• A Top-of-the-Line Headset For Top-of-the-Line Gamers

    Early opinions...-psykologo-png
    So, here we are at Quake-Con 2010. We are looking around the exhibits and see this neat little booth sporting some kick-ass looking headsets. As it turns out, the headsets they were sporting were the innovative Psyko 5.1 PC Gaming Headsets. After introducing ourselves, we managed to score a pair to review... but why are we writing an article on a headset? Well, the speakers are in the top of the headset, not the ears. "What?!", you say, "How does that work?" Let me explain...

    Praise Be To The Psyko!
    Early opinions...-psykoguts-pngAfter toying around with the Psyko 5.1 PC Gaming Headset (Psykos from here on out), I am surprised how well this headset performs. The main selling point of the Psykos is the Psykowave Technology™ used in the headset to deliver real-life surround sound. Basically, the speakers were moved from the ear pieces to the top of the headset. Tubes are used to transfer the sound from the speakers to the back, center, and front of the ear pieces. This means a few things, but the most notable is the ability to have high quality surround sound.

    In order to deliver quality surround sound, other headsets have had to make their speakers smaller in order to position them correctly within the earpieces, which reduces the ability to produce high-quality audio. On the flip-side of the coin, larger speakers means higher quality audio but lower quality surround sound. In the Psykos, the speakers are located on the top of the headset, which means the speaker size does not need to be reduced to be able to deliver high quality surround sound.

    But the sound is only half of the deal. The Psykos, being a gaming headset, comes with an attachable boom (microphone) that is extremely sturdy. In previous models, the boom had been a little loose, however, this was quickly fixed. The boom is able to swivel 360 degrees easily while having enough resistance to stay in place when you get it positioned just right. In addition to this, the boom records at a high quality, easily heard by your teammates.

    It Is Worth The Setup.
    As much as I would like to only praise the Psykos, it does have a long setup time. I ended up spending 2-3 hours getting the audio sounding just right, although, I did set it up on three different systems. If you simply plug in your headset and it sounds like all the sound is coming from within a coffee can, do not fret, read on.

    Early opinions...-psyko-jpgThe first system I set the Psykos up on was using a Creative SB X-Fi sound card. Basically, we ended up turning off all the effects in the sound blaster controller. We tweaked the equalizer a little bit and had the Psykos sounding amazing- I mean, amazing. The surround sound basically sets up itself, it literally took 15 seconds. You just follow the directions that come with the Psykos and then change the audio settings in the game of your choice to 5.1 speakers.

    A little note here: the surround sound is phenomenal. If someone in-game is walking behind you to the left, you hear them behind your left ear. Also, like in real-life, the footsteps will also be heard in the right ear, slightly after the left. You might think this is weird, however, it makes the footsteps, in this case, sound as if it were really behind you. As the creator of the Psykos said, "The only time you hear something in just one ear is when a mosquito is in it."

    Early opinions...-psykosupport-jpgThe next two systems I set the Psykos up on had the sound card built into the motherboard. Ironically, the Psykos was more-or-less plug-and-play on these machines. We simply followed the directions to setup the surround sound and changed the audio settings in-game to 5.1 speakers. Bam! Instant, amazing sound. Once again, the surround sound was phenomenal.

    I need to note here that the customer service we got was pretty cool. Apparently, the technical support numbers you are given when you purchase a set of these babies are direct lines to the makers of the headset themselves. In other words, you are talking to the guy who invented the thing. If anyone knows how to help you, it would be him.

    The Cons Are Not Really Cons At All.
    The only two cons I found with the Psykos were that it has basically zero noise-canceling technology and that you have to plug it into a wall. Whether you consider it a pro or con that you can hear what is going on around you in real-life is up to you; I personally do not mind it. As for having to plug the headset into the wall, this does not really effect desktop users. However, anyone lugging around a laptop will need to find a plug to use these headphones. Then again, if you are using a gaming laptop you generally will not last 15 minutes without being plugged into a wall anyway, if your laptop even supports 5.1 surround sound.

