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V-Moda Crossfade Wireless

Hi, my name is Wes and I’m addicted to wireless headsets.. I hate to admit it, because I have just about any wired headset I could want in the warehouse, but on my main PC I prefer to use a wireless headset. Over the years I can’t even count the different ways that I have gotten tangled up in a headphone wire or damaged the wire with my chair so years ago I started using wireless headsets. I started with the Corsair Vengeance 1500’s then I went to the Logitech G930’s, and for the past three years I’ve had the SteelSeries H Wireless. I’ve run into multiple issues with reception issues, especially at LAN parties, battery issues, and at one point the Corsairs even just came apart in my hands. The H Wireless held up better and gave me fewer issues because of its swappable battery setup but the audio performance and comfort were never really as good as anything wired. But it's 2016, going on 2017 and I’m feeling saucy. I decided to check out the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless. I’ve got the wired version that I take with me to LAN events and love them, so I thought they might finally be the solution to the audio and comfort issues while being wireless so I’ve been giving them a try.

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SteelSeries Arctis 5

In the eight and a half years that I have been doing reviews here at LanOC, I’ve had the opportunity to work with SteelSeries on every one of their headset launches. But in that time none of the new headsets have been a completely new design. They have revamped the H and Siberia lines multiple times and even had a few variations that were close to an all new design like the Siberia Elite. But recently they actually introduced a completely new headset product line called the Arctis. Like their H series they have a couple of variations but for the launch they sent over the Arctis 5 and I’ve been testing it out and I finally have a little time to sit down and talk about it. So let's dive into the new features then see how they perform.

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Monster Fatal1ty FxM 200 Headset

Not everyone who plays games is into e-sports, but there is a large following for e-sports in general, especially a few of the most popular games. Payouts are in the millions of dollars and players are starting to become household names. None of today's players though have found the universal success that Fata1ty has. Fatal1ty paved the way for today's players, won twelve world championship titles, was profiled on MTV’s True Life TV show, and he created his own brand of products. Thorin did a great video covering it all earlier this year. Johnathan Wendel managed to transition huge success across multiple games into a brand. Over the years we have seen a wide variety of products including motherboards, ram, PSUs, and headsets. I actually think a lot of today's gamer crowd may even know him more as that brand than anything else. The reason for the history lesson today is because this past CES Fatal1ty and Monster announced a partnership to bring out new headsets and for a while now I’ve actually had the new Fatal1ty FxM 200 here in the office to test out. So today I’m going to take a closer look at it and see how it performed.

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Gamdias Hephaestus V2 7.1 w/vibration

Back in May, I took a look at a new RGB mechanical keyboard from a company called Gamdias. Well as it turns out they aren’t just in the keyboard market, they mice, mouse pads, and headsets as well. They asked us if I would be interested in checking out one of their latest headsets, the Hephaestus v2. I read a little about the headset and on top of it being a 7.1 headset it also has something called Bass Impact that vibrates around your ears. As someone who enjoys a little bass but doesn’t want to lose my hearing early in life, I had them send the headset over to give it a little testing. After spending a little time with the headset I’m finally going to run you guys through its features and my overall experience, so let’s dive into it.

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Bose SoundLink Mini II

It’s crazy just how much smartphones have changed things over the last 9 years. We went from carrying around a phone to carrying around a PC replacement for some as well as things like a camera. Even with everything that smartphones are capable of, we can still expand their reach with a few accessories. This is why our friend over at Verizon sell a whole variety of things in their store beyond phones and phone chargers. To give us an example they sent over a box with two new products they carry. Today I’m taking a look at the first of those two products, the Bose SoundLink Mini II. This is a small portable battery powered speaker from Bose. I’ve been testing it for a few weeks around the office and today I’m going to dive into its features and how it performed.

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Antlion Audio ModMic

It might be news to people who don’t consider themselves to be audiophiles, but for the most part gaming headsets aren’t exactly known for having top level audio performance. They are expensive, but they generally are focused on styling, and adding features that can be used in marketing when promoting. I’m not saying they are bad, but there are better options when you drop the microphone and start looking at headphones. You can also sometimes save some money going this route. This is why when you walk around a LAN you are going to see a few people sporting big headphones. The problem of course is for online gaming you are going to need a microphone. There are a few different options with the most popular being microphones sitting on your desk. They can be cheap old school microphones or production quality microphones that costs as much or more than your headphones. Well if you are looking for something that is closer to a traditional gaming headset you need a microphone on your headphones and Portland, Oregon based Antlion Audio stepped up to fill this void with their ModMic. Today I’m checking out the 4th iteration of the ModMic to see how they perform in combination with our V-Moda headphones.

