An expensive surround sound speaker set-up may deliver mind-blowing audio to accompany your gaming sessions, but in terms of immersion, and peace and quiet for your neighbours, you really can't beat a good set of gaming headphones. Nothing sucks you into a game quite the same way, blocking out external stimuli and focusing your attention directly on the action. Unfortunately, without a dedicated headphone jack on the Xbox 360, it's not quite as simple as just plugging a set of headphones into your console and blasting away, especially if you are looking to chat with friends via Xbox LIVE while you play. Don't lose hope just yet though, because there are options, such as the GX1 Gaming Headset from accessory manufacturer, ORB.
The ORB GX1 gaming headset is a robust gaming sound solution. The ear pieces are big enough to feel substantial when clapped over your ears, yet soft and 'breathable' enough to make extended gaming sessions go by without irritation or that awful, itchy feeling that comes with some lesser headsets. The whole unit itself is also really light for its size, which helps to keep gaming fatigue at bay during those late night Call of Duty sessions, as does the well padded headband section. To facilitate Xbox LIVE communication, the microphone boom is very flexible but not flimsy, with a metal wrap that gives it a premium feel.
The in-game sound quality delivered by these headphones is commendable, with impressive clarity and solid bass, although there is a tendency to overdo the bass which can be a little overwhelming in the middle of a serious firefight. There is no noticeable hiss or buzz which so many headsets seem to suffer from. The voice chat doesn't fare quite so well though, and while the voice quality is better than what you get with a standard Xbox 360 wired headset, there were times when a distinct hissing sound was audible, especially during quieter moments. It's definitely not enough to be a distraction, though, and seems par for the course when chatting online.
If the ORB GX1's have one shortcoming, it has to be the cumbersome wiring that is needed to deliver both the sound from the game and the voice chat via Xbox LIVE, as well as to power the whole set-up. Coupled with perhaps a play and charge wire and whatever other wires you may have hanging out of all manner of peripherals in your gaming area, there really is just too much wiring going on. One cable runs from the headset to a remote - which allows independent volume control for the game sound and voice chat, as well as a mute button and mute LED indicator - and then splits in two. From there, one cable goes to your game controller, and the other splits again, but only a few meters further down the line. This split sends one cable into your television's headphone jack, and one to your Xbox 360, which in my case required the use of the included 2 meter long USB extender cable. Unravel all of this cabling, and you're left with a mouse nest of gaming wire in front of you. There is a velcro strap on the main length of cable, but one can't help but wish for a more elegant solution to all of this.
That all being said, if you can neaten up your cabling situation by maybe tying the unused lengths with cable ties or something similar, you are left with a set of gaming headphones which will impress all but the most pedantic audiophiles. The plastics and foams used for the construction aren't necessarily of class leading quality, the likes of which you will see used for top of the range Bose headphones for example, but the overall build quality is better than you would expect at this price. Speaking of price, it's worth mentioning that these more than competent gaming headphones don't cost a lot more than a official Microsoft wireless headset, one which offers only voice chat and no gaming sound, and that really is worth taking into consideration when looking at this product. For immersive gaming that doesn't break the bank and allows hours of play without discomfort, the ORB GX1's are well worth picking up.
- Sound quality, particular in-game sound, is impressive
- Comfortable and light enough for extended use
- Offers good value for money
- Voice chat quality isn't perfect
- Adds too many cables to an already busy gaming station
|Street Date||Out now|
|Compatibility||Xbox 360 and PC|
|Where to buy||Take 2, Zaps, Animeworx|