|Logitech G930 Wireless Gaming Headset|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Audio|
|Written by Tom Jaskulka|
|Friday, 19 October 2012|
Page 3 of 4
Logitech G930 Performance
To those that haven't considered putting a portion of their budget into a sound card, I present one of the best arguments for aftermarket sound cards or headsets: Battlefield 3. If there's any game that justifies the use of upgraded 7.1 surround sound, it's this one. Much like Battlefield: Bad Company 2 before it, the team at DICE did an amazing job at the sound effects in these games. Your experience changes entirely when every bullet snaps past you, tanks rumble in the distance, and you can tell *exactly* where that helicopter is circling around for another pass at you as you crawl around the nearest cover you can find. All of the new information pouring at you from multiple directions is almost overwhelming, which really adds to the chaotic battlefield experience - no longer are you limited to hearing something from your left, center or right.
The first time I played a round in Battlefield 3 with the G930s, I think my score suffered quite a bit due to all the new information my ears were being assaulted with - which is a MUCH better problem than what it sounds like. The entire experience had so much more depth. I found I could pinpoint directional cues much more easily than before, to the point where I had to start mentally filtering sounds to pick out which directions I needed to focus on. The ear cups themselves are good for up to 26 dB of noise isolation according to the Logitech specifications page, which helps to ensure the only distractions you have are in-game. I could see the competitive edge a nice headset could give a player - but to be honest, just the improved immersive experience itself was worth the price of admission. Again, if you're upgrading every part of your rig because you want the best experience, don't forget about sound - you'd be missing out on an incredible experience.
This is one of the only areas I noticed a slight issue with the 7.1 virtual surround sound feature. There were times that I'd notice sounds would cut out when directly "behind" you, or directly above. This would continue to happen even after double-checking to make sure the 7.1 switch on the headphones was on, and verifying the surround sound capability through the built in sound demo (activated on the Customize Surround Sound page of the latest Logitech Gaming Software). Only by exiting the Logitech Gaming Software program, then restarting it would the 7.1 surround sound return on all channels. I'm still testing to figure out what "trips" this problem, but it was a pretty simple fix. I can't really knock Logitech yet for this until I confirm what caused it, as it could just be an issue with my setup (and the three sound cards + sets of drivers that have been through it) - and I haven't experienced it since.
All this talk of drivers brings me to the Logitech Gaming Software itself, and it bears mentioning here that this is an impressive software suite for some of Logitech's G-Series peripherals. It's intuitive, easy to use, and easy on the eyes without unnecessary clutter. It quickly became my benchmark for how these types of drivers should look and behave and I'm hoping Logitech will include every possible model they have into this driver.
It includes pages for configuring the G buttons on the headset, equalizer settings, the surround sound demo and volume adjustment, and setting the "voice avatars" (which change your voice over your microphone for...shenanigans, I suppose). I didn't get much mileage out of these, but some may be more interested in this feature. Most of them seem to merely change the pitch of your voice or add a slight distortion effect. They seem to work well at least, and are simple to configure.
I didn't have any issues with the microphone, and it seemed to pick up my voice just as well as any microphone I've used. I didn't need to add any "Mic Boost" as I had to with the Carcharias, and my voice seemed to be clear and easy to understand, while adequately filtering out background noise - which is all you can ask of a microphone in my opinion. The software will also display your estimated battery life remaining, or estimated time to recharge if plugged in - both very helpful and convenient pieces of information.
Speaking of battery life, the headset will sound a tone when the battery level is getting low; reminding you to plug in if you want to keep playing. This only happened to me a few times and always after not letting them charge the night before. After a full charge (which usually takes around an hour, depending on how depleted the battery is) the software will begin to give you an estimate of the remaining battery life. This will start at ten hours, but in practice you'll probably see a little less. Battery life should be a solid 4-6 hours of game time or more depending on what other types of wireless signals are present and how much you wander around while wearing them - which you'll find yourself doing often; it's great to not be tethered to one spot! Granted, if you're using this headset purely for gaming, you probably aren't running around the house - for listening to music or chatting, you will quickly see the benefits of a wireless headset, especially since the sound quality does not suffer in the least. I expected more "fuzz" due to the wireless signal, but my ears couldn't tell the difference. Of course, due to the nature of wireless signals (and ears, for that matter), your experience might be different.
There's no doubt the G930 performs well in games - it is obvious given the features and design what this product is marketed for. Thankfully, it delivers in that area - but how about putting those 7.1 surround speakers to work in a non-interactive setting?
Not surprisingly, this is mainly dependent on the quality of the source material. I'm not a music connoisseur, and if I listen to music it's usually playing over a set of speakers while I'm working on something else. Most of the time I'll just stream a channel from an online radio station, but there are a couple albums I liked enough to purchase and listen to offline. I find the Tron: Legacy soundtrack to be a great test for a wide range of sounds, and while there are some incredibly low bass notes in some tracks that most headsets have trouble replicating the overall experience was still good. Everything was clear, and nothing distracted me from enjoying the music. No complaints from me here. You can always play with the equalizer settings if you need something adjusted.
Let's be honest: you don't purchase a headset like this for music. The only other area I can see this headset enhancing your experience is while watching a movie, so I (happily) threw in The Avengers on Blu-Ray and sat back for some Marvel comic-book-hero goodness. As a heads-up, don't be surprised if I watch this movie reviewing every piece of hardware - "video card displays The Avengers well, mouse works during The Avengers, keyboard looks nice while I watch The Avengers..." You get the idea (I like this movie - there, I said it, now we can move on).
Does the 7.1 Dolby Headphone technology make movies even better? Yep. I'm not sure how to quantify it, but if you enjoy your movies and the greater immersion as a result of a decent sound system, the G930s will deliver for you here too. Make sure to microwave your popcorn before you start though - the only time I experienced any hiccups with the wireless connection was while waiting in front of the microwave. I make it a point to not place my head in close proximity with microwaves for the most part, so I didn't feel this was a serious issue in the least. Besides, I'd argue it is entirely offset by the ability to get up and walk to the kitchen while wearing the headset in the first place.
The G930 can't pump out the sound like a fully featured 7.1 surround sound speaker system connected to a high-end receiver through optical out, but they will provide an enhanced experience for only $110 (as tested). You'd be hard pressed to complete your home theater setup with that type of investment. It is also a great way to enjoy a movie to its fullest without generating noise complaints from your neighbors, which can be a great bonus if you care about that sort of thing (we all may have been that neighbor / had neighbors who graciously allowed us to listen to the movies they have selected for everyone's entertainment that evening - in which case, a good headset is indispensable)!