Are Premium Gaming Peripherals Worth Your Money?

Old School: The Boring Beige Mic

After using the Razer Megalodons and the Sennheiser PC 350s, I hooked up an old beige analog microphone to my computer and decided to give it a try instead of a dedicated headset to see if I was really dependant on a headset for my multiplayer gaming.

Single-player gaming is naturally a different story. If you primarily play single-player titles and don't need push-to-talk or any other sort of voice communication, a pair of headphones are a better investment than a gaming headset—that is, unless the computer is in your own space and you can hook up some decent speakers.

Predictably, using my desktop mic was easy enough—just plug it in and let Windows handle the audio processing. Unfortunately, because the microphone was low-end, it didn't do any noise reduction. Additionally, because it had to sit on my desk, it was farther away from my mouth than I liked, so my friends had trouble hearing me clearly while we were playing together. If I dared turn up the microphone gain too high, I would pick up feedback from my speakers, also sitting on the desk.

A high-end gaming headset isn't required for your gaming experience by any means, and it won't even make you a better gamer in the strictest sense (though many competitive gamers playing first-person shooters swear by the advantage of headphones). What a premium gaming headset does get you is a well-aimed balance between superior audio quality (and, in some cases, better positioning when someone is trying to sneak up on you) and superior voice quality in multiplayer games.

There's nothing more frustrating than teammates repeatedly asking you to speak up because they can't hear your warnings or instructions, and you don't want to be "that guy," who everyone else has to mute or turn down because their microphone is so poor.

In the end, it may not matter which headset you use for gaming, but if you spend much time listening to music, want to hear in-game sounds at peak clarity, and you want to be understood when speaking, you're likely better off dropping some cash for a premium headset. If you can compromise on audio or voice quality, more affordable headsets can get the job done just as well.

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  • plasmastorm
    Nice review on the Lachesis, Have one myself for arounf a year now. Can't say i've had any of the dust problems you described although I did once have to pull a hair out of the sensor.
    Trya good hard mouse mat rather than the fabric type that soak up dust.
    Im using a destructor pad from Razer and never been happier.
  • Anonymous
    just for the information, the 64bit problem can be solved by plugging the megalodon into a usb hub instead of directly to the pc. I havent had any issues since.
  • mi1ez
    Surely the XBox 360 should be in there as a gamepad...
  • mi1ez
    mi1ezSurely the XBox 360 should be in there as a gamepad...

    heh. You can tell who commented from the first page! *facepalm*
  • silicondoc
    The Saitek Cyborg keyboard is great. Lighting works especially well since you can choose regions for different coloring, which helps keeps your awareness of the keys at maximum in lighted conditions or at night.
    The keys feel good, plenty of feedback, and the wrist ledge is excellent as well as the slant angles allowed.
    It's heavy and well made compared to everything else nowadays.
    Keys do not wear off, and it is not a grease or debris magnet either.
    If you're not a tiny framed spindle handed geek, this is the one to get.
  • Anonymous
    Ah, Gaming Peripherals :bounce:

    I like Razer. Thanks to them I now have anger issues. I frequently smash my fist to my desk in a joyous manifestation of how much my hardware pleases me.
    I have actually cried once or twice.
    And because said hardware was so reasonably priced, I don't have money to replace it. Yay.
    That's probably because I bought this mouse for £42.99 and also the Razer Lycosa Keyboard for £52.99 and also the Razer Goliathus Gaming Surface for £12.99. That's a meagre amount of almost £110.
    I like the mouse's eyes.
    And the way it stutters and lags and freezes
    You want a gaming experience Razer?
    I was once playing Half-Life Deathmatch, I got killed.
    Lots. Because I couldn't move the crosshair due to a malfunction, the malfunction being that my mouse couldn't be bothered to do what I told it.

