TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Review

Desja - 2008-04-20 15:51:56 in Speakers/Headphones
Category: Speakers/Headphones
Reviewed by: Desja   
Reviewed on: April 29, 2008
Price: $59.99

Introduction:

Many remember the 80’s as I do. It was a time of big hair, bright clothes, and parachute pants. Back in the day, you could pick up your monstrous boom box, walk down the street, and be the envy of all your friends. Well those times have passed, so suck it up–every one else did, and it's now time to move on. Music has become a lot more portable than throwing some “D” batteries in your ghetto blaster. With companies making headphones and headsets with 7.1 capabilities, like the TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones, consumers can enjoy an incredible surround sound experience at home and on the street.

TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones offer both the ability to run on your computer and with your MP3 player, but is it overkill? Do you really need this kind of power in a headset? Well let’s see how things play out. Maybe the TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones will have you tossing out your boom box and picking up a more compact music experience.

 

 

 

 

Closer Look:

The TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones packaging isn't the most eye-catching or cutting edge design out there, but I will say it is functional. The packaging has all the specs, along with some of the more impressive features listed; like the use of USB for a more realistic 7.1 experience. It also shows the use of a battery pack to keep that 7.1 experience when you are mobile.

 

 

 

 

The TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones come with a battery pack, software, USB cable, audio/mic cables, and detachable mic. Everything you would need for your MP3 and PC listening needs.

 

 

 

 

Let’s get a better look at this thing up close and see what bonuses it has compared to standard headphones.

 

Closer Look:

A lot of the newer headphones today have inline control units that let you adjust your bass and treble. The TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones have more than the average. The control unit includes the toggle on/off switch for your mic, and volume/vibe controls. You can also select which headset mode you want; lights flashing with powered sub, lights not flashing with powered sub, and standard mode without power usage. There is also a toggle for standard and USB mode. All these options seem to make the inline controller bloated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I mentioned before the TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones come with a battery pack to be used when you can’t bring your USB cable with you. I suppose you could run a really long USB cable for your morning jogs, but that probably isn’t the most portable option. The battery pack is pretty standard; 4 AAA batteries and you’re on your way to a portable home theater.

 

The headset seems well made. The plastic pieces are not flimsy and the headset does not seem like it would break easily. The padding for the ears and head look very comfortable, but I do not like the material for the ears. The last pair I had with this type of material made my ears sweat. Testing will prove this as either fact or fiction.

 

Let's plug this unit in and see what is installation entails.

Installation:

To begin your installation, you will need to find an open USB port on your motherboard, as well as an open mic and audio output connector. Check which direction the USB is plugged into the port, as forcing it will damage either your USB cable or your motherboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next you will need to insert the driver disk and make your way through the installation. This whole process takes a very short amount of time. During the installation you can choose what you want to install; the drivers, the demo programs, or both.

 

 

 

Configuration:

After the installation is completed you can start having a look at the software behind the TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones. Under the main settings tab you can select things like virtual 7.1 surround sound, headphones, or right and left computer speaker modes. You can also position where in the room you want the speakers to give different effects, as well as the loudness of each speaker.

 

The mixer tab is pretty standard, including options like mic volume, synth, wave, and CD volume.

 

The effects tab has your basic graphic equalizer. It also includes echoing effects and presets for specific music groups. I enjoy playing around with the effects. You can make it sound like you are sitting in an amphitheater or in a small room. I feel it is always a nice bonus when software includes these options.

 

There is also a karaoke tab that allows you to hear your own voice while singing and filter out the voice in the music played. Karaoke isn’t exactly my idea of a great time, but it will definitely appeal to someone.

 

Extras aside, let's start putting this thing to the test.

Specifications:

 

Sound Specs

Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound and Stereo audio output

Interface

USB or Standard Mini-Jack connectors

Master Control

Dynamic Master Control box with Master-Mode and Sub-Mode switches. Sound volume adjustment control

Microphone

Detachable, Full Duplex Microphone
with Mute button.

