Medusa 5.1 Surround Sound Headset
We're not going to beat around the bush on this one - this is the best pair of headsets in the roundup, and it's also quite probably the best value as well. The headset is designed almost exactly the same as the USB flavor (also reviewed in this feature), with the collapsible earphones being made of a very soft and comfortable velvety material - which is very easy on the ears, even if things can get hot after a few hours of continual wear (hint: take breaks).
The earphones cover the ear completely and when there is sound playing out of the total of eight speakers it offers (four in each earphone), outside noises do not become an issue at all. The entire headset is fairly well adjustable to all head sizes, though it is the heaviest headset reviewed here and so it can take a bit of time to get used to. After a few minutes of wear however you cease to notice the weight - though again we would advise a break from it every hour or two.
One major feature of this headphone over the USB flavor is the inclusion of the powerful headphone amp (an unexpected treat, considering the price of the headset); it's a powerful amp which provides large dollops of extra volume over and beyond what you would get from simply plugging the headset directly into the computer. The amp also comes with two jacks for headsets to be plugged into. You can also buy a set that includes two Medusa 5.1 headsets, thus allowing multiple people to sit back and listen to the same thing without, say, waking half the neighborhood at 2:00 AM.
The wiring is extensive but not overly complicated if you follow the instructions and match up the right plugs to the right jacks in both the amp and the computer. There's plenty of reach on the wires as well so you can reach the main sound ports on the soundcard at the back of the computer without much of a problem. The volume control unit on the wire is very interesting, as it allows you to control the volume for each individual speaker within the headset, as opposed to the overall volume (this is not a feature in the USB headset). It also allows you to switch between CD and DVD modes, which allows for positioning to be changed for a better surround sound experience.
The microphone is of excellent quality and as well as being flexible it picks up sound, cancels background interference and transmits with perfect clarity.