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Friday, 20 July 2012 16:16

Cooler Master Storm Sonuz tested

Written by Sanjin Rados

 sonuztop-value-2008-lr

Review: All in one headset with 53mm drivers

The product we'll test today is Cooler Master's gaming headset Sonuz. The idea behind it was to make a lightweight and multi-purpose gaming headset that users will use both at home and on-the-go. Apart from promising quality audio reproduction, Sonuz can quickly transform into headphones as well, thanks to the removable microphone. So, let us move on and see whether Sonuz has what it takes.

sonuz-front


Specifications


Model SGH-4010-KGTA1

Headphone
- Driver diameter: 53mm
- Frequency range: 10 - 20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 45ohm
- Sensitivities (@1kHz): 98 dB ± 3 dB
- Connector: 3.5 mm gold-plated headphone jack
- Inner Ear Cup Diameter: 97.0 mm
- Cable Length: 193cm
- Max Output: 200mW

Microphone     
- Frequency range: 100-10,000 Hz
- Sensitivities (@1kHz): -47 dB ± 3 dB
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 58dB
- Pick Up pattern: Omni-Directional
- Diameter: 4x1.5mm


The packaging is quite appealing. As you can see, it lets users see the headset and provides basic info.

sonuz-box-1

sonuz-box-2

We found a rubber plug inside the box and it's used to seal off the 3.5mm microphone connector, in case you take the mic off of course. There's also a small pad listing key features and although there's no mention of how to take the mic off, we're sure users won't have trouble figuring that out on their own. Of course, we'll show it anyways.

sonuz-box-3

The in-line controller is visible through the plastic window on the package. The remote comes with volume control and microphone On/Off key.

sonuz-volume-control

The in-line controller is about 39cm away from the phones. Its placement is well thought out and once the headset is in use, the controller is more or less level with the keyboard, and it can be reached easily.

The cable is some 193cm, which is 7cm less than it says on the box. Still, it was long enough to reach our case, and we routed it behind the table. The cable looks well made and it splits in two at the end - one connector for the headphones and the other for the mic. The mic is omnidirectional and it's nice that it has a dedicated connector, which means you can use it independently in other programs as well.

sonuz-y

We would've preferred if Cooler Master marked the connectors a bit clearer. A little rubber bump or symbol would've done the trick as well, because users could tell by touch. We advise you to mark them yourself and save yourself time later.

When using the Sonuz as headphones, on a cellphone for instance, a portion of the cable with the mic connector will hang in the air.

sonuz-mobile-1


The soft earpads are 9.7cm in diameter, whereas the plastic bracket measures about 10cm in diameter. The headband is slightly curved, which makes the Sonuz fit comfortably and stay in place in those long sessions. Weighing in at about 380 grams, it isn't quite the lightest headset around, but it is lighter than many competing products. For instance, the Sirus weighs about 400 grams. Naturally, there's no need for installation - as long as a device has a 3.5mm audio out, you're good to go.

sonuz-pict-1

CM Storm logo doesn't glow like the logo on the Sirus headset.

sonuz-pict-2

The earpads are filled with soft foam and are quite comfortable. We liked how the earpads are designed, because we didn't sweat much, but unfortunately, they provided little to none outside noise isolation. Note that the pads are removable, in case you want to wash them.  

sonuz-earpads-1

sonuz-earpads-2

The plastic part that covers the driver is higher in the center than at the edges.

sonuz-earpads-3

Users will feel slight pressure on the central part of the outer ear once they put the headset on, courtesy of the elevated plastic part. This made it clear why Cooler Master used double foam pads.

The picture below hints at the elevated part - notice that the fabric is stretched at the center.

sonuz-earpads-4

The speakers are attached to the headband at the center, so they'll fit in an instant. The speaker can be turned in all directions, whereas the traditional design preferred thinner designs restricted two movement in two directions only.

