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G.Skill Ripjaws SR910 real 7.1 gaming headset review

Testing a headset such as the G.Skill SR910 real 7.1 takes some time. We spend a week using it as gaming and general media headphones, all the while judging its abilities in terms of sound quality, volume range, comfort and additional features such as the 7.1 surround sound capabilities.

Due to it being a gaming headset at heart, we made sure to put the G.Skill SR910 through its paces in a variety of titles, from explosive high speed shooters, to atmospheric, slow paced haunting thrillers and horror titles. The overall experience was a reasonably solid one. There was a gritty feel to explosions and bombastic games feel pretty intense, especially when factoring in the real 7.1 audio tracking which provides a decent surround sound experience.

Detailed separation and in particular booming explosions are not so well handled. There is a distinct lack of low level bass from the G.Skill SR910 gaming headset. Although this can be improved somewhat with bass boosting in the back-end software (more on that shortly) there is definitely not a uniform coverage of the frequency range with this headset.

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The ear-cups on the SR910 look particularly cool when lit up in the dark

It performs better in some respects at higher volumes, delivering more of a punch when you want it, but you do not get a kick in the teeth like some headsets are capable of delivering. Similarly so, menu transition noises and higher-frequency sounds can have that same crunchy feel to them which is not as crisp or precise as we would have liked.

The overall gaming ability for the G.Skill SR910 is fine, but it is not something that will blow you away. It does provide a good representation of surround sound speaker set ups and is certainly more accurate than a headset that adds virtual surround sound via software – we found it particularly strong at sections in Alien Isolation for pin-pointing the Xenomorph.

Since Isolation is such an atmospheric game, we performed this test using an Oculus Rift headset and found the SR910 a great fit for VR, as its metallic frame means there is no creaking when you move your head around. How useful that will be now that it seems VR HMDs will come with built in headphones remains to be seen, but is still something we would like to see more manufacturers consider.

In racing titles like 2010's Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, the lack of nerve-electrifying roars from the cars and the muddy clarity in the occasionally booming sound-track were missed. We have definitely enjoyed in-game audio more on other (and perhaps more importantly, cheaper) headsets.

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Being able to see inside the ear-cups gives the SR910 a very unique look

Listening to music tracks raises the same concerns. Bass response is a little less than we would expect and other headsets we have tested recently have a much more powerful output. Mid range frequencies are fairly well presented, although like the high end frequencies we would expect to hear a little more clarity and separation throughout.

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Although I like the headset's controller, the volume indicator is all but useless as it is hidden by the control wheel

Despite certain misgivings with the overall sound quality of the G.Skill SR910 headset, it is surprisingly comfortable to use over long periods. It feels odd when you first put it on as it hangs more off of your ears than most sets. The headband is stretchable and your head never comes in contact with the metallic frame. This can give it a loose feel, but you get used to it quickly and despite wearing it for many hours at a time, we never ran into issues with comfort or excessive heat generation.

The volume control was a nice addition and has a high quality feel to it. We liked the ability to adjust different channels independently and the quick access to a microphone and line-in mute was appreciated.

The volume wheel has a quality feel to it too, but its height is incredibly bothersome. Due to the way the volume indicator lights wrap around its circumference, unless you have it so you are looking straight down on top of it, you cannot see all of the indicators. It seems like a silly oversight that could be countered with a shorter wheel or volume indicators on the side closest to the listener instead.

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The back-end software too needs some work. The range of options is good, with the ability to switch between different surround sound modes, as well as adjustable EQ and tweakable pre-sets (that make a very appreciable difference to the sound), there is not enough labeling. Half of the tabs only have a title when you have already clicked them, and there are some weird coding decisions such as tool-tips only ever appearing on a first monitor (even if you have the software window on a second).

The big chunky aesthetic is outdated and there are large buttons on the left which make it all look unfinished. Useful, but ugly.

In terms of microphone quality, the G.Skill SR910's implementation is actually quite good. It delivers good vocal quality for VOIP calls and in-game chat without much background hiss. We found we came through nice and clear in most scenarios.

One of the big touted features of this headset though is that the microphone supports Electronic Noise Cancelling (ENC). With that feature enabled, background noise like other voices and music, say from a TV or radio in the same room as you, is muted somewhat, but unfortunately it also seems to occasionally do the same for your own voice. Although it does not make you hard to hear, the vocal clarity is lowered with ENC enabled and there is a slight background hiss that is not present when it is disabled.

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3 comments

  1. Bah they need to get dolby atoms /DTSX headphones out now! 7.1 is old news! 😀

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  3. haha it’s virutal true 7.1 needs plugs into the cmputer machine not a usb . so it’s virtual 7.1