|Tt eSports Shock One Gaming Headset|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Audio|
|Written by Joey Peng|
|Friday, 20 May 2011|
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Tt eSports Shock One Gaming Headset Final Thoughts
After testing several headsets, DTS in general delivers less obvious directional audio than Dolby, but the "surround sound" feeling is stronger due to excellent voice positioning and processing, especially obvious when listening to music. DTS and Dolby are equally matched in their technologies however they seem to have focused on different areas. DTS's Surround Sound Sensation instantly creates an illusion that sound is playing "around" you, but unlike Dolby, its directional audio capabilities are much weaker. This is even true for content that supports 5.1+ surround sound. Thermaltake's partnership with DTS may seem interesting, and the results are decent, but in terms of features for a surround sound headset, if directional audio is poor then that's only half a surround sound headset.
Tt eSports Shock One Headset Conclusion
The Tt eSports Shock One headset is a different breed than existing Dolby surround sound headsets. It has better voice isolation, equally matched in terms of surround sound, but has weaker directional audio. The headset's directional audio performance in FPS games such as CoD: Black Ops and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 are both very poor. The Shock One's performance is somewhere between a surround sound headset and stereo headset. However, depending on preference, bass enhancement can be a big plus to audio experience.
The Shock One sports a hardcore gamer look and feel. Thermaltake goes with its most popular red and black color scheme. The exterior shell is a mix of matte and glossy plastic, along with metal mesh for the ear-pieces. The color scheme reminds me of some high-end laptop systems like Dell's Alienware and Toshiba's Qosmio lineup. This isn't a viable purchase for office settings like the more generic Corsair HS1, but if you want a flashier head accessory the Shock One delivers just that.
The construction of the Shock One is solid. All joints are tight and no squeaky sounds come from the plastic headband. The design of the headset's components shows great thought. The Shock One has the easiest mechanism for swapping ear-pieces and is truely portable. There's limited adjustability for the headset, which is one reason it may be a too tight for some people. Otherwise the Shock One's construction and design is one of the most impressive and has the least number of flaws.
Thermaltake built a great headset as mentioned above, but its functionality really comes down to their software department and DTS. The Shock One's configuration panel is simple, but a little lacking. For one, they should make bass enhancement an on-off feature since it detracts from quality in so many cases. Otherwise they could include a general bass and treble equalizer for easier configuration in addition to the traditional equalizer. On the DTS part, options are fairly limited and some of the features are not very useful. Further bass enhancement through DTS Surround Sensations yields horrible audio quality and constant static. The Shock One is a great headset with many physical features, but otherwise on the software side, other than basic equalizer and DTS Surround Sensation mode, the software does not include any extra functionality.
The Shock One is currently priced for $93 (Newegg) and $99 (Amazon), roughly $5 below the Corsair HS1, its closest competitor. In terms of performance the Corsair HS1 takes the lead in comfort and audio quality. But the Shock One has bass enhancement, portability, and flashier design. Based on its features and performance, the Shock One is priced in the correct price range.
The Tt eSports Shock One Gaming Headset is one of the first available DTS Surround Sensation headsets. The Shock One has a lot going for it thanks to Thermaltake's design team. However in this case partnering with DTS may not have been the best move. The Shock One will only be a good buy for some, as long as heavy bass and portability is what you want. But for the best audio quality and fully immersive surround sound experience, there are better choices.
+ Highly portable headset
- Poor directional audio
Final Score: 8.50 out of 10.
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