While fun, suspense, excitement and challenge as well as awesome graphics and animation, is all part of a great gaming experience, one other important element of a great game is the sound. And the more you’re immersed in it the better it is. But not everyone has the luxury of having a huge surround-sound home theatre system to crank up and even if you do, the last thing you want are your kids, your spouse and your neighbours hearing gunshots in the wee hours of the morning.
So just under a year ago the good folks at Calgary-based Psyko Audio Labs designed a little wonder, the Psyko 5.1 PC Gaming Headset with PsykoWave Technology, which gives you that roomed-filled surround sound that you wear on your head.
Natural 3D Sound
A radical departure from a traditional headset, it’s designed around how our ears actually hear and interpret sound, rather than simply using a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) chip to simulate it.
Sound is emitted through five strategically placed mid-high frequency speakers located in the bridge of the headset. It passes through “WaveGuides” – tubes that deliver natural 3-D sound to the appropriate “front” or “back” channels at the right time and at the right volume. It not only improves directional sound, it’s more precise and reduces latency or delay in its delivery. There is also a subwoofer in each cup.
The more realistic the sound is, the better the experience and the better the game play will be.
The unit comes with an external amplifier, adjustable bass and volume controls and LEDs, which signal the direction of the sound. The ear cups pivot open to keep your ears cool and allow you to still hear what’s going on around the room. It also has a removable boom microphone.
New for 2011
Fast-forward to 2011 and we see the next evolution of the company’s surround sound gaming headsets with the introduction of Psyko Krypton ($149 US) as shown below and Psyko Carbon ($199 US).
For those familiar with the original Psyko 5.1, Psyko Krypton is basically the same unit – rebranded and repackaged with a couple of minor tweaks to fit in with the new product line. Plus now, it’s half the price of the original that listed for almost $300.
Psyko Carbon Premium Headset
While it flagship product has won numerous awards, the company hasn’t rested on its laurels. Psyko Carbon, Psyko’s premium headset has all the features of the Krypton model plus a few new ones.
It has an improved and ultra durable tangle-free braided cable, gold-plated contacts for better connection and an upgraded finish. But what really sets it apart from the Krypton unit is its speaker system. It has improved audio drivers that offer better frequency response with higher audio sensitivity for the discerning individual.
Needs a 5.1 Connection
Both Psyko Carbon and Psyko Krypton are plug and play; there is no software to install or drivers to set up. However, you will need a PC that supports a 5.1 surround sound connection – you can’t get it from a standard headset jack. Many newer systems have motherboards and or sound cards that will support it. NoteBooks would likely need an external USB sound card. The company advises that XBox 360 and PS/3 users can a decoder box that goes from the optical S/PDIF to the analog output to use the headset since there is no direct-connect to gaming consoles.
Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.
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