Vibras 5.1 XBox 360 Headset

Review

posted 4/13/2010 by Ben Berry
other articles by Ben Berry
One Page Platforms: Multiple
Thankfully, that’s the only major thing wrong with the unit. After a few nights of Star Wars Galaxies, I turned my attention to NHL 2010. While it isn’t a game where surround sound plays a major role, I wanted to focus on the microphone and XBL features before I got really in depth into the sound. While any headset is an improvement over the XBL headset that ships with the 360, the Vibras 5.1 is clearly head and shoulders above the included unit. I found the audio to be clearer (even if the overall quality isn’t better), and the microphone seemed to pick up my voice far better and stayed in place longer.
 
I recently installed a RCA surround sound system in our living room and followed a lot of the same testing rituals I do with the headsets. So I knew exactly where my DVD of Top Gun was when I went to test the Vibras 5.1. There isn’t a better way to test surround sound than having an F-14 Tomcat go screeching from your right ear to your left ear and back the other direction a few seconds later. I still remember sitting in the theatre and feeling the jets coming from behind before I could see them on the screen, and I look for a similar (if less impressive) feeling when listening to the movie through surround sound units. I don’t really get it from my RCA system because of the size of the room and the relative lack of power from the system, but I did get it from the Vibras.
 
 
I experienced similar sound while playing several other 360 games (Halo 2, etc.) and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
 
The power of the sound in the Vibras 5.1 comes from the fact that the unit is powered by 5 drivers in each ear instead of using the Dolby headphone technology which imitates surround sound using delay and echoes. While the smaller drivers used to reach the higher audio ranges can sometimes sound tinny on higher volumes, I didn’t detect any distortion; even at volume levels that hurt my ears. Units with the Dolby headphone technology avoid the tinny sound because they’re using a single driver to provide all of the sound, but they often lack the crispness provided by multiple drivers. It’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make, especially as I prefer to have volume at a level that allows crisp sound without feeling overwhelmed.
 
While the hardware is overall very good, and provides clear sound, there’s one more problem; the price. Track-Scan lists the price at $249, and though I found the unit listed for $199 on several other websites, it’s simply priced too high. Even with the simple controls, the quality hardware, and the clear crisp sound, the TRITTON AX Pro is a better value at $179.99.
 
In the end, I can recommend this unit simply on audio quality alone; it’s phenomenal. I’d say it’s slightly better than the Astro A40 and at least on par with the TRITTON AX Pro. If you wear a size large hat or larger, you probably need to look somewhere else due to the pressure the unit puts on the ears. It’s too expensive to use as a replacement for the XBL headset unless you’re looking for a single solution for all of your sound needs (and have a smaller head).



B+
In the end, I can recommend this unit simply on audio quality alone; it’s phenomenal. I’d say it’s slightly better than the Astro A40 and at least on par with the TRITTON AX Pro. If you wear a size large hat or larger, you probably need to look somewhere else due to the pressure the unit puts on the ears.


Page 2 of 2