Getting it to Work
Installing the 1500 was very simple, in fact after Windows 7 recognized it, the headphones were able to run just fine through Sound’s playback device setup in the Control Panel. The setup displayed options for both 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound, and I was good to go. However, because I wanted EQ options, I needed the official drivers, which were readily available off Corsair’s website. But after loading up some FLAC music tracks, right off the bat it everything sounded heavily post-processed. It turned out the Dolby codecs within the official drivers were somehow automatically enabled to “expand” my stereo content to all channels. While this is possibly beneficial for a system larger than two physical speakers, it doesn’t make sense for a pair of headphones. Anyway, these effects were easily disabled through the utility. Total Immersion
But enough about music, this is a gaming headset! Video games are the most inventive outlet of creation a sound designer can find him or herself in, and after following the DICE sound team’s work over their Bad Company series, I was stoked to see what they could accomplish in Battlefield 3. They delivered, and with a much more realistic design, compared to the exaggerated cinematic style heard in Bad Company 2. Paired with the visual effect of “suppression” in the game, the danger of bullets whizzing and cracking by in surround sound has never been more nerve-wracking.
After setting BF3’s in-game audio preset to headphone mode, the 1500 headset brought out the most of these effects. With its clean lows, broad mid-range, and crisp highs, these cans have one the best reproductions of any gaming headset I’ve tested so far. Spacialization, or the placing of a sound’s “location” based upon your interaction in an environment, has been very impressive with this headset.
The option for having emulated Dolby 7.1
surround is a nice addition, but this ultimately depends on how well the game or application utilizes its sound processing. Games that already have Dolby codecs may use this feature better, but I believe there is minimal advantage to running surround headphones in 7.1 compared to 5.1. All of the information is being pushed through two speakers anyway, at a very close distance from your ears.
Of course, it helps that BF3
was built from the ground up to accommodate a surround experience, so I tried playing a couple matches of Starcraft II
, and even that was a treat with this headset. The spacial effects and music are placed in the surrounding channels, while important information, such as needing more pylons, is prioritized front-and-center. Also, watching movies that have surround sound may seem a bit too in-your-face with any pair of headphones, because movies are mixed with the intent of distance between loudspeaker and listener.
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