A Closer Look
Saitek's Cyborg 5.1 Headset is part of their new Cyborg line of gaming peripherals. From their website: "Cyborg: Games controllers designed so perfectly you won't know where you end and the hardware takes over. Controllers with reflexes as fast as your own. Controllers that fit you better than a glove. And which look so good that you'll want to show them off. The Saitek Cyborg range takes gaming performance to new levels, improving control, heightening the senses and helping you realize their true potential."
The headset is smaller than the last few cover-the-ear gaming headsets I've had. Size is kind of a trade-off, larger headsets are more padded and have more space inside of the earpiece, which makes them more comfortable for all-nighters, but I find them just too big. The Cyborg headset is a nice compact size, which reminds me of older headsets from back in the day. They are sufficiently padded, with vinyl on the head cushion, and a crushed velour on the earpads. The earpads are removable, to allow handwashing after a long sweaty LAN party.
The cans (earpieces) are made of thick very shiny black plastic and are vented. The venting is a very cool idea, I have a problem with ear infections, and wearing cover-the-ear headsets really irritate my ear canals due to moisture. The vented cans give me the ventilation of over the ear headsets, but the privacy of cover-the-ear.
Unfortunately, I could find no specifications for the speakers themselves, or the headset's frequency range. There are three speakers per can, approximately 3.5cm, 3cm, and 2cm. After spending some time listening, I'd say that the frequency range is the standard 50Hz to 20kHz.
If you'll notice, the headpiece is at a slight angle to the cans. Looking at them, you'd think that the angle is in the wrong direction, the angle points toward the face rather than toward the back of the head, but it makes them very comfortable. If you have ever worn headsets with little padding for many hours on end (something I did in the US Army), you know that they really irritate the top of your head. The Cyborg headset does not cause that.
The inline control is for the headset in 5.1 mode. There is a switch for stereo/5.1, a mute button, and buttons for volume +/-. There are also two 3.5mm jacks, one for mic, and one for stereo use in non-5.1 applications. There is a wheel-type volume control on the side for stereo use.
The cable is a nice long 6 feet. Plenty of length there, I can't stand headphones with short cables, I like to put my keyboard in my lap, lean back, and kill enemies, and it is a pain to be controlled by a short cable. I've seen headsets with cables as short as 3 feet.
The mic is of a flexible gooseneck style, 6" long. The jack is 2.5mm. It plugs into the left earpiece. The design is well thought out, and works well. It is designed for noise-cancelling, to kill ambient noise.
Finally, the case. I have a $130 set of gaming headphones that came with no type of case whatsoever, and a $99 set that came with a fairly cheap drawstring bag. The Cyborg comes with a fitted hard case. The inside is padded and lined in a crushed material, the exterior is covered in Cordura. The case is closed by a zipper. Set this case down in front of you at a LAN party, and you definitely look like a professional gamer. Included is an installation manual and a driver disk.
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