SteelSeries Spectrum 5XB Gaming Headset Review
SteelSeries Present The Spectrum 5XB, One Of The Most Robust Headsets We Have Seen
Entering the hardware arena today we have the SteelSeries Spectrum 5XB Gaming Headset. With SteelSeries being one of the dominant forces in the PC market, can the 5XB bring the much needed reliability to the console market? And if it does, what else has this juicy piece of equipment got in store for us geeks.
SteelSeries are well known for their robust and durable designs, well it's pretty much in the name of the brand and they fail to disappoint with the Spectrum 5XB Headset. The 5XB has a heavy gloss design to it with each ear cup being covered in a black glossy finish. Each cup also features a lime green logo and ring circling the design, it screams style. The last thing you want when your casually gaming, is a headset which makes you mimic the likes of a 747 pilot, this makes the Spectrum 5XB one of the more attractive headsets on the market.
The microphone is probably the strongest feature of the headset as it extends and reclines all the way back into the headset when not in use. Instead of having a floppy microphone hanging in front of you during those desperate moments of gaming you can slide it all the way into the headset to make it discreet and unseen.
Each ear piece has dense cushion built into it to support the area around your ears. At no time did I feel any kind of discomfort. The head piece is adjustable to suit most head sizes and the area along the top of the headset is supported by a firm material which allows the headset to sit smoothly on your head. After long hours of gaming, my ears did warm up a little but nothing which caused too much of a distraction.
Considering this piece of hardware costs about £90 the sound quality from this bad boy is insane. The Spectrum 5XB manages to hit all the correct lows when it comes to bass drops and never broke or distorted when it came to high pitch effects. The 2.1 surround works well as it helps immerse the player into the action in ways that all gamers must experience. Using its SunDancer unit the headset provides a digital soundscape which helps direct the gamer towards sound effects where ever they may be within game.
The microphone performed well across Xbox Live with some great results which had zero fuzz or distortion. When using Skype and Teamspeak some people did complain that the volume would jump quite a lot but this can be easily corrected by fixing the microphone in the correct position to take advantage of the directional microphone.
The Spectrum 5XB headset has a few notable features for example the 'Xtra Large' ear pieces which fit comfortable around your ears provide an excellent level of comfort. The Steel Series Spectrum Audio mixer allows for the headset to generate that fine crisp and booming sound quality. Along with that the Mixer is supported by a 'LiveMix'. What this does is, as soon as your team mates talk the headset will automatically dim the level of volume coming from the background. It works well and is one of the most interactive features we have seen on a headset in a while.
The mixer allows for you to change the In-Game volume as well as the voice volume on the fly so sound levels are never a distraction.
The Spectrum 5XB is a clever entry into the Mid Range market but when it comes to connectivity it doesn't perform as well as we had hoped. The headset is a full wired headset so there is no wireless technology, this means that the headset has to have wires connecting to both the console and your TV. For those of you using HDMI you will need to purchase an audio adapter to actually be able to the use the headset. Annoyingly an adapter is not included in the original packaging which is a shame as this can turn people off.
But don't be put off because even though the Headset is wired SteelSeries has been good enough to give the gamer plenty of length. The wire stretches across the room which means there is no need for you to sit near your TV. However the length of the cable between you and the controller can be a little frustrating. The audio mixer has a sleek design, but it is rather big and does weigh down the controller, not too much but it is noticeable.
Instructions are clear and setup is relatively painless so thumbs up to Steel Series.
With such a grand; powerful and robust design the SteelSeries Spectrum 5XB is by far one of the most sturdy headsets we have used. The comfort is great and the sound quality is even better. When it comes to choosing a new headset, although the Spectrum 5XB does have a high price tag it is worth every penny. I could name a few headsets which cost more and will fail to repay you with this level of quality.
Rating : 8/10
Padraig Balch is the Editor-In-Chief of Chaos Hour. This rare-tech type editor can be found in the long grass of Damacia or Tamriel.
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