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Monoprice 7.1 Dolby Digital Amplified Gaming Headset  PID9771
Gaming Reviews

Monoprice 7.1 Dolby Digital Amplified Gaming Headset PID9771

When it comes to multimedia headsets finding just the right sweet-spot between comfort, price, and performance can be a daunting task, especially with so many competitors starting to clog the market. As more and more hardcore gamers turn to singular headsets over pricier home surround systems it’s essential that any company hoping to capture this […]

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When it comes to multimedia headsets finding just the right sweet-spot between comfort, price, and performance can be a daunting task, especially with so many competitors starting to clog the market. As more and more hardcore gamers turn to singular headsets over pricier home surround systems it’s essential that any company hoping to capture this growing market make an audio device that can “do it all” – not an easy task by any stretch.

So it should come as little surprise that even a company like Monoprice, most famous for inexpensive-priced cables and components for any occasion, can fall a little short with their own offering with the otherwise ambitious 7.1 Dolby Digital Amplified Gaming Headset. They aren’t terrible by any means, but we were hoping for more than just adequate sound and performance for what are a surprisingly pricey set.

Let get into the design and aesthetics, which happen to be the strongest features of this product. Like typical entertainment headsets the oversized look comes equipped with heavily padding everywhere, such as the headband and earphones that are molded to comfortably fit entire ears and keep out external noise – stylistic traits that are seldom seen outside of the pricier Razer and Turtle Beach offerings. As a contrast an aggressive outer gloss motif with black and blue patterns keeps the headset within the realm of similar gaming-focus accessories. I can imagine that most late-night fraggers and trash-talkign conniseuers will appreciate the look.

To make a potentially good device even better the Amplified Headset comes enhanced with certified Dolby stereo output (Dolby Digital/Pro Logic IIx), as well as the ability to accept both Analog and TOSLINK Digital inputs. This means you’ll be able to use the headset on a number of current gaming consoles, computers and tablets, and just about anything that can accept its input signal, including PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, and iPod/iPhone/Android devices. This is a great advantage if buying a single unified headset for everything in your collection is paramount.

The first thing we noticed while setting up the Amplified Headset is that it, along with the headset, microphone attachment and receiver, comes with everything you could ever need. You also get a number of cables and a decoder box to make everything work as it should, these contents include: Optical TOSLINK, USB, various 3.5mm/2.5mm cables, and a couple of NOKIA/Samsung smartphone adapters. Compared to other wired audio devices this is pretty comprehensive, but for many people this will be a confusion of cords and less of a end-all audio solution despite being able to work with so many devices.

When you get past the cord clutter they still are a decent pair of headsets, sound-wise, though not outstanding. Despite being Dolby multichannel-certified the output is for better or worst is a virtualized experience that’s fed through the same 2-channel source; to casual ears there’s enough balance in deep treble and bass to properly approximate surround sound, but more discerning audiophiles will find the acoustics flatter and less satisfying than expected with a bit of buzzing at lower volumes.

The microphone and its flexible boon does a better job in the sound department as voice pickup and delivery was above average whether talking strategy in private teamspeak lines or just talking trash against online friend and enemies alike, with outside interference kept at an absolute minimum.

There’s a lot to like about Monoprice‚Äôs 7.1 Dolby Digital Amplified Gaming Headset, at least on paper. They’re pretty comfortable, sport Dolby sound (for what it’s worth), and can be used with just about every entertainment device, gaming console, and computer/tablet in your home right now and possibly the future. However, the thoughtful but clunky inclusion of too many cables and lackluster delivery of virtual 5.1/7.1 audio keep this headset from being the champ of a market that is positively brimming with options, budget or otherwise. And to be honest, they’re a little bit pricey considering the ho-hum performance – not something we’d expect from Monoprice. Most would do well to cross-shop alternatives or waiting until a good deal comes along before investing, unless having Dolby Surround is an absolute requirement for your online trash-talking lifestyle.

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Monoprice

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PID9771

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$86.85

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About the Author: Herman Exum