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Tt eSports Shock One Headset Testing & Results
- System Memory: 12 GB
- Processor: Intel i7-920
- Video: GTX 285
- Operating System: Windows 7
- Shock One Driver Version: 1.00
In order to test the Tt eSports Shock One gaming headset, a variety of games, music and movies were used. Some of the games include StarCraft II, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Starting with DTS Surround Sensation turned off, the Tt eSports Shock One essentially becomes a normal stereo headset. With bass enhancement the Shock One is passable but definitely not worth its price. Under the default equalizer settings, audio quality is questionable. The bass enhancement sometimes works well, but other times it just creates a "muffled" overlay to everything and ruins the entire experience. It depends on the genre of music or game. Sometimes it sounds like there's way too much processing going on that a $30 pair of basic Sony headphones will achieve a better effect.
Comfort also seems to be an issue. This is one of the first headsets that managed to give me a headache during use. It may be the overly tight fit or muffled bass that's causing it.
The included software is simpler than most other drivers, with everything laid out on one single page. Equalizer, volume adjustments, and DTS options are all available. Thermaltake also included a stopwatch in the software. The available "gaming application for gamers" feature is essentially an equalizer preset for different genres of games: MMORPG, FPS, and RTS. Different frequencies are emphasized more depending on the genre of the game. For example FPS tends to strengthen higher frequencies like voices or gun shots.
With DTS Surround Sensations turned on, the audio quality becomes much better. Because DTS doesn't try to emulate or upscale directional audio like Dolby, the resulting experience is equally positive across the board. It also helps to remove some of the severe "muffledness". The two different modes Music and Movie make quite a large difference, though the result really depends on personal preference. In general for music mode, voices and other frequencies near vocal are much louder and clearer. The rest of DTS's included functionality is non-essential. Further bass enhancement through drivers is a serious overkill. Voice clarification doesn't work that great either. The Tt eSports Shock One also suffers from noticeable static when too much processing happens or excessive bass enhancement is applied.
Unfortunately the Shock One doesn't deliver "excellent directional audio" as with most other Dolby gaming headsets, which is really confusing since the goal for purchasing a surround sound headset for gaming is to be fully immersed in the game world. Instead, Thermaltake's Shock One seems to be more of a general purpose entertainment headset. The software isolates voices well and emulates sound coming from around you, which works great for music. But for movies and FPS games the headset fails to deliver an immersive audio environment. While an improvement over traditional stereo headsets, and great for music lovers that like bass enhancement, the Tt eSports Shock One just doesn't deliver the top end virtual surround sound experience.