Now Ear This

April 20th, 2010 in .News & Events
Suds McSoapdish
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Headphone gaming is one mark of maturity among those keen on the pastime. After all, responsible gamers don’t want to disturb anyone while engaged, which is where headphones and headsets come in.

There’s always a “but”

Many a game lover claim headphones just don’t sound right, but that’s not the case at all. There are lots of fine headphones out there offering sound quality on a par with speakers, if not better if taking into account budget amplification. Plus they help one be a considerate person, so it’s all good.

One way headphones are innovating is the addition of force feedback, or rumble. Previously the reserve of game controllers and seats in select movie theaters, rumble has come to gaming headgear courtesy the ASUS CineVibe. These feature rumble packs in each side of the set, which vibrate in tandem with low range inputs during gaming and movies. Bass, explosions, shocks and impacts trigger the force feedback in CineVibe, resulting in an entertaining effect that should be a huge hit with those fond of more tactile gaming. 


Flat only when needed 

CineVibe has a generally more pronounced auditory range than your average headphones, so it’s more of a satisfying experience whether gaming or watching movies. Of course the surround effect isn’t nearly as complete as a fully-fledged sound setup, but as far as private audio goes, these are good, with impressive reproduction of most game and movie sound.

These headphones have some added points we should cover, because it seems they were designed with gamers in mind from the outset. The headband is dense Styrofoam, which is more flexible than the plastic used by generic headphones, plus the ear covers are breathable. Both handy for prolonged sessions and for alleviating “headphone fatigue syndrome”.

Fold flat

There’s also the fold flat design, seemingly inherited from more portable headset applications as seen in mobile devices. The CineVibe set can thus be packed away more conveniently, although their overall profile remains as big as that of regular headphones. They’re also USB-driven, which is generally better than the old analog 3.5mm jack, not in terms of sound quality, but for durability. A few violent tugs and pulls and an analog cord starts fraying inside, often leading to intermittent sound. USB is just more reliable, we find.

Personally, we recommend headphones for those looking to keep their habits private, and the CineVibe at least have a few novelties of genuine value to hobbyists, so check them out.  We hear the CineVibe will be out early may, retailing for around USD79 in North America. European prices yet to be confirmed.

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