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PAX Prime 2012: Plantronics GameCom Commander

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 17 comments

The GameCom Commander is a brand new, limited edition, gaming headset developed in conjunction with the Plantronics aviation and military divisions. The shell of the ear-cups was taken directly from a military-aviation style headset and then filled with clearer and more accurate sound reproduction technology for a solution that caters to the professional or tournament gamer. Due to the noise cancelling design of the headset for use on aircraft carriers, the headset does a great job at passively cancelling out ambient noise. We were able to clearly hear the game of choice even with the overload of ambient noise from PAX in the background after donning the Commander. The 7.1 virtual surround sound technology provided by Dolby did a great job at representing the 360 degree game environment even while on the show floor.

Additionally the lack of software configuration allows you to take your Commander with you where ever you go. This allows tournament gamers who may not be able to install software on their tournament computer to still take the familiarity of their personal headset with them.

Updated [Sept 10, 2012]: Here are the technical specifications!

• Speaker driver size: 40mm
• Speaker frequency response: 20Hz–18kHz
• Microphone frequency response: 100Hz–10kHz
• Noise reduction: up to 18dB
• Cable length: 6.5 feet (2 meters) with coil cord
• USB connection: 3.5mm dual connection and 3.5mm single connection
• 2-year limited warranty

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  • 6 Hide
    Pennanen , September 3, 2012 4:23 AM
    "Commander, military, super,duper,secret,xtreme,gaymer,limited,special."

    We've seen this before 1000 times. Overpriced "gaymen" headsets with bad sound quality and high price tag.
  • 6 Hide
    razor512 , September 3, 2012 4:28 AM
    care to release any specs such as frequency response along with the curves so we can have an idea of how balanced the audio is along with how well it reproduces the audio?
  • 5 Hide
    freename , September 3, 2012 4:30 AM
    $299? They're dreaming
  • 6 Hide
    sixdegree , September 3, 2012 4:47 AM
    Instead of military styling, how about military grade durability? Game peripheral companies should take notice that there's a big market for some gaming mouse/headset/keyboard that won't break after a year of usage.
  • 4 Hide
    edogawa , September 3, 2012 4:57 AM
    Why do they keep pushing these products, are there really that many uniformed gamers buying these headsets?

    I constantly see people praising things like the the Razer Tiamat and the Astro headsets when they sound like total garbage sound quality wise and the multiple drivers in headphones is a gimmick.

    Buy a real set of headphones from a reputable headphone company such as Sennheiser, Grado, audio-technica, etc, and use it with a sound card and a clip on mic.

  • -2 Hide
    James296 , September 3, 2012 5:01 AM
    sixdegreeInstead of military styling, how about military grade durability? Game peripheral companies should take notice that there's a big market for some gaming mouse/headset/keyboard that won't break after a year of usage.


    are we talking sailor-proof, army-proof, or marine-proof?
  • -2 Hide
    Pennanen , September 3, 2012 5:24 AM
    James296are we talking sailor-proof, army-proof, or marine-proof?

    With the price these come, all of those.
  • 1 Hide
    freggo , September 3, 2012 5:51 AM
    $299 is actually cheap for "aviation" or "military" grade.

    A decent David Clark headset easily costs more and does not have 5.1 sound etc.
    Of course when you try to land a plane in the rain at night surround sound is not high on the list of things you want in your head set. Just clean static free communication with the tower will do.

    Bottom line, this all sounds like PR buzz to charge some kid a boat load of money better spend on a faster GRU. Get a nice Sennheiser set like an RS-20 instead. Perfectly ok for gaming, great to listen to your music and even your GF will not mind using them. Hell, for $299 you can buy 2 (his and hers) and have change left to take her out on a few dates :-)


  • -2 Hide
    James296 , September 3, 2012 6:24 AM
    PennanenWith the price these come, all of those.


    ah then you want morine...I mean marine-proof :p 
  • 3 Hide
    kinggremlin , September 3, 2012 6:25 AM
    From the box
    Quote:
    Works with PC, MAC, smartphone and tablet


