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PC SPEAKERS

Zalman Theater 6 Surround Sound Headphones Review
By: Gnorb
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  • Rating: 3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars / 57
    2004-05-26

    Table of Contents:
  • Zalman Theater 6 Surround Sound Headphones Review
  • Looks and Feel
  • Tests
  • Movies
  • Games
  • Music
  • Conclusion

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    Zalman Theater 6 Surround Sound Headphones Review - Games


    (Page 5 of 7 )

    In addition to movies, games offer the listener an aural treat. Withvideo games taking advantage of the newest in digital sound technology,it's very easy to appreciate the quality of a good set of surroundsound speakers. Can the Theater 6's surround sound capabilities satisfygamers?

    Unreal Tournament 2003

    This is where the real test came for these headphones. Thedelineation of what belongs to what channel gets tested ratherdemandingly by this game. In fact, by listening to the game on aper-jack basis (like I did the movie) reveals the channel separation aswell as the depth of the effects. In fact, unless you have all threejacks plugged in, you're not going to hear all necessary sounds in thegame. For a gamer, that can quickly spell "game over." Games such asUT2K3, Halo, and even Quake III truly hit on the heart of this matter.Stereo-only speakers (and even multi-channel 2.1 speakers) show a truedisadvantage here, due to their inability to help you determine whetheryou're hearing something behind you or beside you.

    An issue I've encountered with these speakers is the fidelity(quality ) of the sound in the extreme ranges. Highs and lows areheard, but are not very well handled by the headphones' speakers.

    The only weakness I really see, aside from the fidelity of the soundin the extremes, is in part due to the headphone design. The proximityof the speakers doesn't allow for all the spatial separation necessaryto take full advantage of the game. Had Zalman used smaller speakers,or maybe a slightly different physical design, this wouldn't be as muchof a problem, if at all. Overall, the experience is satisfactory. Thehighs and lows are weaknesses, as mentioned before, but for most usersthis won't be too notable, unless accustomed to dealing with high-endspeaker systems.

    Halo

    I'll be honest: my experience with Halo is abysmal. Not in thequality of my playing (although that's not any better), but in theamount of time I've spent in it, as opposed to Unreal Tournament 2003.That said, I decided to try out the game out with these headphones. Thelimited time I had with the game, before using the headphones, alsoexposed me to how good this game can sound.

    Right off the bat, the sound of the game using these headphones ispretty good. The footstep panning (left/right) was acceptable, and theambient effects were rather well done, although not totally clear.Overall, the sound was pretty good, although I kept having problemswith the Sonix Sound Extension (SSE) filter. It seems that when I hadthe filter on, I couldn't quite hear the surround sound (at least notall the channels available). Taking it off doomed me to two channels,left and right, as opposed to 5.1.

    Although the sound was satisfactory, it wasn't at all up to par withwhat I would really expect. Acceptable? Absolutely. Magnificent?Hardly.

    Quake III: Team Arena

    Although this is an older game, it's still one of the best gameswhen it comes to raw surround sound. The channel separation with theseheadphones is great, but with so many games capitalizing on theblending of channels, newer games might not have quite the same effectas older games when listening through these. The Theater 6 did notdisappoint during this game. The sound separation was clear, and whatwas generally a weakness - the proximity of the back speakers versushuman aural evolution - was actually a strength in this game. Overall,I was extremely pleased with the experience.

    Judgment

    This headset is a good one for those in a restricted environment,such as a thin walled apartment. Its deficiencies are much more obvioushere than with the movies. Although it's not something that should stopgamers from considering these headphones -- after all, they aresuperior to two-channel headphones -- they don't quite serve thepurpose of speaker replacements. The sound fidelity might also be anissue with some, especially younger players.

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