Ok, Listen The $&*@ Up!

The popularity of MMORPG s, in my case World of Warcraft , and copious amounts of bandwidth has added a new aspect to gaming over the last few years — voice chat. Yes, that’s right, no longer are you alone screaming at your computer, you’re mic’d up and your last tirade went out across the globe to 35 of your cyber-pals.

For me, this introduces a problem. I like to play my games loud. Much like movies, I feel a much of the overall experience is not visual, but audible. Watch a movie with subtitles turned on and the sound off and you’ll realize how less interesting and bland the experience has become. The problem is when you have to listen to a game while speaking into a microphone, the typical issues of feedback, echo, etc. come into play. This is why I go the headset route. A closed-ear pair of headphones with an attached microphone give me the ability to hear everything while also allowing for me to be heard.

Not so fast. It turns out that a quality headset is a rare find, and once I find one that is made well, it needs to fit my huge head. There are times when I may be wearing the headset for up to four hours straight, so any minor discomfort will eventually turn into searing pain.

I’ve tried nearly every headset that I have seen. The whole headset is either too small (probably built to fit a 14yo head) or, if the headset fits over my head, the cups crush my elephant-like ears. I need a headset which rests gently on my head and has cups which completely cover my ears (without touching).

Yeah, I know. Good luck! Most headsets are the small half-dollar-sized pads that put your head in a vice grip to hold them on. If not that they clip to your ears like you’re a clothes line. No thanks. I’ve found only a handful of headsets that come close. I’ve had perfectly fitting headsets that just don’t work, and excellent working headsets that don’t fit over my enormous balloon head.

Ah, but don’t give up now. I recently picked up the Altec Lansing AHS515 . Over-the-head fit is great, microphone and sound quality is excellent, and the headphone cups just squeak over my ears. I’m able to go at least an hour without problem, although after a few hours I may need a quick ear massage. I also liked that the headset came with a speaker and microphone extension cord, which allows me to quickly switch from headset to external speakers without reaching behind my PC.

Review: 4.5 / 5 stars

PS: Wondering about the title? NSFW: Onyxia Wipe Animation never gets old.