Tag Archives: headset

SoundPEATS Q9A Wireless Earbuds Review

SoundPEATS Q9A Wireless Earbuds Review

The SoundPEATS Q9A Earbuds sound pretty good but the comfort is just not there for these low cost in ear earbuds that are now available from Amazon.

Ease of Use, Performance:  3/5
Look & Feel:  2/5
Features:  3/5
How much I enjoy:  2/5

Recommendation:  2.5/5 Stars

SoundPEATS Q9A
SoundPEATS Q9A

SoundPEATS is a popular low cost choice for earbuds and headphones in the mobile market with a new release in the Q9A earbud set. The Q9A Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds are a sport earbud set that touts sweat proof and secure fit from the 3 sets of cushions.

The Q9A earbuds are Bluetooth and connect easily to any Bluetooth devices wirelessly which accounts for the lack of an audio connection. The Q9A earbuds have a DC in connection and three buttons on the right earbud while the left has no controls or connections.

The two earbuds are connected to each other with a flat wire and the right earbud has three control buttons along with the microphone and power connection. The controls allow you to control volume, to pause and play as well as skip tracks but also control calls when one comes in.

The earbuds work well for phone calls and handle private conversations easily in calls and can also be used for recording with the microphone that’s also on the right earbud. The set includes three sizes of ear cushions as well as a USB charging cable along with a zipper carry case.

whats in the box
Whats in the Box

The ear bud cushions give you a good size variety but my issue was more with the angle the ear buds come into my ears and not the fit of the cushions. I tried wearing the earbuds for a time but the angle for the ear bud on my right ear just did not work out for me.

After a half hour it would rub the wrong way on my ear and was very uncomfortable, so much that I could not wear them for more than an hour at a time. I have worn and used several different ear buds and over the ear earbuds with very similar designs without any issues but the Q9A earbuds just were not comfortable for me.

Sound quality is pretty good and about what I would expect for this price range but looking at Amazons initial price of $100 would be way too much for this set of earbuds. $25 is about what I would expect considering quality and the Q9A earbuds work fairly well and would be worth the price if they were more comfortable.

I would look for a more expensive pair of earbuds for my own personal use as the quality and comfort are just not here for me, I have received more expensive earbuds that worked better. The Q9A Earbud set is just not worth a look for me and given the lack of comfort I would look at a slightly higher price point.

That is where I would put my money, earbuds that are in the $50 to $100 range if I was looking for earbuds that were both comfortable and sounded great. The Q9A Earbuds are just not that good and other than a low price there is not that much here to differentiate them from the myriad others at this price point.

SoundPeats @ Amazon

Pros
Decent sound for the price
Good battery life

Cons
Could not get a comfortable fit

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Headset

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Headset

The Jabra Stealth Bluetooth headset makes phone calls as easy as speaking a name and a word that includes clear communication with high definition clarity.

Ease of Use, Performance:  3/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  3/5
How much I enjoy:  2/5

Recommendation:  3/5 Stars

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Headset
Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Headset

The Jabra Stealth is a Bluetooth mono headset that includes a variety of ear hooks and gels along with a USB charging cable and quick setup instructions. The main purpose of a bluetooth headset that has only one earpiece is to connect with a phone and allow hands free calling and communication.

The Jabra Stealth does a good job at this but I did have a few issues that made my experience not as positive as other users and reviewers. The Jabra Stealth easily paired with my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone as well as my wife’s but voice recognition has a way to go before it’s useful.

I tried both phones and checked several things but the simple Call Jeff would not work for either phone so I was disappointed from the start. I tried using Samsung’s version of voice recognition called S Voice and it works much better but still has its problems.

whats in the box
Whats in the Box

I could call Chele which is the nickname of my wife if I elongated the e sound or simply changed her name to Shell to make it work better. It seems both Google and Samsung have problems with names that are not mainstream or nicknames but with those common ones it does alright.

Other commands work somewhat well like open calendar but once the current page is open what next?, it seems that voice recognition and hands free have a long way to go beyond calling John, Jane or Susan. I like the Jabra Stealth but once you get past the talking without having to hold a phone to your ear there really is not much else to the device.

You can use it to text and write memos but other commands are hit and miss while having to always touch the headset to wake up Galaxy or say Ok Google gets tiring. The headset has an on off switch, a button for starting communication between the headset and your phone as well as a answer end button.

usb port & power switch
USB Port & Power Switch

The USB connection for charging is under a small door and battery life is pretty good for such a small headset at about six hours. The Jabra has a full set of ear gels and hooks so finding a combination or individual one that works for your ear is pretty easy.

