Today Logitech is announcing that they have added to their headset lineup with two new products. This is a fairly big announcement as it has been around five years since Logitech did anything with their gaming headset. Units like the recently reviewed G35 and G230 have been around since 2010. Users have been complaining as of late about a lack of fresh products on the scene, even though those previous products have adequately filled their niche.
The two new products coming out are the wireless G933 and the wired G633. These are under the new brand Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headsets. The G633 has a MSRP of $149.99 putting it at the higher end of gaming headsets. Compare this to the G35 which originally shared that MSRP, but is now around $79 at retail. The top end G933 is a pricier option at $199.99 US.
Logitech has done a lot of work in terms of physical characteristics and the software they are using to drive these units. Neither comes as a pure analog solution, but instead utilizes a USB connection to power the wired and wireless units. Logitech continually refines its gaming software and this provides a great amount of flexibility when it comes to usage scenarios and audio features for these headphones.
Powering these cans is a newly designed 40 mm driver that is created from a stiffened fabric rather than paper or plastic. Logitech is branding these as the patent pending Pro-G audio drivers. The engineers worked with materials people to develop the technology that is said to provide audiophile quality sound across a variety of applications. I had asked why Logitech stayed with a 40 mm driver when other companies were utilizing larger 50 mm units which can deliver potentially deeper bass. The answer was that they discovered that 40 mm was the sweet spot for this material to provide a flat curve without diminishing the high end. The 50 mm prototypes just did not have the high end performance of the 40 mm units, so it was decided to sacrifice a bit of the low end to keep things more balanced and brighter.
Previously the Logitech Gaming headphones used Dolby Headphone support to simulate 3D/positional sound. This is changing up with these latest headphones. The new ones do support a virtual 7.1 audio solution as well as the new DTS Headphone: X support. This is an area where Logitech has again done quite a bit of work to improve their HRTF support. Ryan was shown around 30 different ear “models” that were used to measure how sound was reflected, refracted, and tone shifted when audio was played around these models in multiple positions. HRTF stands for Head Related Transfer Function. Humans can recognize sound positioning through a lot of processing in the brain. The brain can recognize when a sound’s tone is shifted due to the individual curves and shape of a person’s ear. Logitech has taken this data and created a software solution that more accurately provides this effect than their previous G35 and higher headphones which features the 7.1 functionality. This functionality will also seem more realistic when combined with a higher end driver, such as what is included with the Pro-G audio drivers.
The boom microphone is very similar to the previous models. It can swing down and provide some decent audio for outgoing. It will not match more professional units, but we can only hope that it is superior to the previous generation of headphones that Logitech has put out.
One area that could potentially be controversial is that of the LED lighting on the headphones. The headsets light up around the cups and can be changed to the tune of 16.8 million colors. The side plates can also be swapped, so potentially custom made plates can be swapped in to show whatever logos or pictures as one desires. One positive of this design is that the LED lights are facing to the rear of the listener’s head, so potential reflections off of a screen (or glasses) will just not happen. The headphones also feature three programmable G-Keys, a feature that was on the previous G35 units. It also features the mute button and the scroll wheel to control volume. These are handy, handy things for those that have already created a dozen macros on their keyboard and could potentially start mashing buttons. Not like I have ever done that before trying to mute some headphones…
These headphones also have a unique feature in that they can dynamically mix multiple inputs. The G633 can mix audio from two different inputs while the G933 can handle three inputs. There are multiple use scenarios for this such as playing on a console while having the headphones attached to a cellphone. Users can mix and match this functionality in a variety of scenarios that will fit their lifestyle. This is slightly more interesting for the wireless G933 as more devices can be connected, and the user can be free of a plethora of cables attached to the base unit.
The G933 also have an option of being a wired unit through analog cables. This does provide some nice flexibility for users, as well as playing for hours more when the batteries of the wireless headphones are recharging. This flexibility was not featured in previous wired headsets and is a nice change of pace.
Certain products have a long lifespan when it comes to product cycles. Headphones are one of these areas (just ask Grado and how many generations they have gone through in the past 25 years). Logitech has done some serious groundwork to make sure that these are competitive and high quality units. The final proof will of course be listening to these cans under multiple scenarios to see if the new drivers are in fact as good as they claim to be. With the laser like focus that Logitech has been aiming at gaming as of late, I am pretty comfortable in the idea that these headsets are the real deal when it comes to quality audio under gaming, movies, and music situations. Individual tastes will of course vary, but Logitech has spent a great deal of time and effort to make these competitive with the industry at large. It is a good step forward and I look forward to hearing the results.
The G633 will be available starting in September while the G933 will come to market in an October timeframe. The DTS Headphone:X support will be a software upgrade with the Logitech Gaming software in October.