Not everyone can afford the latest and greatest gear from the most renowned hardware brands. Spending R2,000 or more on a gaming headset might seem like an everyday thing to some, but for most of us it’s simply not feasible. Maybe you don’t have that level of free cash available. Maybe you’re a student. Maybe you just don’t feel like eating two-minute noodles for the next three months. No matter your reasons, there’s a range of brands and offerings out there to suit a tighter budget.
The Redragon SIREN2 virtual 7.1 gaming headset is one such offering, with a recommended price tag of R649 (although you’ll be able to find them for between R500 and R600). Yes, you read that right: a gaming headset for R500 to R600 that offers virtual surround sound. But does it live up to those promises? Yes, and unfortunately no. There’s no software to handle the 7.1 surround sound effect, so it’s left up to Windows, which does a somewhat decent job. The result is passable as far as 7.1 surround sound goes, but it won’t blow anyone’s mind.
The virtual surround sound experience is one of the benefits of using a USB interface. That USB interface also means that you get some cool lights on the outside of the ear cups, with the Redragon logo lit up in red. The USB also powers a rather odd vibration feature, which makes the ear cups physically vibrate when there’s lots of bass. It’s an odd feature, but I dare say that it can be used to add to the experience. That said, if you crank it up too much, the short-lived excitement may die even quicker.
The sound quality is what you’d expect from a headset in this price range. Audiophiles won’t be happy, but for the rest of us who have feet of clay, the sound quality isn’t bad at all. It delivers respectable mids and solid bass, but on the upper end of the frequency spectrum things are a little lacking. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s something to bear in mind. In games, these shortcomings are barely evident, and the same goes for watching movies. Music, meanwhile, is where you’ll really feel the lack of sonic performance. I found the ear cups to be a little on the small side, and while they did fit my ears, the padding is rather firm, which inevitably causes mild discomfort. Overall, I found the overall comfort level to be a little lacking.
The mic is small, firmly fixed to the side of the left ear cup. Friends who I subjected to the mic’s output stated that it’s decent, but that at times they battled to hear me if I didn’t intentionally raise my voice. You’ll need to tweak the sensitivity in Windows to get the most out of it, and you’ll need to use microphone boost if you’re prone to speaking softly. There’s a little control box on the cable that has a volume wheel, the vibration control wheel, and a mic mute button. Furthermore, there’s an LED to indicate the position of the mute button.
The Redragon SIREN2 isn’t a bad headset. In fact, for its price it’s a really solid option. It doesn’t feel flimsy and I believe it’ll be able to handle a fair bit of abuse before it finally gives in. If you’re on a tight budget and you need a new headset, you’d be hard pressed to find one that gives as much bang for your buck as the Redragon SIREN2.
Long, braided cable
Bang for your buck
Not as comfortable as I’d like
Sound quality isn’t amazing
7The SIREN2 is a solid headset that delivers decent performance for its incredibly low price tag.