Review: PlayStation PULSE Wireless Stereo Headset – Elite Edition
Earlier this year, Sony introduced their follow-up to last year’s PS3 Stereo Headset, the PlayStation PULSE Wireless Stereo Headset Elite Edition. This headset features dual audio cable so that you can plug the PULSE Headset into any device that sports a 3.5 mm audio jack, and BassImpact technology that is intended to fix the bass, or lack thereof, in the PS3 Stereo Headset. But was this refresh necessary? Or does this headset lack the kick needed to justify the $149.99 price tag? Check out our full review to find out!
First thing’s first: design. From a visual standpoint, the PULSE headsets are extremely nice. featuring an all-black color scheme with chrome housings hiding the BassImpact vibrators, the PULSE headset makes for a rather pleasing device when compared to the likes of Beats or other popular headphones. Looking at it from a gaming perspective, well that’s another story.
You see, the big thing about the PS3 Stereo Headset was that it was designed with the gamer in mind, giving him or her access to both volume rockers as well as the power/mute button at all times. With the PULSE headsets it seems like the design was catered toward more of the Beats crowd. This was very evident when I started delving into some gaming sessions. My first problem arose when I actually wanted to turn the headset on while it was placed on my head. The PS3 Stereo headsets only required you to press in the left half of the headset, again emphasizing an ease-of-access in those times of intense play. This time around, not only are the power and mic buttons separated, but they’re on different sides of the same earphone. This means you’ll need to adjust to switching the actual device on or off if you put it on beforehand, the same goes for the mute – which after a week of owning the device, I still have yet to use. You also have to consider that Sony has included an audio jack with this device, meaning you’ll be able to plug it into anything that has a 3.5 mm headphone jack – including your Vita or cellphone. Although this might seem like a non-issue, coming from the PS3 headset where everything was just there, it became quite bothersome.
A big change that you might notice when you first pick this bad boy up is the fact that there isn’t a microphone protruding from the device itself. That’s because the microphone is built into the headset. This might have been a bad idea had it not been for the noise-cancelling technology Sony decided to put into the headset. This makes for a good experience where your friends won’t pick up unintended sounds from your end of the conversation. It’s nice, because it actually works. After playing a few games of Uncharted 3, or Borderlands 2, I received no complaints about the music being broadcasted on my end. Speaking of sounds, there’s something that should be addressed.
These things are a little bulky, mostly due to the fact that the BassImpact adds some meat to the product. It’d be nice if the headset were a little slimmer, but it works as is. What does this have to do with sounds? Well, it’s all about the bleeding, sound bleeding that is. A big problem with the PS3 Stereo Headset was that sound would bleed from the earphones, meaning your partner next to you – or even a few feet away – could hear what was going on. Of course this defeats part of the purpose of gaming with a headset on. I’m happy to say that this doesn’t seem to be the case with the PULSE Headsets. It looks like Sony went back to the drawing board on this one and really put some effort into this thing, eliminating this problem altogether. While playing Uncharted 3, Tokyo Jungle, Jet Set Radio HD, or Borderlands 2 at near max volume, the people around me reported that they could not hear the sounds from the headset.
Now to the most important part of this package, and why the headset costs so much: the BassImpact. While Sony’s 2011 outing with the PS3 Stereo Headset was a worthwhile purchase, featuring great sound as well as convenience, there was a note that it couldn’t quite hit; that was the bass. The PS3 Stereo Headset lacked the bass it needed to out perform the competition, making it a good device, but for that price, you could get better. Sony saw that and developed the PULSE Headest, effectively doing away with the bass problem by implementing what they call “BassImpact technology.”
While it may have a flashy name, the BassImpact really does what it’s supposed to; provide the right amount of bass for the given situation. Housed behind the chrome on the headset, you have vibrators that respond to bass in movies, music or whatever it may be that you’re listening to. At first I didn’t see the appeal in this, but after fiddling with the BassImpact rocker a bit, I was able to find the sweet spot that provided a good amount of bass that worked for me. It worked so well that I found myself more into the games that I was playing than I had been before. Whilst roaming around Tundra Express, hunting for Varkids in Borderlands 2, not only could I feel myself approaching the pounding machinery littered throughout the area. In Tokyo Jungle, each time I knawed on an enemies’ carcass the headset would rattle a bit, simulating the powerful grip of my animal. It’s moments like those that really wowed me, making me understand why the headset is $149.99 and why so much effort went into the BassImpact. But that’s not the best part.
The real fun kicks in when you take the headset out of its gaming environment and place it in a more musical setting. For this portion, I chose Ellie Goulding’s “Explosions” and Edele’s “Skyfall” and yet again, the headset failed to disappoint me. “Explosions” worked the best as “Skyfall” isn’t too heavy on base, but it did test well. Listening to “Explosion” I found myself swaying in a hypnotic trance of sorts caused by the BassImpact, enveloping me in the “explosion” that occurred throughout the song.
So we’ve gone over just about everything there is to go over with this headset, but was it worth the price? Well in short, yes. While it may be bulky, that extra bulk serves in purpose in providing a nice, sound-retaining device. The BassImpact packs a heavy punch, immersifying gamers, or music lovers like never before. You really can’t get much better for only $149.99.