Greatness Awaits for $99
Sony’s PlayStation Gold Wireless Stereo Headset delivers impressive performance in a sleek, streamlined, and comfortable design.
Toss in the convincing 7.1 virtual surround sound, extremely easy set-up, affordable price tag and seamless compatibility across PS4, PS3, PS Vita, PC and Mac, and you have an outstanding value sitting on your noggin and feeding your ear holes with booming movie and gaming goodness.
Since its release back in February there have already been plenty of reviews posted about this headset, therefore I am just going to cover my own experience and impressions.
As a life-long gamer who sometimes can’t play until late at night (cue violins) when everyone has gone to bed – along with wanting to watch movies (loudly) without waking my girlfriend or the neighbors up – I was looking for a decent wireless headset.
So far, the Playstation Gold Wireless Headset really seems to fit the bill.
Setup & Sound Quality
Setup is as easy as it gets: Simply plug the included USB dongle into the console, flick the ‘On’ switch, confirm your user profile, and you’re literally up and running within seconds.
To be honest, I was not particularly impressed with the sound at first.
After unboxing my new cans and fully charging them up, I had an opportunity to take them for a test spin when my girlfriend headed off to bed while we were watching, “Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.” Considering that she has watched the entire Potter series roughly 1,746 times – which has me beat by 1,745 – she crashed out before the movie was over.
With excited anticipation I grabbed the Gold headset, powered them up and placed them over my ears expecting to be audibly blown away and…meh.
The max volume was decent, but not nearly as loud as I normally like or was expecting, and although the virtual surround sound was fantastic – I could hear every footstep and spider crawl as Ron and Harry attempted to escape Aragog – the sound appeared to be out of sync with the Blu-ray video by about half a second, which was very disappointing and distracting.
I later realized that this was likely because it’s an older movie that is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, so the volume (I assumed) was just not as good as it would be for a more recent film, one that could take full advantage of the Gold headset’s 7.1 VSS (Virtual Surround Sound).
To test this theory out, I next put in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” a film presented in 7.1 surround sound and loaded the following scene from the movie… aaaand holy shit, complete difference!
My head was immediately filled with big booming sound in which I practically jumped behind my couch and started ducking bullets each time the gun was fired, and could hear every ass-kicking audible dimension of the scene.
I then loaded up, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and had the exact same experience. I could clearly hear wind, rain, footsteps and gunshots surrounding me and felt completely immersed within the game.
Also – and most importantly to me – is that I needed to turn down the volume a few notches… success!
Make no mistake: you won’t get entirely lost in the surrounding sound effects or completely forget that you’re wearing a headset. If there’s a complaint to be made about the Gold Headset, it’s that it lacks a largeness of sound, and (understandably) doesn’t quite have the same range as higher-end / more expensive headsets. Among premium headsets, it’s an entry-level one – but a good one at that.
What sets the Gold Headset apart is its feature set and ease of use. You get very solid audio response for both gaming and movies, the ease and convenience of going wireless, compatibility with multiple devices (including a 3.5 jack that can be used for your Vita, smartphone or tablet) and the ability to install custom sound profiles that were specifically engineered by game developers and audio engineers to give you the best possible experience.
For example, you can install a pre-edited sound profile (using the available companion app) that was created specifically for shooters or fighting games, along with profiles intended for action movies or horror etc, and you can even edit, tweak and install your own. Also, at the time of this writing, there were custom sound profiles available for Watch Dogs and Infamous: Second Son.
Although the profiles are a really nice benefit that adds value and improves the sound for the appropriate genre, installing them is kind of a pain in the ass. It took me 15 minutes before I realized that I had to take off the headset and physically plug it into the PS4 — since I (incorrectly) assumed that the change could be made wirelessly. A process that must be repeated every time I want to change the sound profile.
The good news is that the headset retains whichever sound profile you used previously, until you replace it.
Design & Controls
From a build quality and design standpoint, I was impressed by how solid the Gold Headset felt. They also have a nice heft to them, while still remaining light and comfortable during long wear sessions. Some people have complained that it feels “cheap” because of the plastic materials, but I have found it to be quite sturdy and that it feels nice in your hands and on your head. However, I would also not just toss this headset into a bag where is will be jostled around a lot. For me, the PlayStation Gold Headset is stored safely in a large coffee table drawer and is only used for late night gaming and movie watching.
However, since it is also compatible with a PC, I do plan to use it when I game on my desktop rig. The set-up is just as easy as it is for the console, just plug-and-play.
Additionally, the cans offer a very nice and soft cushion that fully cover your ears, along with a strip of cushioning along the inside top of the headband that helps to make long gaming sessions more comfortable.
Along the left side of the headset, you’ll find the power switch, volume rocker, VSS on/off switch, mute button, charging port and 3.5 mm headphone connection. The power switch offers two additional positions. ‘1’ will provide you with a more flat audio response, while position ‘2’ offers a bass boost. Most people will likely default to position ‘2,’ as this is also the position that the headset needs to be in, should you install any of the custom sound profiles that are available through the free companion app.
Along the right side of the headset you’ll also find a ‘Sound / Chat’ rocker which allows you to selectively increase the volume for either voice chat or game audio. Most people will likely keep this setting near the middle, but it is definitely a handy feature for those who prefer to put more emphasis and focus on hearing the voices of their teammates / friends over the game audio.
The buttons are easy enough to get accustomed to with minor practice, and you’ll soon be making adjustments on the fly without feeling the need to remove the headset to be sure of what button you’re pushing first.
As for chat, there is a cleverly hidden noise canceling microphone in the headband that most people will never see, and by all accounts the voice chat is crystal clear on both ends.
There are also removable side panels on the headset which can be replaced with custom designs; but to my knowledge there really isn’t a market for it yet and I doubt many players will go out of their way to take advantage of it, but it’s yet another nice feature and added personalization bonus.
Verdict: 8.7 / 10
You’re going to read a lot of reviews that will tell you, “for the money, this is a great set of headphones,” and they’d be right. This is a great set of headphones for the price…but they are also a great set of headphones, period.
Sure, you can spend $200 – $300 for a higher end set that will sound better overall…but, unless you’re an audiophile, you’d be shelling out more than you really needed to, while sacrificing many other useful features.
The Playstation Gold Wireless Stereo Headset provides you with really great sound, while being an extremely easy to use wireless headset for your PS3, PS4, PC or Mac.
- Clean, clear and powerful sound
- Convincing 7.1 surround sound
- Light, comfortable & wireless
- Custom sound profiles
- Great battery life
- Lacks deep detail
- Swapping custom sound profiles is a hassle
- Some syncing issues with non-7.1 audio
Questions or comments about the Playstation Gold Wireless Stereo Headset? Feel free to post them in the comment section!