Games have been judged and appraised based on their sound quality, amongst other things, for many years now – but it’s often the last thing that many gamers invest in. The truth is that a good sound setup can put the finishing touch on an awesome gaming experience.
While a poor one, on the other hand, can detract from it.
The Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Alpha is the latest set of gaming cans from... well, you can guess who it’s from. They feature a rather unique flattened and vaguely off-set cone design, with a cloth blue highlight underneath the exterior of the earpads. The pads themselves are mounted on some form of pivoting joint so that can better conform to the side of your head. Since the Tactic 3D Alphas aren’t all that heavy, and feature some very soft padding, they’re a very comfy set of ‘phones to wear.
The rest of the features also add to the extreme useability of the Alphas (that name’s just too long). A flat ribbon cable reaches just over one Editor in length, but sadly not all the way to bathroom from our home system. Regardless, it’s a good length, and features a lapel clip and in-line set of volume/mic controls – for when you really need to mute the sound of one hand fapping. A detachable mic rounds out the feature set, making the Alpha’s versatile as well as feature rich. It’s not quite so elegant a solution as the hidden boom on Plantronic’s cans, but it’s the next best thing.
But all the bells and whistles don’t matter a damn if the sound quality’s down – thankfully, the Alpha delivers. Not perfectly, mind, but if it’s roomy bass you’re looking for, these are the headphones for you. It’s not the most effective in delivering 3D, either, but you certainly do get a sense of open space. About the only thing we felt was really lacking was sharp sense of treble – the crack of a rifle, for instance, just didn’t have quite enough punch. Music is well-covered, though that open quality does work against good sound reproduction for material ultimately mixed for two channels.
These are good phones, and while not perfect, certainly have a great gamer-grade feature set with excellent build quality.