Players: N/A | Release Date: 05/12/17 | Genre: Accessory
First impressions make a big impact with any type of consumer electronics device. Monoprice has done a very good job in designing a pair of over the ear headphones that look very classy with blue and black colors. The plastic that houses the headphones feels very high quality yet it is still very light. When the headphones are not needed, they can be folded up into the top to take up less room.
The Monoprice 7.1 Dolby Digital Headset can plug into your phone for full voice and music listening (if you have the headset plugged in). Testing the device on my way home from E3 2013, I found the sound quality, on a noisy plane, to come through without any issues. All of my music and games, on my iPhone 5, were loud, clear, and of high quality. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine I was at home. This headset helped me relax in cramped spaces on my American Airlines flight. (Note to self: Virgin America is worth the extra cost next time.) While some very minimal sound will leak through, you will be able to get lost in your music, phone call, video, or game. I also found it quite easy to take one of the ear pieces to the side of my head if I needed to speak to someone for a moment.
Users will find a lot of cables included to plug into virtually any setup you can think of. To take full advantage of the 7.1 surround sound, you will need an optical cable though. While I prefer to use these with a PC, they will work with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. All the cables are included to connect up to all three platforms. Even if you choose to plug in via analog, everything you need is here. This is uncommon in this day and age to not need to buy or look for a different cable. Big thumbs up to Monoprice here on the inclusion of all of these cables.
One of the big negatives of the design is also a positive. The Monoprice 7.1 Gaming Headset features a removable microphone. That sounds good, right? The problem is, when you remove the microphone it can be easily lost. This is true in my house with small children. We find that anything that isn’t “nailed down” can grow legs and vanish. I would have preferred to see Monoprice use a built in Microphone that could be flipped up to be out of the way. This is similar to what Astro and Skullcandy does with their lines of headsets. Some may find this complaint a bit nitpicky but I always find removal microphones to be more of annoyance than a feature for me personally.
Another negative is the amount of sound that the microphone picks up. Plugging in with Optical, to my PC, I was picking up noises down a hallway and into my 4 year old’s room. While this was nice to hear if he was taking his nap--it was quite annoying to those on the other end of my skype call. I could also tap on my desk lightly and the microphone would pick it up like there was a knock at the door.
The final negative I have about the Monoprice 7.1 Dolby Digital Headset is the background humming. There is a constant humming/hissing that goes on when there is no sound coming through. This is a bit annoying to me but nobody on the other end of a Skype call or voice chat was picking it up. They did, however, pick up the “THUMP” sound made when turning the microphone on and off Mute. The idea of a mute button is to quietly get out of a call without the other party knowing you are away. With this device, there is no need to let anyone know you are gone because they will hear it.
The decoder box is where the magic of the 7.1 Surround sound happens and it does an excellent job giving you true surround sound. A nice feature of the decoder box is the ability to plug in up to two headsets. This will let you play multiplayer games on you Xbox, PS3, or PC with fewer cables needed to plug in. The sound is also so good that it made me put the negatives, mentioned above, out of my mind.
The headset is also very comfortable to wear with the plush, leather-like material around the ear and top of your head. The ear cups can swivel around so you can wear the headset around your neck. This is how I wore them during my testing coming home from E3. They do, however, tend to squeeze my neck a bit more than I wanted so I had to pull the ear pieces down to be longer than I normally would have them during wear.
While this product is not in the same pricing category of the Astro A40, A50, or the Skullcandy PLYR line of products, it is an absolute bargain at $86.21. This was the price at the time of this review. This is before any discount you can find for Monoprice purchases too! If you can put a few of the negative aspects of the Monoprice 7.1 Dolby Digital Headset, you will find a great value for your money. You can purchase the Monoprice 7.1 Dolby Digital Headset here.