If you have ever heard great sound in a game, coupled with perfect surround speakers, you will know just what a big role sound really plays in creating believable environments. Having sound from all around also helps you pinpoint those attacking zombies a lot easier than spinning around trying to find them. Often though we don’t have the room in our studies or bedrooms for a massive surround sound set and a 5.1 surround headset should be just the answer.
Verbatim has made a serious push into the gaming peripheral market of late and headphones is another tick on their list. The pretty self-explanatory Verbatim 5.1 Channel Gaming USB Headset features all the sound you would ever need. Each ear-piece has 4 speakers: a front, back, centre and subwoofer. Combined they form the 5 surround channels and the subwoofer.
Generally headphones tend to struggle with bass reproduction, but with the Verbatims this is not the case. The bass is nice and deep, and this translates well into every gunshot and explosion. However, it sometimes becomes overwhelming to the point of irritation. There is no way to adjust individual speaker volumes, and you can only turn them down as a set. And turn them down you will! The headset is incredibly loud. Having set my Windows master volume to 1 (out of 100) and the headphones’ built in amplifier to its lowest setting, the sound was just about bearable. Coupled with the extra deep bass, sounds often blurred into each other to become very muffled.
You will also find an adjustable microphone that works well with VoIP applications like Skype, as well as in-game chatter for games like Left 4 Dead. It does not stand out for better or worse, but rather blends in to the point of not even realizing you are using it. It also has a mic and volume mute button, for those times you need to shout at your mom that you don’t want any more veggies on your plate, without your friends knowing.
Gaming headsets will be worn for long hours at a time, so comfort is a big feature. The Verbatim scores really well in the comfort department, thanks to “leatherette” ear pads that are big enough to fit over the whole ear. It also has an auto-adjustable padded headband that stretches over your head to fit as snug as a bug. After many hours of play you will not even realize that you have been wearing them.
The headsets do not have any left or right indicators, and I was often unsure of which side was which. The easiest way to find out was to use the Windows speaker tests, but a little label indicating the side would have been real handy at times.
Overall the headsets are very comfortable and ergonomically they are a perfect fit. The volume levels should have been adjustable for individual speakers so as to turn certain channels down a bit, and maybe up the treble for others. Since sound is ultimately the top priority of speakers, above comfort and looks, this headset fails to leave me impressed.
|Aesthetics||4/5||Very comfortable and easy to use|
|Quality||3/5||High quality materials and really loud sound, almost too loud|
|Functionality||2/5||Muffled loud sounds often blend into muffled noises|
|Value||2/5||Looks and feels great, but sounds nowhere near what a great headset should|