Afterglow Wireless Headset
Reviews and Ratings
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While I neither own, nor play, any of the modern game systems that this device is targeted for, I do have quite a lot of experience with headphones and with consumer electronics. I looked at the sonic qualities of them in use as a traditional headset and I did not evaluate the microphone at all. If you are looking for a review from a gameplayer, this is not it, but if the same level of quality went into the design and implementation of the microphone as it did the sonic quality of the headsets, I think it will be perfect for even the most finicky gamer.
FIT AND FINISH
Physically the headsets have a bit of a Tron-like look to them, which may not be perfectly suited for the average 30+ year old. Thankfully the designers provided several different illumination settings for the headsets. I promptly set the illumination to be disabled — no need to waste precious battery life.
The overall fit of the headset wasn’t perfect. Having it be adjustable would be a very welcome feature for those of us that have a bit bigger noggin. The ear cups didn’t sit flat because they were a bit on the tight side. I ended up rotating the headband toward the back of my head and thankfully the cups can be rotated to fit your ear angle. This provided a mostly comfortable fit, but still no where near as comfortable as it could be if even slight adjustment was possible.
Getting the headsets set up was fairly straightforward. Plug in the USB dongle to the back of your computer or game console, connect the audio output using the 1/8″ mini-plug or one of the adapters provided, power on the headsets and let the dongle and headsets pair up. Instant wireless audio. The quick setup documentation left a lot to be desired, but there is a much more thorough user’s manual that outlines several key troubleshooting steps as well as how to setup more complex home theater systems should you run into issues.
THE SETUP: I sat down with a very eclectic selection of music ranging from Classical Mozart (Symphony Number 40 if you’d like to know) all the way through Journey, Dave Matthews Band, Nirvana Unplugged and Disturbed (needed something with some overdriven guitar). I’ve listened to several wireless speakers and headsets and I was definitely impressed by the quality of sound being generated by this sub-$100 WIRELESS headset. I was listening to uncompressed digital versions of the songs from the original retail CDs and in all cases the Bass was tight and highs were sharp, just the way I like them.
Every now and then with the more “layered” pieces, things got a little muddy with the woofer overtaking the rest of the mix and causing some sharp drops in the mid range. For example during the Dave Matthews Band song “Tripping Billies” the intro has a heavy bass drum hit over the top of the sax and violin, there was a noticeable reduction in the amplitude of the mid/higher end range of the sax/violin to accommodate the very loud output from the woofer. Wanting to investigate this more, I hard wired the headsets into the source directly and that eliminated this problem. It appears that it may be a result of some compression needed to provide enough bandwidth for the wireless connection but only the manufacturers can really confirm that. What I was noticing was something that is commonplace when listening to compressed audio and for most consumers it is a non-issue. I just wanted to indicate here (for those that care about such things) that there are some subtle differences when listening wirelessly compared to listening with a wire but it is very minimal and for casual use won’t be a problem.
The volume adjustment on the headset was a welcome addition as there are times when you do want to adjust that output just a bit and don’t want to have to grab a remote or wake your computer to do it.
With regard to the alternate modes that are available on this headset, all of my comparative tests were conducted using the “Pure Audio” setting. There are two other options which the manufacturers title as “Bass Boost” and “Immersive”. When Bass Boost was enabled, the bass was sharp and generally undistorted, but overly heavy for music. This might be a desired effect for those who have a particular affinity for bass in their music, but for my tastes the “bass boost” is just too much. As PDP is a gaming centric company, I could see its use in gaming, or movies, but not for music. It is for people that have a need (or just a desire) for heavy bass and don’t care about much else. The Immersive option, like the bass boost, would seemingly work better for movie/game play use, not for music. It is intended to create a psycho-acoustic virtual surround sound effect, but again, in my tests, the quality of sound output by the speakers is far better than anything that a circuit can emulate and in Pure Audio mode the headset did a very good job emulating the spatial effects created naturally during recording and intended by the audio mixers of the content. But some users may enjoy it. Thankfully, the manufacturers provided an easy color-coded system indicated on the microphone to tell which mode you are in and made it very easy to switch between them. Try them all and figure out which one works for the content you are enjoying.
