The Creative Sound Blaster Recond3D Omega Wireless may be marketed as a pair of gaming headphones, but obviously gaming is not the only aspect that the cans will be put to use. Users will most definitely expect the product to also perform triple duty and handle both movies and music along with the rigors of gaming. Sporting 50mm drivers along with a suite of THX and Dolby software, the product is well positioned to put itself in the limelight. Additionally, the provision of an external USB audio processor (or sound card) is bound to be of great help to ensure delivery of high quality audio.
By now frequent readers should be familiar with the MP3 tracks we use to provide audio products a challenge. Commencing the listening tests was Melt My Heart To Stone by Adele. The Creative gaming headset had great clarity and bright highs. However in our opinion, the track lacked a certain degree of warmth which can be heard when using the absolute top quality audio products. All in all though, the Recon3D Omega Wireless managed an impressive, dynamic representation of the melody.
The bright trebles and clarity of the device were also suited to our next track, Hotel California by The Eagles. Coupled with a good transient response and attention to detail meant that overall mix of the acoustic rendition of this evergreen classic was lively and atmospheric. Even without the actuation of any extra features, the headphones have a surprisingly vibrant soundstage.
We tested out the lower range of notes by playing Tiesto’s Elements of Life. The 50mm drivers are sufficiently large to provide good bass and we were not disappointed. The low frequencies were deep while still defined. However the bass did lack a slight smidgen of impact. This fault can be easily rectified by switching on the THX TruStudio Pro feature, which we will cover in greater detail during the movie test segment below.
Last up on our list is the hard rocking track Sail On Soothsayer from Buckethead. Once again the mix of chiming guitar lines and heavy distortion was well handled. We turned off the THX effects simply because the song sounded sprawling and muddy with them on. However without the effect, the distortion was controlled and the track sounded great.
When we switched over to testing the movies, we activated the THX TruStudio Pro feature found on the control pod (the Sound Blaster Recon 3D). The audio reproduction standard is intended to provide the most bang from movie soundtracks, so it makes sense to engage the feature. Once activated, there is an audible change in the tonal characteristics of the headphones. First of all, the soundstage morphs and develops a stronger central channel at the expense of directionality. This resulted in the dialogue of Swordfish being delivered with precision and clarity. However, peripheral sounds were slightly weak.
The second aspect of the THX TruStudio Pro was clearly evident during the action sequences of our movies. Lower frequencies had been boosted so as to offer greater impact. Coupled with the strong central channel, the bass performance meant that the explosions in Swordfish and battle sequences for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring came to life. However if you do prefer the wider soundstage instead of the added oomph, you can always switch over to Scout mode which we will cover in detail in our Gaming tests. The bottom line is that watching movies with the Recond3D Omega Wireless headphones is quite enjoyable and the THX TruStudio Pro does its job brilliantly well.
Finally, we move on to what is meant to be the Creative Recond3D Wireless’ forte, gaming. First, we fired up Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty on the PC. While audio does not play a great role for this particular title in influencing performance, alerts do provide vital in-game information. And Starcraft II does have an extremely good soundtrack, which was handled well by the Creative headphones. Alerts could also be clearly heard over the rest of the sounds.
But the real test with respect to gaming was Battlefield 3 on the PlayStation 3. When it comes to first person shooter games, good audio is absolutely essential if you want an edge. After engaging Scout Mode for the Recon3D Omega Wireless, we can confidently say that the headphone’s performance actually helped improve our gameplay. The feature drops the levels of bass while amping up treble as well as expanding the soundstage. This meant that gunshots fired were clearly heard over the din over background sounds such as explosions and vehicles. Not only that, but you could also accurately gauge the direction in which sound was coming from. First Person Shooter games like Battlefield3 are basically a test of reflexes and skill. If you are able to clearly hear the enemy and act on the information, you possess a serious edge; such as that provided by the Creative headphones.
|Hotel California - The Eagles||8.0|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||8.0|
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||8.0|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||8.5|
|Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings||8.0|
|Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty||8.0|
As a pair of headphones intended for gaming, you can expect to have the Creative Recon3D Omega Wireless to be in use for hours on end. This means that comfort level has to be given serious consideration. As stated earlier, the ear-cups are a bit on the smaller side and we found our ears to be slightly cramped and constrained. Additionally, the leather used for the cushioning on the ear-cups does result in overheating and listening fatigue. Taking into account the fact that the audio performance is top notch, the discomfort of wearing the headphones is actually quite frustrating. However, comfort has always been a subjective issue and we would advise you to try out the headphones for yourself.