Let's face it, if you like video games or blockbuster movies, you’renot just a fan of surround sound – you’ve come to expect it. Too badheadphones don’t do Dolby 5.1. Until now, that is. Zalman, a companythat traditionally makes computer cooling equipment is making inroadsinto the multimedia arena with a pair of surround sound headphones. Dothese $55 headphones really give you the surround sound you seek, orare you better off leaving 5.1 to speakers not attached to your head?If you're not into tearing into your computer and gutting the parts,you've probably not heard the name Zalman. Even if you do enjoy theoccasional systemic carnage, Zalman might not be a name you recognize.That's because what they're known for - cooling - isn't exactly themost glamorous hardware to talk about, regardless of its importance.
Within the past year Zalman has been starting to move into themultimedia entertainment arena. One of their first forays into this isa rather interesting pair of headphones, interesting not just becauseof their function - they're Dolby 5.1 surround sound headphones - butalso because of the way they look.
Given their new product line, which includes a 5.1 USB sound card(ZM-RSSC), a 5.1 Ch Amplifier (ZM-RSA) that accommodates two sets of5.1 connectors, and their Theater 6 Headphones, Zalman looks to bepositioning itself as a player in the exploding video game market (nopun intended). With top-of-the-line games shipping with Dolby 5.1 (and7.1) as a standard feature, it's not surprising that the coolingcompany is making a move to capitalize on this billion-dollar cash cow.
Frequency Response: 50Hz-20KHz (Extension Effective)
Sound Pressure Level: 89dB +/- 3dB at 50mW
Impedance: 16Ohm at 1KHz
Nominal Power: 0.02W
Maximum Power: 0.15W
Weight: 11.24oz (316.8g) without packaging
Cord: Straight, Triple Entry 9.8ft (300cm)
Plug: 3 Headphone jacks (circumference3.5mm)
As usual, it didn't take much time for me to rip the package openand start testing these headphones out. In this case, curiosityregarding the looks of these was as strong as my curiosity regardingthe sound.
One thing to watch out for is the frequency response. It'seasy to find stereophonic headphones with a larger range than theresponse offered here. Then again, these are surround sound, so it'snot a totally fair comparison.
NOTE The human ear can handle from about 20Hz to about20,000KHz, with adults being able to listen to things no higher than15,000KHz, after the years of abuse we tend to put on our ears. Thatsaid, the higher frequencies, although not heard, are often felt, andadd to the sense of reality. Larger ranges will increase the sense ofrealism.
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