WHAT ABOUT FOR JUST WATCHING TV?
For those of you that were hoping to use these headsets for casual television watching, you will really enjoy the volume adjustment so that you can listen at a louder level than your partner might enjoy. Being a closed ear design, you can even be in the same room as your partner and they could be sleeping or reading and you won’t be disturbing each other. Of course you can use these headsets with a wire and that will provide the simplest form of connectivity. Unfortunately, the wire that comes with the headset is fairly short (as it is intended to be used with portable gaming consoles or Ultrabooks that may lack a USB port). If you are looking to use them as a wired headset, you will need to get a longer cable. Thankfully, the port that the manufacturer used on the headsets is a standard 1/8″ Mini plug available at most local electronics stores. If your TV or amplifier doesn’t have a “headphone” out plug then you will need to use the included RCA plug to 1/8″ stereo plug which the manufacturer includes.
NOTE: You can only use the “pure audio” mode when using these headsets with a wire.
BUT WHAT ABOUT WIRELESS TV WATCHING?
Wireless from the TV is potentially a bit more challenging. If your TV has a USB port (many newer models do), you may be able to plug the USB dongle into that and then use the included RCA to 1/8″ stereo plug (sorry no optical input available) that the manufacturer includes to hookup the audio. Our test TV is an older LCD that doesn’t have any kind of USB plug available. In my tests, I discovered one could use a powered USB hub (for example this: http://amzn.to/QRijDX) to plug in the USB dongle and then hook the audio cable up to whatever audio out is available on your TV. The hub doesn’t get connected to a computer, the included AC adapter provides the power for the wireless connection and then you can use these headsets without the burden of the wire following you around everywhere. As an added bonus, while using the wireless mode you then regain the ability to use the alternate Bass Boost and Immersive modes (which were not available with the wire) should you be interested in doing so.
A COMMENT ABOUT WIRELESS RANGE
The wireless range of these headsets is quite good. In very non-official and non-quantitative tests I was able to walk out of our suite of offices (about 2000 square feet) and down the hall 20-30 feet before I lost connectivity. This is obviously dependent on location of the source and devices/construction materials between the headset and the source. But in a typical residential environment a user should be able to walk around a 1,000-2,000 square foot house if the source is centrally located without loosing connection to the source.
Overall these are a great set of headphones for consumption of multimedia content. Whether it is to be used with a portable device like an iPad or other game platform, or with a home theater so you don’t disturb those around you, most users will find the sound delivered by these headphones to be light years beyond what they are accustomed to. Physically, the overall design (a little on the “bright” side for my traditional tastes) and the lack of size adjustment makes them difficult for me to wear comfortably both privately or in a public setting. The alternative modes may work for your particular listening needs, give them all a try and choose what works for you. But all in all, at this price point, it would be difficult to find a better sounding headset that offers all of the features and options this unit includes.
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Not Sure? Here Are More Reviews:
This is honestly the perfect headset for me. I have used it for gaming, skype calls, and listening to music and it works great for all of those things. I love how I can walk around my house or sit on my balcony while talking on Skype, the range is great as well. The only time it ever cut out on me is when I tried walking out to my car with them on. They don’t have a whole lot of adjustability, but they fit my head just fine. Not to mention that they look better than any other headset available. I got the one day shipping for three dollars with Prime and it arrived in about 12 hours which is quite impressive if you ask me. They seem to be made of quality material, so they should hold up just fine.
I previously had reviewed the Turtle Beach Ear Force X42 Wireless Dolby Surround Sound Gaming Headset. For a headset that normally goes for a $160, I was expecting a lot from the Turtle Beach…and it did fairly well. I was pretty disappointed by the lackluster bass performance, however.
The mic on this headset performs about as well as the Turtle Beach does. Range is also quite excellent – I’m able to walk to the other side of my house and still hear what’s going on without interference which is impressive given that I do have a dual-band router plus an assortment of electronics throughout the house.
Where this headset excels over the Turtle Beach, however, is in bass reproduction. For a headset that retails for $90 less than Turtle Beach’s X42, it puts it to shame. It’s not going to be a contender for a Beats or a Bose headset, mind you, but it really puts the Turtle Beach to shame. Playing Borderlands, I hear the satisfying low roar of a rocket launcher firing and the thud of a far off explosion which sounds puny on the Turtle Beach. The Immersive Audio mode is by far my favorite audio mode for playing games and it sounds great.
