SteelSeries Spectrum 7XB Xbox 360 Headset Review
Let me start off by saying this SteelSeries Spectrum 7XB Xbox 360 Headset review was late because I was busy testing them and testing them and then trying them out some more.The TL;DR here is if you’ve got the money and you’re in the market for a wireless headset, go pick these up. You won’t be sorry. Read on for details.
(Caveat: SteelSeries has kindly provided a trial set of headphones to JTM. This is not a buy and try review.)
Although the $179 price tag is wince-worthy, dropping a little extra on quality audio equipment is rarely a wasted investment especially when you take into account the time you’ll likely spend using them.
Any annoyances in the initial setup can be blamed on two things: my own incompetence and the ridiculous number of outlets on the back of my TV. My one complaint here is that the instruction manual, all two tiny pages of it, could be a little clearer. However, a quick trip to the SteelSeries website FAQs provided easy answers to my questions.
Now the important thing: the sound. Phenomenal. Going from a standard home theater set up to these is a serious step up. The Spectrum 7XB has a number of configurations that optimize for performance, entertainment, and multiplayer, allowing you to choose how you want to hear your game. As a Mass Effect addict, I’m a big fan of the immersion setting and these headphones are making me want to play through the series again (twist my rubber arm) just to catch all the subtleties I missed in previous playthroughs.
SteelSeries’ LiveMix function is pretty handy for multiplayer. This function makes it easier to hear other players speaking by automatically lowering the volume of the music and effects, and increasing that of your teammates.
The microphone works, simple and easy according to fellow random gamers from Mass Effect 3 multiplayer matches: “Yeah, sounds great.”, “I can hear you alright.”, and “Just shut up and shoot the goddamn Geth.” are just a selection of the replies I received when polling for feedback. So yeah, good stuff.
The design of the 7XB feels solid without being heavy. The headset adjusts easily to maximize comfort fit, the padding is quality leather and the retractable mic is pretty cool to play around with. Although not billed as noise cancelling, the padding on these headphones does a lot to muffle everything else going on around you. Don’t wear these if you’re waiting on an important phone call.
This model is also designed to be easily disassembled for travel. Going from a fully assembled set to four easily packable pieces and back again takes maybe thirty seconds, tops.
I do have a few small complaints with the way these were built. Although the comfy padding is a definite plus in Canada’s cool climate, wearing these for extended periods can lead to some seriously sweaty headphones, but that can be attributed to virtually any headphones. Wearing these DJ-style (on one ear only for those not hip to the jive) can sometimes cause the set to slip off. I also found the volume buttons a little hard to find for those on-the-fly changes without practice.
Battery life seems to be quite good. I’ve been gaming off and on all week and have yet to run out of juice. SteelSeries claims that gamers should get more than twenty hours of use out of a set of AAA’s and I’m inclined to believe them. I’m particularly taken with the automatic inactivity shut off, a definite plus in any sort of battery run equipment.
+ Adjustable comfort fit
+ Usable as wireless headphones on Xbox, PS3 and PC
+ Retractable mic
+ High value for price
+ Excellent battery life
– Padding not ideal for summer weather
– Headphone to mic cable a little short
- Frequency response: 18 – 28.000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 112 dB
- Cable length: 1 m / 3.3 ft. (Detachable from headset to controller with 2.5 mm plug)
- Jacks: 3,5 mm
- Frequency response: 50 – 16.000 Hz
- Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
- Sensitivity: -38 dB
- USB Powered (from Xbox 360)
- 3.5 mm stereo jack input
- Input level control
- 2.4 GHz radio interface
- Range: 9 m (30 ft.)
- Dimensions: 83 mm x 83 mm x 26 mm
Overall I highly recommend picking up a Spectrum 7XB headset. Once the JTM editor reads this review and breaks into my place to retrieve the review set, I’ll be heading out to pick up my own.