Thermaltake eSports Shock Spin HD Headphones Review
Less of shock, more of spin.
Thermaltake is a name that should immediately conjure up images of badass chasis, sturdy power supplies and edible-looking memory chips, if you have ever been an overclocker or computer nerd, that is. I am big fan of their chasis in particular; I still use one of their old full-tower which is holding up quite well from the years of abuse and mysteriously solid chunks of dust.
But that’s quite well known. What is not, however, is their dedicated gaming peripheral section called ‘eSports’. Although quite commonly brought to battle in the ‘pro’ circuit, the brand doesn’t always get the same importance that the likes of Razer and Roccat enjoy among the common gamer.
But they should – they have made some pretty kickass gear so far, and our review product, the Shock Spin HD headset is made from the same forge, as well. Off the box, the headset promises some impressive features – 50mm neodymium magnet speakers, velvet cushion, and a USB sound card that adds 7.1 virtual surround sound to the mix. Does it fare up? Let’s take a look.
Design & Comfort:
You know what the Shock Spin reminds me of…
Yeah, a lollipop. So there goes all the stylizing out the window for me. But jokes apart, the Shock Spin has the most basic look among the headsets I have used so far. And that isn’t exactly a negative – it’s great to see a company that hasn’t gone overboard with looks and has kept their focus on comfort and design.
And it’s a good mix, that. The 50mm’s are enclosed in soft velvet cushion that devours the ears completely, while the head adjustment is spring-based, so there’s no fuss over finding that perfect balance between pain and suffering, and the feeling of having a crab attached to your skull.
This, along with the encasing plastic, makes the headset extremely light on the ear. However, during long runs, the headset starts to build up heat around the edges and gets itchy as a result. Plus, the huge 50mm drivers almost touches your cheeks, which not only starts to hurt a bit after an hour, but makes eating while wearing them…erm, odd. They get a little too bouncy.
Moving on, the headset comes bundled with two extensions. One, that extends the headset’s short, iPod-friendly 3.5mm cable to a longer one; and second, the USB sound card, which adds virtual 7.1 surround sound to the speakers. The latter cannot be used with consoles, of course, since it needs drivers and other installations to work.
The Shock Spin also comes with a mic, but it is an entirely separate unit from the headset. We are not sure if it’s an ideal solution, especially to a product that is mainly aimed at online gamers. Communication here is off utmost importance; a separate mic unit, with its own cables and attached management issues only create hindrance to the experience.