And can the X42 work on the PC? Or the Playstation? Or with a mobile phone? I think not – this Afterglow actually is compatible with ALL of these devices at a fraction of the price.
Battery life promises 10 hours – I have used it for 9 thus far and not a glimmer/hint of the headset’s battery life waning. The lithium ion battery appears to work as advertised thus far.
As for build, this headset doesn’t feel like it’s going to break like the X42 does. It’s pretty solid and actually withstands some deformation without breaking (don’t push it though – the intent is to protect damage from “casual” use, not so you can show your friends how it bends like a reed). The ear pads also feel like they are better quality with a nice comfortable leather feel. The headset does feel a bit on the small side for me, but then size 8 hats feel almost uncomfortably snug on me so I’m sure that it will feel pretty comfortable on the average head.
A brief note on the mic – I like the fact that it’s retractable. Having the swivel mic on the Turtle Beach set was occasionally annoying; having the ability to tuck away the mic when I’m not using it gets a big thumbs up from me.
This headset will never replace my audiophile headsets, but for gameplay, this set really puts Turtle Beach on notice…Turtle Beach is NOT the company that I remember anymore.
People have had different views of PDP Afterglow’s products. I’m not quite an expert though because this is my first product I’ve bought from them. Might buy a controller later on but anyway;
- Sound – This Headset sounds great for its cost. The three different audios are clear, The Bass Boost really does add a nice oomph of impact depending on what game/music your listening to. On PC, I use a Equalizer to increase the effect further when I really feel like having my head rattled so much the headset technically shakes itself(though long term usage-wise..it might not be advised to abuse it.)-Another Note- The’ve done well to add the Bass Boost without really distorting the Highs of the sound, though you can still notice the difference in contrast though.. The Virtual Surround Sound mode is probably what you will use with everything you listen to. It isn’t no 7.1 but it does do a pretty good job of opening the “field of sound” from just your ears to your whole head to give a overall nice richness of sound.. The VSS mode, as it has on the box, will be able to obtain the highest high’s out of all 3 modes and it can still capture a nice low to an extent. Technically, it’s the Jack of all Trade mode. Then the Pure Audio is pretty much the normal default mode. It will always be set to it when you turn the headphones on.
- Value – About power usage, well, They certainly told the truth about how long they last. I haven’t really ran into a loss of power problem since I’ve got them. Of course, I don’t quite have the time to fully play them for 10-12 straight hours and if you use them in a mobile device, they don’t really use power unless you manually turn the lighting effect on(because it’s not automatic unless they’re used on console or PC)The glow effect is awesome, of course. Some people I show them off to always ask do they sound as good as the look. All I do is let them have a test and they shut right on up lol.
- Design – The only thing I have a problem with is that the ear cups are quite bulky. Being 50mm drivers though, they do envelop your whole ear. And it will take a little time to get use to the feel. You can rotate the padding though until they feel right to you….and depending on the person, they may slightly squeeze your head when you first put the on. you just have to stretch them out a bit and “break them in” before they start feeling comfortable enough. Until then, you might have to take them off after a little while to give your head a rest.
- Overall – They sound great, they look great, they’re wireless with a nice range to them. -Side Note- The wireless transmitor has a 3.5mm jack that can go into a mobile device as well, so if you have a AC wall unit with a usb, then you can pretty much turn your mobile device into wireless as well, as sort of an alternative to bluetooth. Anyway, all I can say is that they’ll have to survive the test of time of course( months to years) without messing up in some way. The Golden Rule still applies: Take care of your things. Other than that, what more can you ask of in headphones. These are all-around nice.
Apparently Performance Design Products (PDP) utilized multiple focus groups and read “thousands of e-mails” in order to create what they consider to be the “very best gaming headset.” The biggest concerns they noticed from gamers: performance and sound quality. Additional concerns noted were connectivity, comfort, and user friendly features.
