Psyko 5.1 PC Gaming Headset Reviewhardnrg - November 1, 2010
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Well, I expect many of you will be feeling very disappointed now. I certainly am. With the promise of natural-sounding surround sound, mimicking a home cinema speaker system, and a unique design directing sound in a novel way, I was genuinely excited and keen to hear more about the headset, and indeed hear the surround experience it could deliver. They say that what goes up must come down, and my excitement came down steadily throughout the review, despite my efforts to make the headset sound better. I really wanted this headset to sound amazing!
I don't have any sophisticated equipment to measure the frequency response at the ear cup, but I would expect to see the line of the resulting graph all over the place, with several narrow troughs and odd peaks scattered all the way through the audio spectrum. Towards the top end, some of these peaks make everything sound sharp and shrill, which makes for uncomfortable listening at times. It's quite unnerving and I couldn't watch movies for very long without feeling strangely cheated. I don't have any qualifications in acoustical engineering, but I know that designing a bass reflex tube in a speaker enclosure is a non-trivial matter. That's usually for a fairly regular-shaped wooden box. In this case, we have a system of plastic tunnels to transport the sound from the speakers to the ear cup. I think these WaveGuide tunnels affect the sound in a negative way, and it would probably be impossible to rectify completely.
Another thing that made me feel uncomfortable was the segmented headband cushions. I am very familiar with this type of headband underside, as my AKG K701 also has cushioned bumps, that took over a year to become comfortable. The problem in the case of the Psyko 5.1 headset, is that it is a lot heavier than other headsets or headphones, so the pressure from the bumps feels like someone wearing gloves is pressing down on your head. It's a feeling that you get used to after the first 5-10 minutes of gaming, and will probably forget about until you take the headset off. When I switched to any other of my headphones or headsets, it was a welcome relief to take the weight off from my head. I think the problem is the small cushions. Why could it not be one big cushion? I guess the design is more aesthetic and functional than ergonomic, in that the headband design is shaped to enable the placement of the speakers and the WaveGuides, but at the same time, there seems to be no reason to have small cushions on the headband other than to visually expose the technical design of the headset. If it was a single, large cushion, surely it would be more comfortable? Also, it would block some of the leaking sound from the headband, and perhaps improve the surround experience.
I applaud Psyko Audio Labs for approaching headset surround sound from a different angle, quite literally, but am just too disappointed with the Psyko 5.1 headset's unnatural reproduction of sounds to give it a good award. To me at least, it just sounds wrong.
- Unique and convenient flip-out ear cup windows let you quickly hear other people in the room
- LED level indicators enable confirmation of a 5.1 signal
- Weak surround sound experience
- Sound quality is marred by the bizarre frequency response
- Pressure from headset's considerable weight on to small cushions not very comfortable
- Mic boom cannot be moved up or down