Of course I may not know or have not researched the commands available but sitting at my desk and opening my calendar I can’t do anything else without touching the phone. I can find restaurants and other useful things using the voice commands but they are just too limited for me to worry about.

The main function I was interested in was being able to call someone but this is limited to how well voice recognition works for my contact list. When both Samsung and Google has me changing names so they can recognize them the functionality of a hands free headset goes out the window.

jabra stealth ear gels
Jabra Stealth Ear Gels

The Jabra Stealth works fine for call clarity, ease of pairing and all the other features like being able to redial by double clicking the side of the headset. The battery life seems fine to me for the size of the device and the ear pieces are comfortable once you get a little used to the fit.

The headset is just too dependent on voice recognition and if that does not work well it limits the usefulness of the headset for the cost you’re paying. I did have luck making several calls and using the Jabra Stealth as a general wireless headset which is one of the main uses I wanted it for but controlling my phone without having to touch it is not going to work.

The Jabra also does not have any volume control on the device so you do have to use your phones volume to turn up and down the volume so hands free is not exactly a full time commitment. I like the Jabra Stealth but it is still a long way form being the total hands free headset that people are wanting.

If you need a comfortable hands free way to talk the Jabra Stealth works well but voice control is still a futuristic concept and not today’s technology.

Stealth @ Jabra

Jabra @ Amazon

Pros
Clear sound and phone calls
Good battery life
Easy pairing

Cons
Voice control and hands free are not good
No volume on headset

Skullcandy Crusher Review

The Crusher makes for a good all-around headset while the bass driver may seem a bit of a gimmick but it actually sounds pretty good so check out my Skullcandy Crusher Review for more.

Ease of Use, Performance: 4/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  4/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  4.5/5 Stars

Skullcandy Crusher Review
Skullcandy Crusher Review

The Skullcandy Crusher is a stereo headset with microphone that has two drivers in each ear for extra bass while the inline control allows for easy mute of the microphone. The Skullcandy Crusher is a unique headphone that has a separate bass driver which can be adjusted for the amount of bass you want while the other driver delivers the medium and high notes.

Inside the Skullcandy Crusher there are two drivers per ear piece with acoustical porting to allow free movement of the drivers. The drivers in each ear allow separate bass from the mids and highs but the overall sound suffers just a little so there is a tradeoff.

whats in the box
Whats in the Box

The bass sounds good and does have an adjustment on the left ear piece so you can adjust it to your liking which is a great feature of the extra bass. If you could not adjust the bass it would be terrible as each person would want a bit different amount depending on their choice.

The bass is good but the overall sound quality lacks good clear highs so the bass does take away from overall sound quality when listening. The stereo cable is removable from the headset so you can use a different cable while the microphone is an integral part of the cable.

Crusher Ear Piece
Crusher Ear Piece

The inline control does not change volume but does mute the microphone that is also part of the control with microphone control about six inches from the headset. The stereo connections on the left ear piece along with the bass control while the AA battery is under the right ear piece cushion.

The bass is powered by the AA battery so devices like tablets or smartphones will not be drained too much from listening or communicating. You can completely shut off the bass amplifier by sliding the bass adjust down till a red dot shows at the top of the slide.

Skullcandy Crusher Review
Skullcandy Crusher

Listening to music I did not have any problems but the sound quality is just a bit less than I would like when trying to enjoy myself. The highs and mids are a bit less clear but not distorted at all, just not as pronounced when listening to some songs.

The bass at high does not sound nearly as good and it does take some getting used to having your head bounced with bass but at medium it is fun for some music and gaming. I tried the headset during some of my favorite gaming sessions and had no problems wearing the headset for hours on end.

crusher bass control
Crusher Bass Control

The ear cushions are comfortable and the headset does not pinch or squeeze my head more than necessary to keep them on so you can wear them for longer times. I did also try the Razer surround sound and had no problems with 5.1 surround sound virtually without any problems even with bass on full.

The microphone sounds pretty good and using my Skype test I had no problems with understanding and clear chat from one computer to another. Chat in games worked well without distortion and people could clearly hear me so the microphone makes a good feature.

Of course when you don’t want to use it the mute on the inline control works just fine but there is no volume control on the controller. The Skullcandy Crusher is a good headset while the bass is a really decent feature instead of a gimmick which does add a unique feature.

I recommend the Skullcandy Crusher as a good all-around headset for music, movies and video games while the bass drivers do add your desired amount of extra skull thump.

