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Thermaltake Shock Headset

The Ttesport Shock Head is a simple portable solution for any gaming enthusiast that is looking for a comfortable and reliable headset.

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Introduction

Tt esports is a branch of Thermaltake specializing in supplying top of the line peripherals to satisfy the gaming needs of any gaming enthusiast. Amongst a wide plethora of peripherals that Thermaltake has to offer, special attention is drawn towards the design and quality of headsets. Currently there are four headsets available to the general public, ranging from a simple and portable headset like Isurus, to sophisticated 5.1 headset like the Shock One. While we fully intend to explore each of the headsets in the future, today our focus is shifted towards the Thermaltake Shock headset,which falls right in the middle of the series.

The Thermaltake Shock is a well-versed headset equipped with a basic 2.1 system and low noise microphone in order to provide a smooth gaming experience. This headset comes in two distinct colors: diamond black and shining white. While both use the same exact materials and provide the similar levels of comfort, it is certainly up to the consumer to pick the right one. Surprisingly, the Diamond Black headset is actually slightly cheaper, priced at $48.49 on Newegg, while the Shining White is priced at $56.46. However, the difference in price is obviously not too significant and overall the price tag is well-matched with what this headset has to offer. Now let us take a closer look to see what it is exactly that this headset can bring to the table.   

 

 

 

 

Features

Stereo Surround- In-style plug & play gaming headset for gaming effects

Quality Speaker Driver- 40mm speaker driver with enhanced bass performance

Noise Cancelling Microphone- Innovative noise cancelling microphone for receiving the best communication in gaming activities

Control Box- In-line control box for instant gaming sound control

Ten Levels of Headband Adjustment- Perfectly fits all head sizes

Foldable Design-Provides easy transportation

Gold-plated 3.5mm Connectors-Smooth the signal and data transmission

 

Specifications

 

Headset Specifications
Interface 3.5mm
Driver unit 40mm
Frequency Response 20Hz  – 20kHz
Impendance 32 ohm
Sensitivity 114 dB +/- 4 dB
Max. Input 100mW

 

Microphone Specifications
Directivity Uni-Directional
Impedance 32k ohms
Frequency 100-10KHz
Sensitivity 54 dB +/- 3dB
Test condition 4.5V
Cable length 3m
Connector 3.5mm x2

 

Pictures and Impressions

 

 

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The packaging for the Thermaltake Shock is very well-designed; clearly geared towards appeasing any gamer. The red and black color scheme is a signature of Thermaltake and clearly shows in the design of the packaging. The overall structure of the packaging is rather complex, but is able to actually demonstrate the product while underlining all of the features that the product has to offer. Just from looking at the front cover, the user can see that this headset is geared towards the gamer and is able to provide comfort and quality in gaming. Good bass frequency response is also advertised very well on both the front cover and the side of the packaging.

 

 

 

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As we take the headset out of the box, the packaging does not cease to amaze. The headset is nicely placed inside a plastic stand with additional auxilary items, like the bag for the headset, as well as the insurance and the warranty. The headset can be easily taken out of the packaging with minimal damage done to the stand, which can come in handy for future storage purposes.

  

  

 

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Thermaltake’s Shock comes in two distinct colors: white and black. While the architecture and the quality of the product is identical, the only thing that is different is the outer frame color. (For black headset pictures refer to the Thermaltake website.) For the purpose of this review we were provided with the shining white color which is well contrasted by the black and red color theme. At the very first glimpse of the product. the quality of the headset catches the eye. The Shock is a composite of multiple materials in order to enhance both the performance and the comfort.

 

 

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By taking a closer look at the product, several features stand out. The padding on the outside of the headset opposing the driver output is made out of sound resistant material, maximizing the amount of sound that is produced by the driver. The padding on the inside of the headphones is made out of velvet, but can be easily changed to leather, like the more advanced 5.1 Shock One headset. The padding is really easy to remove and can provide a closer look at the driver itself. For the purposes of this review no driver is shown, but the basic information of the driver is listed in the specifications table.

The outer frame of the headset actually consists of 5 distinct pieces. The top piece with the Thermaltake logo that sits on top of the head is broad and has extra padding on inside to provide maximum comfort. The two adjacent pieces are connected to the top piece through the metal frame that allows for the size adjustment (up to 10 levels). Finally, the outer two composites are linked through the hinge that allows for the headset to become portable.   

