Gamers looking for a good immersive experience often depend on headphones over speakers. Speakers can be loud, but they're not as accurate as headphones can be, in an online multiplayer arena. Professional gamers also need a good microphone using which they can quickly signal to their teammates what their next move is going to be. With a speaker setup, there’s bound to be issues using a desktop microphone.
Creative, a brand known mostly for their sound cards in the past and recently for their multiple audio solutions for the mainstream audiences have launched a few products designed specifically for the gaming customer. The series of gaming headsets have been labeled Sound Blaster Tactic3D and the model we’re reviewing today is the Sigma.The Sound Blaster brand goes back more than two decades and it still lives today in the form of audio solutions. This is one of the newest products from that family.
Design and build quality
The first impression is that the Sigma is a very stylish headset. It looks way better than most mainstream headphones for music enthusiasts. The build is predominantly plastic with sturdy metal strips running deep inside the headband. There are a few, fairly sharp edges along the band, but nothing that will hurt you.
Comfy padding at the top of the headset
The Sound Blaster branding has been engraved inside each of the cans. The sides are transparent and the SB logo can seen from outside. The cans rotate sideways, so packing them and carrying them with you is really easy. The frame itself seems sturdy, so there’s little chance of accidental damage. Most headsets and headphones have a thin layer of padding that sits on your head when you wear them. In this case, the sides have plastic, but the foam padding at the top is thin and it ensures that it fits on the top of the head fine. The sides don’t make contact with your head.
A unique feature of the Sigma are the cables. The flat cables are less cumbersome and feel strong despite their weak appearance. The volume control unit is lightweight and has a clip-on feature. The earpads are of good quality and they just about manage to cover your ears fully.
The Sigma is powered by 50mm neodymium drivers, which have a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz, as claimed by Creative. The cans have an impedance value of 32Ohms, which is pretty standard for headphones. This makes them easy to drive. The detachable microphone has a response of 80Hz to 14kHz.
The DAC module that comes bundled with the Sigma
The Sigma can be used without a sound card, as it includes an external one that connects to your PC using USB. The contraption looks like a small USB extension cable with a microphone and headphone out on one side. Creative rates the module as THX ready setup. Personally, we’ve heard many standard compliant speakers and sound solutions, which are vastly different from each other. We’ll have to see how good the Sigma headphones really are with this module.
The volume control and microphone control on the flat cord
The detachable microphone also uses a 3.5mm jack and fits into the headphone on the left can. The control module that hangs off the cable can be clipped on to your shirt. It has a volume dial and a microphone-mute control as well. Remember that the cables also carry the audio input signal from the microphone.
The Sigma comfortably fits on the head, hence there’s no fatigue physically on the head or to the ears after long periods of listening. Put them on and there’s decent noise isolation the takes place, even without any music playing. Start playing some music and it’s apparent that these are a very bass-heavy set of headphones. There’s average levels of detail, but nothing spectacular that can be compared to a Rs.5,000 pair of headphones made for music enthusiasts.
Stylish and apt design for these gaming headsets
These are definitely not a very natural sounding set of earphones. They are highly emphasised on the lower part of the frequency range. The mids sound a little scooped, so the rich, thick sound of rhythm guitars in music in the rock and metal genres don’t sound so great. Ambient, techno and dubstep tend to sound decent, though all thanks to a very boomy bass. The bass is quite powerful and if you don’t wear the headphones tight, there’s some amount of vibration that the headphones generate. This is also very clear in tracks where a double bass drumming is more prominent. The highs aren’t very crispy, but the portion of the frequency range from the upper mid-range to the beginning of the highs seems louder than the rest.
All these characteristics may come across as being bad, but gamers aren’t exactly looking for true music quality and tone. Listen to a gamer’s audio setup and you’ll know that bass is important and so is sound separation. The sound staging on the Sigma is also similar. It’s easy to figure out what’s happening in the game. The microphone quality is average.
Drivers offer a whole bunch of features
The drivers allow for a whole bunch of tweaking that can make the headphones sound a tad better. Drivers aren't bundled but can be downloaded from Creative's site. They allow users to play around with the equalizer, add a more hollow feel to the sound and even change the tone of your voice.
The Sigma is not as a headphone for music enthusiasts. In fact, they sound way different than the other Creative earphones. For gamers however, it makes better sense. The audio module doesn’t do a lot for the headphone. Quality is decent, maybe a tiny bit better than an integrated sound solution on a motherboard but nowhere close to a full-fledged discrete sound card.
The Sigma – one of the Tactic3D gaming headsets from Creative
The Creative Tactic3D Sigma gaming headset sells for a MRP of Rs.5,399. It looks great and yes, you get good performance for gaming but besides that, it doesn’t do movies and music really well. It is a little overpriced for sure. A price tag of under Rs. 3,500 would make this a good buy.
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Oct 26, 2016
Oct 26, 2016