On Our Desk - 16

Written by bit-tech Staff

March 26, 2009 | 10:03

Tags: #digital-tv #headset #iphone-game #ipod #mouse #on-our-desk #round-up #steel-series #zboard

Companies: #icy-box #teufel

Medusa NX 5.1 Headset

Manufacturer: Speed Link
UK Price (as reviewed): £59.99 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): N/A

Maybe Speed Link decided to call this headset the Medusa NX because the microphone resembles a metal snake protruding from your head when it’s facing upwards. Maybe it just thought it was a cooler name than Jason NX. Either way, the Medusa NX is a nifty bit of kit.

First, comfort. The large, cloth-covered cans surround your ears comfortably rather squashing them like many smaller models. Headphones like this can get pretty hot in the summer but cloth covered models like the Medusa NX are definitely better than imitation leather, which have a tendency to cause nappy rash if used for extended periods of time. The headband is rigid too - enough to feel sturdy, but well-cushioned at the same time.

The headset is let down a little by the massive 3.8m cable though, which is unfortunately not braided and prone to tangling. Unboxed, the cable excess is bundled together in a Velcro cable wrap which we recommend you keep and use, lest you spend a Sunday afternoon untangling this leviathan of a cable.

On Our Desk - 16 Medusa NX 5.1 Headset On Our Desk - 16 Medusa NX 5.1 Headset

There's a control unit incorporated into the cable which allows control of the centre, front, rear and vibration (or sub) volume. Disappointingly though, there's no master volume so you might have your ears blown off if you fire up a game or film and the Windows volume isn't set quite right.

Follow the cable further down and you’ll find four 3.5mm jacks and a USB connector, with the latter providing power to the headset. The Medusa NX also ships with a 5.1 phono adapter cable, so you can plug it into a 5.1 DVD player and make use of the extra-long cable while kicking back on your nine-seat brown leather corner sofa, you lucky git. The rest of us have to cope with squatting on worn-down armchairs.

When not in use, the Medusa NX folds up neatly and fits inside a carrying case on the off-chance you’re travelling further from your PC than the huge cable will let you, which isn't something we'd really recommend. It's almost summer outside, so it's a perfect time to catch up on all those games you haven't played from last Christmas!

On Our Desk - 16 Medusa NX 5.1 Headset On Our Desk - 16 Medusa NX 5.1 Headset

Going into Vista’s sound options in the control panel we ran the audio test for 5.1 setups - the one which passes xylophone-type sounds to the individual channels. We were surprised to find that the noises genuinely sounded as though they were coming from different directions, with the headset emulating a 5.1 speaker setup respectably.

Next, we did a quick DVD test and loaded up Lord of Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring to find that volume levels were amply loud and of a decent standard in terms of quality. The bass doesn’t come close to that you’d feel from a real sub but it’s deep enough for the job, though not exactly mindblowing.

Crysis: Warhead was also a pleasing experience with the Medusa NX, the opening sequence with the sound effects from EA pre-roll actually inducing a few chuckles because it sounded so good. Gunfire felt like it was genuinely dotted around the jungle and planes firing overhead were almost enough to make us duck in our seat.

Verdict: To get sound quality and surround sound performance in a headset that is genuinely awesome, you’ll probably have to spend more than £60. However, the Medusa NX does the job to a good standard for the money and, coupled with the good build quality, they're definitely worth a look.
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