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.

Product Name: SB Inferno

Review Sample Provided by: Creative

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Headphone Specifications

Drivers

40mm Neodymium Magnet

Frequency Response

20Hz ~ 20kHz

Impedance

32 ohms

Sensitivity

115dB/mW

Microphone Specifications

Type:

Noise Cancelling Condenser

Frequency Response

100Hz~15kHz

Impedance

<2.2kohms

Sensitivity

-40dBV/Pa

 


Packaging

A good portion of the front of the Inferno’s packaging is a photo of the actual headset. Rather than not showing off what is inside of the box Creative put it right on the front for you to see it. They did go a little crazy covering it with what I assume is fire to match its name, but you can still see what its all about. The rest of the cover mentions that the headset is supported on the PS4 and there is a small icon showing that it has both a combined connection for microphone and headphones like your phone and an adapter for splitting it up into two plugs for your PC.

Sadly my photo of the back of the packaging was a little blurry, making it hard to see what was written on the back of the box. Because of that I went with a stock photo to make it a little easier. This means you can’t see the window on the right side of the back of the box that gives you full view of the actual headset. Up top, Scarra from Dignitas is quoted and below him Creative breaks down a few of the headsets key features.

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Inside of the box the headset is kept it place in a plastic mold. Up under it you will find the detachable microphone and the adapter cable. For documentation you get a book about the world wide warranty, another note about registering your headset to extend your warranty, and a multi-language users guide.

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Features and Photos

Right away you can see that the Inferno is similar in size and shape to the old Fatal1ty. The earcup design is a little different with the SB logo right on the cup and red trim around the sides. The headband pivots and expands out 1 ¾ inch on each side to make sure that it will fit everything from kids to people with large heads (me). I really like the new styling, it’s a little more modern but still has the same Creative look.

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To keep things comfortable the Inferno has nearly an inch thick pad on the top band and a little less on the earcups. The padding is covered in something similar to felt. Both the padding and the covering feel a little on the cheap side and I have a feeling that this will be the first thing to wear out after lots of use.

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As I mentioned before, the Inferno uses a single 3.5mm 4 conductor connection. This is the same connection you would normally use on your phone, you get microphone and audio with one plug. This means we only have to deal with a single cord as well. Creative used the same red cabling that I saw with the SB1. The cord is flexible but a little more susceptible to damage compared to a sleeved cable. They did put a volume controller in line with a microphone on/off switch. The controller has a built in clip should you need to keep it accessible.

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I mentioned them in the packaging section, but here is the removable microphone and the adapter cable. The adapter cable converts the SB Inferno’s single plug design into what most PCs use with the split up microphone and headphone plugs.

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The microphone attaches on the left earcup and is flexible. There is only one way for it to plug in and once plugged in it is more secure than most other removable microphones.

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Audio Quality and Comfort

The original headset wasn’t exactly known for its audio performance per say, but it was the only headset on the market that focused on good gaming performance on a budget. These days there are a few manufacutes who have done the exact same thing with their entry level headsets. Because of that I’m really hoping the SB Inferno can still hold its own.

To put it to the test I ran through our standard benchmarks that include a movie, gaming, and a variety of songs. I also spent a lot of time wearing the headset to test out its comfort over extended gaming sessions as well. The headset looks a little small right out of the hole but surprisingly it expended out to fit me perfectly with room to spare. I typically prefer a large earcup design because the pressure on my ears can cause discomfort over long periods of time. The SB Inferno was no exception to that. It was comfortable for up to 4 hours of gaming before I would have to pull them off and take a few minute break. If you prefer an on ear design like this you might not run into this issue. For me it worked out as a great reminder to stop and walk around a little before jumping back into games.

Audio testing came with its own surprises as well. Highs sounded good, mid-range was a little muted but good enough, bass was a little weak but in game it still performed well. It was only with a few rap songs that it really showed. Just going off of the specifications I would have expected the Inferno to not compare to the Siberia on the high end but be close on the bottom end. In the end it was the opposite, the Inferno performed well but still has a little catching up to do to beat the Siberia v2. Then again, the Siberia isn’t even in the same price range, but I will get to that in the last section ;).

The microphone handled my voice well when using TeamSpeak and Skype. I didn’t run into any popping or weird sounds and it wasn’t overly sensitive and picking up room noise or anything like that. The flexible mic boom helped me put it where it needed to go but the only way to fully get it out of the way was to unplug it completely when eating. I prefer headsets that I can flip the microphone up or slide it inside of the headset. Overall, the microphone isn’t anything amazing, but it is enough to communicate with your teammates when gaming.

The only weird quirk I ran into when testing was with the sound bleed. The design looks like a closed ear design, so I expected outside noise to be a little muted. I noticed that you can literally hear the music just as well if you are sitting near someone with the SB Inferno’s on as you would if you yourself had them on. This isn’t the end of the world, a lot of open ear headsets do the same thing, but I expected a little more privacy with this being a closed cup design (or so it looked).

 


Overall and FV

Although in a way it feels like Creative is “returning” to the market with the SB Inferno, in reality the Fatal1ty Gaming Headset never left the market. They just have more competition these days with everyone and their mom making gaming headsets for people on a budget. Logitech and Steel Series’ idea of a budget gaming headset is a little different than Creative though (Steel Series is nearly double). The SB Inferno comes in cheaper than both of their entry level headsets.

As for the headset, the updated styling really helps bring it up to the 2010’s while still keeping enough of the original to be able to tell what it is. Considering the exterior design is still very similar to the original I expect the SB Inferno to be able to take a beating, but only time will tell on that one for sure. I do have my worries about the material they used on the padding, if anything is going to wear out it will be that.

What about its performance? Well comfort wise it stands up to the competition when it comes to on ear headsets. Over ear designs will still be a little more comfortable in my book, but they take up valuable space when packing for LANs. The only other thing you should keep in mind if you are looking at the SB Inferno, the design looks like a closed earcup design but in my testing it performed like an open earcup design. What that means is everyone in the office could hear everything I was listing to, but I could also hear everything in the office. You can carry on a conversation with the headset on, but if you plan on turning up your music or having a private conversation, you will have problems. All in all, the SB Inferno is far from perfect, but at this price point it does what you need it to do. If you are like Phantoml0rd and throw your headset when raging in game or if you are on a tight budget the SB Inferno gets you good gaming performance from a brand you and most likely your parents have known forever.   

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #35161 16 Jul 2014 14:08
Happy hump day everyone. Today I take a first look at the new SB Inferno from Creative. It's a budget gaming headset that is the spiritual successor to the now dated Fata1ty Gaming Headset. Enjoy!

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