Sunday, July 4, 2010

TekNmotion PulseWave Gaming Headphones

Shortly after getting my first-ever-built PC up and running, I installed Steam and wanted to start gaming. Great, except for the fact that I didn't have headphones. I really didn't know much about headphones, but after searching around a while, I found the TekNmotion PulseWave. The only problem? They were sold out. Everywhere. I found a site that had one pair left, which made me so freaking happy you cannot believe...but needless to say, you probably aren't going to be able to buy this model again unless TekNmotion decides to make more. (I do believe Amazon UK has some now, but very few...)

So why did I want them? To be honest, I saw that they lit up blue, and that really had me hooked. The picture showed Red, Green, and Blue lights on the side of each ear, and the blue looked amazing to me. Also, it has a choice of either USB or standard for input, which I love, just because it could be very, very handy in the future. Lastly, this particular product seemed to get good reviews everywhere I looked, with only a few people saying there were some flaws, but overall good.

Describing my experience opening the headphones....well, literally less that 2 minutes after opening the box, I tried to adjust the headphones to try them on, and a plastic piece broke off. This piece is purely cosmetic, it just hides where the fabric meets the plastic, but it snapped off nonetheless, making me very, very sad. I don't think I just forced it and broke it on my own accord. I genuinely think that it was stuck. After all, I had searched the entire internet for these headphones, then waited weeks for them to ship: I wouldn't force it because I was excited.

ANYWAY, getting past that whole horribly depressing ordeal....after I convinced the tiny OCD part of myself that it was ok that the headphones would not be symmetrical, I actual loved the PulseWave. First off, they are comfy and have good noise cancellation. Secondly, the mic detaches at the left ear, so when I'm not using it, instead of flipping it up, I can actually take it off and put it in a drawer. The main complaint I've read about these headphones is that the Mic breaks easily, but I haven't found that to be the case. And plus, since the mic detaches and uses a 1/4" connection to the headset, it should be pretty easy to replace, if and when it ever dies.

Next, the cord length is great. It's got a 6.5' cord, so it can easily reach around your computer, if that is the case. In addition, it has a little control box that allows you to adjust the volume, lights, input, and rumble (which I guess I'll talk about next). It also has a "Mute mic" button, which makes me feel better, knowing that I have physical control over whether or not my mic is live.

I mentioned rumble, so let me talk about that. But first, let me talk briefly about the lights. From the picture. I imagined it being a constant blue light. Or even just a blue light. But instead, what the PulseWave does is light up the 3 different colors (blue, red, and green) depending on the harshness of the sound going through the headphones. So if you play heavy metal, it will probably be red all the time, whereas classical might be more green or blue. This was a dissapointment to me. Why? Because I like blue. And I wanted blue. And I just didn't even think about the possibility of it changing lights. I though maybe you could choose what color you wanted, and then maybe it flashed that color to the sound. But no. So that was sad.

On to rumble! With the lights, the headset also rumbles with the sound, pretty much exactly like a rumble pack for the N64. (First thing that comes to mind...) I compare it to that because it's also optional. The lights and rumble are powered via USB. If you are using the USB connector, it takes the power through the miniUSB 2.0 connector. If you use the standard, two 1/4" red and green connectors for headphone and mic, it also comes with a little box you can put AAA batteries in and connect via miniUSB, and power your lights and rumble from batteries.

Overall, the lights and rumble features seemed extra for me; even the lights were a bonus, and though they didn't work the way I wanted, I still love the headset. It works great, doesn't get annoying to wear after hours of gameplay, and it....well, it just works. Like I said, I'm not that picky when it comes to gaming gear. I don't necessarily require a Razer or any other of those *coughoverpricedcough* brands that are uber duper specially designed. The PulseWave works great, and that's enough for me.

I guess I should also say that it has a Dolby 7.1 surround sound whatever when it comes to I said, if it works. I love it. But the USB sound quality ain't bad either.

One last note I'd love to share...another reason I love the PulseWave is the source select on the control box on the cord. Since I don't use the USB, it basically works as a mute switch for me. I split the audio out of my PC between my Altec Lansing speakers and my PulseWave using a cheap 1/4" splitter I picked up for $1 off eForCity, then I plug the PulseWave's microphone plugged into the microphone port. Boom presto: a toggle-able system. If I want to use my speakers, I flip the switch on my headset to "USB" and turn on my speakers. If I want to use my headset, I flip the switch to "Standard" and turn off my speakers. It's not spectacularly amazing, but I just love the fact that I don't have to switch cords in the back of my case or deal with more than one audio device on my PC.

So yeah, I love this headset. The only downside that I can think of is that the earpieces are a tad small. I have small ears, and they feel a tad constrictive on me. Other than that, if the mic holds out, I'll be gaming with these headphones for years to come.

Can you hear me now? (I already used that one...) Um.....boom headshot?


[UPDATE 9-20-11]
These headphones were great.....while they lasted. Unfortunately, the plastic on both sides eventually cracked and now they are on their way out. I think this is a problem that I produce, since the exact same thing happened to my Skullcandy Hesh.

The only thing that did disappoint me is that the microphone broke shortly before the phones themselves. I'm not entirely sure if it was the tiny microphone itself, or the connector, but I was very very delicate with it. So if you'd ask me right now if I'd say it's worth buying.....I'd still say yes. It's an awesome pair of headphones.

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