4:04pm Mar 3rd 11
Today I'm going to be doing a write-up on the new Shock Spin headset from tt eSPORTS. This product comes from their Tt eSPORTS line of products. It currently carries an RRP of $69 AUD.
This should be interesting, as the last Thermaltake product I used was a Thermaltake Soprano case for my prescott Pentium 4. That should be enough of a clue as to how long ago that was. I look forward to seeing how their products have progressed.
Inside this massive box we find a velvet-feel inlay holding our headphones up for the world to see, as well as the microphone, and a cardboard sleeve containing the warranty information and quick start guide.
Frequency response: 15 â€“ 20, 000hz
Type: 50mm Neodymium Magnet Speaker
Impedance: 32 Ohm
Cable length: 90cm + 210cm extension cord = 3m
Connectors: 3.5 mm, mini-jack
Frequency response:100 â€“ 10, 000 Hz
Pick up pattern: Omni-Directional
Impedance: 2.2k Ohm
Connector: 3.5mm plug
Cable length: 270cm
Rather impressive specifications, especially the large (50mm!) driver size. Hopefully this will lead to impressive directional sound, too.
Enough with the specifications, let's have a look at some of this headset's features.
The Shock Spin's main features comprise of:
50mm 'Bass Enhanced' Drivers
Volume control box/Extension cable
External Microphone with On/Off switch
Heavy Duty braided cables
As you can see, the volume box/extension cable is a 210cm extension cord with an in-line volume control. The cord coming from the headphones themselves is 90cm, while the microphone has a cord length of 270cm. Both include velcro cable management.
Before we get to listening tests, I'd like to talk about comfort.
Even on some of the most expensive gaming headphones on the market, comfort can often be overlooked. It can be difficult to find a balance between a nice lightweight headset that you almost forget you are wearing, and a sturdy headset that will take more than a few hits before failing. I believe the Shock Spins are almost there.
The headset is more or less solid, but doesn't have a lot of weight in it. My only concern would be the thinner headbands if they were to be dropped from height, thrown hard or stepped on, however I don't believe that is in their job description.
As for the auto-adjustable headband, it does it's job. Occasionally you might have to move it to get completely comfortable, but nothing unreasonable.
And now for the most important part, the sound!
Let me start this section of the review by saying that gaming headphones are not intended to be audiophile in musical quality. They are made less for a reference-perfect reproduction of sound and more for comfort over extended periods of time, directional sound and voice communication. In music tests I am not comparing these headphones to studio quality headphones, as there would simply be no comparison. That said, these headphones do quite an admirable job for casual listening, I would simply not use them for audio production.
To give these headphones a real workout, I will be putting them through a few different genres of music, and analysing the tonal qualities of the headphones in each test.
Rock'n'Roll: Tired of Sex by Weezer. This song is a lot of booming bass, from the distorted guitars, bass guitar, and the kick drum. All can be heard clearly, but some definition is lost when all three are going at it. Overall the headphones stand up to this song quite well, which is impressive given the amount of distortion, feedback and smashing cymbals.
Acoustic/Folk: Santa Monica Dream by Angus and Julia Stone. This is a simple song with plenty of space in the mix, simply an acoustic guitar, and 2 vocals. The acoustic guitar has a lovely jangley sound to it through these headphones.
Electronic: 54 cymrubeats by Aphex Twin. A ridiculously fast paced and hectic song from the master of ambient. These headphones tackle the high end of the glitch drums admirably, and the due to the large drivers the panning effects sound really spacey. Surprisingly good sound from these phones.
For the gaming test I will be using two popular games, Call of Duty 4 and Team Fortress 2.
Call of Duty 4:
In the famous CoD4 I had absolutely no trouble working out the location of enemies via sound, even through walls. Grenade explosions boomed, SMG fire rattled and sniper fire sliced. At times however the sound did get overwhelmingly bassy, particularly during air-strikes etc The sound quality was decent, but the directional sound was excellent.
Team Fortress 2:
I chose this game because it has a tendency to get very hectic in 24 player public games, and because it contains a lot of vocal sound as well. Again directional sound was accurate, perhaps less so than in Call of Duty 4. Not much to be said here, just decent clean sound.
I use my microphone for Voice Communications over TeamSpeak and ventrilo. With more than 5 people in a channel at once, it is important to be heard clearly.
The clip on microphone on the Shock Spin at first worried me. I have used a clip on microphone before and did not find it to be very good at all. This microphone did change my mind about that, and my teammates said they had no trouble hearing me, as well as noticing an improvement in quality over my last headset, which had a boom mic.
However, a clip-on microphone also necessitates a rise in sensitivity as it is further from your mouth. This leads to higher sound quality, however, combined with an Omni-Directional pickup pattern, this can lead to a certain amount of background noise in your voice communications. For example, if I have my TV turned up loud in my loungeroom, it can be heard by my teammates in TeamSpeak. This may present a problem for those of you who live with loud neighbours.
In conclusion, the Tt eSPORTS Shock Spin is in many ways what I expected it to be. A solid all-round gaming headset, good for casually listening to music with decent sound quality and very accurate reproduction of directional sound. I was however very impressed at just how comfortable this headset was. While testing this headset I attended a small local LAN party, and felt a minimal amount of fatigue in my ears from wearing it.
The microphone is quite sensitive, as I said earlier. It does not present a problem for me, but I would not try and listen to music in the background.
Great directional sound
Plenty of cable and velcro to manage it
Good for casually listening to music
Could be structurally weak in some places
Large earcups may lead to looking a bit silly
Overall, I recommend (and now use) these headphones and give them an 8/10.
- Joseph 'Joe :D' Cookson
PS: I realise this is a wall of text, it was intended for a split-page review but can't really be done on forums, cheers.