You can always count on the gaming peripheral scene to be one of the most active segment of the gaming market. Even when there’s no hot game releases, there’s almost always a brand new gaming headset popping up somewhere. Back in the days though nearly everyone banked on one name when it came to gaming audio and that name is Creative and its SoundBlaster audio solution. Even right now in modern times, Creative’s product lines are the top brass when it comes to dedicated audio solutions for gamers and enthusiasts and now they are bringing their expertise directly to gamers’ ears with their SoundBlaster gaming line of audio peripherals. We’re checking out two offerings this week and we have Creative’s wireless gaming headset in the Tactic3D Omega for this review and you can check out the wired version, Sigma, on our other review here. Let’s get blasting and let’s make this showy!
Creative has been in the computer audio industry for as long as everyone has computers. Back in the days, Creative owned the audio arena by introducting their SoundBlaster solution and ever since then its just smooth-sailing. Up until recent times that is. The discrete PC audio market hasn’t seen much action in recent years so Creative has stepped into new territories with a dedicated gaming line. The SoundBlaster gaming series features a lot of solutions for gamers and enthusiasts and has multiple features to suit varying tastes. This week we have two entries in the Tactic3D line, the Sigma and Omega. For this review we will be focusing on the Omega wireless gaming headset. Check out the Sigma here. Let’s check out some specs and pics.
50mm Neodymium magnet
20Hz ~ 20kHz
Noise Canceling Condenser
100Hz ~ 6.5kHz
The Omega comes boxed in your standard headset packaging: clear sections to give us a peek of what’s inside especially key sections like the earcups and band. The box’s front headlines the wireless capability of the Omega along with its compatibility with gaming consoles. Feature bullets adorn the lower side of the box. Flipping the box over to check out the back, we have a numerous features highlighted with a good shot of the transmitter and headset.
Nothing much going on in the sides with right side being an extension of the clear window in the front which gives us a glimpse of the earcup. The other side has a mood shot of the headset resting on its display stand/transmitter dock.
Inside we have a healthy amount of content including our headset, the stand (some assembly required), the transmitter, the mic (included, not pictured) and numerous wires. Multiple documentations are also included.
After a quick assembly this is what we get: nifty stand. The headset rests on the upper part and the transmitter docks at the small recess on the base. The entire base station along with the headset takes up minimal desk space and looks very attractive on any desktop.
The earcups can rotate a full 90* from its natural position. The direction is frontwards or away from the wearer. This feature is intended to allow swivel when one or both the earcups are moved behind the ears or around the neck.
The transmitter station fits snugly in the space allotted for it in the stand. The transmitter has a switch to toggle between console and PC usage. On the back of the transmitter we have a couple of ports including a USB port for charging the headset, a mini-USB port to connect the base station to the PC and a 3.5mm input jack for console usage.
The left earcup has a mini-USB port and 2.5mm input port. The first for charging the headset and the latter for connecting the supplied cable for Xbox360 use. The volume rocker is also found on the left cup as well as the mic port for connecting the supplied mic boom.
The headband stretches up to 8 sizes allowing for use on different head sizes. The band is made of steel core alloy which is surprisingly rigid and strong for something quite flexible. Lining the headband and earcups are leather paddings which are signature of premium audio products.
Adorning the top of the headband is the Tactic3D logo embossed on the plastic shell lining the band. Differentiating it from the other products in its line is the name of the product on the headband.
The included mic boom is highly flexible and can be removed when not in use. The earcup also has a mic mute button just above the mic port but surprising, no mute button for the audio output is present.
All products in the Tactic3D line feature the Tactic3D Configuration panel which allows users to create personalized profiles with their distinct settings. Presets are also available by default with various settings from different pro-gamers already provided so you can sample their preferences.
The meat of the configuration panel is this screen, the THX TruStudio PRO which enables users to fine-tune and edit the output of their Tactic3D headset with world-renowned Creative Labs’ digital processing techniques.
