This gaming headset is the most feature-packed of any entry level unit I’ve seen. They provide a variety of tools typically only found on more expensive headsets. And while they don’t have the level of quality found in higher-end products in terms of the design and manufacturing, the sound quality and microphone quality don’t suffer from any cut corners. The sound delivered is full and clear, and particularly immersive with the use of the optional 7.1 surround sound and bass/vibration enhancements.

Pros:
– Good sound quality.
– High quality microphone (up to 48KHz).
– In line controls.
– Bass enhancement and vibration.
– Provided software offers a lot of customization.

Cons:
– Somewhat shallow ear cups and no rear padding.
– No LED options.

Design/Manufacturing: 3.75/5

h2The design of this headset is definitely its weak point, and certainly what makes in an entry-level option (aside from the price). While there’s nothing innately problematic about the design, there are some issues that many may find uncomfortable or at least inconvenient. The headband is quite flexible and should fit most head sizes, and the pad slides to accommodate that. The ear cups, while over the ear, are somewhat shallow. This means that anyone whose ears stick out will likely find them pushing against the solid back of the ear cup. Over a longer gaming session, this can become uncomfortable. If you have smaller ears or they don’t really stick out, this might not be a consideration for you. One issue I consider a design flaw is the lack of pressure venting in a headset like this. If you have the bass enhancement and vibration feature turned up, louder bass or explosions in games can make your ears start to hurt over time.

The LED lights in the ear cups are always on, and they light up orange in a breathing or slow pulse pattern. They aren’t overly bright or distracting, but if you want the option to have them off, there is none. Lastly, the microphone, while good quality in terms of the audio it generates, isn’t very movable. It’s not retractable, nor can you really rotate it at all. It is flexible and does offer some re-positioning, but only a small amount. Again, this is part of what keeps the model’s cost down, but it also hurts the overall quality of the product. None of these flaws are serious, however.

Sound: 4.5/5

The sound quality on this headset is very good, particularly for an entry-level model. It features a 7.1 virtual surround sound, which is controlled through the provided software. There are obviously not 6-7 speakers in the headset. The virtual surround works well, though it obviously doesn’t match up to the higher-end models with the same feature, nor can compare to the real thing. What it does give you is a well-rounded sound that does a relatively good job at providing positional awareness while you’re playing.

As I mentioned this headset has a bass boost and vibration feature. This is controlled by a button on the in-line controls and has 3 levels: off, low, and high. When off, the bass is still there but fairly mild and there is no vibration in the headset. The other two settings provide BOTH enhanced bass and vibration dependent upon the bass itself. So, whether you’re listening to pop music or playing games with rumbles, gunfire, or explosions, the headset will vibrate along to the presence of those sounds. It doesn’t vibrate with only mid and high range sounds. I you’re listening to classical violin concertos, don’t expect vibrations…

Microphone: 4.5/5

h3
Microphone flexes but can’t rotate.

The microphone on this headset is high quality in terms of the audio it can generate, particularly given the low cost. The frequency for sound quality can be set within the provided software, or within the Windows settings up to a maximum of 48KHz (DVD quality audio). This is higher than every other entry-level headset I’ve tested, and usually only found in more expensive models. The audio isn’t prefect, however. When recording stand-alone sound waves, there was a very faint hiss detectable, though this is likely due to the fact that I had to turn the microphone sensitivity up to 100% to get what I felt to be acceptable volume. As far as the sound wave though, it was completely flat when I was silent, so there was no static present. And frankly, I doubt a single person would notice the very slight background noise, particularly if you’re playing a game.

 

Final Score: 4.25/55 Star RatingOverall, I think this is an excellent headset for its price range. You simply can’t find another product with all these features at the quality they are in this unit currently. There are more headsets being designed all the time, and the prices have certainly become more affordable. And while this headset doesn’t have the highest quality in terms of the build and comfort for some, it’s impossible to expect too much for under $35. If you don’t have a problem with the somewhat shallow ear cups and are careful not to harm your hearing by over-use of the enhanced bass and vibration, you’ll probably absolutely love this headset.

Sades A8 Headset: $33.99 – Amazon.com

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