With its latest headphones, the Sony DR-GA200 gaming headset, Sony has ventured away from the well-trodden path and decided to come up with something completely new. It's a design that puts comfort above other factors and a culmination of Sony's research and feedback from users.
The Sony DR-GA200 introduces a brand new triple-enfolding design aimed at providing a more comfortable experience, taking in account the long, extended sessions of FPS killfests or RPG quests that gamers are capable of. The three-part, circumference ring ear-cup with its foam cushioning is said to improve airflow and reduce pressure. Creative design means that not only does it provide ventilation, but gives the DR-GA200 a look that is uniquely its own.
Using 40mm drivers, the headphones have individual adjustment features for both left and right side ear-cups. There is also a boom microphone attached on the left, which can be used for in-game communication. With a flat tangle-free cable along with an attached dongle that controls the volume and turns the microphone on and off, the DR-GA200 meets the standard design features found on other gaming headsets.
After prolonged periods of varied and continuous use, we found that the headset remains comfortable compared to other gaming headsets. The headset sits lightly when in use, with the head band being supple and the ear-cups providing slight contact around your ears. The triple-enfolding design means your ears have greater room to breathe. We found that the usual problem of overheated ears after extensive use was drastically reduced.
We ran the DR-GA200 through the standard battery of tests and the headset came out with commendable results. Any headphone worth its salt being marketed as a ‘gaming headset’ should possess decent channelling and the headphones do not disappoint on this count.
For Battlefield 2: Bad Company we found that the headphones handled the music score well, while in-game sound effects such as explosions had a sufficient level of oomph to them. However at high volumes there was a significant distortion of the headstage (soundstage for headphones) and we found the sound originally coming from the peripheries moving towards the center as the volume increased.
The DR-GA200 loses detail for timbre and fails to render high treble with crispness. Low bass notes also sound slightly dull. It also fails to recreate the atmosphere and ambience for most complex musical scores.
The boom microphone transmitted voice clearly and performed its function well. The hinge is damped to near perfection, although during usage we did fear it would be easily snapped off with the application of the slightest force.
Being open air headphones, the DR-GA200 suffers from sound leakage. We found that with all volume settings at 50%, people in our vicinity could clearly hear our audio feed. Depending on the environment you intend to use the headphones in, this may or may not be a problem. If your gaming sessions require your headphones to isolate sound to the surroundings, so as not to disturb those around you, these headphones do not get the job done.
The DR-GA200 is a unique offering from Sony due to its new triple-enfolding design. The new design is inventive and does increase comfort which should be a huge draw for all hardcore gamers. As for the audio performance, the headphones create a headstage that most gamers would find adequate but the overall performance would not meet a stringent audiophile’s standard. Fortunately for Sony, their intended audience is likely to have different priorities from the audiophiles when it comes to headphones.
Priced at S$109, the Sony DR-GA200 is in the right price bracket for its target segment and those who prioritize comfort over audio quality will have no qualms about getting it for their next gaming session.