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Mad Catz CoD: Black Ops 5.1 ProGaming Headset E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Audio
Written by Joey Peng   
Wednesday, 08 December 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Mad Catz CoD: Black Ops 5.1 ProGaming Headset
Closer Look: Mad Catz CoD Headset
Mad Catz CoD Headset Detailed Features
Mad Catz CoD Headset Software, Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Mad Catz CoD: Black Ops Dolby Digital 5.1 ProGaming Headset Final Thoughts

Whenever it comes to purchasing surround sound headsets, it's always a good idea to first consider what you will be using it for. Contrary to common belief, many games do not implement surround sound well. Recently released Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is an example where the game allows selection of surround sound from audio settings, but the effect is minimal. Many games like Tropico 3 do not support surround sound at all. MMORPGs in general (anything from League of Legends to EverQuest) do not offer good surround sound implementations. Similarly with music, most audio CDs only support stereo formats.

What you get out of the Mad Catz CoD Headset determines whether or not it's worth you money. Since the headset lacks surround sound emulation, justifying the purchase will require enough surround sound material. If you watch DVDs/Blu-Ray on your computer or listen to high quality music, this headset would be ideal. If the purchase is primarily for gaming, then some research should be done to find out how well the games you play support surround sound.

MadCatz_CoD_Headset_Case.jpg

Mad Catz CoD Headset Conclusion

The Mad Catz CoD Dolby Digital 5.1 Gaming Headset offers excellent surround sound experiences by using four distinct speakers in each earpiece. Purely in terms of directional audio, no virtual surround sound headset can match it and the differences are significant. No sacrifices are made either. Mad Catz uses 40mm drivers for the subwoofers and 30mm drivers for other audio channels. This provides a resonating base without sacrificing audio quality from other channels. The inline controller takes the place of equalizer software, allowing easy adjustment of front, center, rear, and subwoofer sound channels. It also has an LED light indicating mic usage. The included mic is reasonable though not exceptional. Frequent re-bending happens to be the only solution to maintain clear audio.

The Mad Catz CoD Headset is based on Tritton's original surround sound headset designs. However the CoD: Black Ops design is a significant improvement in terms of appearance. The white Tritton logo lighting works well with the black design. "Top Secret" and "Classified" are etched in several places. There's enough design elements to make the headset an instant eye-catcher but low enough in numbers not to look like spam. The choice of matte plastic over shiny plastic is excellent. Together with the default leather ear pads, the Mad Catz CoD Headset has the visual qualities that make up for an expensive headset.

The outer shell of the Mad Catz CoD Headset is entirely plastic. It comes with both faux leather and cloth ear pads, which can be swapped depending on personal preference. The headset is rigid and tough. There are no squeaky joints, a problem largely associated with plastic products. Everything from braided cords to well-functioning controller speaks of high quality construction. Along with the included ruggedized hard case, this headset is sure to be travel-safe.

In terms of functionality, the Mad Catz CoD Headset is really built for a single thing, surround sound playback. Other than that, this headset serves few other purposes. That would be fine if audio quality was flawless, but unfortunately the product suffers from noticeable static from every speaker at higher volumes. Since the Mad Catz CoD Headset implements true surround sound, every audio channel is entirely separate, so it's unlikely that all cables/audio jacks are damaged. Another flaw is poor mic design. This is passable for most people, but will cause some minor annoyances with daily mic users.

The Mad Catz CoD Headset can be purchased for $149.99. The cheapest true surround sound headsets are in the $50s with some top end headsets reaching several hundred. The products available for true surround sound are fairly limited in numbers, with significant jumps in quality. Tritton has a solid reputation for high-end audio equipment, and customer feedback has been generally positive. However for most people it can be hard to justify such a pricey purchase.

Overall, the Mad Catz CoD Dolby Digital 5.1 Gaming Headset truly provides one of the best surround sound experiences. Strong base, good visual design, and the included accessories all make it a great headset. At $149.99 however, this product caters a very specific population. Unless popular FPS games are your thing, there are probably better choices out there.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval

+ No software/driver installation
+ Individual audio channel volume adjustment
+ True 5.1 surround sound
+ Comes with ruggedized hard case
+ Comfortable and suitable for long durations of use
+ Unique design with lighting
+ Abundant accessories come with product, replacement parts can be bought online

Cons:

- Unsatisfactory mic
- Noticeable static when nothing is playing but volume set to high
- Many cables
- PC only

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.00
  • Appearance: 9.25
  • Construction: 8.50
  • Functionality: 8.50
  • Value: 7.50

Final Score: 8.55 out of 10.

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