I've recently reviewed the stereo ThunderouZ headset from Epic Gear, a brand new addition to the sister company of GeIL. This review will be focusing on its virtual 7.1 sibling, the SonorouZ X.
The SonorouZ provides a similar look and design to the stereo edition, further promoting extreme durability and better sound thanks to its virtual 7.1 surround sound capabilities.
Once again sporting 50mm drivers and leather earcups, this review will be focusing on whether Epic Gear has nailed down the sound in this new release - something that I find usually takes quite a few revisions to get right.
Offering 50mm drivers that push out a frequency response of 20Hz - 20KHz, there is unfortunately not a whole lot of information released about these drivers. While that may initially seem bad, the previously-listed frequency response allows us to make an educated guess and conclude that it's going to offer the same as every other gaming headset out there.
Connecting to your PC through the supplied gold-plated USB 2.0 connection, the SonorouZ provides sound in an 'advanced virtual 7.1' format, converting the signal into a 7.1 format virtually.
The microphone on offer picks up sound in an unidirectional pattern and provides a frequency response of 100Hz - 10KHz. Being retractable (swing-arm) and with the ability to keep it out of your eye line while playing, this microphone is mounted on a rubber boom for positioning purposes.
The provided connection cable is a 9.8 ft (3m) braided cable, and this means it's quite long by gaming headset standards. Attached to this cable is an in-line controller, one that allows you to switch your headset between music and game modes, adjust the volume of your sound or mic, turn on and off LEDs or mute the microphone.
Pricing & Availability
The SonorouZ X is set to hit the market at an MSRP of $79.99, placing it into the mid-high tier of gaming headset pricing. For this price, we're instantly going to expect quality sound, a durable design and some handy accessories.
What's in the box?
This headset isn't matched with helpful accessories as I would have hoped, mirroring the disappointing package seen in the Epic Gear Thunderouz.
In this package, you're given the headset, and that's just about it. There are no accessories like extension cables or aircraft adaptors as this product is USB, but I would have hoped for at least a carry pouch. Being extremely gamer orientated in marketing and design, a carry pouch would have suited the image due to it being suitable for keeping your headset safe and secure when travelling to LAN parties or gaming events.
Let's dig deeper
While not sporting an expanding bridge headband like the Thunderouz, this model is quite thick and chunky with its standard leather-wrapped headband and earcup design. The earcups are over-ear by nature, but those with larger ears will likely have an on-ear experience.
The microphone is easy to position out of your line of sight, and the rubber boom performs well as seen with the sister-model headset reviewed previously. This headset is also closed-earcup in design and that packed with them being thick and leather all round means that summer months are going to be hot on the ears.
The awesome cable saver made a return from the other Epic Gear models, something that shows Epic Gear engineers have paid close attention to common ailing issues with headsets. This cable saver should mean that the wiring connection from the cable to your headset won't fray quickly as seen with most other models - often being what kills the headset first.
The included cable is quite long but can be kept neat if you use the twist-tie provided. It's also quite manoeuvrable and soft, showing that a quality braided cable is being used here. Epic Gear has shown attention to detail at some points of this headset design, but its heavy weight and 'blockyness' means that quite a few users will be turned off. If you're a fan of chunky designs, this one might just be for you.
A Dota 2 analysis
While the Thunderouz impressed me initially with its sound quality, I was excited to check out what the SonorouZ had to offer. After installing the related drivers, I jumped into Dota 2 and loaded up Spotify to test what it has on offer.
Playing heroes such as Bristleback and Death Prophet with this headset allowed me to test a broad range of sounds while simultaneously listening to Spotify and talking to my friends in Mumble (VOIP program).
The bass was fairly decent and punchy, but a bit washed out. It didn't overpower my gaming session entirely, but it might cause concern if you're playing a very bass-heavy game such as Battlefield. If you're sticking with things like Dota 2, League of Legends, and CS: GO it should perform just fine. In saying this, the treble isn't as crisp as seen with headsets like the SteelSeries Siberia models, so footsteps in CS: GO aren't going to be as noticeable as with some competing headsets.
Throwing the equalizer switch to 'game mode' did help with evening out some of the sound, providing me with a more balanced gaming experience. You're possibly thinking to yourself that I'm an idiot for not thinking that the game equalizer would help in games - but it's all too often that companies provide these equalizers only for marketing purposes, and they serve no real purpose.
Now for the negatives and there are a few. The sound was louder coming from the left-hand ear cup in this model, and there was nothing that I could do to even it out completely. Being USB in nature this wasn't a connection issue and provides a possible internal wiring issue here, sending a weak signal to the right ear cup through the inferior internally-wired construction.
The next major issue came with the microphone. While it looks cool and functions well aesthetically, it wasn't suitable for gaming purposes. Loading into Mumble and asking my peers how it sounded ensured I was met with laughter, with the microphone being described to me as like listening to me "talking through a tin can while on the toilet - devoid of emotion and bass."
Moving to music, the headset performed in the 'OK' category. It will handle just about anything you throw at it to a certain degree, but is reserved mainly for mainstream and top-40 music in nature.
Some of the music I tested this product with included:
It's plush: The soft leather earcups and headband make for a comfortable experience.
The features for the price: The equalizer works, the LEDs can be turned on and off, and it's 7.1.
Microphone design: I hated it at first, but don't be fooled by the size. It's manoeuvrable and easy to keep out of your line of sight.
Overpowering bass: The bass can be overpowering, especially if you're playing bass-heavy titles like Battlefield and trying to talk to teammates at the same time.
Microphone sound quality: It sounds like you're talking through a tin can on a toilet.
Accessories: Once again, they're missing.
My right ear is lonely: The sound came through louder on the left-hand side, signaling a possible wiring issue.
Offering decent sound and bass for most gaming applications, the Epic Gear SonorouZ X offers some high points that are ultimately cut down by the negatives.
A poor quality microphone, sound being louder in one ear compared to another, and a complete lack of useful accessories ends up ruining an otherwise excellent package. I like the design, the microphone is brilliant aesthetically, and it's comfortable, but the internal workings can't make up for aesthetic greatness.
You know how the saying goes - it's about what is on the inside that counts.
Chris' Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z170X-GAMING 3 - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i5 6500 - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 3 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: Apacer BLADE Series DDR4 8GB (2x4GB) 2800MHz
- Storage #1: Kingston HyperX Fury 240GB SSD - Buy from Amazon
- Storage #2: Corsair Force 3 120GB SSD - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage #3: Western Digital Black 6TB HDD - Buy from Amazon
- Storage #4: Apacer PANTHER 240GB SSD
- Case: be quiet! Silent Base 800 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Monitor #1: BenQ XL2420T - Buy from Amazon
- Monitor #2: Acer X233H
- Keyboard: Tt eSPORTS MEKA G1 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Mouse: Tt eSPORTS Talon Blu - Buy from Amazon
- Mousepad: Tt eSPORTS White-Ra Black - Buy from Amazon
- Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
|Quality including Design and Build||85%|
|Bundle and Packaging||40%|
|Value for Money||60%|
The Bottom Line: The great aesthetic design of the Epic Gear SonorouZ X gaming headset is let down by a poor microphone, overpowering bass, and complete lack of accessories.
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