With Father’s Day just around the corner and you’re still looking to get Dad a something a little different this year, consider giving him a 3D or surround sound gaming headset, so he can maximize his gaming experience and have a little fun without waking the baby or the neighbours, at 2AM in the morning.
Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma
For around $80.00, depending on where you shop, consider the Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma Gamer Headset. It comes with a comfortable to wear steel-core padded headband, a removable noise-canceling microphone and flat ribbon style cable, less likely to tangle as Dad weaves through his games to victory.
The headset offers connection flexibility – either through the 3.5MM (1/8”) analog jacks or by using the TruStudio Pro USB adapter.
It also features high-resolution 50mm Neodymium magnet drivers that offer crisp sound to hear the finer detail of the game. Creative’s THX TruStudio Pro technology creates a virtual sound environment that allows Dad to be immersed right into the game, allowing him to hear sounds like a gunshot or the creeping footsteps of the enemy – from whatever direction they come from.
The TruStudio Pro audio suite includes a number of on-screen sound enhancements with features that include allowing you to equalize the audio, fine tune the bass, adjust the dialog and crystalize the sound, boosting its highs and lows and more. Its LiveTouch option supports those using touch screens running Windows 7, offering full panel control at the fingertips.
Dad can also customize his own TacticProfile EQ and audio profiles that he can share with his friends and maybe even the family. Or if he prefers, he can import preconfigured settings from world-renowned pro gamers such as Fatal1ty, compLexity and Team Dignitas, so he can play games like World of Warcraft and StarCraft II, just like a pro.
Dad can also get really creative, pardon the pun, by using the VoiceFX technology to morph his voice into a selection of in-game characters.
The Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma Gamer Headset is reasonably priced and ideal for the Dad who really likes a traditional style headset but likes the flexibility to truly fiddle and fine-tune his audio to make it just the way he likes it.
If Dad is an ultra serious gamer and more of a purist who likes a more natural 3D sound and is less interested in fine-tuning or sharing, Calgary-based Psyko Audio Labs offers the next best thing to having a huge 5.1 surround sound home theatre.
The Psyko Carbon ($199), which we previewed here at CanoeTech back in April, is designed around how our ears actually hear and interpret sound, rather than simply using a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) chip to simulate it.
Futuristic looking, like it came out of a Terminator movie, the bridge of the headset houses 5 high performance mid to high frequency 30mm neodymium drivers which emit sound that passes through “Wave Guides” – tubes that direct the sound through the appropriate channel, so it all ends up where it needs to be.
Christian Guinez, an Edmonton gamer says the Psyko output, especially for games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Fallout: New Vegas, is truly realistic. “When you hear a bullet coming from behind you, it’s really coming from behind you.”
There are also 2 subwoofers driven by 40mm neodynium magnets, one in each ear cup. The ear cups have side vents that pivot open so you can take in ambient room sound, listen for the baby crying or the phone ringing, as well as cool off the ears. The mic is also removable.
The Psyko Carbon is not your typical headset; it’s a plug and play sound system, that uses no software. It’s also a little different in that it utilizes an external amplifier for bass and volume controls, and which requires external power. It has gold plated contacts for solid connectivity, a durable braided cable and a sleek finish.
Unlike other devices that use analog or USB connectivity, Psyko Carbon uses a direct surround sound connection (cable included), so you’ll need to make sure that Dad’s computer is outfitted with a 5.1 surround sound card. He’ll likely need an external 5.1 sound card if he uses a laptop. Alternately, with a decoder box, he can enjoy 3D surround sound on his Xbox 360 or PS/3.
The Psyko Carbon offers more than just a headset and again is ideal for the die-hard gamer Dad who likes a natural sound and simply prefers to plug and play.
Both Great for Dad
Both of these headsets can be a great gift idea for your Dad depending on the kind of guy he really is.
I will point out that these headsets are designed for gaming and while they can be used to listen to music, they are not designed for the audiophile Dad.
One more thing – coming soon
Sony’s upcoming new 3D gaming headset for the PS3 has been announced, but not expected to hit the market until September. Although it will offer 7.1 virtual digital surround sound, it’s actually called, (The Official) PS3 Wireless Stereo Headset. (I wonder if that will change prior to the release date)
Retailing for $99, it will feature breathable oversized earpads, on-screen headset status and a retractable mic. Its notable feature is that it is wireless – but not as one would expect. Instead of connecting via BlueTooth, its wireless connectivity, comes via a USB dongle – one more thing to plug in and keep track of.
Whatever you decide to get Dad for that special day, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it. However, if he’s a gamer, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it that much more, if you can get him something that can help him shut out the world for just a little while and can maximize his gaming experience.
Happy Father’s Day – this Sunday, June 19th.
Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.
Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg.