Not everyone hears the same as each other. People’s ears are different and preferences dictate our style. The subjective listening tests in our reviews not only compare the product with other gaming headsets, but also audiophile-grade headphones. Those who don’t regularly listen with higher-end equipment may not notice the sound quality deficiencies we are able to notice.
What is interesting to note is that the Audio Control Unit and the SEVEN headset can be used independently of each other to vastly differing results. Using the Audio Control Unit as a sound card audio source produces low quality sound on par or even worse than that of onboard audio. The SEVEN headset on the other hand has lots of potential when bypassed or plugged into a better audio source such as a dedicated sound card.
The Audio Control Unit as a sound card produces low quality sound and any headphone receiving output including the SEVEN lacks clarity and energy. However, the Audio Control Unit does have a bypass with its USB plug and is handy in case the 4-pole 3.5mm adapter for the SEVEN introduces too much interference.
Using the SEVEN headphones with other audio sources such as our collection of various ASUS Xonar cards yielded much better results. It’s quite detailed and has a sound character in between warm and flat. The bass has strong presence, but is only mildly punchy and moderately crisp while elevated trebles bring some liveliness. Though the SEVEN isn’t the most fun headphone for listening to music with, it’s better than a number of other headsets we’ve reviewed this year.
The Audio Control Unit is only capable of Dolby features when used with the Console interface included with the XP SEVEN. Since the Z SEVEN we have on hand lacks this feature and the Audio Control Unit isn’t an effective sound card, there’s no good reason to use it if one has better audio output sources.
Otherwise, the SEVEN headphones do quite well with movies with good response across all audible frequencies. No sound is out of place and good detail prompts fairly clean instrument and vocal separation. The warm sound character gives audio a kick that’s short of the tighter jabs produced from more precise headphones.
The Ear Force SEVEN leans more to immersion than it does towards positional audio, though a means of reducing the bass can improve the clarity of positional cues. This is due in part to good treble precision the SEVEN produces though the sound character still won’t be able to accurately place all the sounds.
Of course, the Audio Control Unit isn’t that good as a source since the sound detail is fuzzed out.
The microphone input with the Audio Control Unit is actually capable. Recording quality is on the level of most of the other high-end headsets we’ve seen before with no distortion that renders voice unrecognizable.