When you’re a kid they always tell you not to judge a book by its cover and despite that wisdom I find myself being trapped by that very predicament all too often. Now this analogy doesn’t directly apply to this review of the Linx Audio PS500MM headset because it’s not a book, but that general principle does apply. I have to admit that when I first opened our review version of the headset I instantly thought that they looked rather generic, more so considering the $99 price tag. Because I was judging this book by its cover I assumed they would be horrible and I’m here to tell you, I was dead wrong.
It is true however that the PS500MM’s looks are very generic but it’s a deceiving genericness. It looks like your standard run of the mill headset that you could find in any old electronics store for a very low price. The volume control is a simple ridged wheel, kind of like your old school walkman’s radio tuner knob and the general construction is plain Jane basic. No real frills to note. The ear pieces are small and they don’t cover your ear like a pair of noise canceling headphones would do and at first glance they appear like they could be uncomfortable. The microphone is on a bendable arm that can flex and be manipulated how you please to fit your preference and once its in place it tends to hold its position very well. Once you slide the headset over your noggin you quickly find out that the set is in fact rather comfortable.
Once we I got past examining the plain appearance presented by the hardware I plugged them in to give them a thorough test run. I popped on the headset and fired up a few games to get a sense of how well it handled ambient and subtle sounds as well as the general sound beds. I tested these in a standard living situation, with the television on and with average amounts of background noise. The ear pieces turned out to be more comfortable than they looked and after a few hours of straight gameplay my ears didn’t hurt unlike how I would feel after using my normal set of headphones.
The sound quality was fairly average, not too rich and not too bland either. The sound comes through well enough to hear all the subtle little noises from ambient things going on in the background and it doesn’t distort when chaos erupts in your game. The problem comes in when there’s a lot going on in the room around you as the headset doesn’t really do much to cancel out the noise. My biggest issue with this headset is the fact that you hear most everything that’s going on in the room. Because of that it can be hard to focus on your game while other things are going on around you. When the room is quiet and the TV is off, the sound is as good as it gets for the average gamer, audiophiles however might not be impressed.
The microphone was the biggest surprise as it exceeded my expectations. When you get a headset like this the microphone is always at the very best, mediocre. You usually have spend an arm and a leg to get a decent quality mic and even more money if you want it attached to a headset. I tested the mic using Ventrilo, Steam and the standard Windows recording tool. The sound of my voice was crisp and clear in all cases while doing an amazing job of cutting out a lot of the background noise. My workstation is set up where my tower is at head level and within very close proximity. Even with my tower blowing mass volumes of air around and the baseball game going in the background, all you could really hear was my voice. Will you be recording the next hit song on these things? Probably not but you will be able to clearly and effectively relay commands to your team in-game with out the worry of distortion because of a poor quality microphone.
The headset are supposed to help prevent hearing loss but how would I test that with out a long term investment? For this I’ll take the word of the manufacturer considering that thus far the product has proven to have quality in every other part.
Overall the Linx Audio PS500MM are a great pair of headsets that at first seem uncomfortable but end up having comfort, great sound and a primo microphone. For $99 I would have preferred the general construction of the headset to be a little more solid and look a little bit more like a hundred dollar pair of headphones. However in the end the PS500MM has quality where it counts and would make a great new set of headphones for anyone looking for something with a fantastic mic.
- Mirror’s Edge
- Left 4 Dead
- World of Warcraft
- Standard MP3 playback
- Standard Windows recording and playback
+ Great speaker and microphone quality
+ Suppose to help prevent hearing loss
+ Surprisingly comfortable
– Little on the pricey side at $99
– Doesn’t look like an expensive headset
– Looks and feels fragile