Saitek Cyborg 5.1 Headset Review
Reviewed by: Makaveli
Reviewed on: March 20, 2008
Price: $79.95 USD
Most of us have been berated for having the volume on our computers too loud while we game, watch movies, or listen to music. Is there an affordable headset solution for this, but without losing the quality of sound? Yes - a 5.1 surround sound headset is exactly what we're looking for. Could this be something that can give us the same, if not better, sound quality than that of our speakers, but only be heard by our own ears?
Saitek has just released the Cyborg 5.1 surround sound gaming headset. This headset claims to have true 5.1 surround sound capabilities. Will this claim hold true? Or will it just be another run-of-the-mill headset? Let's put the Saitek Cyborg 5.1 surround sound gaming headset on and thoroughly investigate what it can do!
The Saitek Cyborg 5.1 headset is packaged is partly revealed in its packaging. On the front, as well as the back, you'll find key features of the Cyborg headset. There are multiple languages on the back of the box; the more languages the better, because it potentially reaches a larger audience.
When you pull the Saitek Cyborg headset from the box, you'll notice that it's in half of a case. You'll find the other half holding the CDs and instructions.
The Saitek Cyborg 5.1 headset has a software CD, user manual, a list of worldwide technical support information for Saitek and the microphone for the headset.
Now let's take a closer look at the Saitek Cyborg 5.1 headset itself.
The Cyborg 5.1 headset is constructed very well. The unit itself does not feel flimsy at all and I think that's partly due to the fact that the sliders are made of metal instead of plastic. You'll find soft padding on top of the headset and felt-like padding on the ear cuffs. The cuffs can turn 90 degrees inwards and they can slightly turn outwards. If you look closely, you can see each speaker inside of the headset. The microphone jack is located on the left ear and isn't very noticeable.
In the middle of the cable, you'll find a few buttons. You'll find a switch to turn on the "Stereo" or "5.1" settings, raise and lower the volume, as well as mute or unmute the microphone. On the side, you'll find a dial for the "Stereo" volume. At the bottom of the cable, you'll find a USB, microphone, and headphone connector.
The two halves of the case that we found earlier, zip together quite nicely to make a secure case to keep the Saitek Cyborg 5.1 headset in. To connect the microphone to the headset, just plug it into the headset and you're ready to go. Once you plug in the headset, you'll notice that each ear will light up. The right ear lights up green and the left ear lights up red.
Now let's take a look at the software included.
After you install the included software, you'll be able to configure your settings for the headset. It's a simple program and on the first tab, you'll be able configure the system input channels and you if you enable "DSP Mode", you can visually see the speaker layout for the headphones and you can alter them to better suit your needs.
In the "Effect" tab, you'll find options to create your environment, set the equalizer to preset various genres of music. I was especially amazed at how many different environments the program allows you to choose from. The amount of preset genres in the equalizer was a huge plus for me, because I listen to different music all the time.
Can we put the headset on and test it yet? We're almost there.
- True 5.1 Surround sound using integrated USB sound card with in-line volume/mute controls
- Low profile, rotating cans and adjustable headband for total comfort and portability
- Detachable noise-cancelling boom microphone
- 6 sonic drivers deliver precise directional audio
- Unique styling - ‘Cyborg’ logo illuminates when 5.1 sound is selected
- 3.5mm jack included for use with MP3/CD/Handheld devices (in stereo)
- VoIP ready
-All information sourced from Saitek's website: http://www.saitekusa.com/usa/prod/cyborg5.htm
To test the Saitek Cyborg 5.1 headset, I'll be comparing it to the Plantronics Audio 550 DSP headset. I will be testing music, game, and movie playback, comfort and the microphone quality. Each test is based out of 100 possible points, where 100 is perfect and 0 is terrible. I watched "The Italian Job" with each headset and with the Saitek headset, I watched the movie in "Stereo" mode as well. For the gaming portion of the test, I played a few of my favorite games including, Call of Duty 4, Counter-Strike: Source, and Crysis. I listened to an array of music to really see if I could hear a difference between the headsets. To test the microphone quality, I went into TeamSpeak and talked with my buddies for an extended period of time. Now let's see how these headsets compare to each other!
- Processor: Intel Q6600 Core 2 Quad 266x9
- Motherboard: Gigabyte EX38-DS4
- Memory: Mushkin XP2 6400 4-4-4-12
- Video Card: Sapphire HD 3850 Ultimate Edition
- Power Supply: Ultra X3 800watt Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 320GB SATA
- Opticals: Sony Dual Layer Burner
- O/S: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
Music & Movie Playback:
The Saitek Cyborg kept crackling every now and again while I was listening to music with the 5.1 surround sound setting. The funny thing is, when I was using the "Stereo" mode of the headset, I didn't hear any more crackling. The Plantronics definitely sounded better than the Saitek Cyborg in this test. I would have to say that the 5.1 audio on the Cyborg is definitely legit because no sounds interfere with each other. During "The Italian Job", I didn't hear any crackles during the whole movie on either setting. The 5.1 sound only made the movie slightly better than the "Stereo". After watching the movie three times in a row, I felt like the Cyborg and Plantronics sounded about the same.
I was still expecting the crackling during the games, but surprisingly, I did not have much at all. I heard it crackle once in a two hour session. The Cyborg's 5.1 capabilities made the game much more enjoyable than when I used the "Stereo" setting. The Plantronics was good, however, the quality of the sound that the Cyborg gave out was just hard to beat.
The Cyborg headset covers my ears completely, while the Plantronics headset simply rests on my ears. The Saitek headset was so much more comfortable to wear than the Plantronics. Also, the felt-like material felt better on my ears than the leather material of the Plantronics.
Each of my friends in TeamSpeak told me that each headset sounded the same quality wise. I do like how the microphone on the Cyborg is removable and it's bendable too. Because of those two things, the Cyborg scored slightly higher than the Plantronics headset.
Clearly, this headset isn't bad at all.
The Saitek Cyborg 5.1 headset did very well in some categories, but wasn't so good in others. For some reason, the headset kept crackling when I listed to music with the 5.1 setting. This is odd, because the headset didn't crackle while the headset was in "Stereo" mode. I only heard the headset crackle once while gaming and I didn't hear it at all during the movies I watched. This headset is by far the most comfortable headset that I have ever worn, because it wraps around my ears and doesn't rest upon my ears. The metal size-adjustment-sliders fell much sturdier than the plastic sliders that I'm used to. The microphone quality was excellent with this headset, so that was a definite plus. I can't say this is the best headset I've ever tested, simply because of the crackling that I experienced. Overall, it's a nice headset that sports true 5.1 surround sound that certainly gets the job done.
- Metal sliders
- True 5.1 sound
- Microphone quality
- Poor music playback (in 5.1 mode)