Audio FX Force Feedback Headphones Review
by Rocky
Published : 22 March 2005
Updated : 22 November 2005
Related Links : eDimensional

Introduction

Finding a decent set of PC headphones used to be like searching for the holy grail, everyone had their own idea of what exactly it was, but finding it was an elusive chase. Nowadays there are plenty of options when it comes to headphones. This is largely due to the increase in home computing, and the relocation of many PC's from the study or bedroom into the main living space where they have become more mainstream entertainment than geeky hobby. Whether it is in the same room as the television, or the room next door, fighting for the airwaves does not a happy home make. Enter the headset, fully enclosed to prevent sound leakage and high performance so you'd think it was 5.1 surround, not simply "headphones".

There are a number of headphones that match those two basic criteria available on the market today, but the set we have for review here bring something new to the table, or should I say, new to your ears. The Edimensional Audio FX Force Feedback Gaming headphones bring a new meaning to the phrase "vibrant sound", because the really do vibrate! At first I figured this sounded like a pretty pointless gadget, who needs headphones that could vibrate themselves off your head, right? But in true "don't knock 'em until you've tried 'em" spirit, I plugged these babies in and gave them a whirl with various games to see how they sounded, how they felt, and if they really added to the gaming experience. So, read on to find out why this headset is the one I use all the time, for gaming, music, and internet comms.

The Specification

Before we delve into how they sound and feel in game, let me quickly run through the specifications. As anyone who has shopped around for headphones will know there are a couple of very important factors to consider. The first thing you should look out for is the length of the cable. Manufacturers are forever guilty of skimping on cable, probably the cheapest component in the whole setup and yet they usually skimp on it. This is usually a nightmare for anyone whos tower unit is not right next to the seating position, or a hindrance if you have to swivel away from the PC for a moment. Thankfully this set comes up pretty good, the audio cable is a generous length, so no problems there. There are 3 plugs at the end, a USB, a mic and the speaker plug.

AudioFX Force Feedback Gaming Headset

I mentioned the USB cable there. Previous incarnations of rumble headphones actually required batteries to make them work, thanks to the clever inclusion of a USB connection here though, there is no need to keep replacing batteries, this set works right off your PC's power.

On the sound lead is an inline controller that allows easy adjustment of the volume, and an on/off switch for the vibration.

The microphone comes with noise canceling foam and works very well, your teammates will hear you loud and clear during online games. Apparently the mic is certified for superior voice recognition, and some testing did indeed prove the mic produced clear and crisp comms. The stalk is very sturdy and of course is fully adjustable in all directions. The mic sits just to the side of your mouth (depending on how big a gob you have of course), which is a good thing as it should help stop heavy breather syndrome. You know the gamer I'm talking about, he has his mic on voice activation, right in front of his mouth, geez I swear some guys are running a marathon while they play games, it sure sounds like it with all that heavy breathing. Anyway, back to the point, the mic sits just to the side of the mouth, perfectmondo.

Audio FX Force Feedback Heaphones

If you are not using voice comms you can simply swivel it up out of the way. Anyone who has had a cheap set of headphones with a mic before will probably have suffered the same fate as my last set, droopy mic. It always seems to be the flakiest part of the whole construction, the bit you actually have to move every time you wear it. Thankfully there is no problem here, the attachment to the ear piece is extremely robust, and the adjustments all feel solid and I've no doubt they will perform as such for many many teamspeak yelling sessions.

The cups themselves are of the fully enclosed type to prevent sound leakage and are comfortable thanks to a healthy amount of soft padding. They are also adjustable as the bands can be pulled out of the headband on both sides by a set of incremental notches. This means you can position the cups exactly over your ears, and I found they gave a very close fit with no gaps at all around the ear. This is probably due to the hinging on top of each cup which allows it to swing inwards around the ear. The headband itself is also padded, so you really are not aware of it all during use.

The Rumble

Okay enough chit chat, down to business - the vibration. The first game I tried these with was of course Ghost Recon. Now Ghost Recon won awards for its sound so I was extremely interested to see how these headphones performed, and I wasn't disappointed. Once I had played around with the adjustments on the inline controller for a moment, I was all set. The inline volume control will largely determine at what point the vibration kicks in, and the vibration dial will determine the strength of the vibrations, form a mild tickle to "phone the dentist my filling just shook loose".

What I found was that while I crept through the foliage on recon, the headset acted like a normal set of headphones. The ambient sounds like birds chirping and wind noise came though nice and crisp, just like always. Once things started hotting up though, things took on a whole new dimension. When that first airstrike came in it you could really imagine the whole ground was shaking, because your headphones vibrated in perfect time and amplification of the explosion. And it wasn't just during the large explosions that the effect kicked in. What actually impressed me most was how they even give a reaction to your gun fire. Every time you let loose another round it doesn't just sound great, it really feels great too. It is actually quite hard to explain because I can imagine it reads kind of funny, but it really does add a new layer of realism to the ever more realistic gaming experience.

I also play Joint Operations and Battlefield 2 with these headphones, and again they deliver, adding real depth to the mayhem to any virtual battlefield.

What I have not mentioned so far is the lights on each cup. There are 3 coloured lights that flash, depending on how strong the vibration is kicking in. I can imagine two uses for this. At LAN parties you can be the guy "with those cool headphones", and at home you can be Mr "don't talk to me now can't you see my headset is flashing!!!" You know how it is, your wife or girlfriend is usually half way through a most interesting story taken from her most interesting day before you even realise she is speaking out loud. Now with a simple point to the flashing headset, a wink and a thumbs up, she understands you are busy getting your ears cleaned out and to save the story for some other time. Which they invariably do. Anyway, I digress...

Conclusion

You've probably figured out by now that I like these headphones a lot. If you haven't deduced that then stop speed reading my reviews and go read it properly (if you really can't be bothered at least read the previous paragraph, I kinda like that one). The Audio FX headphones from Edimensional do everything a good headset should and more: they produce quality sound, it has a good microphone on a sturdy stalk and it has long cables. Additionally, it has this great vibrating feature that on paper sounds gimmicky, but on your head, feels great and takes gaming immersion to a new level. Couple this with a surprisingly low price point, these headphones really are to be recommended. Try them out - immersive yourself in your games!

AudioFX Force Feedback Gaming Headset

Eight month update

I'm pleased to report that 8 months down the line these are still the same headphones I use on a daily basis. Even though I have more expensive heaphones lying around, these Audio FX headphones are my preferred choice. During this 8 months of daily use there has been no wear and tear at all, and the microphone is still producing crisp comms, and the stalk is still as tight as the day it came out of the box, with no slackening of the rotary hinge.

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