As with the Corsair Vengeance 1500, I tested the same six PC games with the SHOCK One. Since DTS Surround Sensation does not have a setting for games, I tested each game with the “Movie” setting. While playing I listened for two things, immersion and audio position. So, was I sucked into the game’s universe, and could I tell the difference between audio cues in front, to the side, and behind me.
For every game I played, immersion was on point, besides Saints Row: The Third (SR3). There are a lot of explosions in SR3, like blowing up helicopters, shooting 4 missiles from a VTOL at tanks on the ground, and shooting a rocket launcher at rival gangs, but each explosion just lacked impact on the SHOCK One. I tried EQ’ing, and adjusting the sliders on DTS Surround Sensation, but I wasn’t able to achieve the proper impact. Other than that minute detail, the SHOCK One with DTS Surround Sensation provided an immersive experience in games.
Despite great immersion, the SHOCK One didn’t fare so well positioning audio cues. I performed the same tests on the SHOCK One as I did on the Vengeance 1500 to measure position simulation. I’d find a static sound (mostly fire), close my eyes, and turn around in circles or varying patterns to see if I could determine my direction in relation to the sound based on audio alone. With the SHOCK One I was unable to accurately pinpoint my location based solely on what I was hearing. The times I did get it right is when I subconsciously cheated, counting the number of swipes I made with the mouse, and deducing my position based on original position + how far I turned with the mouse.
It was surprising when I was unable to accurately track my position. So I decided to take a look at the SHOCK One’s interface, maybe there was a setting I overlooked. The only options are on or off for pretty much every setting. Nothing that could aid in positioning. Next I checked out the Windows configuration for the headset. I was surprised to find that the only speaker configuration option available for the headset is Stereo. Now things started to make sense. For instance, the Vengeance 1500 was able to achieve great positioning by allowing you to pick 5.1 and 7.1 in the Windows speaker configuration. This allowed the simulation software to better reproduce where the sounds should be. But the SHOCK One only receives a Stereo input, so it has to simulate the same effect from less data. Leading to a degradation in positioning.
Although, positioning isn’t everything in most games. All of the games I played, I was perfectly happy with the sound from the SHOCK One, I didn’t even notice the positional issues until I actively looked for them. But if you are playing a game where position is really important (Counter-Strike), then the SHOCK One may not be for you.
If you listen to a lot of music, immediately take the velvet earpads off and put on the felt. While the velvet earpads feel nice, and provide an overall sleek look, they are terrible for reproducing sound. But trouble with music on the SHOCK One won’t end with the earpads. The EQ will be your best friend in your quest to get good sound from the headset. Above are my EQ settings for felt and velvet earpads. The felt get a boost on the low and high ends, while keeping the mid pretty flat. The velvet earpads need much more of a high boost, and even a mid boost. They are really muddy and overall just a bad idea. Even in games, the velvet earpads were disappointing.
The oldies but goodies are back, The Fast and the Furious, and The Punisher are my goto movies. Both have a lot of explosions, fight scenes, car chases, and anything else you’d need in an action movie. On the SHOCK One, each sounded fantastic. DTS Surround Sensation’s Voice Clarification feature definitely clears up dialog. Long gone are the echoey effects of Dolby Headphone that make dialog sound distant. Although as with games, the SHOCK One doesn’t accurately reproduce the surround effect in movies. While most people are unlikely to notice what sound belongs in what speaker, it is worth noting that position is difficult to discern.
The microphone on the SHOCK One is not very sensitive. For example, if I’m using Vent, and put the SHOCK One’s mic at full volume, I have to lower the auto talk sensitivity in Vent to 5. On the other hand, with the Vengeance 1500’s mic on full volume, the auto talk sensitivity can be set around 30. So what’s the big deal? Well, the lower you set the sensitivity in Vent, the more likely it is going to pick up random noises, or other things in your surrounding. But since the sensitivity of the mic on the SHOCK One is so low, you pretty much have to always have it transmitting in order for people to hear you on Vent.
For quality, the SHOCK One’s mic isn’t the best. While it picks up clear audio, there is quite a bit of static in the background. Over the weeks that I used the SHOCK One, no one ever complained about the static, but it’s there, and worth noting. As always, below is a audio sample of the SHOCK One’s mic, along with other headsets I’ve reviewed. So you can directly compare quality. It is worth noting that all headsets are wired besides the Logitech and Razer.
Tt eSPORTS SHOCK One
I had quite the battle with the SHOCK One and comfort. It took me awhile to find the right balance where I could even wear the headset for more than a couple hours. The ear pads naturally bend in a bit more than standard headsets. I think this is because the headset neatly folds up. But because of the larger bend, the ear pads tend to put pressure around the bottom of my ears, against the jaw. This made it a bit more difficult to talk quietly, since my jaw was a bit restricted. Also the cushion under the headband is pretty hard. There were countless times that the top of my head became sore from the constant pressure of the cushion.