 

 

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Complementing the headphones on the headset is a noise cancelling microphone. The microphone is attached to the actual headset. The position of the microphone can be adjusted depending on whether the user wishes to user the microphone or not. The wiring from the microphone is linked with the headphones which implies that the headset requires both 3.5mm audio output and 3.5mm mic input. Note that both connectors are gold-plated to enhance conductivity.  The levels of sound, as well as the activity/inactivity of microphone can be adjusted through a simple controller on the headset. On the back side, the controller features a small clip that can be used to latch onto clothing in order to reduce the overall tension in the wire. Unfortunately, the wire is not braided, like in higher quality sets, such as the Shock One, and can be damaged.

Testing and Methodology

While there are no benchmarks that are specifically designed to test headsets, nor it is possible to observe performance by either recording the sounds or looping the sound back into a benchmark program, the testing performed on this headset has been done using a recording program, while running 13 tracks at different frequencies in order to assess the sound production capabilities. Additional factors like comfort, sound isolation,  and fullness of sound were taken into consideration, along with the basic response to varying frequencies and the change in performance as the result of equalization. We also tested in order to see just how well this headset holds up in the gaming settings. Noise escape, or the amount of sound that escapes the headphone has also been determined in order to see how much of the sound is actually able to reach those around you. 

Test Rig

Case In-Win Dragon Rider
CPU

Intel Core i7 930 @ 3.8GHz

Motherboard

GIGABYTE G1. Sniper

RAM

Kingston HyperX T1 Black Edition 12 GB DDR3 @1600 Mhz

CPU Cooler Thermalright True Black 120 with 2x Noctua NF-P12 Fans
Drives

3x Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200.12 Drives RAID 5

Optical ASUS DVD-Burner
GPU

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6990

Fan Controller NZXT Sentry LXE
Case Fans

3x Noctua NF-P12 Fans – Side

3x In-Win 120mm Fans – Front, Back, Top

PSU

SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W

Mouse Cyborg RAT 7
Keyboard Thermaltake Meka G1
Headset

Thermaltake Shock

Thermaltake Isurus

Thermaltake Shock One

Thermaltake Spin

Sony MDRV600

Sony 7509HD

The Thermaltake Shock was compared to the Sony MDRV600 headset. While other Thermaltake headsets were also provided, we have decided not to disclose all of the information at this time, but rather save it for further reviews. We anticipate further coverage of other Thermaltake headsets within a week. The primary reason for comparison of the Shock to the studio headset was the outstanding and proven performance of Sony studio headsets over past several years. In terms of the driver size, the MDRV600 also features 40mm drivers just like the Thermaltake Shock and serves as an outstanding comparison, both in price and performance. 

Specifications Comparison

 Thermaltake Shock

 

 

Interface 3.5mm
Driver unit 40mm
Frequency Response 20 Hz-20kHz
Impendance 32 ohm
Sensitivity 114+/- 4 db
Max. Input 100mW 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sony MDRV600

 

Interface 3.5mm
Driver unit Neodymium
Frequency Response 5Hz-30kHz
Impedance 46 ohm
Sensitivity 106db/mW

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Quality Comparison

After listening to a multitude of various tracks, including the test tracks generated by Acoustica Mixcraft v5.2 (Will be linked once available for download) with both Sony and Thermaltake headsets,  a clear difference in quality of sound was observed. While both headphones are equipped with the same size drivers, 40mm Neodymium, the clarity of the MDR V-600 clearly prevailed over the Thermaltake Shock. However at a higher sample size of 96,000 Hz, the sound production of the Thermaltake Shock became significantly better. Considering that the Shock is a gaming set, this observation was taken into consideration and was used to observe the sound quality in-game. After testing, the headset in games like Dead Space, Metro 2033, Crysis 2 and a plethora of other shooters, the sound quality decrease was not significant, since the major production decrease was observed in the background music rather than primary audio tracks like growls, footsteps, and gun shots.   
 

