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Psyko 5.1 PC Gaming Headset Review

Price: $300


Psyko! Crazy, mental ward patients with cats duct-taped to their feet as slippers... No, not that kind of psycho, this time it's psychoacoustic science, the science of sounds, and the basis of Psyko Audio Labs' name and technology. Psyko Audio is a new company based in Canada, and recently got a lot of attention at CES 2009 for their first product: a surround sound PC gaming headset system. The "Head Psyko", James Hildebrandt, has experience in acoustics, is an avid gamer, and has been developing audio technology for several years. So, a passion for games, experience of playing, and a solid understanding of acoustics. Sounds good to me.

Okay, so in this review I'll be taking a look at Psyko Audio's first and only product, the Psyko 5.1 headset. This headset has been designed specifically for PC gaming, to provide a surround sound experience equal to what you would hear when listening to a home cinema speaker setup. Isn't that what all surround sound headsets aim to do, though? Well, yes, but rather than bungle around with the same tired design, Psyko have decided to use a completely new design that has never been done before. Will it be a breakthrough technological success, or will it be a freak of nature destined to fade into the history books of audio evolution? Let's find out!

Closer Look:

The shiny, full-colour picture of the headset on the front of the box gives you an instant understanding of the shape of the product, despite the matt black cardboard packaging having no cellophane windows. How can audio be a weapon? Sonic tanks? Haha, maybe, but any serious gamer will already know that audio cues in games can give you an idea of not only what is going on "off-camera", but also where it is happening. Round at the back of the box, you pretty much have a full rundown of all the features of the headset and amp, and a picture of how it connects to your computer. For the technically inquisitive, you even get a concise explanation of the PsykoWave technology used in this headset to give a natural and accurate surround sound experience.










The top of the box shows an overhead view of the headset's headband. I think most people will initially be taken aback by its heft, but again, you get a clear feel for the size and shape of the headset before you've even opened the box.


What's on the sides of the box? Yep, you've guessed it - views of each side of the headset. The left side clarifies that this headset is analogue-only, while the right side lists the hardware contents inside the box.



There's not much on the bottom of the box, so it's time to open it up and see what's inside.


The contents of the box are held in position by a formed cardboard inner that feels sort of like a protective egg carton. Good enough for fragile eggs, good enough for audio equipment? The lid of the box is lined with a sheet of foam/sponge to further protect the headset parts during transit. Also, you get a cool smiley face, haha.



So, this is what you get: the headset itself, a 5.1 headphone amplifier with microphone pass-through, a removable boom mic, an AC/DC power adaptor, and a product manual.

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: Headset
  3. Closer Look: Amplifier
  4. Specifications & Features
  5. Testing: Setup, Music, Movies & Gaming
  6. Conclusion
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