Crushers @ Skullcandy

Crushers @ Amazon

Pros
Good sound and bass
Separate bass driver with control
Inline microphone and mute
Very comfortable

Cons
Overall quality is just a little lacking

SteelSeries Siberia Elite Headset

SteelSeries Siberia Elite Headset

The SteelSeries Siberia Elite is a top of the line headset with a USB sound card or stereo connection but sound quality is where the Siberia Elite excels.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

Steelseries Siberia Elite

The SteelSeries Siberia Elite headset is a softly padded headset that can be used with any of three connections for a versatile headset that includes 7.1 Dolby surround sound. The SteelSeries Siberia Elite can use the included sound card to create Dolby 7.1 surround sound but the headset also sounds fantastic other software for surround.

Bass is deep and rich while midtones and highs are clear with stereo or full 7.1 surround sound that is available using the SteelSeries sound card. The stereo headset uses a direct stereo connection at the headset connection so you can plug the headset directly into a stereo device or connection.

The SteelSeries Siberia Elite has three connection options with a two end stereo and microphone connection, a one end stereo often found on smartphones and the sound card with the USB connection. The Siberia Elite also comes with an extension cable that connects to the headset cable that has the unique connection that the smaller adapters connect to.

Whats in the Box

The headset connects directly to devices using either the stereo or stereo and microphone connections or the USB sound card for a very versatile headset for mobile devices and computers. The sound card is both MAC and Windows compatible and turns the stereo sound coming from a computer into Dolby 7.1 surround sound using delays to parts of the sound.

These delays create a simulated surround sound that sounds great and can really help in gaming and general entertainment enjoyment. The Siberia Elite sounds great whether you’re playing simple music using the stereo connection or you’re listening to a movie using Dolby 7.1 surround sound.

I also tested out the headset using a separate surround sound program from Razer and it also sounded great with very realistic surround sound. Besides the connection choices you also have LED lighting on both headsets that are controllable from the SteelSeries Engine that you install on your computer.

Siberia Elite Connections

The SteelSeries Engine 3 allows you to control the headset and other SteelSeries peripherals that use the software with lighting, equalizer, noise reduction and Dolby controls. The Engine 3 also updates the firmware onboard the headset for future updates and controls other SteelSeries peripheral features.

The microphone for the headset pulls out as well as has a white LED to show it is muted for easy use while the sound quality and background noise reduction is great. The microphone sounded very good when on the receiving end of a phone call or gaming using two computers and I had no problems using the microphone of the Siberia Elite.

The Siberia Elite is a nice looking headset with great sound quality but it is also very comfortable with very soft leather padded earpieces. I had no problems or discomfort from wearing the Siberia Elite for hours on end gaming and watching movies as the headset and top band help to alleviate any discomfort.

Siberia Elite Headset by Steelseries

The top band rests comfortably on your head while the steel band above it keeps the earpieces snuggly on your ears but not too tight. I had no problems whatsoever with the Siberia Elite and really enjoyed listening to the wide variety of music and entertainment I put through the headset.

I continue to visit sites and try to find the most current testing and audio files that put headsets and speakers to the test. I found a nice site called Audiocheck.net that has plenty of test files that really puts audio equipment through their paces.

The SteelSeries Siberia Elite really sounds great from the lowest sounds like whispers to the hitch pitched tones that shatter glass. Bass is also great and sounds fantastic with plenty of ear pounding lows that sound great in movies and gaming.

Siberia Elite w/ LED Lighting

I highly recommend the SteelSeries Siberia Elite as a high end headset that is very versatile and has excellent sound for both stereo and surround sound.

SteelSeries Siberia Elite

Siberia Elite @ Amazon

Pros
USB, stereo and stereo with microphone connections
Soft comfortable leather ear pieces
Excellent sound quality
Fantastic Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound

Cons
None

Velodyne vFree Bluetooth Headset

Velodyne vFree Bluetooth Headset

The Velodyne vFree is a high quality headset with Bluetooth connectivity and clear sound but the bass is where these great headphones shine.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  4/5
Features:  4/5
How much I enjoy:  4/5

Recommendation:  4/5 Stars

Velodyne vFree Headset

The Velodyne vFree headset is a Bluetooth connected stereo headset that sounds fantastic with deep bass and clear sound in a comfortable on ear package. The Velodyne vFree uses Bluetooth connectivity to transmit the clear sounding audio from your computer, phone, mp3 player or other Bluetooth capable device.