My 12-year-old son’s first words on seeing these headphones: “Whoa.” He found them to be a good fit and liked having the option to change sound modes – those being “Pure Audio,” “Bass Boost,” and “Immersive.” He was most impressed with the surround sound, 3D-like effect of “Immersive,” which totally added a new level of enjoyment to his (sanctioned) gaming time. He also liked the retractable antenna that lights up to indicate the sound mode he’s using.
This headset also works with portable devices that utilize a standard headphone jack. I tried the music with each of the 3 different audio modes and found the Bass Boost sounded the best with Rock and Pop, while the Pure Audio worked best with Classical and Jazz. Just personal preference, of course, but it’s nice to have the option to enhance the sound.
The important things that come in the box:
Wireless headset with build-in, adjustable microphone and rechargeable battery
Charge & play USB cable
XBOX 360® Chat Cable
Line-in cable to connect mobile devices (such as an MP3 player)
Grey universal audio cable.
Small user manual
The only issue we’ve had so far with this headset and the XBOX 360® was accommodating the USB Transmitter and a flash drive in the available USB ports on the front. The transmitter is just a bit too wide, so it currently sits next to the flash drive, but isn’t securely in place.
Other than this item, these are a very impressive set of headphones that’ll add a new element to your (or your child’s) gaming and/or music listening experience.
Afterglow Universal Headset microphone not working:
If you have a PS3 that’s connected with HDMI cables only, then you will not be able to get the microphone to work on this unit; a vital component for an online game playing son of mine. The headphones work well like this, but the microphone will not work. The only way the microphone works is by piggybacking off of the composite cables that come with the PS3 unit (which we didn’t use when we originally set up the PS3 because we opted for HDMI). Granted, the company informs you in the installation manual that they will send you, free of charge, the PS3 composite cables–my breakthrough clue while trying to troubleshoot the inoperable microphone.
You need to have both the HDMI and the composite cable–piggybacking the bluetooth device that sends the signal to the headset–plugged into the PS3. Then you can follow the instructions in the Afterglow manual about how to activate the headset within the PS3 settings, and you’ll be good to go.
I feel strongly that the company knows the composite-cable-only limitation for microphone functionality, and they do a very, very poor job of communicating that to the customer. And by very, very poor, I mean that you have to infer from the fact that the company will send you the composite cables free of charge as a significant component in the appropriate installation of their product.
I wish I could have found the information above online…..anywhere….even in the FAQs on the pdp website. Nevertheless, once all was finally installed, wires tucked and hidden….the product is pretty sweet, and well worth the money.
My son wanted some headphones that he could connect to our XBox 360. We purchased a pair of Turtle Beach and absolutely hated them. Setting them up was a nightmare. We went to a local game store and the sales person told us about these. I would have purchased them from him, but his supply was back ordered. So, we went to Amazon for the same price.
Excellent quality and setting them up was a breeze.
I have used PDP Afterglow controllers before and I have various headphones, but this is my first review on a wireless headset. I’ll follow the template of other reviewers and give a breakdown by its features.
Sound – I have a pair of 40mm driver wired headphones that I spent over $100 on and they don’t sound even close to the fidelity I get from this wireless headset. Apparently there is a significant difference between a 40mm and a 50mm and its obvious. I haven’t really found a headset with this level of sound quality at this price point, so it’s already a great bargain in my opinion. They’re not noise canceling, but I couldn’t hear any outside noise when wearing them. The various settings like bass boost and VSS are cool. It’s not 7.1, but I didn’t notice as it feels as immersive as my 5.1 surround system while playing Battlefield 3 or COD:BO2. I’m sure my neighbors are thrilled now.
Look – From the beginning, from the packaging to the final design, it has a premium look (without the premium price). It has some good and some so-so features. If I’m trying to show off/intimidate to friends while playing…then this is the obvious headset. The blue glow from the LEDs is just awesome in a dark room. I don’t know if I’d go out in public wearing this headset, but I do appreciate the fact that you can turn off the lights if you want to. Sometimes you don’t want to look like an extra from the movie Tron. If they were to tone down on the clear plastic band over your head and maybe add a black stripe down the center of the band, it would be a great all around looking headset, for at home and also on the road (see wireless section about Bluetooth too). The microphone is retractable, and tucks away when not being used and serves as an indicator for the headset.
