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could probably get the same sound from a $40
pair of headphones.
However, the microphone is top-notch. In Skype,
callers said we sounded great.
The NOX Specialist is a good headset that could
have been great. However, the sound quality just
wasn't as impressive as we'd hoped, given its
intended audience, and our first model raised
some questions about the build quality. If you're
a highly mobile gamer then this $79 headset is
worth a look.
Sound quality could be better
Questionable build quality
Plantronics GameCom 777 $109.99
While its asking price of $109 isn't anything to
sneeze at, the Plantronics GameCom 777 headset
creates a Dolby 7.1 surround sound
experience. This headset deliv-
ers powerful audio and a great
Bulky and thick, the GameCom
777 cups measure 4 inches
wide. We wouldn't say that it's
ugly, but this headset definitely
lacks a memorable visual style.
It isn't foldable in any way, either.
At least the microphone boom fits
snugly into the headband.
The cups are well padded, but
the band felt a little tight, even
extended to its maximum length.
The GameCom 777 also features
a circular and precise iPod-esque
volume control on the cabling.
Sound from the standard stereo jack was crisp,
clear, and bass heavy, but this didn't lead to overly
When the Tic Tac box--size USB adapter is at-
tached, it's designed to provide Dolby 7.1 surround
sound to your gaming.
The surround sound mode offered a noticeable
improvement in sound quality, but it wasn't as big
a jump as we'd hoped.
The noise-canceling mic made chatting with
friends in games and on Skype a pleasure. One
caller said we sounded better than the average
The Plantronics GameCom 777 provides ex-
cellent sound for anyone who plays bass-heavy
games such as first-person shooters. At $109, the
GameCom is a little pricey, but if it fits your head,
it's worth the asking price.
Great overall sound
Easy-to-adjust volume slider
Can get uncomfortable after extended use
Dolby surround sound adapter not all that
Turtle Beach Ear
Force Z2 with
$69.99 for headset
DSS Adapter ($159 with DSS adapter)
These comfortable and collapsible cans
are not only less expensive than the
competition, but the Turtle Beach Ear
Force Z2 deliver better sound, too. When coupled
with an optional albeit pricey processor, the Z2 can
even pack in 7.1 surround sound.
"Professional" best describes the Z2's design.
Plus, they're collapsible for easy portability. The Z2
is the only headset we've tested that has a quick-
disconnect on the cable. However, the microphone
cannot be hidden or
The foam cups
go around your ear
instead of on top.
Despite being the
heaviest headset here,
at 11.5 ounces, weight
was never an issue.
The Z2 has solid
sound quality and tends to
be bass-heavy. Still, we experienced
a nice range of sound. The Z2 also has
a high-quality microphone, making it ideal for
gamers obsessed with multiplayer action. Skype
friends said they could hear us clearly.
The optional adapter from Turtle Beach, called
the Ear Force DSS ($89.99), claims to deliver 7.1
surround sound to any headset. This small black
box connects to the headphones and your PC or
gaming system via a digital optical cable or a
traditional analog jack. Using the analog setup,
audio quality was comparable to the GameCom
777. However, when we used the optical cable
with an Xbox 360, we were blown away by how
good the headphones sounded with the DSS
adapter. Note: You'd likely need to buy yet another
adapter in order to get 7.1 surround sound, such
as the Audio Advantage Micro II ($24.95).
The $69 Turtle Beach EarForce Z2 is a great
gaming headset for its price, even if you don't buy
the DSS adapter. You're still getting impressive
design and vibrant audio that costs less than
Comfortable and portable
Good overall audio quality
Excellent surround sound with DSS adapter
Mic can't be hidden or detached
Bass could be a little deeper
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