The vFree headset has a convenient folding design for easy carry with both ear pieces having a hinge that pulls out and folds. The vFree from Velodyne comes with the headset, a cloth carry bag, a USB charging cable and a stereo audio cable along with an instruction card.

The vFree has buttons on the right ear piece for power and pairing, fast forward and rewind, play and pause, and to answer and hang up when connected to a smartphone. These control buttons are part of the vFree design and are shaped to match the unique style of the headset.

Velodyne vFree Headset

The volume buttons are on the side of the right ear piece along with the pairing indicator LED and the microphone hole of the right head piece. The left ear piece has the power indicator, stereo connection and the micro-B USB connection for charging the vFree headset.

The headset takes about an hour to an hour and half to charge fully while it can last about nine to ten hours of continued use listening to your favorite tunes or movies. The headset will go to sleep after a few minutes to preserve battery life and will automatically connect after you have successfully set it up with a Bluetooth device.

Pairing was easy using both computers and handheld devices like my Samsung Stellar smartphone and a couple tablets with the headset pairing automatically. Range is pretty good with the Bluetooth range stated as 30 feet but real world situations are different with better range generally.

vFree Folding Headset

I had no problems listening to music while being a few rooms away which is pretty good given my homes old plaster and lathe walls. I can listen to music easily in my garage from the small PC in my kitchen and hear clear sound from about thirty feet away through my back wall and garage wall.

I had no problems using the headset other than a few times connecting the headset to my PC because of the Bluetooth software on the computer. I have had no problems connecting and using the vFree headset connected to my tablets and the headset pairs easily with handheld devices.

Audio is excellent with clear mid tones and lows while bass is deep and pounding for some great sound whether I was using a tablet or a computer. I also tried using a virtual surround sound with the vFree headset and was very impressed with the clear and very realistic 7.1 surround.

vFree Ready for Travel

Razer has created a free 7.1 virtual surround sound program that works on Windows 7 and 8 computers that creates surround sound using delays in the various parts of the sound. These delays give the impression of surround easily and very well which makes a huge difference in enjoyment.

Gaming is excellent and the headset is comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time without problems due to the light weight and soft ear pieces. I had no problem gaming for several hours wearing the Velodyne vFree headset and could really enjoy my favorite first person shooter Battlefield 4.

Surround sound in gaming and especially first person shooters means you get a slight advantage by being able to identify where people are at more accurately. Identifying where people are or where they are shooting from means a better awareness of their location.

I also checked out full surround sound movies like Avatar and really enjoyed listening to the full sound field available using the surround sound. The vFree headset worked perfectly for all the uses I tried including making some phone calls but environmental noise does slip in a bit.

The microphone is a simple hole on the right ear piece so you can get a little extra noise form your surrounding when using the microphone but it was not that bad. Voice came over clear even if you do hear a little extra noise from the same room and the microphone does work well for both gaming communication and for use as a smartphone headset and microphone.

I highly recommend the Velodyne vFree as a fantastic Bluetooth headset that is not only comfortable but sounds fantastic for both stereo audio and surround sound. The only disadvantage I found with the vFree headset is the cost at about $175 currently at Amazon.

vFree @ Velodyne

Velodyne vFree @ Amazon

Pros
Fantastic sounding headset
Clear highs and mid tones, deep bass
comfortable and light weight

Cons
Cost is a bit high

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

The Razer Tiamat is the first true 7.1 gaming headset for analog connection to your computer to deliver full surround sound audio from ten discrete drivers in the ear cups for a true positional advantage.

Ease of Use, Performance: 23/25
Look & Feel: 20/25
Features 24/25
How much I enjoy 24/25
Total: 91/100

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Razer has released the first true 7.1 surround sound headset that includes ten discrete drivers in the two ear cups for a true surround sound experience. The Razer Tiamat 7.1 is a true surround sound headset with five discrete drivers in each ear piece and connects to your computer using the five analog audio connections and a USB for power.

The Razer Tiamat comes with the headset with inline controller, mini USB adapter, extra ear piece covers, certificate of authenticity and user’s manual all in a really nice box. The Razer Tiamat 7.1 has the inline controller with a large dial for volume control and a smaller dial switch for volume control of the individual speaker channels.

The controller also has the mute button, external speaker button and 7.1 button for switching between 2.0 and 7.1 audio as well as a connection for an adapter that connects a speaker set to the controller. The addition of a connection on the controller to add external speakers means no disconnecting your analog audio connections to switch between the headset and speakers.

