Sometimes the latest gaming gear arrives without too much fanfare, ready to surprise you. The latest pair of headphones form German manufacturer Snakebyte made more of a superhero entrance when it landed on my doorstep, so I decided to see if it really does manage to save the day and maybe a few dollars.
Back in February, Snakebyte unveiled the Head:Set Pro with the intention of giving gamers something a little different from the current crop of gaming cans we normally review. While my go-to choice fluctuates between the Corsair Void Wireless and LucidSound LS25 the team behind the Head:Set S and the Tough Kit wanted to bring something a little more affordable to gamers. Built with PC gaming in mind the Head:Set Pro is billed as an affordable PC audio solution with all the major features of its more expensive counterparts. That, however, is not the first thing that you will notice about the Head:Set Pro.
The Head:Set Pro is loud, and I haven't even gotten to the sound yet. The very distinct combination of color that combs around the rim of the Head:Set Pro packaging is indicative of the approach taken on the device itself. Tearing the Head:Set Pro out of its this protective shell, it’s obvious that there is not much else in the box. Bar a protective sleeve, a warranty card, and information pamphlets, the Head:Set Pro lacks other contents or any real attempt to keep it secure during transit. This is likely a function of the Head:Set Pro’s budget price tag, although we’ve yet to find a pair in shops t check the final retail cost. It also makes little sense to begin by complaining about the sparse packaging.
Pulling the Head:Set Pro from its cardboard container, reveals a set of speakers that are certainly out to get noticed. Covered completely in neon yellow and black, this peripheral could easily be mistaken for the SteelSeries Siberia’s go faster rave loving cousin. The Head:Set Pro is built around a suspension headband design and flagged by neon highlights. Rigid yellow bridge supports curve above the patent leather headband at the top of the Head:Set Pro and are a stark contrast that continues throughout the rest of this beastly design. The two 50mmdrivers are encased in a sizeable plastic shell and coupled with a generous amount of foam padding. The speakers are finished off with Snakebyte branding, emblazoned across a set of neon fabric covers, while the external plastic domes are decorated with some not so subtle led lighting.
This aesthetic continues all the way up to the pc port, with a hefty yellow USB cable, a massive in-line control that is lit up in all sorts of techno glory, and a boom mic decorated with a neon mute led. Do not take all this as a bad thing. For those of you looking for a subtle pair of portable speakers that would blend into the morning commute, these are not akin to Logitech’s latest or Lucidsound’s designs. The Head:Set Pro is, however, a well-considered, if aggressive looking headset, that screams performance.
The audio capability of other Snakebyte headsets, like the Hed:Set S, has always been somewhat middling. My time with Snakebyte’s previous audio peripheral was held back by price considerations and small 40mm drivers. The Head:Set Pro promises a step up here with the following specifications.
- Drivers: 50mm
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz
- Sensitivity: 100dB
- Sensitivity: -42dB
- Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
- Impedance: 2.2 KOhms
- Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20KHz
The most notable change to previous Snakebyte offerings in the audio market come in the form of the Head:Set Pro’s drivers. While I’ve mentioned it already, these are a definite step up from the Head:Set S. The Head:Set Pro manages to provide a huge upgrade in power and performance driving home every explosion or swing of a sword. It is clearly tuned towards gaming with a sound that leans a little on the bass, as evidenced by a bass boost button on the in-line volume control. While it is not the best at higher ranges it still does a good enough job with human speech, generally feeling comparable to more expensive devices.
As the Head:Set Pro is a pc peripheral, Snakebyte has opted to include a standard USB A type connector on the end of the Head:Set Pro’s massive cable. The lack of a 3.5mm jack and a PC-only audience allows the inclusion of Virtual 7.1 surround sound support. Like so many modern devices, windows spatial sound and 7.1 support turns standard stereo fare into a different experience entirely. Once again, the Head:Set Pro was entirely proficient at what it needed to do. While it does not actively enhance the smallest of footsteps or include other tuning options, like the Turtle Beach 700 Stealth, it delivered accurate responses to every daemon that crawled out of Devil May Cry 5 and managed to predict the approach of incoming gunfire in Apex Legends.
Despite the Head:Set Pro’s generally positive performance in Apex Legends, it didn’t make every loss any less painful. I did, however, get out without any unexpected injuries. The Head:Set Pro, like most suspension style headsets, is incredibly comfortable. The rigid bridges, elasticated strap across the top of the headphone provide great support with no more than a minimal pressure coming through the generous foam cushions on your ears. I spent a solid 6 hours plowing through DMC 5 and despite the bloody mess on screen, there wasn’t a bruise in sight. The Hea:Seat Pro is not quite as feather-light as my SteelSeries Siberia, but compared to some of our more weighty comparisons it manages to balance sturdy and comfortable really well.
The speakers are not the final consideration for any gamer. It might be great to know where your enemy is coming from but it’s useless if you can’t clearly communicate with teammates. The Head:Set Pro provides a mic for just such a measure. Protruding from the left speaker, a reassuringly firm mic boom hangs just out of sight, except for its very own neon LED which indicates if the mute is on. From a manufacturing perspective, I really liked the feel and look of this particular microphone. I don’t really like flimsy detachable mic booms and this felt like it was going to stay put and absorb day to day rigors of being knocked around my desk. Despite this, the microphone performance is not nearly as impressive as its construction.
The Head:Set Pro microphone is not bad by any standards. Like most modern gamers, if you are used to the audio compression on your mobile network and the pinhole mics that dominate the market, then the Head:Set Pro will still feel a world apart. It is an entirely capable mic with audio coming through clearly on the other end, yet the Head:Set Pro makes compromises. Background noise echoes in the forefront of chatter and the incoming audio can feel hollow compared to dedicated devices like the Yeti Nano.
That compromise means that the balance between comfort and performance fails to quite land at times. While the Head:Set Pro is a capable piece of kit, the 50mm drivers don’t quite make it all the way up to the top of the dial. The analog in-line controller feels a little cumbersome occasional, and the flimsy in-line volume dial does not quite fit against an otherwise sturdy headset. The lack of any accompanying software is another sacrifice which speaks to budgetary constraints. While this does not impact the Head:Set Pro from a functional perspective, it does mean that some configuration remains buried under the windows settings. It might not be a deal breaker, but the Corsair or Turtle Beach’s bespoke desktop apps do make a definite difference to the overall quality of life by concentrating status indicators, surround settings, and equalizer dials all in one location.
Besides these niggles, there is a lot to like about the Head:Set Pro. It might not be to everyone’s taste but I enjoy the exuberant aesthetic. The lighting, colors, and mix of materials could be ripped right off a souped-up street racer and the performance isn’t half bad either. The microphone is good enough and comfort cannot be questioned. Snake:Byte have managed to hit the mark with the Head:Set Pro, this is a commendable balance of performance and price that will not go unnoticed. If you are interested in wearing the Head:Set Pro loud and proud, you can check out more detail on the Snakebyte website now. You can also order from major retailers for $40, shipped worldwide.
- Really quite comfortable
- Decent Sound
- Sturdy construction
- No Desktop Software
- Cannot control Lighting
- Mic could be a bit better