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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Audio
Written by Joey Peng   
Friday, 03 May 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
Mad Catz Cyborg F.R.E.Q. 5 Gaming Headset
Closer Look: Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. 5
Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. 5 Detailed Features
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Gaming Headset Final Thoughts

Design is probably the biggest selling point for the Mad Catz products. The Cyborg FREQ 5 has several variations. Below is a picture of the solid black version of the FREQ 5. There's a white/blue one that was designed for Mac users, as well as a white version. I don't think I've seen any headsets lately that's as good looking as these. Because they're plug-and-play, I'd say these would make a nice pair of LAN party headsets. There's no carrying case but the solid construction should allow it to easily withstand transportation.

Mad_Catz_FREQ_5_Gaming_Headset_Black_Version.jpg

Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. 5 Conclusion

The Mad Catz Cyborg FREQ 5 has excellent audio quality. Its 50mm Neodymium drivers guarantee deep bass and crisp highs. Compared to competing products, there's very few that work as well as the Mad Catz FREQ 5 out of the box. Since this is a plug-and-play headset, it requires no software installations, no computer restarts, and can be carried from computer to computer easily. The Equalizer presets that are programmed into the headset help you make on-the-fly adjustments when needed. Some people may prefer their standard "Game" mode, which has a good balance at all levels, vs. Music mode, which further enhances the bass. The noise cancelling microphone quality is also excellent. Through some recordings, I can easily see that the background ambient noises have been eliminated. Overall the performance of the FREQ 5 sets it on the right path for being a top-notch gaming headset.

Design has always been Mad Catz's strength, and it's no different this time. Mad Catz paid a lot of attention down to all the fine details like joints and the microphone to come up with the perfect Cyborg-themed headset. The FREQ 5 comes in a variety of colors for you to choose. Granted the design is probably a hit or miss for most, at least for me it was a definite hit. The braided chord decorations connecting the ear piece to the headset serves no functional purpose other than design. You can tell Mad Catz spent a lot of time perfecting the look and feel of the product, with great success.

The Mad Catz FREQ 5 has a solid frame, with a strong aluminum backbone. Unlike many other plastic shells, the FREQ 5 neither squeaks nor bends easily. Because of the solid construction, the headset weighs more than the average headset on the market. In order to ensure comfort, the FREQ is designed to rest most of the weight on the top of your head, with only slight pressure on the sides to ensure the headset stays in place. Mad Catz paid careful attention to other details as well. For example they used braided chords to help significantly to reduce tangling. Faux leather covers the ear pieces for sweat-less comfort. The construction of the Mad Catz FREQ 5 is more than satisfactory.

Functionality-wise, the Mad Catz FREQ 5 has some ups and some downs. It has a good array of features. The FREQ 5 does not need driver installations, has built in equalizer settings and built in microphone/volume controls. The customization aspect seems a little lacking though for a $150 headset. Even if no "real" functionality is given, I would've expected some more cool gadgets and customizations. Unfortunately this time, Mad Catz did the bare minimum in terms of customization. It's slightly disappointing considering how much fun I had playing with the knobs and gears in their other products. I might've had my expectations a bit too high. There were also some additional quirks such as the skippy volume dial that detracted from the experience.

The Mad Catz Cyborg FREQ 5 can be purchased for $149 (Amazon | Newegg). That's not a cheap price for a pair of stereo headsets. To put this in perspective, Mad Catz's own CoD 5.1 true surround sound headset is only $149.99 during release (though that price seemed to have gone up since it was limited edition). How does this price compare to other top notch stereo headsets? Well, Steelseries has several of equivalent caliber for $130-$140. Then there's numerous under $100 from the likes of Corsair and Thermaltake. The FREQ 5 is definitely priced on the high end.

Hopefully Mad Catz releases a FREQ 9 at some point that sports more cool features and customizations because that's what I'm really looking for when I think about Mad Catz. As for now, the FREQ 5 still has plenty to offer. If you're looking for a stylish headset, driver-free, and compatibility with all devices, then the Mad Catz Cyborg FREQ 5 is for you.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval

+ Excellent stereo sound quality
+ Built-in controls for volume, equalizer and microphone
+ Driver-free
+ Braided cords
+ Flashy designs that come in a multitude of colors
+ Detachable microphone
+ Braided cords

Cons:

- Priced towards the higher side
- Limited functionality when using 3.5mm jack
- Limited ear piece adjustments

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.25
  • Appearance: 9.50
  • Construction: 8.75
  • Functionality: 8.00
  • Value: 7.50

Final Score: 8.60 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: Does a quality gaming headset help you in FPS games?

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