Feel – The suspended strap for over the head feels a little weird at first, as I’m used to a more traditional ratchet system. You really have to pull it down over your head so that it stretches down over your ears, but once you have it adjusted comfortably, you forget your wearing it and it doesn’t pinch after wearing it for a few hours like other headsets I’ve tried. This is one of the biggest pros for this headset, that you can wear it for a really long time without being uncomfortable.
Wireless, battery, etc. – The wireless dongle they have seems self-explanatory for install and I was able to setup on my PC and Xbox in mere seconds. Their chart makes it seem confusing, but I guess they’re trying to address every possible setup. They do provide a very long charging cord and a grey audio cord, so if the battery were to run out (which due to a 10hr. battery hasn’t even happened to me yet), you could either plug it in to charge while still playing or turn it from a wireless to a wired headset immediately without losing playtime. There is also a green cord for you to use with your Xbox controller for headset functionality. I’m bummed it’s not 100% wireless with Xbox (at least the microphone portion) but I get it. I’ve heard of Microsoft’s ridiculous proprietary wireless requirements and for a sub-$100 headset, it’s not worth it. But with Bluetooth…it really should have that technology. Even though the dongle they provide provides a longer distance (100 ft.), I don’t see you playing a game out of the range of Bluetooth (10-30 ft.) and many devices already have the feature (PS3, Gaming laptops/towers, tablets, mobile phones, etc.). It would also make switching between consoles or PC a heck of a lot easier. The dongle really locks me to one device at a time. I think the next version needs to have Bluetooth to take it to the next level.
Durability – I’ve already accidentally sat on this headset a couple times without issue. It feels sturdy and I’ve twisted the plastic headband just like they show on the box and it can really flex. I can’t see you breaking this headset unless you purposely throw them on a concrete floor, even then, you’d probably just crack the plastic casing around the cups a little. Not so confident about the plastic-like leather on the ear cups…they look like they could tear if snagged on earrings or hairclips, etc.
Conclusion – Even though there are some additional items I wish it had (i.e Bluetooth), it’s really just nitpicking. Bottom line, it’s a reasonable price, it’s comfortable to wear, sounds great, looks great, it’s durable and it works with just about anything that has a 3.5 mm headphone jack or RCA ports. Awesome headset!
I’ve had some Turtle Beach headphones for years but they are breaking down and it was time for an upgrade. First let me get my gripes out of the way because from the other reviews it seems like everyone has had the same problem. When the headphones are first taken out of the box they are a little bit tight on the head. The elastic pulls the ear cups up and that makes it a bit uncomfortable. The first week I had to stretch them out and rotate the foam around the cup to make it fit better but after that they felt great. I suggest you tie a piece of string around the top of the head band part to break it in quickly or just do what I did and play a lot of video games.
Aside from that the head phones are great. The sound is amazing and the looks, what can I say these headphones are beautiful. The sleek design, the futuristic look, the bright LED colors, everything is beautiful. For the $90 price tag these are top of the line gaming headphones. The setup was easy enough for me. I plugged the USB into the XBOX and the audio jack into the headphones connector on the TV and it works great. Same thing with the computer when I listen to music, just plug in the USB and connect the audio jack to the headphones port and that’s it. It works instantly right out of the box. I love the bass booster setting to really feel the action but my favorite is the surround sound. They call it Immersion and it really does immerse you in the game. It lets you hear everything, for example when I play Assassins Creed 3 the Immersion setting lets me hear all the soft footsteps around the corner or the redcoats talking in the next room. The sound is clear and both the highs and lows are crisp. Another great feature is the chat cross fade. This is great when you’re in multiplayer and you have something to discuss with your group. The cross fade allows you to either listen to straight chat, or listen to the game without the chat, and every variation in between. You can pick the perfect balance of game play sound and multiplayer conversations.
All in all these headphones have great sound quality and amazing multiplayer chat features. The style is beautiful and bright LEDs give it a sweet look in the dark. The only problem would be the elastic on the top head band is a little bit too tight at first but you just have to break them in so they sit comfortably on your head. Overall for wireless headphones with a sound quality this good $90 is a great price and well worth the buy for any gamer.