PERFORMANCE, COMFORT and FUNCTIONALITY
Starting off with Creative’s target audience for this pair of cans, gamers who are familiar with the Sound Blaster product line will expect much from these products and the Omega does not disappoint. With a nice, long session of FPS gaming which should benefit most from the features of gaming-class headsets, one thing really stuck and that’s the amount of detail that really comes out from the Omega. Games like The Witcher 2 that feature BGM music along with ambient sounds really demonstrate how well the Omega’s drivers can deliver multiple layers of audio but still be clear enough to easily distinguish important game audio like footsteps, gunfire, etc. which proves important for professional and highly competitive gamers who rely heavily on such sensory queues to aid their game.
For a wireless headset, the sound is definitely good but that fact that this headset is wireless puts the Omega a notch above other offerings. We’ll discuss more of that in the later section.
Beast/B2st – Beautiful Night
The boys are back with their latest mini-album featuring the carrier single Beautiful Night. True to Beast’s music style, this track is lined with synths, thumping bass and varying vocal styles. Particularly worth noting about this track is the subtle detail put into the tune that gives this song a deeper feel when you really listen to it. With Creative’s SoundBlaster Omega the tune sounds crisp and the vocals just came forward. One can easily pick out details with the Omega. Note that we tested using default EQ settings and the Omega impresses with very solid output.
Sistar – Loving U
A soulful smooth track with a summer feel, this song features a more subtle yet lively vocal performance from the girls of Sistar. Going back to the Omega, we’re still at flat EQ settings and we definitely weren’t disappointed by the quality. The song’s chorus demonstrates Hyorin’s excellent vocal range and this is excellently reproduced in the Omega.
Gackt – Seventh Night Unplugged
This album features top songs from the artist Gackt as he performs acoustic renditions of such in what can only be described as perfect ear candy to any fan. The 50mm drivers really do well in these kinds of listening as the more detail is reproduced and the same is true with Creative’s proprietary FullSpectrum 50mm drivers which really made this album a great listening experience. Crisp highs and mids with clear bass really sets the Omega apart and its really pointless talking about it since you really have to hear it to feel the difference.
The Tactic3D configuration panel has a nice control for improving the theater experience the headset delivers and it works to some degrees but when watching videos with surround audio, it’s a bit of a hit or miss. Barring that, most users will tend to leave that setting off or at a minimum given those situations. Going back, the Omega delivers as expected in the video experience department providing a great experience.
Being wireless doesn’t really play any factor to the performance of the drive up until we talk about comfort and the Omega doesn’t disappoint. First up, the Omega is light and doesn’t put much weight on one’s head. Complementing this are the leather-lined headband and earcups which are very nice to the touch and don’t get hot and itchy after some time of usage. We mentioned that the ear cups swivel up to a certain degree and this helps in some instances when the wearer flips one of the cups behind the ears. We find nothing to complain about in this department.
Being wireless is the Omega’s main feature and this headset undoubtedly delivered on that respect. One main concern that gamers will most likely have as with most wireless devices is battery life. On a full charge, we timed the headset to start bugging you about low battery at around 6-8 hours of intense gaming. Heavy music and user setting can influence battery life but on default settings, this is what we got. On average desktop use and Skype use we managed to pass nearly 1 1/2 days on a single charge. Results may vary but one thing’s for sure, if you’re battery condition is good and you’re on a full charge before a gaming session then chances are the Omega will not crap out on your for the next 5 hours. Speaking of Skype, the microphone was clear and crisp all throughout and do not show any sign of interference or distortion.
We’ll get straight to the point: The Creative Sound Blaster Omega costs almost $200 or Php9,600 locally as per our sample source. That’s way above any other gaming headsets available out there right now including surround solutions save for some that come from audiophile brands but Creative is not just a gaming brand, Creative helped build the gaming audio market and the Omega is just another win in their list of achievements in our books. With superior immersion, detail and clarity that gaming brands only dream about having and to top it all off, you’re getting it all in a wireless headset that will surely impress a lot of your friends and that is why we’re giving it our gold award.
We certainly are impressed with Creative’s Sound Blaster Omega and we highly recommend it for gamers who have no problems forking out the money for it. The Omega may seem expensive at first but considering you’re saving on buying a dedicated sound card for your PC that can also be used for consoles plus some excellent digital audio enhancements, you’re certainly getting a lot from this package. We’d still take away some points for value as we’d want a few more bells and whistles with such a grand product like a carrying bag and replacement pads but overall, Creative certainly has made an excellent product in the Omega. We give this bad boy our Gold Award.