    Really? A smartphone? Who the hell would buy a $299 headset like this and use it with their smartphone? Someone needs to tell THG that "The Onion" is a spoof site, and not a real news source.
  • 1 Hide
    austinwillis81 , September 3, 2012 6:53 AM
    They are just like any other headset, I tried them at PAX and there is nothing special about them.
  • 1 Hide
    cTs Corvette , September 3, 2012 3:33 PM
    Lol, for a long time I had a set of $5 Coby headphones (no mic) that I played Counter-Strike with. I didn't have any problems telling where someone was with them. My only consideration for a new headset back then was "Is it cheap, and does it have inline volume control?" If it broke, who cares, it was $5. Now I'm on my third set of Turtle Beach X1's (all the "better" versions of this headset have been worse) that are held together with wire and electrical tape, but I just can't find anything that I like better. They are the perfect balance of decent sound (too much bass for music, doesn't bother me while gaming though) and incredible comfort, and I wish TB would remake them instead of trying to "improve" them. But spending $300 on a headset? Yeah, not going to happen. I mean really, I didn't even spend $300 on my video card.
  • -2 Hide
    alidan , September 3, 2012 10:23 PM
    sixdegreeInstead of military styling, how about military grade durability? Game peripheral companies should take notice that there's a big market for some gaming mouse/headset/keyboard that won't break after a year of usage.


    i firmly beleive that every piece of head mounted anything, should have to use metal to re enforce any area where the product would fail,i dont care if there is plastic on the thing, so long as if i take all that plastic away, the thing still holds onto my head.

    this is a problem from every pair of headphones i have ever owned, even higher quality ones get cracks in the plastic for me.

    kinggremlinFrom the boxReally? A smartphone? Who the hell would buy a $299 headset like this and use it with their smartphone? Someone needs to tell THG that "The Onion" is a spoof site, and not a real news source.


    lets assume that it does work with smartphones/tablets

    lets say you are at home, and have this you want to do something and not be tied to a computer, and you have some calls to make.

    well there you go, no longer tied to the computer, and no need to smash a touch screen on your face to talk to someone.

    if gameing really takes off on a tablet, as in we get real games, i could see something like this being useful, remember, diablo like games lend themselves well to touch and console interfaces.
  • -1 Hide
    alidan , September 3, 2012 10:28 PM
    cTs CorvetteLol, for a long time I had a set of $5 Coby headphones (no mic) that I played Counter-Strike with. I didn't have any problems telling where someone was with them. My only consideration for a new headset back then was "Is it cheap, and does it have inline volume control?" If it broke, who cares, it was $5. Now I'm on my third set of Turtle Beach X1's (all the "better" versions of this headset have been worse) that are held together with wire and electrical tape, but I just can't find anything that I like better. They are the perfect balance of decent sound (too much bass for music, doesn't bother me while gaming though) and incredible comfort, and I wish TB would remake them instead of trying to "improve" them. But spending $300 on a headset? Yeah, not going to happen. I mean really, I didn't even spend $300 on my video card.


    sennheiser hd555
    get a mic that attach to the cable

    personally i have a blue yeti for my mic, so i dont need a on headphone mic, but these things... its hard to get better in that price range,

    if you have the amplifier though, an old sennheiser hd 430 cant be beat, for 20-50$ you get a 600 ohm headphones, granted they are 20 some years old, but quality, you cant beat it of under 300$,
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 5, 2012 11:08 PM
    Just got my pair of commanders in the mail. Wearing them right now. These are absolutely amazing. Mic is crystal clear (after turning off all the crap my soundcard was trying to do which made everything sound terrible... gotta let the hardware do what it was made to do!) The sound isolation is so crazy that I didn't even notice my roommate come home... scared the crap out of me seeing a face in my doorway when I thought the house was empty.
  • 0 Hide
    kevin davies , September 11, 2012 12:07 AM
    Hey guys!

    I've updated the article to include the technical specifications from Plantronics.

    When I was hands on at PAX the headset seemed much more durable than a lot of other high-end gaming headsets I've tried out in the past. They were designed in conjunction with Plantronics military and aviation devisions and the headset seemed to live up to them. I've used various military electronic hearing protection cans in the past and the Commander headset, from the exterior at least, stacks up well.
  • 0 Hide
    kevin davies , September 11, 2012 7:32 AM
    kinggremlinFrom the boxReally? A smartphone? Who the hell would buy a $299 headset like this and use it with their smartphone? Someone needs to tell THG that "The Onion" is a spoof site, and not a real news source.

    Indeed, it does work with most smartphones! The headset uses standard 3.5mm plugs to support these. The 3.5mm plugs attach to a dongle that controls the activation of Dolby 7.1 Surround and connects to a PC via USB.