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Mad Catz Cyborg F.R.E.Q. 5 Gaming Headset E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Audio
Written by Joey Peng   
Friday, 03 May 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
Mad Catz Cyborg F.R.E.Q. 5 Gaming Headset
Closer Look: Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. 5
Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. 5 Detailed Features
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Testing & Results

Testing Methodology

Every user is unique in what they do and their needs in a headset. For me, I'm a techy, I play games, watch movies, and listen to music on my Windows 7 PC. Below's a list of some common activities where I use the headset just to give a rough sense of how it was tested.

Games: League of Legends, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Ridge Racer Unbounded, Need for Speed: The Run.

Music: Classical, Symphonies (like Two Steps from Hell), Hip-Hop/Rap, Collection of US/Korean/Chinese/Indie pop

Headsets/Headphones used for comparison: Bose QC15, Corsair HS1, Thermaltake Shock One, Logitech G930, Mad Catz CoD 5.1 Surround Sound Headset

Headset Comfort

The Mad Catz Cyborg FREQ 5 is decently comfortable during use. I wouldn't say it's as light as they advertised it to be, but it's incredibly sturdy for its weight class. The headset has a solid frame that rests comfortably on top of your head. Only minor pressure is applied from the sides. It does get a little tiring after 2-3 hours+ of usage however, where I would typically lay it down for a while. Many of the headsets I own are lighter, though arguably also flimsier. I don't think any match the build quality or look & feel of the Mad Catz FREQ 5 so it's a tradeoff you will have to make.

Audio/Microphone Performance

First of all let's start with the audio presets. The Mad Catz FREQ 5 comes with 3 different settings preprogrammed: Game, Music and Chat. Personally I've found Game to be the best overall setting. A lot of competing products need quite a bit of tuning and setup to get the right audio experience. Take the Corsair HS1 for example, if you simply plug-and-play, the audio experience is quite underwhelming. You would need to install the drivers, start playing around with the software equalizer, save multiple configurations, and then only to lose them when you move to a new computer. The Mad Catz FREQ 5 doesn't have this issue. In fact, it has one of the best out of box settings ready to go. The feature isn't available for the 3.5mm setting but even then the default quality there is fairly good. If we needed to be harsh on the presets, I'd say Music preset tuned up the bass too much and the rest is a little muffled. That's not my preference but it'll favor those who enjoy headphones like Dr. Dre's Beats with heavy emphasize on bass.

These settings are of course only available when plugged in via USB. Volume, equalizer and microphone buttons don't function when using the 3.5mm jack. By default, the stereo output used the "music" preset. It has a good balance of sound with a deep bass as with most headsets out there. Again, I would've much preferred if the audio presets worked while on the 3.5mm jack as well so I can optimize how I hear things depending on where I'm at and what I'm doing.

Overall the audio quality is quite good. Some of the games I play, like League of Legends, really don't work well with surround sound, so a stereo headset is ideal. If I had to rate the quality, I'd say sits at the higher end in terms of audio quality vs. competitors. There is only very minor static even when volume is jacked up way high. For those that enjoy blasting music, you'll love the FREQ 5. I tried listening on max system volume, it was loud enough to be a mobile speaker, but I couldn't notice any distortions. The lack of personalization (since equalizer only has 3 settings) may be a turn off for some people, though I don't feel like it's a big deal especially since the presets shipped with it are generally good enough to cover most scenarios.


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