Frequency Response Testing 

Since the Thermaltake Shock was observed to blend the frequencies, which was especially apparent for medium range frequencies, we have decided to test the headset response to the volume enhancement in particular frequency ranges, using various programs like FL Studio 9.0, Acoustica Mixcraft v5.2,as well as the on-board G1 Sniper Creative chip. As a result, the Thermaltake Shock was observed to deliver outstanding performance in lower diapason, making bass boost that is commonly required for a vast majority of sets optional. However, this advantage clearly shows up in lower quality of sound production in the range of 250Hz to 2kHz. Frequencies above 2kHz do not seem to be affected. This phenomenon could be explained due to the dynamics of the drivers motion while producing strong bass function. Unfortunately, 40mm drivers generally are not powerful enough to provide clear differentiation, and blend the frequencies which in this instance is especially apparently due to the initial low signal frequency boost.

 

Noise  ESCAPE

After blasting various samples of music and playing shooter games, the headphones were observed to leak sound into the surrounding area which was confirmed by others in the vicinity. While there is truly no way of quantifying the amount of sound escaping, the sound escaped was assumed to be in the high 30 dB range with the original source sound of roughly 50 dB. This is due to the velvet padding unable to completely trap the sound. However, after using the alternative leather pads which that come with the Shock One headset, the escaped sound became practically negligible. In summary, the noise escape issue is not a problem if the user is particularly concerned with this issue and is willing to purchase leather pads as a replacement. 

Microphone Sensitivity and Noise Canceling

Due to the noise escape being a slight issue, the microphone was tested using various chat programs as well as recording software like FL studio 9.0 and Acoustica Mixcraft v5.2 in order to assess the clarity of sound and microphone sensitivity. In terms of noise cancelation, the microphone was able to completely isolate background sounds. However, the sensitivity of the microphone was observed to be somewhat of an issue. This is perfectly understandable due to the fact that the microphone lacks any type of amplification components. The issue is easy to fix by simply adjusting the sensitivity levels in the operating system or in-game. The only minor problem with fixing the issue is a minor audible white noise that was observed after recording of the enhanced microphone.

Conclusion

The Thermaltake Shock has proven itself as a good choice for any gaming enthusiasts and provides a variety of features worth the money. The comfort while gaming supersedes headsets of similar price, and even after rigorous hours of gameplay did not show any effects on the ears. The 10 size adjustment settings as well as the overall elasticity of the outer frame make this headset compatible with everyone. In addition, features like the controller and attached microphone are extremely convenient during gameplay. As the result of testing microphone has proven itself useful, the sensitivity of the microphone seems to fall slightly on the lower side. On the other hand, no noise produced by the headset or the outer environment was able to enter the chat which is a great indicator that the noise canceling feature is effective. Yet another comforting feature is the velvet padding on the inside of the headphone which allows for the headphones to lay nicely over the ears without actually applying excessive pressure. As a result, your ears are less likely to hurt even after 10 hours of playing, working or simply listening to music. (Not guaranteed for the eardrums!!).

While the headset design and quality are outstanding, the sound production could be better. While distinctly capable of providing the listener with stronger bass than any other headset, the Thermaltake Shock lacks in sound frequency differentiation. In other words, the sound frequency blend without providing true dynamics. The blending is not as apparent at higher sampling rates which is observed in all of the games, so the overall gaming experience is not effected and in fact is better than the majority of headsets due to the more powerful bass. However, true audiophiles that love to listen to music or look for this headset to fulfill multiple purposes might be disappointed. In perspective the sound blending can be adjusted through the sound card using an equalizer and adjusting the volume levels of the specific frequencies, but the Thermaltake Shock does not come with this software.

 

OUR VERDICT: Thermaltake Shock Headset
Performance 7
Value 8
Quality 9
Features 8.5
Innovation 9
We are using a new addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the new rating system.
Total 7.75
Pros Cons

Excellent quality and comfort provided by the headset

Convenient in-game control

Good surround effect utilizing a 2.1 system

Powerful bass that especially stands out at higher sample rates

Excellent microphone sound cancelation, allowing for clean sound without any unwanted background noise 

 

Low microphone sensitivity. (Requires a minimum of +5 db adjustment in order to provide sufficient levels audible for other players.)

Simple rubber coating on the wiring susceptible to damage over extensive use.

Sound frequency blending is especially apparent at lower sampling size

 

 

 

 

Summary: The Thermaltake Shock Headset is an excellent choice for any gamer that is looking for a smooth and comfortable experience during rigorous hours of gameplay. For exceptional material quality and features, with a minor nuance in frequency blending at lower smaple rates, Bjorn3D is proud to award Thermaltake Shock with the Bjorn3D Bronze Bear Award  and a score of 7.75/10 according to our rating scale.

 

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