    And Now For Some Features You Would Have Never Thought Of... Really.
    The Psykos are extremely comfortable. The headset, for the most part, rests on the top of your head rather than squeezing it to stay on. If your ears get hot, the sides flip open for ventilation. I was able to play for 2 hours without getting any headaches, my ears getting hot, or my ears aching. Plus, this thing just looks freakin' cool.

    Early opinions...-psykoamp-pngI think it is worth noting that the Psykos have four jacks: the front, surround, sub-woofer, and microphone jack. These plug into an amp that allows you to control the volume and bass of the headset on the fly. The amp also has the same four jacks and is what the power cord is plugged into.

    For such an amazing headset, the price is not cheap. For $300 dollars you can own a set of these bad boys and rule the gaming competition. While I agree that these things take a while to setup, they are definitely part of the ultimate gamer's gear.

    Hopefully this article helped you decide whether or not you want one of the most innovative pieces of headset technology available on the market right now.

    Happy gaming!
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. ...bigdog...'s Avatar
      ...bigdog... -
      really...really great review. These are some pretty slick looking headsets.
    1. flame's Avatar
      flame -
      I listened to these for a brief time in css. The sound is very comparable to the sound I get from my 5.1 surround sound system. I was pleased by the fact that the sharp ring you get with traditional headphones was not there. The sound was much more comfortable on the ears even at a higher volume.

      IMO number one con is cost. Its a little steep. I payed far less than that for my sound card and speaker set up, and it is awesome. Of course not everyone can use speakers at home and these did not require a dedicated sound card.
      The other con would be setup. I watched several people get involved to try and figure out how to tweak the sound.

      I spent $100 on my headset and thought it was bit much. These were definitely better than my 777s, so in that perspective worth more money.

      They were comfortable and looked nice. I know the head psyko told imis they werent for music but I am curious how well they sound listening to music.

      I wasnt terribly fond of the way the mic swung out, but thats a preference issue. And noise cancel HA! even noise canceling headphones couldnt block out the noise of the byoc.

      Great review, I am definately interested in this headset. I really enjoyed getting to take a listen. I did not hear what it sounded like before you got it all set up, but I know you worked hard. You earned your pay!
    1. Howlin Mad Murphy's Avatar
      Howlin Mad Murphy -
      i wish i had checked these out when i saw you guys with them, i currently own a very nice turtle beach headset as well as 2 Plantronics head sets. i have a feeling this may be the next best thing. like flame i also have a Gamecom 777 5.1 headset which i love. but if this beats that im going to be keeping a very close eye on this headset.
    1. dex71's Avatar
      dex71 -
      I have an older set of Tritton Area 51's (with the 4x 3.5mm jacks,and not USB) that I love, but the directional sound that was produced by the Psykos can not be matched. The Psykos deliver an INCREDIBLE 3D audio gaming experience. If you get shanked with these on,it's your own damn fault.

      We had a lot of people only because we were looking for plenty of opinions, and were trying them on several different machines. I was really impressed by the support we got, not only to get things right, but he (Head_Psyko) was really interested in our input on his product. Imagine that......a designer with open ears to his target audience......I wish game devs had that kind of dedication and integrity. Not only are these headsets top-notch for gaming, but the company that makes them is Grade-A as well. The product sells itself.....but the quality of the company seals the deal for me.
    1. Toker's Avatar
      Toker -
      Can't wait until others copy this idea and bring down the prices. Or how about these are just offered at a much lower price?

      Looks fantastic and I'm pretty impressed, but not for $300.
    1. Imisnew2's Avatar
      Imisnew2 -
      I actually plugged these into my machine at home after quake con (thus, after the article was written) and I thought they sounded just fine for music. However, I just used one jack, so basically 2.1 Speakers. I haven't tried using the surround sound (5.1 speakers) for music... but I can't imagine why you'd wear headsets to listen to music other than trying to not disturb others.

