Digital Gaming Headset OT-8

Review

posted 9/10/2007 by Randy Kalista
other articles by Randy Kalista
Platforms: PC
Strictly for the gamers, the OTTO Digital Gaming Headset (model OT-8) wraps solid sound around financially-savvy buyers. With no-sweat plug-and-play functionality, you won’t fidget with batteries or hassle with additional software; and all it asks for in return is an open USB port.
 
The 40mm Neodymium speakers keep a majority of soundtracks, sound effects, and human speech buoyant, audible, and clean.  And with OTTO’s SRS (Sound Retrieval System) disengaged, the lows, mids, and highs keep well-afloat of each other, easily maintaining a zen balance of sound. This setting is ideal for music listening, although flipping that SRS switch to “on” will undoubtedly bring out an ear-opening dimension to your gaming soundscape. 
 
This SRS switch is embedded into the right earpiece, and a solid click from “off” to “on” results in a dynamic and instantaneous shift in your aural experience. The mid range gains an exponential boost, and while it trims away the crispy skin, it also pushes sound much deeper into the center of your cranium. A particularly dry kick sound can find its way all the way down to your throat. The sacrifice of clarity is worth it in a video game laden with meaty and explosive sound effects, but will either distance human speech or nearly introduce a hollow reverb into the mixture. This reverb can be manipulated to minimum and maximum levels with the Surround dial at the front of the right earphone; rolling Surround to higher levels quite evidently spreads out the sound around your ear, and rolling Surround down to lower levels will create a more focused, seemingly centered point of origin.   The bass range is warm throughout, and certain low frequencies will inadvertently put some “rumble” into your earphones (just enough to open your eyes), but again, engaging the SRS tends to sweep all but the most pronounced bass stylings into the background.
 
The left earphone has a “plus” and “minus” button embedded into it for quick volume shifts, which work in tandem with your computer’s master volume control. Completely maxing out both ends, however, proves just how aware and confident this headset is of its own capabilities: High volume sound distortion is virtually non-existent.
 
The cushy earphones cusp themselves comfortably about the circumference of your ear, keeping a firm fix on their placement, while the soft-padded overhead band alleviates much of the weight from your ears altogether. A couple hours of straight usage will earn you a trench of “headphone head” across the width of your hair, but this is an across-the-board price to pay for over-the-head sets. And also, as with any all-encompassing noise-cancelling earphones, the inner rims of your ears will grow warm with continuous usage. Another grand contributor to the comfort factor is the generous length adjustments you can pull out of the wide-opening and flexible headband. Even larger craniums (like mine) should have length to spare.
 
The noise-cancellation boom microphone maintains its poise on a limber cable that also boasts admirable rotary range, handles vocals with steady composure, but is susceptible to an expected amount of “wind” noise if you’re a heavy breather or have a fan spinning nearby.
 
- (Speakers) Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20KHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Signal to Noise Ratio: Better than 58dB@1KHz
- Headphone Sensitivity: 96dB
- (Microphone) Sensitivity (at 1KHz): -40dB



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The biggest selling point on this commendable headset is the level of sound handling that’s placed directly in your hands with the Sound Retrieval System. Coupling the SRS with the smoothly adjustable Surround capabilities grants users tangible manipulation of the sound’s origin in the earphone; but no singular setting is universally ideal, especially when tweaking said SRS settings. “Ideal” for gaming, however, is probably somewhere in the attainable “teeth chattering” range. If restraint is your middle name, however, then the default settings orchestrate themselves beautifully without adjustment. No corners were cut in terms of comfort, and the price is certainly right.


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