Peripherally Speaking: Able Planet PS500MM Headset

I recently got a headset to review! I don’t know exactly how much there is to say about a headset in an intro, but I’ll try anyway. So, it’s got a microphone, and it’s got some cushy ear cushions, and you put it on your head and talk into it when you play games like Team Fortress 2 and Demigod, or when you’re having a Skype/Stickam party with a bunch of crazy drunks and Chooly is pinching his nipple on camera. I mean…what?

Hit the jump to see how this headset is.

I should begin this with a disclaimer. Due to my sensitive ears, I normally use a fairly expensive (but on sale on Woot!) over-ears headset, and that’s what I’m comparing this headset to. Additionally, the tests for this review were done over multiple sessions of Team Fortress 2 and a couple instances of Skype.

In terms of sound quality, the PS500MM is pretty solid. I didn’t have any clarity or breakup issues, but I did notice that actual sounds from the game seemed to be a little less crisp than I was used to. Teammates’ voices came through very clearly and cleanly, but all the explosions and gunshots and whatnot sounded just a bit dull. To be fair, the difference is fairly slight, but it was definitely noticable. It’s certainly not bad though. It’s just at a little bit of a lower, duller sound than you may be used to if you are already, but it’s not enough.

The microphone seemed to be very high quality. I got no complaints from anyone as I talked, and when I did a few recording tests myself the audio sounded extremely clear. This is definitely the strongest part of the headset — the microphone is fantastic quality for a headset. My only complaint is that there’s no place to easily store or stow the mic, which can make transportation of the headset slightly difficult. However, this is a very minor complaint, and doesn’t really detract from the overall quality of the headset.

Another nice thing is that the headset comes bundled with a USB converter, which makes hookup very simple. If your rig is pushed up close to the wall, or in an awkward place, it’s really convenient, especially if you use different headsets for listening to music vs. voice chat, or if you like to hook up actual speakers in certain situations.

Finally, in terms of comfort, I was a bit unimpressed with the actual pads of the headphones. They were a bit small, and didn’t fit entirely on my ear. Wearing them wasn’t a problem, but I found that after a two hour session, my ears would be fairly sore when I finally removed the headset. Again, I have somewhat sensitive ears and encounter this problem frequently when I use various headsets, but it’s definitely a huge minus for me. When I engage in my marathon gaming sessions, I don’t want to be in pain. It may just be my medium to large size ears, but I just didn’t like wearing them longer than twenty minutes.

If you can find this headset for $30 or under, it’s a great value. The microphone is great, and the sound quality, while not perfect, is certainly usable. The comfort level, at least for me, leaves something to be desired, but it’s managble, especially if you have small ears. Unfortunately, at what seems to be the retail price of almost $100, I can’t recommend this, but it will make a very nice entry-level headset, if you can find it at a discounted price.   

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