G.Skill SR910 & SV710 Headset Review
With the KM780 gaming keyboard and the MX780 gaming mouse, G.Skill proved they were serious about moving from memory into gaming peripherals. Now, they has entered the audio segment with their SR910 and SV710 gaming headsets—and that's an even bigger step for a company still finding its feet outside its core market.
G.Skill sent along the SV710 virtual 7.1-channel headset ($84) as well as the SR910 real 7.1-channel headset ($159), prices that mean the company wants its first audio products to compete with some of the better offerings from Logitech, Razer, Creative and others. For a company making its first foray into audio, where many consumers have very high standard and where some companies have been working to perfect their product for decades, that's a bold choice.
The two headsets share an identical frame that our reviewer found, in a word, bizarre. The elevated headband looks very strange no matter how you position the self-adjusting padding, leaving the top plastic piece floating an inch above your head. The padding on both is comfortable, and the two headset are differentiated by the colour scheme indicated by the stitching—black for the SV710 and red for the SR910.
The transparent earcups have an illuminated G.Skill logo, which casts light on the internal drivers and provides an interesting look for both models. One thing to note is that as with the plastic used for many PC components, the transparent coverings are a fingerprint magnet. The earcups themselves offer an excellent range of rotation, but not nearly enough angular adjustment. That means they leave a lot to be desired in terms of comfort.
Oddly, the more expensive SR910 is the less comfortable of the two headsets. With five drivers in each earcup, the SR910s are weighed down and feel inordinately heavy with even moderate use. Because the self-adjusting headband on both headsets is relatively loose, this is a real problem.
The low-profile microphone is retractable, a great feature that we're seeing on more headsets these days, and is flexible enough to fit with nearly any setup you wish. The microphones on both headsets appear to be the same model, and they sound pretty lousy. At this point, it's hard to see what separates the G.Skill headsets from the rest of the pack in terms of their hardware and fit.
The SV710 has an enormous in-line plastic volume control, and it feels cheap enough that our reviewer was concerns about its longevity in the face of repeated use. The SR910 features a larger desktop control hub that is a lot more useful as it allows fine control over the individual drivers in the headset.
That brings us to sound quality. Unfortunately, the drivers in both headsets leave a lot to be desired. That poor quality is especially evident on the SR910 precisely because of the fine control you have over the volume of individual outputs—isolation does these drivers no favours. There is little definition or positional awareness, even with five drivers in each earcup. They seem to be positioned closely enough that you lose all sense of audio cohesion, with muddy sound that loses detail at all frequencies.
The SV710 has one driver per ear, and actually sounds better than its more expensive sibling when used in straightforward stereo mode. Its reliable stereo reproduction even gives it better positional accuracy than the SR910, which is clearly not what G.Skill planned. Enabling virtual surround sound, however, completely kills the audio quality. And if it's straightforward stereo headphones you want, there are better options at lower prices.
The driver software from G.Skill gives you an adequate amount of control, but it resembles a Winamp skin circa 1998. With an uncomfortable frame, a lackluster microphone, and surround sound capabilities that hurt rather than help the soundstage, G.Skill may need to rethink their approach for their next generation headphone designs.
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