Sonuz looks even bigger when put on due to the way how the speakers are attached to the headband. Note that they definitely won't fall of easily.

sonuz-earpads-7

Users can extend the headband by almost 4cm on each side, picture below. The metal rail also adds to the  military style.

sonuz-comfor-1

Users can extend the headband by almost 4cm on each side, picture below. The metal rail also adds to the  military style.

sonuz-headset-2


The mic is easily removed - all you need to do is guide it from the standard position (first picture below) into the one for removing (second picture below) and tug it lightly.

sonuz-mic-1

sonuz-mic-2

The mic can be placed both left and right. Cooler Master ships a rubber plug that will come in handy when the mic is not in use.

sonuz-mic-3

The mic is very robust but can bend a bit in the middle.

sonuz-mic-4

The mic is omni-directional and sound quality is really good. Our voice was heard very clearly and background noise is minimal. Specs-wise, the microphone boasts a frequency response of 100 Hz – 10.000 Hz with sensitivity of -47 +/- 3dB @ 1kHz and 1V/Pa, and a signal to noise ratio of 58dB. The mic can be turned on/off via the in-line remote

The headphone boasts a frequency response of 10 – 20,000 Hz, an impedance of 45 ohms, and sensitivity of 98 +/- 3dB @ 1kHz and 1V/Pa.

The speaker houses a large 53mm driver and of course, we're talking about a stereo headset. Of course, analog headsets require quality soundcards to reproduce the entire spectrum but we found the sound quite good, regardless of the device we used it on. The bass is heard quite well. Note that the Sonuz was noticeably quieter than the Sirius headset.

Sonuz doesn't have the surround sound solution like on the Sirus, which is evident during gaming. Of course, we doubt you'll lose a battle over it, but we didn't mind. The simulated surround is good, but it's difficult to tell whether the sound is coming from behind or front.

The in-line remote lets you control levels but don't forget about the volume controls inside your OS. Additionally, remember to turn the sound down before you take the headphones out, because music going off full volume in the middle of the night is not a nice suprise.

Anyone who has tried the Sonuz was quite pleased with the sound quality. Mid and high frequencies are clear but the highs are a bit muffled when the sound is maxed out. A couple of friends who tried them said they didn't even notice the bump in the earpads, while others noticed it but did not mind. Only one friend, who happened to have a bit larger ears, said that his ears were a bit sore after longer sessions, specifically at the point where the bump and the ear meet.

Even the youngest member of the crew caught the beat when he strapped the headset.

sonuz-wave


Sonuz is Cooler Master's new gaming headset that goes for about €59 in the EU. As you can see, it's not cheap, but Sonuz comes with several features that make it a good value for money. Firstly, sound quality is crucial and the large 53mm drivers deliver plenty of bass and a wide sound spectrum. Note however that although it boasts quality sound, it's not surround, which means it won't help much when you need directional hints from the sound you hear. Sirus 5.1 surround headset, on the other hand, costs some €30 more but it blew us away with how neatly it handles such tasks. Whether it's worth the cash is ultimately users' call, but Sonuz did quite well in our gaming tests. The 53mm drivers push out enough quality sound to provide a nice listening/gaming experience. If we were to put in words the comparison between Sonuz and  Sirus headsets, we'd say Sonuz is like listening to a nearby thunderstorm while Sirius is like being in the eye of the storm. Still, you'll definitely feel it in both cases. The mic is omni-directional and worked flawlessly.

The computer is not the only device you may use Sonuz with. While it may look a bit silly wearing a large headset and using it with a phone on a public place, removing the mic will turn it into a bit bulky headphones. However, once you put it on, it won't be a problem. Despite its weight of 380 grams, Sonuz fits nicely and remains comfortable in long sessions. The headset uses 3.5mm gold-plated connectors, which means you can use it with any device with a 3.5mm out there.

Sonuz was designed to fit comfortably and stay in place, which it definitely does. In fact, you can relax and headbang as much as you won't and Sonuz will still stay on. Same goes for gaming and sharp head movement will not send it flying. We welcomed this because we've lost much precious gaming time messing with loose fitting headsets. The in-line controller is well positioned and you won't have to take your eyes off the screen to reach it.

Although the product description lists the Sonuz as good for at-home and on-the-go, it gaming headset is more likely to remain the former, chiefly due to its size. However, removing the mic turns the Sonuz into very comfortable, albeit a bit bulky headphones that really turned out to be a good companion on-the-go as well as at-home.

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Last modified on Friday, 20 July 2012 20:47
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