As a new father, I often have to game with my loud sound system turned down so far that the air conditioner makes hearing game dialogue fairly difficult. Recent games with fun stories, good voice acting and great music (Red Dead Redemption, etc.), lose a lot while played watching subtitles.
So, enter the Primal Gaming Audio Wireless Headset: I needed headphones, but I don't have the scratch to afford a slick pair of Astro A30's, nor do I really want to deal with a multitude of cords. Can these cans silence my mighty air conditioner whilst also allowing me to game or watch movies in peace? Read on and find out.
The first thing you will notice about this particular headset is that there's nothing stopping you from plugging the base station into anything with a standard 1/8" audio jack. I had a spare adapter lying around, so I just popped the base station into the 1/4" headphone port on the front of my receiver. Though the headphones are branded as being for the Xbox360, they've allowed me to watch TV, play PS3 and 360 games, listen to music on my laptop and PC, as well as an extreme act: listening to music on my iPhone while it charged on the other side of my bedroom.
The base station doubles as a charger, so if you've got a spare pair of rechargeable AAA batteries (not included, sadly) lying around, you won't have to worry about running out of juice and being stuck with no batteries.
So how is the audio quality? Being wireless and fairly inexpensive, you'll probably not expect crisp highs and thundering lows, and you'd be right. Everything is fairly balanced around the mid-range, and quality suffers at the two extremes. There's a bit of hiss during extremely quiet or silent moments, but overall the sound quality is slightly above average. You're not going to write home about them, but if you want audiophile-level quality, you're certainly not going to be transmitting anything over the airwaves.
The headset itself is comfortable, though the cushions over the earcups started to get to me during extended sessions. Your mileage will obviously vary, but I was generally only able to stand wearing them for about two hours before I needed some time away from them. If you game in quick bursts, this is a non-issue, but for anyone planning a marathon session, you've been warned.
Signal to the base station is very strong within the recommended sitting ranges (< 15', and good line-of-sight to the IR receiver) and I never had any issues where the headset lost connection, which has happened to me in the past with similar setups.
Also included is Primal's wireless microphone, which is a very small directional mic that you can plug into the headphone port on the bottom of your 360 controller. After making sure to set your voice settings to come out of the speakers instead of a headset, it works very well. I never had issues with people not being able to hear me, despite the microphone being in my lap (ooh la la!). However, this particular setup suffers from the same problem endemic to any non-headset on the 360, which is to say that incoming audio from your friends suffers wildly depending on what's going on in your gaming session. If you've ever had a headset cut out and voice chat start coming out of your TV's speakers, you'll instantly recognize the buzzy, muffled voice quality.
Still, you're not going to wear TWO pairs of headphones while gaming, so you'll adjust and move on. The microphone does its job well, so I can't really fault the makers for this one.
Overall, I'd recommend these headphones. They're reasonably priced ($99) compared to other gaming headsets, and the included voice chat solution makes them a better choice over a pair of regular wireless headphones. There are some caveats, but they've allowed me to enjoy games on a level I haven't been able to in a while, and that's never a bad thing.
- Good audio quality, especially considering the price
- Included wireless mic works extremely well
- Base station acts as a charger for the headset's batteries
- Batteries not included, product documentation actively encourages you to only use rechargables
- They're comfortable until they're not