When your gaming, sound is half the experience. Having a good set of 5.1 speakers is not always possible, so the next best thing would be a set of 5.1 headphones. Recently Saitek introduced the Cyborg 5.1 headset.
- True 5.1 Surround sound using integrated USB sound card with in-line volume/mute controls
- Low profile, rotating cans and adjustable headband for total comfort and portability
- Detachable noise-canceling boom microphone
- 6 sonic drivers deliver precise directional audio
- 3.5mm jack included for use with MP3/CD/Handheld devices (in stereo)
Saitek has long been known as a premier maker of gaming devices. They make everything from joysticks down to gaming mice. It wasn’t until a year or two ago that they started making audio products as well.
The headset has an integrated sound card that is used when it is plugged in using USB. This sound card makes it possible for the headphones to play true 5.1 surround sound. There are also a headphone and Mic 3.5mm jack that are used for stereo sound. The controls that are in the middle of the cable are used to control the volume and switch between stereo and 5.1 surround sound.
The microphone that is included with the headset is not only detachable, but also noise canceling. This helps to remove background noise that would otherwise interfere with your communication.
The first thing you are probably going to notice is the nice case that everything comes in. There is space for the headphones, the manuals other paperwork, and the driver disk.
There are lights on each of the headphones. The right headphone has a green light and the left one is red. They only come on when the headphones are plugged in with the USB cable.
The controls are right in the middle of the cable and they can be used to control the volume level of the headphones, and also switch between 5.1 and stereo sound.
At the end of the cable there are three connectors. The green one is for stereo audio, the pink one is for the microphone, the USB connector will do both 5.1 audio and the microphone.
Using the headphones is really easy. You do need to install drivers, but they are included on the CD and are quick to install. The only other changes that need to be are made automatically when the USB is plugged in. These changes include adding playback and recording devices and switching them to be the default. As you can see from the screen shots below there are several devices added under both the playback and record screens. There are some loud popping noises made when the headphones are plugged in via USB, so I recommend that you do not have the headphones on when you plug them in.
Depending on which connection method you use, USB or 3.5mm, you have to use the controls to switch from 5.1 to Stereo, otherwise you will not be able to hear any sound. USB uses the 5.1 setting and the 3.5mm plugs use the Stereo setting. There are also separate volume controls for 5.1 and stereo. The 5.1 volume controls are on the front of the controller and they are + and – buttons. The Stereo volume is on the top and it is a sliding wheel. I have to admit I do not like this setup — I often found myself mixing up the volume controls and using the wrong one. There are too many controls doing the same thing. It seems like there should be a way for the controller to switch between USB and 3.5mm mode automatically. In addition, they should also be able to share the same volume controls.
The sound from the headset is good. I tried listening to a couple movies and playing a few games. Both the 5.1 and stereo performed as I expected and they sounded great.
The headphones are not the most comfortable that I have ever worn. The cushions around the ears are soft to the touch, but when I put them on they felt stiff and rough. Keep in mind that my other pair of headphones are a $350 pair of noise canceling headphones. It is not really fair for me to compare them, especially since the Cyborg headset only costs about $80. Also, I have a hard time with over-the-ear headphones because my tips of my ears get sore after using them for about an hour. These headphones have a larger opening than my other pair so it is not as bad, but I can still feel my ears start to get tender after a while.
As with all of Saitek’s products there is a two year warranty on the Cyborg 5.1 headset. This is decent, but I keep hoping that more companies will offer lifetime warranties. For example, my other pair of headphones are from a company named Ableplanet and they offer a lifetime warranty on their headphones.
The Cyborg 5.1 headset is really a decent headset. The sound was good and I felt that they were fairly comfortable. The price of $80 is fairly reasonable, but it will make it one of the most expensive products in the Saitek Cyborg line of Gaming devices.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|