Arctic Sound P531 5.1 USB Gaming Headset - Testing the P531 Headset

Article Index
Arctic Sound P531 5.1 USB Gaming Headset
Features, Specs and More
Closer Look and Testing Info
Testing the P531 Headset

 

Game Testing:

The Arctic Sound P531 headset claims to be a 5.1 channel USB gaming headset so of course we have to play some games with these.  Although your game choice and tastes will vary, I still love Call of Duty: World at War and Modern Warfare 2 a whole bunch.  It's definitely because of the community and the people I get to play with that makes these games fun.  That being said, I configured the sound, fine-tuned the surround in game and let it the sticky 'nades fly!

Call of Duty: World at War:
I’m part of a gaming clan – TDR – and we play a fair bit of CoD5 competitively.  I enjoyed fragging it up with my buddies, Cottonmouth, HooRaH, Onion and Deck.  A couple of things that makes these headphones great is that they are simple plug-and-play USB and this allows you to easily change from you existing speaker setup to these very quickly.  Once the audio was tuned, the positional audio was very good and it allowed me to hear Cottonmouth charging around a corner as I lay in wait with a shotgun.  Onion, had soft shoes on and destroyed me with his bayonet though.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2:
Although many will complain about the multi-player incapability of CoD6, my clan-mates have made the transition and I'm currently sitting at Prestige 10 - level 65.  I completed a couple of prestige levels with this headset alone and it works very well.  The audio is very positional, although not as natural as the Psyko Audio headset we've been playing with as well.  The only downside is the microphone quality as it is much "thinner" and tinny compared to other microphones I've used for online gaming.

 Side View

Music Testing:

I enjoy music a whole bunch and my Zunepass is certainly my friend.  I download and listen to a lot of new music and I’ve spent a little bit of time over the last couple of weeks this headset on my head.  I’ve listened to everything from acoustic country music to some metal, as well as some Thousand Foot Krutch and a little Skillet.  Everything I’ve listened sounds very acceptable on these headphones.  Unless you have multi-channel audio such as some SACD or DVD-A, you'll only get a couple of channels, but overall the experience isn't too bad.  If you are playing some games and want to listen to some music between matches, you certainly don't need to go get a different pair of earphones. 

The bass is quite punchy in these and while the additional vibration makes games a little more enjoyable, it is a little distracting when listening to music.  It only seems to kick in at quite low frequencies, but I wish it could be turned off when listening to music.

 

Skype / Mic Testing:

The microphone is definitely the weakest part of the P531 headset.  The audio quality is not very good and while it works for basic communication, I sure wouldn't want to try and use it for recording an episode of WeeklyTechUpdate.  The moment I plugged it in and used it, my fellow TDR Clan buddies noticed it immediately and commented that I didn't sound near as good as with my old microphone.

 

Conclusion:

The Arctic Sound P531 5.1 headset is a great addition to any gamer's arsenal.  It offers very good positional audio as well as a good overall audio experience for gaming, movies and even a little music.  The USB interface is great in that it can bring 5.1 audio to any PC with a USB port.  The only downside to USB is that you can't use these with your Xbox, audio receiver or media player.  It is a PC-only headset that works great for almost any application that provides you with 6-channels of audio.

In terms of bang-for-the-buck, this headset probably can't be beat.  With an MSRP of $66.55, you really can't go wrong with these.  They aren't the best headset on the market - due to the poor microphone quality, but they are one of the most affordable.  

Pros:

  • Comfortable headset
  • Good audio quality
  • Good positional 5.1 channel capability
  • USB interface allows it to work on laptop or desktop
  • Folds for easy carrying

 

Cons:

  • Microphone quality is poor
  • No carrying case 

BCCRating 

Silver

 

I'd like to thank Arctic for sending us this headset to review.  For the price, it is a great listen and gives you a bit of an edge in your favorite PC game.

Please post your thoughts, comments and questions at the "Comments" link below.