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Ezonics Esound 5.1 6-Channel USB Headphones - Page 1 of 1
Posted: October 04, 2004
Author: dadx2mj
Manufacturer: Ezonics
Source: Computergeeks.com
Comment or Question: Post Here

It has been a long time since I have used, or felt a need for, a good set of headphones. Friends have told me it would improve my gaming experience, but I did not listen. So, when the good people at Computergeeks.com offered to send the Ezonics Esound 5.1 Surround Sound 6 Channel Headphones for this review, I decided it was time to take a fresh look at the use of headphones.


I really thought I was hearing everything with my Logitech Z-640 5.1 speakers. Man was I wrong... More on that later, but first a look at the specifications for these bad boys...

Specifications and Features (taken from the Computergeeks.com website):

• Six (6) independent sound chambers
• Adjustable, headband and padded ear-pads for ultra comfort
• USB connection ( 10-foot cord)
• Compatible with PC and Macintosh computers

• Technical specifications:
   • Max power 15mW
   • Frequency response 20Hz - 20 KHz
   • Impedance 8 Ohms (surround)
   • Impedance 16 Ohms (center)
   • Impedance 32 Ohms (front)
   • Sensitivity -103db

• Speaker Specifications:
   • Six (6) independent sound chambers
   • Front 40mm x 2
   • Center 13mm x 2
   • Surround 13mm x 2

The Basics:

Not a lot to talk about here. The box pictured below contains the headphones, a small user’s manual, and a product registration card. Computergeeks.com also threw in an AOL disk with 1000 free hours on it. Thanks, but no thanks... That disk is not getting into my computer, but to be fair, there may be someone out there who wants it.

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The headphones are attractively styled in a combination of silver and black, and are very light weight and comfortable to wear...

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The images below show a front and back view of the exposed speakers, revealing that there are indeed 6 speakers total...

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The Ezonics headphones feature a long (10 foot) cord that has an inline module about 4 feet from the USB connector.

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This module has a red LED that lights up when the headphones are connected...

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Setup and Performance:

Set up is about as easy as you can get. All you have to do is plug the USB connector into any open USB port on your computer. Then click “Next” and “OK” to a couple of dialog boxes Windows pops up, and you are good to go. Once they are plugged in they override your speakers and no sound will come from them until you unplug the headphones.

While most “Surround Sound Headphones” offer you a “virtual“ surround sound, Ezonics claims to be the first to offer a “real” surround sound. They do this by use of the inline module which contains an AC-3 and AC-97 hardware decoder, plus 6 separate sound channels. Not only do they offer REAL surround sound, because of the hardware decoder they will even work on a system with no sound card or onboard sound.

The first thing I did after hooking the Esounds up was fire up Winamp and pump some Rock & Roll through them. Right off the bat I noticed small sounds that I never noticed playing through my computer speakers. Subtle sounds, such as a tambourine in the background.

I must admit I had my doubts about how well a set of headphones could pull off the surround sound effect. Once again I was very pleasantly surprised. It felt as if I was sitting in the middle of the band and I could easily distinguish left, right as well as front and back channels.

The sound was very clear and crisp at low and mid volume setting and only showed any distortion at very high volume setting. This could be a bad thing for some, but to my taste they were very clear at every volume level I would regularly use. The bass response was very crisp and you could actually “feel’ the bass much like you can with a big sub woofer.

Next it was time to use the Esounds in some gaming action. I decided to try some Counter Strike, as sound seems to be a big factor in this old game. Being able to hear someone running up on you and knowing in which direction they are coming from would be a big advantage and I wanted to see if the Esounds were up to this task. Once again, the Esounds gave me a very pleasant surprise. The surround sound feature worked much better than I thought would be possible. Sitting in one spot and hearing someone running up it was very easy to tell from which direction they were coming from and if you let them run past you the sound followed them perfectly. This was a huge advantage to me, and held true for other games I played as well.

The one big thing that these headphones are missing is any form of volume control. You are forced to use the controls in whatever software you may be running, or the Windows volume control.

Conclusion:

If you are a total audiophile and demand nothing but the absolute best from your audio equipment, these headphones are probably not for you. They are comfortable and perform well, but the slight distortion at high volumes and the lack of volume control hold them back.

However if you are looking for better than average performance with great surround sound capability and a reasonable price ($82.00 from Computergeeks.com), you should definitely take a closer look at the Ezonics Esound 5.1 6-Channel USB Headphones. The price on these headphones straight from Ezonics is $149 (US), making the Computergeeks.com price quite appealing, but some in depth searching may turn them up for less money (partially coupled with rebates).

The fact that these headphones do not require a sound card is also a big plus. Systems without a sound card, or with sound cards capable of less than 5.1 stereo sound, can now have their audio performance upgraded quickly and without opening the computer case. Laptop owners who find their onboard audio performance lacking, will also be rewarded by the use of the Ezonics Esound headphones!

Final Rating (4 out of 5 stars):


Pros:

• Good looking
• Comfortable to wear
• Long cord for easy movement
• No sound card required
• Good sound quality
• Great surround sound capability

Cons:

• Lack of volume control

Special thanks to Computergeeks.com for supplying the Ezonics Esound 5.1 6-Channel USB Headphones to BigBruin.Com for review!

Please drop by the BigBruin.Com forum and feel free to discuss this review!

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