      To clarify, the headset sounded just fine when listening to music.
    1. ***COMMANDER***'s Avatar
      ***COMMANDER*** -
      Outstanding review.... Excellent work.
    1. Tick's Avatar
      Tick -
      The main sticking point for me is that price tag. Half the price, I'd be all over these.
    1. BIGAG's Avatar
      BIGAG -
      My rig is famous!!! Thats my rig that Imis is playing on!

      Got a chance to listen and game with these headphones on my rig while at QC. My rig was one that these headphones was tested on. I had the build in sound card with my MOBO and the sounds were amazing. You could pick out enemy locations like there was no tomorrow. These things had great directional sounds that were spot on. We just plugged them in, changed my audio to reflect 5.1 surround sound and I was off to the races. Only con would be the price.....but can you really put a price on cutting edge technology?
    1. dex71's Avatar
      dex71 -
      Actually.....the price isn't all that bad if you consider the fact that it doesn't take a $100+ sound card to make them sound incredible.
    1. flame's Avatar
      flame -
      Quote Originally Posted by dex71 View Post
      Actually.....the price isn't all that bad if you consider the fact that it doesn't take a $100+ sound card to make them sound incredible.
      but my headset came with a dongle... and howlin likes the dongle
    1. Howlin Mad Murphy's Avatar
      Howlin Mad Murphy -
      Quote Originally Posted by flame View Post
      but my headset came with a dongle... and howlin likes the dongle
      hahah that i do sir, that i do

      on a side note, i wonder what my options are for my laptop with this headset, am i going to have to go out and buy an external sound card just to use these? well, use them fully anyway?
    1. CivilWars's Avatar
      CivilWars -
      I played a few rounds on them, and the sound quality was good, but it was before they were dialed in. I wish I had a chance to play on them again after they were let out of the well. They were for sure some of the more comfortable headphones I have used.
    1. Imisnew2's Avatar
      Imisnew2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Howlin Mad Murphy View Post
      hahah that i do sir, that i do

      on a side note, i wonder what my options are for my laptop with this headset, am i going to have to go out and buy an external sound card just to use these? well, use them fully anyway?
      I'm looking into this at the moment. Basically, these can be used just like 2.1 speaker headphones (no surround sound) by simply leaving two of the jacks unplugged. While I admit this is definitely NOT the way you should use these, you still get so-so sound. Mic works great.

      I've been looking into a USB to 5.1 Speakers converter (external sound card) and am ordering it today. I'll let you know how it works out.

      Edit: It will be delivered around the 22nd, so I'll post back then.
    1. Kanati's Avatar
      Kanati -
      Good review. I doubt I would ever pay 300 dollars for a headset... But then again, when I bought a 25 dollar headset about a year ago I though I was crazy... then turned around recently and bought at G35 headset for 130 dollars. So who knows... a year from now I might have to look a bit more seriously at these. (But seriously psykos... bring these down to the 200 dollar pricepoint and MAYBE....)
    1. (4)manno's Avatar
      (4)manno -
      I'd go as high as $200 for them. They sound awesome but I can't get over the three bills.
    1. dustyCALIBER's Avatar
      dustyCALIBER -
      I put it on and was SHOCKED at how i could hear EVERYTHING.... I want one now
    1. supercarl1's Avatar
      supercarl1 -
      Absolutely a great article and review. Excellent work Imisnew2...2 thumbs up! I will diffinetly buy a set.
    1. Cybs's Avatar
      Cybs -
      I can think of 1 little thing that would make these absolutely amazing. It's something that the Microsoft put on the Sidewinder Game Voice... basically, you plugged your speakers AND headset into it and there was a switch to toggle between both. Not everyone wants to use their headset for EVERYTHING and having to plug, unplug, and replug a headset/speakers is a pain is the arse.
    1. SuperBadAce's Avatar
      SuperBadAce -
      I tried them on and they are very comfortable and sound great. But 3 bills is a lot for headsets.