G230 Impressions

The headphones are nicely built and designed for comfort.  The cups have a serious amount of rotation and a user can lay the headset flat when not in use.  The cup material is a little uncomfortable at first, but that goes away quickly.  The skin around the ears gets a little less sensitive and the material itself breathes really well.  Wearing these for a couple of hours straight might take a little getting used to, but once the ears are acclimated then they are very comfortable to wear.  The material wicks away moisture very nicely, which is a big plus when temperatures start to rise and gamers may tend to sweat.

The earpads are thick and made of a material that becomes more comfortable over time. It also is very effective in whicking away sweat.

The top padding is not replaceable as it is in higher end models, but it easily forms to the head after some vertical adjustment of the cups.  The cups do not overly squeeze the head, but they squeeze enough to keep a good seal on the earpads.  The cups are a closed design as compared to units from Grado, but that is not a bad thing when playing in a LAN party where ambient noise needs to be cut out.

The inline volume pod works as expected and delivers linear volume control.  The mute button for the microphone is easy to access and enable.  The plugs are gold plated and seem to be well built for such a thin wire design.

The cups are big enough so that even overly large ears will have plenty of room.

Quality is very good with no parts falling off, no parts that articulate are loose, and the overall design has many nice touches that make it feel like a much more expensive set than the $40US online price.  The headphones are comfortable and easy to adjust.  The black and red color scheme is not garish, but it is eye catching.  The red does not overwhelm the black, and it has a very professional and serious feel about it.

Sound quality is a slightly different matter.  For gaming these headphones are good.  Ambient sounds are clearly produced, dialog is crisp, and explosions have some good thump to them without being boomy.  This is the best-case scenario for these headphones and they seem to have been tuned for this usage.  3D effects are going to be entirely controlled by the audio hardware on the PC side, but the soundstage was not great with these headphones.  This could potentially make 3D audio and HRTF functions not as prominent in other headphones that feature an expanded soundstage.

The cups can also rotate so that they lay flat on a table when not in use.

Movies and TV are a mixed bag.  Dialog is handled very well with these headphones with some decent ambient sound reproduction.  Surround effects and action scenes are somewhat weaker due to a less distinct bass response.  Action scenes did not pop with these headphones, but they again seem to be tuned more towards clear dialog with average reproduction of other sounds.  At no time did I throw down these headphones in disgust, but they do not convey the visceral feel that other high end audio solutions can provide in such scenarios.

Music is probably the weakest usage case for these headphones.  Even with good quality source material and high end PC audio cards and amplifiers, these headphones seemed very flat and non-transparent.  Soundstage was very narrow and even though there was stereo separation, it was not very expansive.  The best experiences were of course with vocal heavy pieces and somewhat fell apart with more complex orchestral and piano pieces.  It again is not unpleasant to listen to, but it is not what one would consider an audiophile type experience.  At $40, one would not expect the same type of musical performance as a set of $700 headsets would afford.

The packaging is pretty basic in this product as compared to what we see with the G35. It is still well protected.

The microphone is another area that is lacking on this particular headset.  The positive is that speech is clear and easily understood.  The negative is that it often sounds hollow and tinny.  Perfectly understandable, but does not recreate the speaker’s voice in any particular detail.  For games this is perfectly adequate, but we attempted to record a podcast with this particular set and the results were disappointing.  The audio was not great, but at least it was clear and distinct.

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