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Sony delivers a headset ready to rumble
"The audio quality and BassImpact should be experienced by PS3 owners and those wanting to be immersed in their entertainment."
- Warp Pipe
Tapping buttons on a gamepad has evolved into a physical interaction with what you do on the screen. When you see it happen, you feel it happening. Prior to E3, Sony announced its plans to release the new PULSE wireless stereo headset - Elite Edition, hoping to offer gamers a chance to experience the "ultimate audio advantage". The real advantage with this headset is just how comfortable it is no matter how long of a gaming session you sit through wearing it. The soft ear pads and lightweight premium build sit so well once adjusted properly on my head that I almost forgot I had them on while watching 'Return of the Jedi' on Blu-ray.
I highly recommend throwing a pair of these on during those movie nights when you do not want to bother anyone else in the room.
One of the PULSE wireless stereo headset's key features is it's BassImpact technology. When playing games like 'Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception' my ears could feel the heartbeat of the musical score and sound effects. As I made things go boom in the game, my ears felt it the same way my hands did holding the Dualshock 3. This feature when maxed out felt a bit overwhelming as the stronger vibrations drowned out most of the sound. You could hear the headset vibrate during these bass-triggered events from a good distance of it, so I'd recommend adjusting the settings accordingly. Pre-set modes vary within several different options based on the kind of entertainment on you'd be using the headset for. Unlike previous headsets with such a feature, it does make a difference when selecting the proper pre-set mode. 'Call of Duty: Black Ops' played much better on Shooter mode than on basic game mode. Each knife slash and zombie grown during a few rounds of "zombing" made the difference to my ears.
Locating one of the many sliders placed along the front and backs of the headset's sides takes more than some time getting use to. There are individual adjustment sliders for the volume, BassImpact and chat-to-game sound mixer. Although the blind leveling is tricky to pull off without literally pulling off the headset, I prefer the location of the knobs to dangling cables that tend to get in the way when gaming.
The noise canceling features are highly effective, especially with the hidden microphone on the left side of the headset. I never liked using Bluetooth devices for chatting while playing PlayStation 3 games as I was always conscious of the positioning of the microphone receiver. No need to adjust any protruding boom when needing to grab a drink either, as my fellow gamers heard me loud and clear on their end.
The 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound did not make me feel like I was in the game any closer than I was from my bedside but the faux-surround does provide a bit of an edge when in online match-making. Footsteps and distant ammo reloading can be heard from the ear pads but I credit that to the voice canceling quality. It's really effective.
If you are a PlayStation owner who has been told to turn that TV down, this is a must buy. The headset does work with just about any mobile device that has a 3.5mm audio jack and BassImpact will work with other compatible devices. A 3.5 audio cable is provided in the box but be sure to have a mini USB charger around. The headset's internal battery lasts for a decent 4 to 5 hours, so hardcore MMORPG gamers might have to detach themselves from their chairs to recharge the headset.
The audio quality and BassImpact should be experienced by PlayStation 3 owners and those wanting to be immersed in their entertainment. For an MSRP of $149.99, it is a fair price for the comfort and clarity the headset offers. It's wireless technology and hidden mic definitely give gamers the ultimate advantage and movie nights free of surrounding noise distractions. This one is one for the ol' holiday wish list.