Pros: Good , clear highs, good surround sound for gaming and movie
Cons: USB cable, Breaks easily, needs burn-in + EQ to be good
I got these for $60 at amazon. What I expect from the headset was: good mic, good comfort, good sound quality for gaming and OK for music, good build quality. So far most of these expectations are met, except for build quality
NOTE: I'm not much of an audiophile, and this is my 1st review in Head-Fi, so don't take it too seriously, thanks.
The Design features rotatable earcups The ear cushions are comfortable, but it gets dirty really quickly. The headband is made of LOW QUALITY PLASTIC and can break easily. I already knew this when i read reviews on Amazon, but i keep my things really carefully so i decided to give this headset a try. After 9 months of usage, there are stress marks on the headband, but from what i see, it won't break soon. . The headset plugs in via USB, so if you want a headset the plugs into your phone, MP3 Player, then you better buy something else. The mic mute button, the surround sound button, the volume adjust buttons works well and hasn't caused me any frustration.
These are really tight at first, but they loosen up once you wear them a lot. I can wear this for 8+ hours straight and still feel comfortable. It still feels a little tight and heavy though.
I burned-in the headset for 20 hours and then proceeds to use it as my daily driver (gaming, anime, music) for a few months before reviewing these.
For music, I listened to J-Pop songs and US-UK pop songs, with some mix of EDM/Dubstep. I used MPC-HC for my music listening (pretty weird huh) and EQ'd it with the ffdshow audio plugin for MPC-HC, i turned up the bass in the 20hz-60hz region, proceeds to boost the mids on the 1-3khz region, reduced a little on the 4khz region and then boosted just a little in the 16khz region.
First off, don't listen to music at without EQ on these cans, as there is a spike in the treble range that makes electric guitar sounds really harsh (Unravel by TK) and there is too much siblance (Flowers by Bright), which makes listening fatiguing to the ears. After EQ, these sounds pretty good.
The bass when listening to One More Night by Maroon 5, is very punchy, a bit loose that doesn't overpower the mid range of the headset, with the vocals of Adam Levine being just good enough to hear, and the treble range is pretty good, very sharp without hurting the ears, not bad for a gaming headset. In Rising Hope by LiSA and Arcadia by Earthmind , the drum sounds very pleasing and awesome, although the vocals of LiSA felt a little drowned. I fired up some Kara no Kyoukai OST by Yuki Kajura (She's a great music composer who mixes classical music and modern music really well), and I was immediately impressed at how well this headset handled the violin sounds and the female vocals, combined with the extremely wide soundstage of this headset, I felt like I was in an theater . I also listened to Pizza Rolls by Shawn Wasabi (really good EDM music), the bass was punchy and good.
The 7.1 Surround sound feature works surprisingly well, Explosions were earth-shattering in Battlefield 3 and 4 (also Battlefield Hardline Beta), Counter Strike: Global Offensive, gunfire sounds are sharp and realistic, enemy pinpoint is pretty easy with the simulated 7.1 surround sound (Stereo mode with in game "headphone" audio preset is also a great choice). Dust: an Elysian Tail and Bastion played out exceptionally well, with booming explosion while the amazing soundtrack plays in the background. Postional audio also helps immersion in Skyrim, with the 7.1 mode on i can literally feel the atmosphere of Whiterun (I installed the Sounds of Skyrim mods, it's awesome), and I can also locate where a waterfall is just by hearing it. In League of Legend, the sounds of Darius's axe is very sharp, bold and very pleasing, and in DotA 2, Pudge's Hook simply sounds fantastic to use. Some games refused to work with 7.1 surround sound, so your best bet is switching to stereo mode.
Watching Dawn of The Planet of The Apes with this headset is simply amazing (it's a decent movie too) . In the opening scene, i literally dropped my jaws on how the monkey sound in the forest was so damn realistic. In Transformer, explosions were ultra boomy and punchy in a very satisfying way.
Watching anime with this is also a treat. I put off the headset while watching The Place Promised in Our Early Days (Blu-ray, 5.1 track) for one moment just to make sure that there wasn't anyone talking in my room, because the Dolby Surround really tricked me into thinking that there was someone in my room. The fight between Saber and Kuzuki in Fate/Stay Night 2014 is simply amazing, all the kicks and the sword slash is presented very well and sounds very pleasing.
First, don't even think of using this headset without installing proper drivers. Without drivers, the sound is very hollow and the Mic is basicallly useless.
The driver works well with both Windows 7 and 8 (Windows 10 needs to use the windows 7 drivers from the Release 4, anything from Release 5 won't work). There's a the gaming/movie mode or music mode but honestly there isn't any differences between these two (there's difference when you set the headphone to stereo mode in windows settings, the music mode is louder and clearer than the movie mode, but who bought a 7.1 headset just to set it to use stereo mode?)
Instead of giving us a high quality, noise-cancelling microphone, Plantronics decided give us the High Quality, Super sensitive microphone instead. I was a little disappointed at first, but the mic is crystal clear, so that makes it up. But if you're playing this with a fan, please use push-to-talk! the mic picks up every noise, from mouse clicks to keyboard buttons. If you don't use fans, this mic is fantastic.
Personally, I think the headset is worth the price. With burn-in and EQ, the sound is just incredible (even without EQ it still sounds considerably good). And with proper handling and careful usage, you can get a very decent headset just for around ~$60
I would have recommend this headset to anyone if the build quality wasn't that bad. If you're someone who takes care of your stuff carefully, I would recommend this to you. For gaming and movie, this headset is unrivaled at the ~$60 price point, but the build quality is holding this headset back. For music this headset is still good, but you might want to look into other alternatives (HD 439, HD 518)
EDIT 1: Raised from 3 stars to 4 stars. Almost a year of usage, and this thing still rocks! The stress marks are still there, but it doesn't go anywhere more noticeable than that. Sound is now like, WOW! They sound really, really good right now. I was thinking of replacing these with another headset for my daily use, but now I won't because it's sooooo good!
EDIT 2: Updated. Completely overhauled the review, added some and removed some. It's over a year of usage and these still haven't break yet. Either i'm so careful with this headset or i got a durable pair.