New headset in the works!
A promising 5.1 headset with a unique, albeit unorthodox, design.
by Scott Lowe
January 5, 2009 - Just when we thought we had seen it all when it comes to gaming headphones5.1 surround sound, active onboard preamps, dedicated control systems, etc.a company comes along with a design that innovates rather than replicates. As is usually the case for most new and interesting electronics, the latest innovation in gaming tech is coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Unveiled as part of the usual pre-show press release blitzkrieg, the Psyko Audio Labs 5.1 Gaming Headphones for PC were given this year's CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award, which recognizes the most groundbreaking products appearing at the show.
What makes the Psyko Audio Labs 5.1 PC Gaming Headphones so special? Well, if you were to pick up a pair, you would quickly realize that the surround channel drivers are nowhere to be found. That is, of course, because the Psyko Audio Labs 5.1 headphones' center, front left, front right, rear left, and rear right drivers are all built into the headband. Unlike anything we've encountered before, the Psyko 5.1 Gaming Headphones utilize physical channels built into the frame to guide the directional audio from the headband drivers to carefully placed areas of the ear cup. The benefit of having the drivers outside of the ear cup, as Psyko puts it, is to "give users natural, not simulated, surround sound."
Additionally, Psyko claims that the Psyko 5.1 headphones do not require any additional channel calibration beyond the default setup. The physical sound guides, appropriately titled PsykoWaves, are designed to position, level, and distance the surround channels to the optimum levels. While the theory certainly seems simple enough for directional audio, Psyko were clever enough to keep the subwoofer drivers inside the ear cups for better bass response. Although the Psyko's primary marketing point is the out-of-box perfection promised by its unique design, the system will also come with a dedicated 5.1 amplifier with bass and volume controls. Little is known about the amplifier as it stands, however, it will serve as the connection hub with three 3.5mm (1/8") plugs for 5.1 PC connections for front, rear, and center/subwoofer connections, and one 3.5mm (1/8") microphone jack.
In addition to the PsykoWave Guide design, the Psyko 5.1 PC Gaming Headphones have another unique feature that set them apart from other products we've seen recently; ear cup vents. Users can choose between comfort and privacy with the Psyko 5.1 PC Gaming Headphone's pivoting ear cup vents, which maximize ear flow for prolonged gaming sessions at the expense of sound-proofing.
The Pysko 5.1 PC Gaming Headphones will be making their debut at CES 2009, and will be hitting stores later this year for $299.99.