The headset ear pieces have a smoked but clear plastic over the drivers so you can see the five speakers inside each ear piece but you can also use the additional covers to hide them. These side covers use four magnets to attach to the sides but I find the looks just fine without the black covers.

Whats in the Box

The sides of the Razer Tiamat also have the green glowing Razer logo, it had to be somewhere, on each ear piece for good looks while most of the rest of the headset is black. The headband has some green stitching but the main band that connects the headset is made from a dark gray plastic while the controller and cable is black.

The Razer Tiamat uses one of the five analog connections for a microphone which works very well for gaming and chat communication. The Tiamat microphone is a unidirectional boom microphone that retracts into the left head piece for convenient storage when not in use.

I had no problem’s hearing myself talking over chat and Skype as well as over a game using a couple of computers for in game chat and voice as a test. The microphone gives clear voice over the computer for general voice using onboard sound but is much better when using a dedicated sound card.

Like many things with computers the addition of a dedicated sound card adds a lot of quality to your sound experience and makes the headset a better one. I had no problems other than one I will mention shortly with USB power using both onboard sound and an Auzen X-Forte sound card with the Razer Tiamat.

Cables, Controllers & Contoller

The headset has a stretch cord band that rests on top of your head as well as a larger plastic band that helps to keep the headset snug on your head. This two band system works well and helps to keep the headset comfortable while also keeping the ear pieces snug.

The ear cushions are replaceable but due to the newer release they may not be up on the site as yet, the headsets themselves are even backordered as of this writing. It seems that the Razer Tiamat is a highly wanted item and I can see why just reading other reviews but the real test is using it yourself.

The Razer Tiamat connects to your computer using the four analog connections that are your center, side, front and rear speakers with another analog connection for microphone and the USB for power. I will say this and try to emphasize this in my review that the headset quality depends mostly on this USB power connection.

I connected the headset to one motherboard surround sound and had a problem right off the bat with noise when no audio was playing and this continued to the next motherboard that I tried. I had purchased a new motherboard and after some setup during the trial period with the Razer Tiamat I swapped the motherboard out on my main work computer.

Controller

I tried the new Tiamat on this motherboard, an Asus Sabertooth 990FX, thinking it would have both a better onboard audio and better USB but I still had noticeable noise. After some checking with another computer and other things like a tablet and Google Chrome book I figured out that it was the USB powered part of the headset that was introducing the noise.

I cleared this up by connecting the USB power to an adapter instead of my computer and got rid of all noise over the headset, they work great once you get rid of the noise. I found a few other reviews that also have this same issue and corrected it simply by using an external USB power adapter and this issue is addressed on the Razer Tiamat website.

You can use the Tiamat with a stereo output from devices like an iPhone or MP3 player using the single stereo front speaker connection but you do need a USB power source. I found it easy enough to use the speakers on a Google laptop with the single stereo output and the single USB connection that the Chrome book has for the power source.

The Tiamat uses the five discrete or separate drivers in each headset so you have the surround sound with full 7.1 surround which means some great positional gaming. I had a true positional sound while gaming and had no problems telling where to point my weapons while playing games like Battlefield 3.

5 Discrete Drivers Per Ear

The Gaming was fantastic and truly 7.1 surround sound which really adds to the gaming experience, movies are also great but the Tiamat really excels at gaming. The discrete drivers give you real 7.1 surround sound but you will usually not tell the specific speakers playing at any one time during gameplay or movies.

I tried the Razer Tiamat with several games including Battlefield 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Crysis 2 along with movies like Transformer 3 and Black Hawk Down. All the movies and gaming I threw at the Razer Tiamat turned out really well and I thoroughly enjoyed all the experiences with the 7.1 headset.

The Razer Tiamat really works well during gaming and gives you not only a much better gaming experience but can really help in gaming for first person shooters. Playing on Battlefield 3 I could tell much better where the enemies were and could use the positional sound to help in getting more kills and even defend myself better.

Even though the Razer Tiamat does have a problem with noise from a poorly grounded USB connection it does work extremely well for a full 7.1 surround sound headset. I have used other expensive and really good headsets that also have this problem of noise form poor USB grounds and this is an easy one to fix for the Razer Tiamat by simply using an external USB power adapter.

The Razer Tiamat costs about $180 but for the full 7.1 surround sound using discrete drivers and is really worth the cost as an excellent gaming and entertainment headset. I highly recommend the Razer Tiamat for a top of the line full 7.1 surround sound headset that sounds excellent and is very comfortable for long gaming sessions.

http://www.razerzone.com/tiamat/en