CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The competition in the video-game headset market has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Whereas once your options were limited to only one or two choices, now store shelves are lined with headsets from multiple companies with a variety of prices and feature sets.
As a result, finding the right headset to fit both your specific needs (and your budget) can be a real challenge. In a perfect world, one headset would produce terrific sound, work with all of your gaming devices (even the portable ones) and cost less than what you paid for your console in the first place.
Well it may not be perfect, but Sony's new Pulse wireless headset is pretty darned close.
The Pulse headset offers all the major features gamers have come to expect from a high-quality audio solution -- virtual 7.1 surround sound that is crisp and clear, Bluetooth support for portable devices and cell phones, the versatility to work with both your PlayStation 3 and PS Vita (as well as most televisions), and best of all, no wires. And at a suggested retail price of $149.99, the Pulse wireless headset provides plenty of bang for the buck.
The Pulse headset uses a tiny USB adapter to connect wirelessly to your PS3, and setup takes only a matter of minutes. Plugging the same USB adapter into a television and connecting a 3.55mm audio cable allows you to stream audio directly from your TV, thus making the Pulse instantly compatible with any gaming console you have connected. Vita owners can use the 3.55mm audio cable to connect directly to the headset.
This kind of versatility in a headset is great, but only if the performance matches its flexibility. And I couldn't have been happier with the Pulse wireless headset's performance. The virtual 7.1 surround sound did a good job producing directional audio while playing "Borderlands 2" and watching my "Avengers" Blu-ray. The dynamic range was likewise impressive, and the multiple audio presets made it easy to find the best settings to enjoy simply watching TV. The Pulse wireless headset also uses innovative BassImpact technology that emits tiny vibrations through the earpieces, allowing you to feel every hit in "Madden" or the rumble of engines in "Gran Turismo." It's a cool feature that worked surprisingly well and wasn't nearly as distracting as I'd imagined it would be. And the built-in wireless microphone not only makes the Pulse wireless headset much more sleek in appearance by eliminating the clumsy boom mic, but it works just as well.
Being a wireless headset, all of the controls for the unit are located on the earpieces themselves. While it makes sense -- after all, where else are you going to put the controls? -- it also forced me to take the headset off in order to locate the correct button to cycle through audio modes, adjust the mic volume, etc. This was a short-lived problem as I eventually memorized the location of every button and switch, but there was definitely a learning curve associated with the unit.
Sony's Pulse wireless headset looks almost as good as it sounds, with a slick black-and-silver color scheme that gives the headset a sweet futuristic look. And even though the headset has some weight to it, it is designed to be extremely comfortable while wearing, regardless of your head size. My sons and I both used the headset for extended periods of time and none of us had any complaints about comfort.
The Pulse wireless headset may not be the best wireless audio solution on the market, but it is a fine choice for gamers looking to take the first steps into the wonderful world of wireless audio. With a reasonable price point and features that rival more expensive models, the Pulse wireless headset is a great piece of tech that is easy to recommend.
Sony Pulse wireless headset
From: Sony ($149.99)
Reach Jeff Rider at 304-348-5122 or jri...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/gazette_gamer.