Back in February, Venom announced a new headset called the Vibration Headset XT, and luckily for us, we were able to get our hands on it soon after launch. The Vibration Headset XT was designed to be incredibly versatile, offering gamers a chance to use the same headset on multiple consoles. Though the idea is not brand new, the Vibration Headset XT adds plenty of features to give you the best gaming experience possible. Let’s take a closer look at this new headset in the gaming hardware space.
The headset itself is powered by 40mm drivers, which give it plenty of power. Unfortunately, the headset is not Dolby certified, nor can the headset process Dolby digital sound. These advanced features that are being touted came at the cost of versatility. Sure, you can use this headset with most consoles, but directional sound and advance sound processing was the cost. It doesn’t mean that the headset can’t fill the ear cups with rich, full sound. It does mean that if you are looking for a serious gaming headset with the ability to hear sounds directionally, this is probably not the headset for you. Luckily, Venom understood the situation and priced this headset accordingly. In the end, the headset makes the most sense for gamers that don’t play first-person shooters. In any other genre of game, the sound directionality does not factor into the gameplay as heavily, and it allows the headset to focus on other tasks that it is better suited for.
The Venom Vibration Headset XT offers gamers a full range of features, some of which are found in the top headsets on the market. The set comes with a powerful set of 40mm drivers that deliver a clear and strong signal. These have plenty of punch, so you can play these as loud as you want without sacrificing quality. There is a fully adjustable and removable mic that plugs in on the bottom of the headset. The mic works great and allows you to place it anywhere you want it to. However, the mic plugs into the bottom of the cups, so it needs to do a lot of stretching to get it near your mouth. Generally, the mic has a hard time stretching where it needs to and has a tendency to slip downwards. Most headsets resort to using a solid mic boom, which would have solved the problems with this mic. Even if the mic port was moved closer to the front of the cup, it would have required a lot less stretching for the mic and improved performance.
The headset also has in-line controls for line and chat volume, as well as a chat cable for the Xbox 360. The chat cable is hardwired to the in-line box so you’ll never lose it, which is a great feature and definitely unique to this model. In addition to the cabling from the in-line box, the end of the main cable has a USB plug and two RCA cables with a patch-through that gives you the flexibility of using this headset with multiple consoles. You may not always use every plug, but they are all hardwired so you never have to swap-and-store anything with this headset. Everything is right on the cord, which makes this very convenient and allows you to swap consoles quickly and easily.
Perhaps the most unique feature is the addition of a separate and dedicated 30mm vibration speaker in each cup. Whenever you encounter a game with a lot of bass, especially something that explodes or rumbles, the headset vibrates to the bass. This is an interesting effect because, while not as strong as controller vibration, it does give a tactile feel to the sound you are hearing. It works well and offers something that most headsets don’t bring to the table. The vibration effect can be controlled from the in-line box so that if you find it overly annoying, you can just turn it off. We wouldn’t say this is something you couldn’t live without, but as part of a full-featured headset, it is great.
The Venom Vibration Headset XT retails for £40.80 (~62 US Dollars) and can be purchased on Amazon.co.uk. We know that since the product is sold in the United Kingdom, it provides US customers with a few more hoops to jump through to get this headset. However, take it from us when we say it is worth every penny. Even when you consider the extra shipping and the unfavorable conversion from US dollars to British pounds, you still get a great headset for less than $90. At this price range you would be hard-pressed to find anything that is as versatile and comfortable as this headset. Most console headsets are well over $100 dollars and are exclusive to a particular device. With the Vibration Headset XT, you get a headset that works with all of your gaming consoles, and that is the best way to game on a budget without spending a lot of money or giving up a lot of space. This device provided us with the best performance to value ratio of any headset we’ve ever tested. This is a remarkable headset, and if you want value, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Ease of Use / Comfort: 9
If this category was strictly based on comfort, the headset would get a 10. This headset is one of the most comfortable headsets we’ve tested. The cups come with a soft cloth covering that sits over the ears. The cups also twist and pivot to allow them to adjust to any size head. You can even invert one of the cups if you just want to listen to something quickly without putting the headset on. The main strap is nicely padded with a faux-leather wrap that is very soft and sits well on top of your head. Again, it is very comfortable to wear and even after long periods of gaming, you forget that you have them on your head. They are very light and do a great job of giving you the performance you need without getting in your way.
Unfortunately, the problems come in with ease of use. Since the headset works on a number of different consoles, each console requires a different variation on how to install the headset. Some variations require cables or adapters that aren’t included in the packaging. Granted, the adapters necessary to make it work only cost us about $2.00 from the local electronics distributor, but having that part of the OEM box would have made this a much more painless experience. However, you do get everything you need for some console applications, and for those specific applications, the headset is very easy to use. This is especially true of PC installations. You simply plug-and-play; it’s as simple as that. It is worth noting that the Vibration Headset XT are self-powered through USB, so there are no AC adapters you need to worry about. The in-line control box even has a hard-wired Xbox 360 controller mic plug, so most needs are met and permanently attached to the headset. As we mentioned earlier, if you plan to use this device across all consoles, be prepared to make a quick additional order on Amazon. We found that the Playstation 3 installation requires a female Dual RCA to male 3.5 Stereo adapter to get it to work. This part is widely available, so if we convinced you to buy this and you have a PS3, grab an adapter when you place the order; it will save you some frustration.
Overall, the Venom Vibration Headset XT is an excellent headset. It is a very versatile and flexible headset. The ability to move your headset between consoles is a great feature to have, especially with most gamers today owning multiple consoles. The unit is self contained and assures you that no matter where you go, you will have a quality headset with all its wires in one location. Unfortunately, the headset does fall short in a few places, most notably the lack of Dolby digital processing or just lack of directional sound production. The mic port was also unfortunately placed under the ear cup, creating an awkward mic placement scenario. Finally, the headset doesn’t come with everything you need for every installation. We would have liked to see the few adapters you need come with the headset. However, for the entry level gamer, or at least for the non-FPS gamer, this is a great headset and one we here at New Gamer Nation highly recommend.