by Rob McCallum (originally posted on Game Source 4/28/2016)
Kaliber Gaming and IOGEAR was nice enough to send me their SAGA Surround Sound Gaming Headphones (iOGEAR/Kaliber Gaming MSRP $99.95). I don’t know a lot about the headphone market other than coveting a set of noise reduction headphones from Bose for the last ten years. It’s not that I can’t afford the headphones, I just don’t find myself in many situations that require a really expensive pair. There are certainly a lot of alternatives to Bose on the market too. Those type of headphones generally cost hundreds of dollars which has opened up a market for anything under $100 – enter the set I got to play with for the last two weeks.
The design’s nice, but not super sleek, but futuristic enough that you don’t feel like Lobot while wearing them. As a non-audiophile I certainly wasn’t used to all the switches, wheels, and plugs on this thing and often found myself playing around with them looking for a different or just because they were there. The switches change between Dolby Pro Logic IIx virtual surround sound mode, switch the mic on and off, turn the power on and off, and let you switch between a gaming mode and a music mode. I couldn’t tell the difference with any of these except that when I switched to Pro Logic, I only had sound when playing games. Any other device didn’t transmit audio. Maybe it requires a Pro Logic codec and interprets it on the fly.
I’m a Mac user and a PS4 player and I only say that to let you know that those are the devices I was experimenting with while test driving the headphones. I played Valkyrie Chronicles HD for Ps4 and marveled at the simulated surround sound experience but it quickly became too much for me and I started to feel claustrophobic. I also had to adjust the volume in the PS4 OS because the device wasn’t responding to me adjusting the volume on the headset. Couldn’t quite get the balance I like and it was bothersome. After two hours, I abandoned the headset for the standard TV-game experience. I also noticed after I took off the head set, I was a bit dizzy. This could be a result of the varying sources of audio and the inconsistent levels, not sure but worth mentioning for those prone to dizziness.
Most of the time I spent with the headset was editing a feature-length documentary. I work at a stand up desk and never felt like the headphones were heavy or hurt my ears after a while. I also didn’t get dizzy and was probably using them for about 9 hours when I took them off just to take a break. I found the 3.5mm audio cable a little short for the configuration of my workspace but an extender quickly solved that problem – that wasn’t an issue when I was gaming though.
The headphones don’t collapse as nicely as I would like either. Being a filmmaker, I often have to condense a lot of gear into a small space like playing Tetris and I couldn’t make these work in a way that was more efficient for a recent shoot so they were left behind. Given the price point I discovered on Amazon (which as of this posting is 34% off MSRP), these are worth the expense but I feel like there were too many issues to justify buying them when my experience with a more expensive product was better across the board and also justified that higher price. I may not have a set of Bose yet, but I found using these really educational and will likely continue to edit with them when I need to hear some crisp and defined audio.
Rob McCallum is an award-winning filmmaker, documenting subjects like video games, heavy metal, fanboy fanatics, and more. His work has garnered press attention from NBC, CBS, CBC Radio•One, CTV, WIRED, /Film and Destructoid. Known for out-of-the-box thinking and fierce determination, McCallum has raised over $100,000 via various crowdfunding campaigns and contributes his opinions to various online blogs and sites. His obsession with all things Jim Henson is hard to understand but most people forgive him for his deep love of Masters of the Universe and Ducktales. For more info on all of Rob’s projects head over to RobMcCallumFilms.com.
(Please note that for this review Game Source did receive a review model for the game from the Public Relations Firm, Developer and/or Publisher responsible for distribution to the press.)