must be made of possible quality control problems at Ozone. The first review samples that I received both worked. However, both developed a severe bass imbalance toward the right channel within a few hours. The replacement samples I received both had finicky mini-jacks as well as channel imbalance toward the right caused by the uneven grip. Additionally, the first Attack's microphone transmitted voice extraordinarily low even when yelling with maximum gain in software and game settings. Furthermore, the replacement Spark I received did not work fully without my intervention as the ground wire in the right earcup had detached from its solder and had to be soldered back on manually. Though the major auditory problems were not present on the replacements, the fact that such large problems were present to begin with is cause for concern. This is not to suggest either of these headsets should be purchased, but, that you should be wary if you do.
Utilizing the 3.5mm mini jack interface, all the Spark and Attack require to work is that they be plugged into your computer's sound card.