Product: Creative Fatal1ty Professional Series Gaming Headset
Manufacturer: Creative
MSRP: $50 [BizRate]
Lowest Historical Price: $20 [History]

Our last headset review looked at the AudioFX Pro 5+1 by BenHeck (no relation), which left us impressed by its sound quality and comfort. This time, we're going to examine the Creative Fatal1ty Gaming Headset, endorsed by Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel. How did they compare? Click through to find out.

Connectivity: 3.5mm gold-plated stereo miniplug
Color: Black and Red
Mic: -31dBV/Pa(@1kHz)
Driver Unit: 40mm, 112dB (@1kHz), 20Hz - 20kHz frequency

The headset plugs into any 3.5mm mic and speaker jacks, so there are no compatibility issues. There is an in-line control switch to adjust the volume and to turn the mic on/off. It can also be adjusted for various head sizes, with an audible click to indicate each increment. Make sure you keep count, since there are no lines to show you how far you've gone- otherwise you'll end up with a lopsided headset. It supposedly mimics surround sound if you have CMSS-3D available. I was unable to test that, since I do not have a sound card that supports that particular feature.

Much like the AudioFX Pro 5+1, this headset is fairly large, but it is noticeably lighter. The earcups are made from some kind of foam, so they are fairly soft and allow air to pass through. They didn't create as much of a seal on my ears as the AudioFX Pro did, which meant that I could actually keep the headset on a little longer without my ears getting warm.

The first place I tested the headset was, of course, in a multiplayer match of Unreal 2004. Sound quality was great; the explosions had a nice rumble and the higher frequency sounds were crisp. However, since the earcups didn't grip my head that closely, and the padding was made from foam, I was still able to hear some background noise from the surrounding environment. It is only bothersome if you live in a noisy neighborhood, otherwise it shouldn't be too big of a problem.

Next, I tested the sound quality with selections of rock, metal, pop, rap, house and other random clips. The thing I noticed about this headset is that it sounds like a graphic equalizer that has been set to 0. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, because I was able to turn it up and enjoy clean, crisp music with good bass. There was no detectable distortion, even with the volume turned up all the way.

Then, I tried using the headset in a video iChat. The noise cancellation on the mic worked pretty well; the user on the other end could only hear my voice and not the fan running next to me.

A minor gripe I have regarding the design is the Mic On/Off LED. It's so dim that you practically have to be looking straight at it to tell if it's on or not. It makes the headset feel cheap, even though the sound quality says otherwise.

I honestly didn't think I could find a better headset than the AudioFX Pro 5+1. This one comes pretty close. There aren't many differences between this headset and the AudioFX. The AudioFX created a better seal on my ears, eliminating most of the background noise whereas I could still hear a lot of it when using the Fatal1ty. The lack of a subwoofer in the Fatal1ty also means that you don't get as rich a bass sound as you would get with the AudioFX. The flip side to that is that everything else sounds a lot clearer and crisper since you don't have a subwoofer banging in your ear the whole time. It is definitely a toss-up for which headset is better. If you like booming bass with good sound, get the AudioFX. If you like all-around good sound without so much bass, the Fatal1ty is the way to go.

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Price History [History]

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    billy_bob Ben's cred: 62
    Posted 3:21 pm PDT 06/12/08

    No comments about banging in the ear? Not even anything about the nasty flowers in a spittoon or the scratched up table/file cabinet? Or even anything about Wendel?

    This is a sad day.

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    SpacemanSpiff Ben's cred: 30
    Posted 10:26 am PDT 06/17/08

    Ben, you've reviewed a lot of headsets... any chance of mixing it up a bit more?

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    mf193 Ben's cred: 25
    Posted 7:29 am PDT 06/29/08

    $40 to $20 to $50? TF?

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