When I was kid (not telling when so don’t ask) any headphones worth their salt were big.
Really BIG! But ever since then with the invention of the iPod and the infinitely annoying five pence piece things have been getting smaller. Smaller, but in my honest opinion, not always better.
You see Apple can tell us until they’re blue in the teeth about how great their latest in ear buds are that have been generously packed in with their new handset. The truth is they’re feeding us a line. But usually by the time you realise you’ve been duped once more it’s too late and you’re left with two ear pieces designed for the inner lobes of any mammal other than a human being, a cable that is measured to be precisely one inch shorter than is required, and most importantly a sound that renders the efforts of any self-respecting musician utterly pointless.
So I was delighted when I opened the box of the Vibration Headset XT+ by Venom to find that these headphones are big! But Good big. Like an extra-large plate at a single visit buffet. They perfectly fit around my ears and have great vertical and lateral flexibility (the headphones not my ears) making them versatile enough to fit any human head (Apple take note!). The ear cups and adjustable head support are also generously padded, perhaps even better than, my pair of studio monitoring headphones which were a long hike, a bus trip and whole plane ride more expensive than these sub £40 phones.
The unit is designed to work with PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Mac (Xbox ONE is not listed). In my case for this review I was using an Xbox 360 and setup was a piece of cake.
The cables provided were sensibly long (3.85m) and suitable for pretty much any setup whether you’re coming out of a 3.5mm socket or red/white phono output. The in-line remote control is a nice touch and handles game/chat volume independently as well vibration intensity and mute for the microphone.
Once your audio cables are plugged in the only other cable to attach is the usb which supplies power to drive the unit and to the attractive venom logo’s on each side that light up a warm red colour when in use. If you wish to use the adjustable microphone then that plugs into the left cup and there is a small jack that connects to your consoles controller. The one point I’d mention about the microphone is that the poor thing seems to have some confidence issues. In my case I found that after a short period of use it tended to droop down away from my mouth. It’s not a big deal... I’m sure it happens to all microphones...
The title feature that this headset really sings about is the vibration functionality. I have to admit I had my doubts, but fortunately the XT+ doesn’t shake your head like a Michael Schumacher skiing simulator. No it’s subtle, providing more of a delicate rumble that adds to the exciting in game moments without detracting from the experience. It’s clever and well worth the price of admission.
So strangely enough the last thing I’ll talk about in this audio peripheral review is the quality of the... audio. You see I wanted to get everything else out of the way first because all those other things are, well... far less important (Don’t tell the microphone I said that. He’s already way too self-conscious).
The sound is the point of the product... And it’s marvellous! I’m literally stunned at the frequency response. Like any speaker, push them too far and they’ll slap you for it, but these babies are pretty tolerant and can withstand volume levels that are well beyond what’s comfortable for my (admittedly verging on the side of ‘Life: Scene 1 - Act2’) ears.
The trebles are crisp, the basses are deep, the rumble is subtle and the effect is added depth of immersion. It’s exactly what you’re after when using a pair of headphones for gaming; a closer connection to the world you’re in. The Vibration Headset XT+ at just £38 is an incredibly generous offer from Venom to us gamers, not a feeling we’re used to in more modern times and one that is greatly appreciated.
40mm Speaker Drivers - superior sound clarity to enhance your gaming experience
30mm Vibration Speaker Drivers - featuring rich bass and vibration technology to fully
Immerse you into the game like never before
Inline Volume Control Unit - ergonomically designed control for in-game volume
Adjustments, online chat audio and vibration sensitivity
Soft Cushioned Headband and Ear Cups - for maximum comfort during gameplay
Neon Power Led Ear Cups - LED indicator gives power status
Adjustable Flexible Microphone - fully adjustable microphone for live in-game chat;
Detachable for easy storage
3.85 Metre Cable - with USB, RCA connectors and 2.5mm jack
UNIVERSAL - Compatible with PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Mac
Venom XT Vibration Headset
Build quality – 3.5/5
Sound Quality – 4.5/5
Value – 5/5 Overall 4.5/5