    The keyboard was once glossy, I cleaned it with a glasses cleaner cloth the day I got it -Oops, I scratched it. I had fun enduring the next year, with a dust covered keyboard (at least I couldn't see the scratches anymore :D), the keys, being some strange, furry, matte black material, gather all the spunk from when I'm jerking off, which I then can't wipe away for risk of scratching the gloss. The blue backlighting of the keys and the black of the keyboard plays a kind of stereogram trick on my eyes at night, and renders them useless during daylight as the LED's aren't bright enough. The CAPS LOCK and num lock (and that other one) buttons LED indicators are so bright I can still see them winking at me from below as I look at the screen. The media section in the top right seemingly has no LED's and as a result I cannot see any of them, and generally just for sh*ts and laughs every now and then, I smush my hand over it to see what happens. I often accidentally press the LED Profile switch and have to cycle back. The hand rest slope bit at the nearest end to my body serves only to annoy and bruise the outside of my wrists. The on-board USB port never seems to work off the bat or at all and the headphone mini-jacks next to the USB port require my typing fingers to fight with the lead that trails over my keyboard to my ears. The USB connector that connects the keybard to my pc, has lots of wickle fwends. There's Mr and Mrs's USB, and the baby twins, Audio and Microphone Jack. They all have lovely days and nights clogging up all my ports like a bad case of the Flu.

    The Gaming surface, is a massive beer mat.

    Which is lovely.

    For £12.99.

    A cardboard alternative just wouldn't have soaked up my Budweiser drippage like this does.


    It's like they researched it or something.

    It gives me rashes.
    On my hands.

    Oh and if you love it when people dog ear books or your house mat curls at the edges, the gaming surface does it to stop gravity taking the said *beverage of your choice* drippage onto your desk. Obviously.

    Oh and the mouse has the same gloss black and furry matte black as the keyboard. There are two actually useful buttons under your thumb. The scroller is cool, lights up and clicks down. But then there are two button on the top, in line with the scroller, nearest your palm though, that I cannot physically reach with the middle finger (that I might use more wisely right now) that I use to scroll and right click. There are two buttons on the furthest side that exactly mirror the useful ones on the other side. These ones are useful too, and I click them with the extra finger I have to the right of my little pinky.
    Oh and just to throw it into the mix, the resource hogging config's are useless and assign the strangest things to the most useless keys. For example, the mouse has one of it's numerous buttons assigned to profile change. I love it when I accidentally hit that during a game, or when I'm using Photoshop and drawing a line or dragging something on my desktop and for around ten seconds the mouse is even more useless and I cannot move the cursor. And then my new profile (like its facbook or something) is enabled.

    Yeah. I needed this feature so badly, it's why I programmed the first one to do exactly what I need. And also why they gave us those extra buttons. So... wait, was I against or against this feature?

    £110 and 18 months later, I'm happily smashing my desk and throwing things around the room. Finding new drivers, new firmware, new tips, new tweaks, new hardware, new software, clean pants and socks, a t-shirt for the day and a shirt for the night, new config layouts/set-ups and new operating systems.

    I'm so happy you're happy Razer. Thank you.

    Type. Click.
  • Anonymous
    I have Razer Piranha, really good headset.
  • mickytek
    I am never ever going to buy anything made by Razor ever again these Megalodon are a pile of serious crap.
    Razor have still not come up with a fix for the 64bit operating system issue and its been a year that I have had this rubbish now. DO NOT BOTHER WITH THEM AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TOM GOT HIS LOVELY RIGHT UP ABOUT THEM FROM, HE OBVIOUSLY DID NOT TEST THEM WITH GAMES OR 64BIT OPERATING SYSTEM.

    Its no good proclaiming reviews like this if they are not truthful in the first place.

    The headphones are crap, take them back to the shop where you broght them and demand your money back before you make the same mystake i did.
  • Anonymous
    The quality of Sennheiser products is undoubtedly excellent. But I'm a bit more concerned about the price.
  • hestonwfhdi
    Lighting works especially well since you can choose regions for different coloring, which helps keeps your awareness of the keys at maximum in lighted conditions or at night.