Psyko Audio Carbon 5.1 Headset - Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Article Index
Psyko Audio Carbon 5.1 Headset
Closer Look at the Carbon
Carbon Closer Look Continued
Features and Specifications
Testing and Usage
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Psyko Audio Carbon 5.1 Headset Final Thoughts:

I was pretty excited to get my hands on the Psyko Audio Carbon headset and see how they had been improved when compared to the original Psyko 5.1 headset. I've had the chance over the past couple years to demo and meet with the guys from Psyko numerous times and when I heard them talk about the Carbon I had a good feeling it would be a significant improvement (and it was).

As I have mentioned throughout this review, I am by no means a professional gamer, however, I'm able to hold my own on most games and enjoy playing games of all types even though my days of marathon gaming sessions are well behind me. Saying "Psyko Audio's Carbon increased by game play by 48% (or whatever number you pick)" is tough to say due to the nature of playing games, sometimes you get 10 kills to 2 deaths, sometimes you get 2 kills to 10 deaths, which makes giving you a % increase of my gaming ability pretty much impossible. I will say however that once I got used to the Carbon headset and how it worked my game play did improve due to the fact that I was able to get a bit of an edge thanks to being able to decipher where that noise was coming from. Anybody who plays FPS shooter games knows that an additional millisecond of response time could be the difference between making the kill or being dead. Traditional headsets will let you know if the sound is coming from the left of the right and if a sound is close or near, but with the Carbon headset (as well as with a 5.1 speaker setup) you can gain an advantage by being able to hear the sound coming towards you from different angles.

 

I'll try to break down my final thoughts about the Psyko Audio Carbon headset into a couple different sections from which we used to help determine a final score of this product.

Audio Quality - Nobody at Psyko is going to pretend like these are the audiophile's perfect headset, they aren't going to make your classic albums sound perfect; that is not what it is designed to do. The Carbon is meant for playing games, and that's what it does well. While you might not get the richest audio you do get directional sound and when you're playing your favorite game and someone is shooting at you the advantage of being able to figure out exactly where that sound is coming from is very handy and in the words of Psyko giving you an "Unfair Advantage".

Functionality - The first couple hours of playing with the Carbon is a bit different of an experience/adjustment. I've had numerous demos of the original Psyko 5.1 headset over the years and while demoing you can easily tell they do directional audio very well, however, when I finally had them on my test system and started my "testing" I found the first couple hours of usage were a bit weird due to the fact I was almost having to untrain my brain when it came to audio inside the game (I realize that sounds weird, but bear with me). Once I quit trying to focus and analyzing the audio and where it was coming from and basically just let me brain subconsciously process the audio naturally I found the experience really changed and my final scores in games reflected that in a positive manner.

Gaming - Gaming is what the Carbon headset is designed to do, and in my testing it did not disappoint. The ability to hear exactly where a noise or gunfire is coming from is a huge advantage and while it won't turn a casual gamer into a professional gamer it does give you a bit of a boost in your final score. More than just helping you increase you final score the Carbon headset really allows you to immerse yourself in the game play, something that you can't really achieve unless you have a true 5.1 speaker setup (of if you have a Psyko Audio headset).

Value - The Carbon headset is not a cheap headset by any means (MSRP $199.99 USD), but just like with anything specialized or high end you have to pay for it (and in this headsets case gaming is its specialty). Some people may argue the price is too high but when you consider how much you spend on high end video cards alone in your gaming system the $199.99 price tag doesn't seem so high.

Quality - The overall quality of this headset is pretty decent in my opinion. When compared to the original Psyko 5.1 headset you will notice that the build quality has been improved and that should translate into the Carbon being able to stand up to a bit more abuse. Obviously if you throw this headset around and abuse it chances are good you'll break it eventually, but overall thanks to some of the improvements made to the Carbon they appear to be greatly improved quality-wise.

 

Giving the Psyko Audio Carbon headset a final score wasn't easy due to a few factors. The Carbon headset, just like the original Psyko 5.1 headset, is a very unique and specialized product and therefore we are judging it a little differently based on it living up to it performing in the way it was designed and advertised. Judging the Carbon headset on how it can play Beethoven's classic symphonies is really not fair because that is most definitely not what it was designed for. Comparing the Carbon headset with a traditional headset of the same MSRP is really unfair due to the fact that the Carbon is designed for gaming while most other headsets are designed to be more of an "all-around" experience. If you want a gaming headset the Carbon is truly one of the best gaming headsets I have ever used, if you want something that makes your music sound great then the Carbon is not what you're looking for.


At the end of the day the Psyko Audio Carbon headset is a very specialized product that does what it claims (gaming) very well. The ability to hear where sounds are coming from really gives you an edge while playing your favorite games and that's exactly where the "Psyko Advantage" comes from. Thanks to the improvements that the Carbon offers over the original Psyko 5.1 headset and the fantastic job it does while playing games we've awarded the Psyko Audio Carbon 5.1 Headset with our "Editor's Choice - Gold" award. If you are looking for the ultimate gaming headset the Psyko Audio Carbon might just be the headset you're looking for.

Pros:

  • True Directional Audio
  • True Surround Sound - No "Simulated" 5.1 Experience Here
  • Simple Setup - No Drivers Required
  • Amp makes adjusting volume and bass simple
  • Removable Mic
  • Significant Improvement over Original Psyko 5.1 Headset

 

Cons:

  • Not designed for Music/Movies
  • Expensive
  • Larger than most other headsets

 

BCCRating

Gold 

I'd like to thank Psyko Audio for letting us take a look at their new Carbon headset. If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.