Usage and Testing
Setup is simple with both the TH and TH Pro. Since they are USB headsets, just plug in and they are ready to use. TekRepublic does include drivers for Windows 7/XP/Vista if your PC does not auto install them.
Now let’s get on to the important part, sound quality and performance. Starting with the TH Pro, first thing I noticed when I put them on is how light they are. This is important for headsets, especially if you plan on wearing them for extended periods. After getting everything adjusted, I started by testing out a few games. TekRepublic boasts a virtual 7.1 surround sound setup along with a 40mm driver for delivering deep bass and clear audio. So to put this to the test I fired up Counter-Strike since part of it relies on directional audio cues and sounds to be successful. The TH Pro performed admirably. The closed nature of the headset definitely assists in pinpointing certain sounds while keeping external sounds out. I also tested these out with Diablo 3, and again they performed fairly well. Audio was clear and the bass had a bit of a punch to it. When it comes to directional audio, the headset did its job.
Music and movies also work well and left me pleasantly surprised. I tested out the recently released Where the Trail Ends Blu-ray. The reason I used this is because the team behind it worked directly in conjunction with Dolby Laboratories to create a vivid and aggressive surround mix. The virtual surround worked well along with the soundtrack. For music, I listen to a wide range of music from heavy rock to electronic, and again the sound quality was good. Now they won’t replace my Sennheiser HD 600’s anytime soon; but for a primarily gaming focused headset you won’t be disappointed when using these to listen to music or watch movies.
The above impressions also apply to the TH version for the most part. Even though the headsets share the same specs in terms of audio, there was a noticeable difference for me. Due to the hinged ear cup design on the TH, it prevented them from fully encompassing my ear. I’m not sure if it’s due to the shape or size of my head, so this may not apply to everyone. Because of this there was some sound leakage, and the surround effect was not as pronounced.
Both headsets have the same uni-directional noise cancelling microphone, and it worked without any issues. In game chat in Counter-Strike worked fine, and it did a good job of not picking up background noises or static. The microphone again worked well using Ventrilo while playing Diablo 3. There were no complaints when it came to the sound quality from the people I normally play the game with.
Check out an audio sample of the headset below, along with the other recent headsets we’ve reviewed.
TekRepublic TH & TH Pro
After being a bit surprised with the audio, I was a little disappointed with the overall comfort of both headsets. The TH Pro is comfortable in short sessions, but once you get into an hour or more of wearing them, the pressure of the headband starts to take a toll. I’m not sure if it needed more padding or just a product of the overall design, the headset seems to apply quite a bit of pressure to the top portion of the head. On the other hand, the ear cups were comfortable and caused no noticeable discomfort.
I mentioned briefly about the design of the TH not really working well for me personally, and the same is true for overall comfort. Since the ear cups were not resting fully over my ears, it caused excessive pressure along the side of my head. That coupled with the non-padded head strap left me needing to remove them after about 20 minutes of wearing them. Again this can be entirely subjective for the person wearing them, so some may have no issues when it comes to comfort with the TH version.