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SteelSeries Siberia 200 and Apex M500

It’s funny, I've actually been writing long enough to watch companies that were just getting started back when I started LanOC grow and become big in their market. SteelSeries is a great example of this, when we first started working with them they just had a few mouse pads. Well we have watched them jump completely into the peripheral market and into the audio market. Its been so long in fact that we have seen great products that they introduced relatively early on like the Siberia v2 and the 6Gv2 go to make way for newer versions. Well I was really happy to see a few of the new products, specifically the Siberia 200 and the Apex M500 seem to be an indication of SteelSeries going back to their roots. So today im going to take a look at both and see how they compare to both the past and present models.

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HyperX Cloud Revolver

It’s amazing sometimes how quickly things can change. Back in 2014 when Kingston introduced their first gaming headset, the original Cloud, it was a little surprising. It didn’t take very long though before we started seeing them a lot at LAN events and people were talking very highly of them. The same for their Cloud II’s as well. Well the some of you might not know but the Cloud was licensed from Qpad with Kingston tweaking a few things on the sound engineering side of things. Well recently they introduced a new headset called the Cloud Revolver and this time around everything is designed in house. Today I’m going to check it out and see if it stands up to the very high standard that the original Cloud designs set.   

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Aftershokz Gamez

While we focus a lot on PC and gaming products, I do try to keep an eye out on a variety of different technologies. One of those technologies that we have seen pop up from time to time but has never made it into gaming products is bone conductive audio. A lot of you might remember the jawbone as an example but I also remember a company that I saw at CES back in 2013 called Aftershokz and their headsets for joggers. Well during the holidays as usual as I’m getting spammed with CES emails an email from Aftershokz caught my eye because they introduced a new gaming focused model called the Aftershokz Gamez. While im not a fan of the use of Z’s in the brand and model name I did want to check it out and see what the tech and the product was all about. After spending time with them today I’m going to sit down and go over how they performed so check it out.

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Sound Blaster Roar 2

Over the past few years it seems like everyone has been jumping into the portable bluetooth speaker market. You have trendy brands like beats pushing it heavily and even smaller companies bringing them out to slip into the market as well. Well Creative Labs got in fairly early with the original Sound Blaster Roar but I never took a look at it. Frankly portable audio isn’t exactly something that fits in my life very much, I’m typically in my car if outside of the house and in the house I have more than enough to output sound including the Sound Blaster X7 that I recently reviewed. That said a while back Creative Labs asked if I would be interested in checking out the Roar 2 and I figured it was about time I took a look. I’ve been using it around the house and whatnot for a while and now I can finally sit down and dive into its features and talk a little about my experience. So hang on, let’s take a close look at the Sound Blaster Roar 2.

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Sound Blaster X7 and E-MU XM7 bookshelf speakers

Like most of you PC and along with it my office is almost like a living being, slowly evolving. Every year or two I’m changing out my video cards, my motherboard, even keyboards and mice. It’s weird though, looking back there are only a few things that seem to be very consistent, my desk and for the most part my speakers. Well when I was replacing my desk last fall I decided that I wanted to move from the Corsair SP2500’s to something new. Now keep in mind, the Corsairs sounded good as did the Klipsch’s that I have before that. So to continue to evolve I wanted to go a new direction. Well the timing was good as Creative Labs had just recently introduced their X7 and more recently their E-MU XM7 bookshelf speakers. I loved the X5 when I covered it and for a long time I even used it over the onboard on my PC but the X7 looked to be a much more fitting permanent option. Well I’ve been testing both the X7 and the XM7 speakers for a while now and we can finally sit down and go over what they are and how well they performed.

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Razer Seiren Pro

I’m not sure if you guys have noticed, but the streaming market has been growing almost daily. Amazon invested over a billion dollars in buying Twitch last fall and even Google is expanding and doing their own game streaming service. It’s popular with people watching obviously, but that expansion has also meant a lot of people have been streaming, including a lot of the members of our community. We have even been streaming our LAN events as well. Razer recognized this and introduced their own USB desktop microphone the Seiren and more recently they followed that up with the Seiren Pro. Both get a high quality microphone into streamers, artists, and gamers hands. The Pro model does have a few improvements like the built in XLR port for anyone who later wants to move from USB to a proper mixing setup. Well Razer isn’t the only company with microphones focused on streaming and podcasts, so today I’m going to take a look at the Seiren Pro and see what it’s all about.

