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Hardware Review: Sony Pulse Wireless Headset

Posted by Damien McFerran

Audio extravaganza

While a great many of us are more than happy to experience game audio through a gigantic set of speakers that tickle your intestines every time a bass line drops, the reality for most players is that they can’t be keeping the neighbours up all night with their entertainment pursuits. Some kind of headphone-based alternative is a must for those who tend to play in the wee hours or have young families in the house, and that’s why we were keen to get our hands on the Sony Pulse Wireless Headset.

At first, the Pulse Headset appears to be a subtle upgrade of the pre-existing Sony PlayStation 3 Wireless Stereo Headset. However, this time around we have a more attractive design, and the abandonment of the obtrusive boom mic which made you look like you’re selling insurance rather than playing a game.

First things first, the Pulse Headset offers fantastic audio quality, with 7.1 sound and impressive range. The bass is stunning, but it never impacts any other element of the experience. High notes are distinct and clear, even when your head is being rumbled by a bass line that sounds like Satan passing wind. With several pre-defined settings you can tinker with the output so it suits the type of game you’re currently playing - after all, the type of sound you want to experience during a racing game is different from that in a first-person shooter. These settings are easily configurable by using the buttons and sliders located on the headset itself.

The chunky design might lead you to assume that this thing is going to crush your cranium after a few hours, but the Pulse Headset is actually incredibly comfortable to use for prolonged periods. The soft material which surrounds each speaker not only provides a cushion, but also traps the sound and prevents audio leakage. Of course, the drawback here is that you can’t hear anything around you - a prime consideration if you have a wife upstairs who needs you to help change a baby’s nappy halfway through the night.

The Pulse Headsets communicates with the PS3 system via the bundled USB adapter, and once linked is treated like a dedicated peripheral. On-screen information appears relating to battery life and whether or not the headset’s mic is activated - all of which means you don’t have to keep taking the unit off your head to inspect its settings.

Although this is being sold as a headset for your PS3, Sony has gone to some lengths to ensure that you’re aware it can be used with other systems, too. Connecting to your PS Vita, for example, requires the use of a standard 3.5mm headphone lead, which is thoughtfully included. It’s a little disappointing that Sony couldn’t find some way of keeping the functionality wireless for the Vita - it would have been great to use the console as an MP3 player and simply put it in your bag, pop on your headphones and venture out into the world without having to worry about wires getting tangled up. Another mild disappointment is the lack of a USB cable for changing the internal battery, although the fact that it uses the same lead as the PS3 controller means that you should already have one in the house.

Although the price tag (which, according to an online search, can be as high as £129.99) might seem excessive - especially when compared to some of the low-end cans you acquire these days - it’s actually a very decent price for a headset of this quality. We’ve used a wide range of headphones in our quest to locate the ultimate personal audio experience for our gaming sessions, and the Pulse Headset beats all challengers hands-down. The quality is fantastic, the mic works very well (and is mercifully hidden) and the way in which the unit integrates with the PS3 itself - including on-screen messages - is how this kind of thing really should be done. If you’re one of those PS3 owners who wants to get the full audio experience but can’t wake the dead with an expensive, wall-shaking surround sound system, then this is your best option.

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User Comments (10)

irken004

#1

irken004 said:

I've been considering getting a surround sound headset so I won't have to buy an expensive full-size sound system, so these sound pretty good. Too bad it uses a USB wireless adapter though.

hamispink

#2

hamispink said:

That was a fun read. Great review.
I have the old wireless headset, so I don't think it will be worth upgrading, though I really do want these headphones. If I'm ever In need of a new pair I'll know where to look first.

SuperKMxAdmin

#3

SuperKMx said:

Oh, but I want these so much. In dire need of a new set of headphone. Might have to splash the cash. :D

meischoice

#6

meischoice said:

In the picture here, the box doesn't mention anything about an "elite edition" which is what I bought. Anyway, when I first bought it on sale at a Gamestop, I was super excited to try it out at home! I used it on my PS3, and connected it to my PC! Wireless music is very convenient! Unfortunately, after two weeks, my battery in the headset died on me. I was charging it using a mini-B usb cable connected to my computer. When I got, back the headset wouldn't turn on.
LUCKILY! I still had my receipt from Gamestop and they gave me a refund instead of an exchange because they didn't have any more in stock. But that didn't stop me! I went to another gamestop and bought a NEW Elite Edition Stereo headset. I have it with me now and I never took of the plastic that surrounds the headset. I just kinda... leave it there. KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS!!!!

NathanUC

#7

NathanUC said:

I still use mine both at work as a VOIP headset and at home when I'm playing multiplayer games or Vita at night.

I didn't care all THAT much for the original PlayStation headset. The audio was still good and it was fairly comfortable, but they weren't tight enough to stay on my head if I moved around. I strongly recommend the Pulse headset for anyone who plays online games on Vita and PS3. Also make sure to check out the new application on the PS3 for the headset. It allows you to customize the preset equalizers. I still wish they'd let me make my own though :(

ems_rose

#8

ems_rose said:

Save your money.... I bought these for my boyfriend for Christmas and even though they are nice and shiny they are made in china out of poor quality material. They already are cracked and Sony won't repair/or even look at them despite having a one year warranty. Very sad!

Trigg3r305

#9

Trigg3r305 said:

@ems_rose very true ive had mine for about 6 months and already cracked on the sides. I remember reading reviews about this headset before i bought them and how bad they were do to the cracking on the sides and i wish i would have listened but here i am posting same thing i had already read. If theres anyone out there reading this please do yourself a favor and dont buy these headsets or you will remember me.

mpsalter

#10

mpsalter said:

I have two pairs of these headsets and although they are really good for gaming, both pairs have now cracked, split where the earpiece connects to head strap. After a number of calls to Sony and unable to find my receipt it looks like I will not be getting them repaired or replaced. Well done Sony for producing such expensive rubbish at over £100 per pair. NOT A HAPPY SONY CUSTOMER and you can't even buy parts for them...:(

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