Sony has continued their trend with the releasing a brand new headset in the Sony Pulse Wireless Stereo Headset. While last year’s model of the PlayStation Wireless Stereo Headset is available with the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of $99.99 and its impressive features, some could wonder what would justify the additional fifty dollars added to the price tag (MSRP $149.99) or simply upgrade to get the new model just released. Well, looks can be deceiving because with its new features, this new model serves as a better version of what was released a year ago.
Let’s take a look at the specs of what the Pulse headset offers. Just like the previous model, it features 7.1 Surround Sound, microphone for speaking, a built in rechargeable battery via USB plug and Blu-tooth connectivity through a USB plug that comes with the headset.
The 7.1 surround sound works just as terrific with the PlayStation 3 for games. Hearing explosions surrounding around me to having jet planes sound if they are flying past me, all coming in crystal clear. For movies I used the headset while watching Marvel’s The Avengers on Blu-Ray with my PlayStation 3, in which dialogue was clear and understandable and every action scene felt. But we’ll get to more about that later.
What differentiate here are the little changes. Such as for the original headset, the input for the USB cord was in near the back left ear, the Pulse version has it’s underneath the lower left ear speaker. I would use my old headset while gaming and when a recharge was needed, I would plug in my cord behind the headset, which would lead to an awkward feeling of having the cord almost wrap around me in an uncomfortable way. Being able to plug in from the bottom solves this.
Also included is the now hidden noise cancelling microphone. No longer will you have to retract and extend the Mic for speaking clearly with other people. I was able to use this with the PlayStation 3 and on my computer with programs such as Skype each time with no problem with other people able to hear me clearly. This is also due to the plug and play feature with the headsets’ USB plug that it comes with, which itself has a small jack to plug into also.
Now while the Pulse headset includes all the features mentioned before, it also boasts a few new features as well.
While the first headset has a Volume and Voice to Game slider to mute or boost one or the other, the new Pulse headset has this but also features an extra slider on the right ear piece to control the level of bass in the headset. There are certain presets available to switch from different modes such as “Fighting” “Racing” “Shooters” “Music” and so forth. A nice feature, which works as sort of a virtual equalizer. And good news for PlayStation Vita owners, as this headset can be used with.
One of the new main features is the BassImpact technology which according to Sony lets you feel the sound. This works when bass frequencies are detected the surrounding area around the earpiece will pulse and vibrate the headset. Hence to let you “feel the sound”. This is an interesting feature especially when playing games or watching movies with huge explosions or listening to music with lots of low end. I used this feature while listening to Fear Factory’s classic Demanufacture album which features former drummer Raymond Herrera’s use of triggers on his bass drums. I surprisingly found it to be very accurate. This can even work when plugged into a music player, which surprised me very much.
The only way to listen to audio and essentially use the first Stereo headset was through the USB plug that came with it. While the new Pulse headset also works this way, this model now has an optional 3.5mm audio jack which can be used for most music players and phones through auxiliary cable. This makes it so that you are not (virtually) chained to just your console or wherever you happen to be but can also be used on the go. Another interesting feature is that the USB plug also contains an audio jack for use on televisions which gives you the option to listen to your television remotely.
One of the most improved features is actually somewhat cosmetic. The new Pulse headset looks a bit sleeker and sits comfortably over your ears and does not feel overly bulky.
One of the biggest gripes I have though with this headset is the same I had with the previous one. As I mentioned earlier, the main option to use the Blu-tooth with the previous model was through the USB link. The same is here unfortunately. Lose it, and you could be out of luck using the Blu-Tooth features previously stated. So take caution to this. Also the placement of some of the features could have you taking off the headset at first use, or at least until you learn where what is.
Overall the new Pulse is a fantastic product. Sony does know how to make some impressive hardware and this new headset shows it. If you are in the market for a terrific gaming headset for your PlayStation 3 or just one for movies, music and everyday use in general, you can’t go wrong picking this one up.
Sony Pulse Wireless Headset gets a 9/10