Like most headphones with a 50mm magnet driver, the Tactic3D Omegas do a great job of handling the lows, delivering satisfying booms and rumbles in gaming, although highs don’t come across nearly as crisp in music. But unless you’re going to go way up in price — like the $300 Bose QuietComfort 15’s — this is excellent sound quality for the money.
It’s equipped with a noise-cancelling, adjustable, and detachable foam-tipped microphone, and it’s easily one of the better-sounding mics I’ve ever used in a gaming headset. On the left ear there are buttons for volume and a mic mute that are easy to find and push by touch. The bundle comes with an extra USB cable for charging the headset’s built-in battery, which I love because it allows me to keep using it while it’s charging instead of scrambling for a fresh set of AAs when it does after about five hours of use. That’s well short of the advertised eight hours, but still very manageable.
Compared to my personal wireless surround-sound headset, the $250 Ear Force Turtle Beach PX5s, I found the wireless range (about 30 feet, through two walls) and quality of the surround sound to be superior with the Tactic3D Omegas. It’s just a really great-sounding headset. The only real issue is that, while lightweight and comfortable, the construction of the headband and padding feels a little flimsy. You’ll need to be careful with how you handle them if you want them to last — not that you need to be told not to toss your $200 headphones across the room. It would also have been nice if there was a headset stand included with the bundle, considering you get one if you buy the Ear Force Tactic3D Omegas by themselves.
A headset can only be as good as the sound hardware piping audio to it — and in this case that’s no problem, thanks to the excellent Recon3D. It’s a external USB soundcard the size of a mouse (which doubles as a wireless receiver for the Tactics3Ds) that packs some of the latest Sound Blaster tech: the Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor. Relative to my motherboard’s on-board sound hardware, the Recon3D is a tremendous boost in audio quality for PC gaming, audio, and watching movies.
On the front of the glowing blue gizmo is a 3.5mm mic and 3.5mm Stereo aux input, in case for some reason you preferred to use wired headphones (or speakers) instead of the Tactic3Ds. In addition there are four main buttons: two for volume control, one to activate turn THX audio enhancement, and a “Scout Mode” button. Scout Mode is advertised as helpful for pinpointing the source of a sound by enhancing the highs and cutting out a lot of lows. However, I didn’t find it that useful while playing Battlefield 3, and actually preferred my THX setting for locating the source of gunfire and explosions.
Setup & Software
Getting the Recon3D and the Tactic3D Omega systems up and running was as simple as plugging the Recon3D into my PC, which recognized it right away, and pairing it with the Tactic3D by holding the connect button for a few seconds. Installing Creative’s software suite, not so much. As I’ve come to expect with Creative software, the first time I installed the Recon3D Control Panel it appeared blank, then periodically reset the surround sound to stereo mode. Uninstalling and reinstalling fixed the issue. The software is, of course, entirely optional — they’ll work with standard Windows 7 drivers — but if you opt out, you miss out on a lot of features.
There are a lot of tuning options in there — everything from an equalizer to bass and surround-sound enhancement settings. Plus there are CrystalVoice options if you want to morph your voice during multiplayer games (but please, don’t be that guy), or use the noise-reduction options to help cut out some background noise, which I recommend. I did however keep the Acoustic Echo Cancellation feature turned off because when enabled, I constantly got a rumbling echo in the headset.
Once configured, you can save your profile settings, then load that specific profile (eg games, movies, music) as needed. You can also load a specific profile to the Recon3D, but this is only useful for using these peripherals with a game console since you can’t install the control panel software on those machines. However, I’d have liked the option to cycle through different profiles with a button on the headset (like the Turtle Beach PX5s), without having to open the software suite every time I wanted to make a change.
The surround-sound headset market is a very crowded region, and a lot of these choices don’t come cheap. Creative’s Recon3D and Omega Wireless bundle is a reasonably affordable solution when you take into account everything that you get for $250. But you’d better make sure you can use everything in the box — otherwise you might be better off purchasing only one or the other.
Pros: The Tactic3D Omegas are a great pair of rechargeable wireless headphones; the Recon3D is impressive tech for an external soundcard; great microphone.
Cons: Software can be buggy; Scout Mode button is a gimmick; no stand included in bundle; headset feels flimsy.