I’m an ardent fan of El33tonline’s Gears of War Wednesday’s, and play on a 32inch Samsung with a Yamaha A/V receiver that threatens to blow the windows out when I crank up the volume to really enjoy the subtle sounds woven into the Gears of War 3 sound tapestry. It’s an enjoyable experience and I love the sound quality on my Yamaha, however, I’ve been rather enjoying the Gears of War 3 Stereo Headset from MadCatz lately.
Bigger screens, faster ADSL, controllers with reduced trigger travel all have an impact on your experience while playing an online first person shooter. Now what I’ve come to appreciate, through trialing the Gears of War 3 Stereo Headset, is that audio clues can really help to keep you alive longer. Over a speak system you can sort of tell sound direction, but not nearly as easily as with this headset. You can hear footsteps approaching just in time, from a specific direction, giving you that split second to roll out of harm’s way and position yourself for your counter attack. Gnasher to the head is my preferred methodology.
The headset delivers a decent sound reproduction from the 40mm audio drivers along with a super flexible microphone, which is almost too sensitive. Playing Gears of War 3 in my living room it was picking up sounds three rooms away and making me think the person was standing next to me. I found this to be slightly annoying during my hours of gameplay and it detracts from the overall enjoyment of the product. You can adjust the microphone volume to try and counteract this problem, but you are really adjusting the volume and not the pickup sensitivity. I really hope they address this in future versions to the headset. There is also a quick mute slider switch to quickly cut the microphone off in a hurry.
I’ve spent many hours with the Gears of War 3 Stereo Headset wrapped comfortably around my head. It is very comfortable to wear and does not squeeze your head or ears in any way at all. The construction is light weight while still affording a sense of quality to the molded plastic. There is sufficient padding on the top and adjustable sliders to allow you to adjust for comfort too. The headset soon becomes part of you as you get into the action of Gears of War 3. It is so comfortable I forgot I was wearing it on one occasion, on my way to a quick drinks break I was jolted back to reality when the cord ran out.
Setting it up is a little bit of a mind bend the first time, as you need to plug-in a USB cable to your Xbox 360, then the audio into the rear proprietary slot on the Xbox 360 and another linking cable to your Xbox 360 controller. The cable has a convenient detach capability so you don’t need to go digging behind your console every time. Just clip in the two ends and you’re good to go. It even has a hardy clip to attach to your shirt to stop the cable dragging on you the whole time. The cable itself is made from a nicely textured red cord that complements the headset.
The Gears of War 3 Stereo Headset is hot with the official Gears of War 3 artwork and features independent volume control of the game sounds and voices. I’ve enjoyed every minute with the headset apart from the somewhat over sensitive microphone, but that is minor annoyance. I’m sold on headsets now and can recommend you invest in one – you’ll see that the Gears of War 3 bone crunching is all too real when piped through this stereo headset! The Gears of War 3 Stereo Headset retails for approximately R813 and is available from Zaps Online.
|Aesthetics||5/5||Stunning black/red colour scheme with Gears of War 3 branding.|
|Quality||4/5||Decent molding/padding and construction solid.|
|Functionality||4/5||Cable configuration is a bit unwieldy. Audio drivers solid.|
|Value||4/5||Capable audio reproduction but microphone needs some attention.|