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Asus Strix 7.1 Gaming Headset

When it comes to headsets, just about every company you can imagine makes their own. You can find them in all different shapes and with countless features. That said I can’t honestly say that anything out on the market is the end all be all gaming headset. That is because everything about them is subjective. That said when a company like Asus puts out what they market as a high end gaming headset, I take notice. In just about everything they do they do an amazing job, especially on the audio front. So when the Asus Strix 7.1 gaming headset came in I couldn’t wait to test it out.

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Sound Blaster E5

A while back I had the chance to check out the E1 from Sound Blaster. This was a small portable headphone amp that also doubled as a portable USB sound card. You could hook it up to our phone or portable gaming devices to increase the audio quality or if you wanted you could plug into your laptop or PC. Well Sound Blaster has been busy, after the introduction of the E1 they went on to introduce a Bluetooth version (the E3) and also the E5. What’s the E5? Well the E5 takes the same idea but rather than a sound card you get a full DAC (Digital Audio Converter). You get the same features of the E1 and the E3 but they really stepped things up even more on the audio quality side of things. Of course we can’t take their word for it, let’s dig in and see what the E5 is all about.

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SteelSeries Siberia V3

The tech geek in me loved hearing about the new SteelSeries Siberia V3 while the developing grumpy old man in me was a little concerned. I have learned over the years that sometimes a launch like this can be an amazing thing and other times companies change things just to change things and they end up messing up something that was great in the first place. You see, the original Siberia was good, but had many flaws. When SteelSeries introduced the Siberia V2 I was seriously amazed. They really stepped things up. Heck, I’ve been using the V2 with both the office and also with my LAN rigs for a few years now. Now with the introduction of the Siberia V3, will this model be a requirement in the office as well? I sure hope so, but improving on the Siberia V2 will be a tall order.  Let’s take a look to see what has changed to determine that!

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SteelSeries Siberia RAW Prism

While I suspect the Siberia V3 and even the Siberia Elite Prism will get the most attention with SteelSeries introducing an entire new product lineup. They also slipped in a new product the Siberia RAW Prism. We already know that Prism represents the full color lighting and Siberia is their most popular audio line. In the past we have seen RAW mice, in those cases they dropped the fancy features and sold the basic gaming mouse at a lower price. So with that we can come to the conclusion that the Siberia RAW Prism is their new budget friendly gaming headset. Frankly this isn’t an area that SteelSeries has competed in very much, they have always stuck with the mid-range audio products and more recently a little on the higher end with the Elites. Because of that I’m excited to see what they put together.

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SteelSeries Siberia Elite Prism

When SteelSeries introduced their Siberia Elite I couldn’t have been more excited. Sadly after testing I was left with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. They weren’t as comfortable as the Siberia v2 and I had a few audio issues as well. To the point where we even tried replacing them mid testing thinking my set might have been bad. In the end they weren’t terrible, but considering their price they didn’t live up to what they should have been. At our last LAN SteelSeries pulled me aside and had me try out a prototype Elite with a few changes and later they invited me to visit their Chicago office to check out their revamped product lineup. Well they listened to both us and the customer reviews on Amazon and made a few big changes with their new Siberia Elite Prism headset. Today I’m going to kick the dust off the original Elites and compare the two headsets to see if those changes are enough.

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SB Inferno Gaming Headset

A few years ago, we used to see the fatal1ty headsets all over the place at events. They were without a doubt the best low budget gaming headset on the market. They performed well and took a beating without falling apart. Even now, it is still one of the highest rated headsets on Newegg.  Here we are seven years later and Creative is introducing the SB Inferno, the spiritual successor to the Fatal1ty Gaming Headset. It’s amazing how much has changed in seven years, I can’t wait to see how the SB Inferno compares to today’s latest and greatest in gaming audio.

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Creative Labs Sound Blaster E1

As phones, laptops, and other mobile devices continue to get smaller and smaller we have to compromise in some areas. A great example of this is overall sound quality. When was the last time you were shopping for an ultrabook and even considered what sound card was installed in it. I know when I picked up mine I didn’t give it any thought. Creative Labs recognized this and today is introducing two new mobile Sound Blaster products called the E1 and the E3. Today I have the chance to take a closer look at the E1 and see what it is all about.

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Logitech G430

Most of you are familiar with most of Logitech’s product line at this point from having owned one or knowing someone who uses Logitech products. For the most part their product line has stayed the same, with just a few exceptions and with small refreshes like what they did this past year. One area where they expanded their product line this past year though was their audio line. Before they just had the G35 and the G930, but they have now added the G430 and the G230. You may have seen them with their funny commercials during LCS this year. Today I am going to find out how the G430 compares to the G930 and gaming headsets from their competition.

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