Vibration

Vibration intensity adjustment control

Battery Pack

External Battery Pack to power your lights
and vibration away from the computer

 

Features:

Testing:

From what I have seen of the options for this product, I must say I was impressed, and I am really looking forward to testing this headset. I will be testing this headset against my Sennheiser HD 437’s and my Creative Fatal1ty headset. The Creative Fatal1ty headset was one of the best headsets I have ever used, so it is going to take a lot for the TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones to win my love, but let's get into it and see what happens.

 

Testing System

 

 

 

Benchmarks:

 

 

 

 

Gaming:

Bioshock:

TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones:

The ambient sounds were way too pronounced at first, so I tweaked my settings a little and turned the vibe down quite a bit. The headphones were very comfortable for the entire time playing, but I did get the sweaty ear problem I thought I would have, which was a downer. Aside from that, the creepy sounds were even more pronounced and the scrapes and gun fire actually left a ringing in my ear. This is what gaming is all about; if I can’t get a little hearing damage from the headphones, I don’t want them.

Fatal1ty:

I turned the volume all the way up and jumped right in to Bioshock like I did last time. The Fatal1ty headset fits my ear much better than my Sennheiser HD 437, but no where near as well as the TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones. I stood next to a fire and rotated slowly, and I must say the TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones did the best 3D sound effect, but the Fatal1ty was a very close second. All the sounds were clear with no crackling, but no where near as loud as I could get the Pulsars.

Sennheiser 437 HD:

Sennheiser headphones have always been my favorite audiophile middle ground headphones. For gaming though, they do not block out enough background noise for a fully immersive experience. The quality of sound was there, but not enough to make it a formidable opponent for the two aforementioned gaming headsets. Sound clarity is one thing these don’t lack, but again I could not get immersed in the game with the background noise of cars and dogs barking in the neighborhood.

 

Music:

iTunes:

TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones:

I was ready to tear my eardrums out when I started off with some rap music. The vibe mode was the equivalent to one thousand mosquitoes buzzing in your ears at once. I wanted to scratch my brain with a steak knife. I am not even a ticklish person, but that was a very unsettling experience for me. I turned the vibe mode almost completely off and then re-ran the music tests. The Pulsar headphones did fairly well, but I must say the Fatal1ty and the Sennheiser headphones destroyed them on this test. The classical music (Yoyo Ma) was not as clear as the other two headphones. The rap did sound pretty good, but I heard way more bass tones than rapping. Overall it did pretty good with heavier stuff like Disturbed and Sevendust. Other than loudness, the other two headsets won this test hands down.

Fatal1ty:

Again I still love the range this headset has. Classical music sounded like a symphony sitting right there in front of me. For rap beats, they hit every note loud and clean. Rock didn’t have one distorted note (unless the note itself was distorted in the song) and everything sounded great. The loudness wasn’t there like the Pulsars, but I was still blown away by the power this headset has considering it’s not powered by battery or USB for amperage.

Sennheiser 437 HD:

Sennheisers, just like the last review, did much better with the classical arrangements than the Fatal1y, but the Fatal1ty’s honors reigned true on the metal and rap songs. When it comes to music Sennheiser knows its stuff and the sound quality was great considering these are low-end. There is still a special place in my heart for this headset when it comes to music. I had little to no popping or crackling during the duration of this test.

 

DVD:

Superman Returns:

TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones:

There is a lot going on in almost every scene of this movie and the Pulsar headphones pick up almost every scrape, crash, and pin drop. Again I had to turn the vibe down a little to really enjoy the quality, but it did a remarkable job. Jar-El’s voice, as I have mentioned in the past reviews, is a true test of clarity in bass, and these head phones make the hair on the back of your neck stand up when it comes to bass. The virtual 7.1 surround sound sounds great. I played around with the position of the virtual speakers a bit during this test and it was surprising how well it achieved the illusion of surround sound.

