Wicked Audio’s 3D Series Headphones
Any gamer who’s ever been nagged by a mother/girlfriend/boyfriend/roomate/spouse about playing too loudly knows that a good set of headphones is not just a luxury, but more of a necessity. My personal preference has always been the cup style headphones as opposed to ear buds, so when Wicked Audio contacted us to do a review of their new 3D Series line of headphones, I was happy to oblige.To be clear, the 3D refers to the raised lettering and graphics found on the band and cups. These are mini-jack style headphones, not powered USB, so there is no external processing of the audio going on before it reaches your hearing-holes.
Choose your poison from three themes:
The Hero: A bright turquoise, gold and black color palette sporting the trident-like Wicked Audio logo. Also comes in red, grey and black.
The Airliner special: A black and gold hip-hop flavor.
XYZ: X-Ray Yankee Zulu. A more subtle gray and black, seemingly aimed toward 1st person shooter fans.
Whichever you choose, you get an adjustable headband, 180 degree swivel cups and in-line volume control with the following specs:
Sensitivity – 112dB
Impedance – 32ohms
Drive – 40mm
Cord Length – 4ft/1.2m
Frequency – 20hz-20,000hz
But all that doesn’t really describe how they sound. To test the set of XYZ’s provided I watched a few HD YouTube videos, played several 192kbps MP3 tracks and loaded up Neverwinter, the new free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMO from Cryptic Studios. In each example, the sound was rich. I’d describe it as beefy. They have a very responsive base that slightly dulled the in-game voices of Neverwinter NPCs and a Ted Talk I watched, but the sound effects and music were full. Rather ideal for fans of action-heavy titles or racers, but you might be disappointed if you listen to a lot of audio books or podcasts.
Style wise, the 3D Series are certainly unique. They have a sort of flair that a lot of casual listeners are flocking to these days without the exorbitant price demanded by products like Beats By Dre. High contrast colors and the raised graphics make it obvious to any passer by that you probably can’t hear them, so keep walking.
Though not specifically noise cancelling, the foam rubber pads around the cups do quite a bit to block out a lot of external distraction. This comes at a price though, one that has plagued me most of my life. I have large ears, larger than most. Despite preferring the cup-style headphones, they make my ears sweat and these are no exception. The cups don’t envelop my ears completely and I suspect they won’t for most. I found them to be, on average, a bit smaller than others I’ve tried like Logitech or the Gamecom set I regularly use. No air inside the cups means no room for noise to get in but it also means your ears don’t ‘breathe’. I had to take a break after 45 minutes to let some fresh air in.
I also found them to be a bit uncomfortable, especially over time. The adjustable headband makes it easy to fit just about any head, but a lack of padding leaves everything feeling just a bit too tight. I’ll grant that with repeated use, the cups may loosen up to the shape of my melon, but out of the box, they were very tight against the side of my head.
Other little nit-picky things: at 4 feet, the cord length isn’t very conducive for computer users. It won’t be a concern for iPod and other portable music device users of course, but I can’t recommend them for an all night gaming session without any sort of extender to help avoid yanking the plug out accidentally. Also, the inner lining of the cup is very thin and if recent experience dictates, it won’t take long for it to start disintegrating after a few months of solid use.
Still, with a $29.99 suggested retail price, the 3D Series of Wicked Audio headphones are a solid buy for the more budget conscious, especially if you’re looking for a little more pizzazz while getting your groove on.
For more information, visit www.wickedaudio.com