Saturday, October 12, 2013

[Rant] Do I really need a headset?

Now that I'm headset-less, I was wondering if I should get a new pair. Last night I played a little bit of Battlefield 4 (beta) with the Apple EarPods and I didn't notice anything out of the box. In fact, it feels good not to hold that massive weight of the Roccat Kave headset on my head. I can move my head easily as well. Plus, there is way more space on the desk now. And the cable clutter coming off the back of the PC is gone as well.

Even if I'm going to buy a headset, I'm definitely not going for a true 5.1 headset. The Roccat Kaves were bulky because of the multiple drivers inside the ear cups. I had to use a splitter to connect the speakers because I didn't want to plug the pseakers to the headphone socket. Not only there were 4 cables going to the sound card, but there was a USB cable as well. The USB cable was there to power up the equalizer. I'm sure there was some post processing happening in there because there was a switch to optimize it for games or movies. I never felt a difference between them. I wonder what it actually did.

In the last couple of days I've been checking up on reviews on different headset. Two headsets stood up from the rest of the pack. One is a audiophile grade headset -  the Audiotechnica ATH-AD700X. The other ones is a gaming headset - the recently released Logitech G430 7.1 (virtual) surround sound headset.

The AD700X is a little more expensive and obviously would sound much better than the G430. But the issue with it is that the headband is loose and if you have a small head, it doesn't fit. In fact, there is no headband, but two arms like parts that rest on the head. They are too soft. After a while the headset would be resting on your ears and not on your head. Plus, if you move your head, they will fall off. There is a rubber band mod that you can do to fix this issue. But that would look ugly. The original AD700's were ugly but the AD700X looks great. Like all other audiophile grade headsets, it would lack the bass, but that is alright because they sound crystal clear and you don't want bass when you are playing multiplayer games as the bass would drown out the footsteps.

The G430 is new and is about $25 cheaper than the AD700X. Even though it has a mic just like every other gaming headset, the audio quality is sub-par. However, it does come with 7.1 virtual surround functionality. But you have to use the inbuilt sound card (well, it is not a sound "card", is it?) which connects to the PC via USB. These headsets are so flexible because the sound card can be removed. You can then connect them to the sound card on your PC (especially if you have a good audio card) using the regular 3.5mm jacks. You can use virtual surround sound provided by the sound card as well. One good thing about this is that the software that comes with the headset which allows you to control the surround sound features is the same Logitech Gaming Software. It's good to see that you can control your keyboard, mouse and headset all within one software.

I think I would be going with either of these two headsets if I'm going to get a headset. Fine, I'll use the rubber band mod to fix the issue with the AD700X. But I don't feel like shedding that much money out for something that I don't really need. I like how my desk looks like now because the headset is not there anymore. It's not as if I could take it off every time I didn't have the need for it. It's not a simple pull from the socket.

Anyways, what do you guys say? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know via the comments.

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