I got pretty excited when the Audio FX Pro Audio 5+1 Gaming Headset arrived in the office, even before I opened the box. What had me so eager, I hear you ask. Well, it definitely wasn’t the name, that’s for sure. Just speaking the full name of the device feels like being slapped in the jaw with a leg of lamb – that’s how ham-fisted it is.
No, what got me on the edge of my seat was the name attached to the design – Benjamin Heckendorn, also known as Ben Heck. If you aren’t up-to-date with your modding personalities then suffice it to say that in the world of console modding Ben is pretty much the go-to-guy.
Ben has become pretty famous over the years for some of his crazier and more beautiful mods – he’s come to specialise in shrinking down old consoles and making them into new hand-helds or more portable variations. He has worked on everything from CNC built portable Atari 2600s through to hand-crafted hand-held PlayStations.
All in all, it’s some thoroughly impressive stuff. So, when I found that Ben had worked closely with eDimensional to design what he considered to be the ultimate in gaming headsets, I was understandably interested and I took it upon myself to review the headset before anybody else had a chance to listen to them.
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The Audio FX Pro 5+1 boasts an impressive and controversial array of features even if you detach the Ben Heck name from them. You might think it’d be hard for a gaming headset to be controversial – but if that’s the case then you’re probably an unimaginative goon. It’s very possible.
Firstly, the headset claims to feature 5.1 sound, which immediately provokes ire in most audiophiles. Those enthusiasts will tell you that a 5.1 headset makes little to no sense and eDimensional’s boast that the Audio FX Pro is “like a home theatre with subwoofer in a headset” is little more than bogus marketing spin.
You see, there’s some disagreement among listeners of the benefit of 5.1 headsets. The system essentially replicates a 5.1 speaker setup within a headset, using five speakers plus a subwoofer to give directional sound and clear bass response.
That’s undoubtedly something that would be handy when playing computer games or watching films – but can a listener really notice a difference when those speakers are right next to their ears?
The Man himself (left)
Even better news though, for those of an argumentative persuasion, is that isn’t where the controversy ends. The headset is also bundled with force feedback too. Yes, the same stuff you find inside game controllers and joysticks. The idea is to give players an extra level of immersion in their games so that they can, to quote the product makers, “feel them coming, all before you can even see them!”
Hmm. I’ll believe that when I’ve tried it – which I’ll be doing on the next page. By the sound of it though, the force feedback features are more likely to leave you with numb ears and a headache.
The Audio FX Pro 5+1 bundles a few other nice features to boot, namely a LED array on the outside of the ear cups which I suppose is useful for people who want to check if you’re listening to music or just trying to ignore them.
There’s also a noise-cancelling mouldable microphone on the left ear cup and the manufacturers make a big deal of how the mic is TeamSpeak certified. There’s only one way to gauge how much that claim is worth though and that’s to clamp our ears down and give the ‘Heckset’ a spin.