Fatal1ty:

The Fatal1ty headset provided great sound and good bass, but the Pulsar was slightly better. They are much more comfortable to wear now that I have broken them in, but I still wont watch a movie all the way through with any headset unless I am reviewing a product. The bass was much better than the Sennheisers, and the sound quality was definitely prominent. Having no backup with power or USB really limits this unit’s loudness ability, but the sound is still impressive.

Sennheiser 437 HD:

Very clean and very clear, but much like the Fatal1ty, it could not compete with the Pulsar’s bass. Having the USB power really increases the Pulsar's potential over the regular chorded headsets. It was very comfortable during the test and no sweating, which is a bonus as well. I like this headset, but again the noise canceling was none existent and the background noise took over because this set doesn’t get as loud as the other two.

 

Voice:

TeamSpeak:

TekNmotion Pulsar SX PC Gaming Headphones:

Being that this is the main purpose of a gaming headset, this is one of the most important tests. The Pulsar did very well in TeamSpeak. I once again had to turn off the vibe in order to hear things clearly. The Fatal1ty was a little nicer to use, as the inline controller was smaller and less cumbersome, and the toggle for the mic on the Fatal1ty was much easier to change on the fly. In order to press in the Pulsar's mic button, you have to push it into the controller. Being that it is beveled into the controller may be good for not accidentally bumping it. This is not the best when you have to press the button way in to engage, and it sometimes requires you actually looking down to do so, possibly causing your online demise. One nice point is that there doesn’t seem to be any delay in speech, which some USB headsets have issues with. Being able to say things in real-time can save your butt in an online multiplayer game.

Fatal1ty:

Communication is clear and the noise canceling made it very easy to listen to teammates. The Fatal1ty did very well in this test. The inline controller, as I mentioned before, is much smaller than its competitor and the switch is way easier to use than the button. For this use, I would grab my Fatal1ty’s over the Pulsars. Seeing as how the Sennheisers are just headphones, I will not be testing them on TeamSpeak.

 

Now we can see how well the headphones did in direct competition.

Testing:

I will be testing the Pulsar headphones against the Sennheiser 437 HD and Fatal1ty headphones. I am going to test these three major competitors as far as sound quality goes for gaming. I want to see if there truly is one that comes out the overall victor. I will be testing sound quality, bass, distortion, and total volume (with clarity). The scale will be from one to ten, with ten being the best.

 

 

 

Sound quality:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bass and distortion:

 

 

Total volume:

 

 

The Pulsar was louder, but it did have the advantage of being powered via USB. When it comes to quality of sound, the Pulsar headphones were lacking compared to the competitors. I tested the Pulsar's mobile ability and I must say I wasn’t very impressed; the inline controller and the battery pack were always in the way while listening to my MP3 player. I don’t foresee anyone using the battery pack in the future. While it was a good idea in theory, TekNmotion either needs to remove the battery pack or make it more compact in its next attempt.

Conclusion

While they may be much more compact than a boom box on your shoulder, I still think you would get just as many people laughing at you trying to jog and fumbling around with this headset’s controllers and battery pack, as you would at a full sprint with a ghetto blaster. The vibe option was good for anyone that wants the illusions of having 2 subwoofers strapped to their head, but in reality, it tickles the heck out of your ears.

Anyone that likes loud and obnoxious headphones, these are for you. They drowned out all background noise, which was a major selling feature for me. Everything that most people look for in a gaming headset is offered. I would recommend them purely based on gaming usage. The Pulsars measured up and surpassed my favorite headset in all things gaming, so that in itself is pretty impressive. The bass was very impressive and explosions sounded better on the Pulsars than on my surround sound system. The overall design and comfort were excellent; it wasn't flimsy and the headphones didn't hurt my ears after prolonged use. All in all this was a decent headset. Although not mind blowing, it meets a good middle ground for gamers that also like watching movies with headphones.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: