|CM Storm Sirus 5.1 Gaming Headset|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Audio|
|Written by Dan Ferguson|
|Tuesday, 19 July 2011|
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Sirus Gaming Headset Final Thoughts
This review proved to me that when it comes to an immersive experience, true 5.1 surround sound is superior to stereo. The additional speakers make a difference in detecting the location of sounds in music, movies and games. But simply having speakers in the right places doesn't guarantee a good surround sound experience. This is because the ears determine the location of sounds using both direction and intensity of sound.This is well understood by the makers of virtual surround sound headsets.
There is an interesting tradeoff provided between the two technologies. True surround seems to offer more options when it comes to tuning the channels and frequencies. Even for an imperfect adjustment you can gaurantee that frontal sound are played in front of the ears and rear sounds are played behind the ears. True surround seems to provide a more robust experience even if it's not perfect.
Virtual surround on the other hand gives essentially the same quality of immersiveness but does so with only two drivers. This provides the advantage of size and improved sound quality.Based on my experience with the Sirus I would recommend that audiophiles stick to high quality virtual headsets. But as a gamer I like not having to spend hours fiddling with settings. Just give me something that works quickly and works well without much fuss.
I actually hope CM Storm will try another headset. Add more features to the mixing console and try a high-quality virtual headset with good tunability.
CM Storm Sirus Conclusion
As predicted, the Sirus gave a solid performance. Sound quality was respectable giving clean tones from 20 Hz to 18 kHz. The 40 mm bass drivers provided clean sound without blasting the ears. Sometimes in games the bass was overpowering, but this was easily adjusted using the Tactical Mixing Console. The ease of channel mixing along with four speakers made for a true surround sound experience. The immersion was much better than stereo audio, but not quite as good as a full 5.1 speaker setup. The USB interface requires lots of power and needs to be on a controller with a solid power supply. The USB quality is probably less than nice sound cards, but not much different from an on-board sound card.
With it's gray body, shiny black accents, and glowing red highlights the CM Storm Sirus has a professional look. It's definitely geared for the gamer, but you could pass it off in a casual office. The look is enhanced by the mixing console which provides convenient visual feedback on the volume, mute and mix settings. On the software side, it was difficult to locate adjustment screens. While the pages were there, the navigation was difficult.
The main body of the Sirus is made of a hard plastic which has very little give. The ear cups can pivot vertically, but other than that the headset is rigid and doesn't flex much. It will break before it will bend. This could be an issue for large heads or transportation. The mic is rigid on both ends and bends in the middle for modest adjustments. The most solid piece of the set is the Tactical Mixing Console.It is solid, heavy, and the adjustment wheel has a smooth feel.
There are many different ways to use the Sirus. With the Tactical Console's USB interface adjustments can be made instantly on any computer without software. Alternately, a separate analogue cable is included for a traditional 5.1 surround TSR connection allowing adjustments through the sound card. With both connection methods the software can be used to customize the sound experience. Through the software, equalizer, volume, mixing and other features can be saved into profiles to suit various applications.
For $114.99 (Newegg), the Sirus provides respectable quality, surround sound, versatility and reliability. If you're picky about specific features, like sound quality, you may be able to get more feature for your dollar with another headset. The Sirus was reliable out of the box with minimal adjustment. For quality sound and true surround sound that works and works well, you want a Sirus on your head.
+ On-the-fly adjustment with Tactical Mixing Console
- USB interface subject to interference
Final Score: 8.8 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
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