I can’t really remember a time I played a game without a wireless stereo headset. OK, that’s a small lie. I have one hazy recollection of using a typical Blutooth that was predominately used for cell phones back in the Resistance: Fall of Man days. It’s just that since PlayStation started producing their own line of headsets, I’ve used nothing else for my communication and surround sound needs. The very original Wireless Stereo Headset, Pulse Elite Headset, and the Gold Headset for example. I never bothered with the Silver version because I already had the Pulse Elites by the time those reached the market. Although I enjoyed every one of them, they each had their problems regarding cheap build, cumbersomeness, or just weird structural design. So the announcement, and continued delays, of the PlayStation Platinum Headset offered an escape from those issues and even better sound quality thanks to the 3D audio. I told myself I would take my sweet time reviewing this latest offering because of the new features, how each game would handle the device, and how well it would hold up over time. (Looking at you Gold headset.) Now a little over a month since release and my purchase, I’m ready to give my verdict.
Right out of the gate, the headset came in a beautiful box holder. When opened it gave me a reason to understand why Platinum was in the title. There was also a black micro-cloth bag that could clean the headphones as well as hold them. Not much to say about the bag other than it’s made out of a nice material. The headphones on the other hand are made out of high end plastic, cloth, leather, and metal. Unlike the previous headsets, this one won’t have pieces falling off and is incredibly sturdy. The setup was very easy and something PlayStation headset users should know by now. Simply plug in the USB charging cable to the PS4 and the Platinums (that’s what we’re calling them now) and wait until it charges. I must say that the USB dongle this time around is rather bulky. Blows the other signal transmitters out of the water in size.
When I first put the pair on it became immediately apparent that it would hug your head. It sits snugly around your ear areas and will only ever fall away if you vigorously shake your head up and down. Part of the firmness is thanks to the rubber strap that rests on your noggin. The very top of the headset is a thin piece of metal which connects to both earphones. Obviously this would be very uncomfortable resting in your hair. So PlayStation put a loose fitting, rubber strap below it. It rarely moves around thanks to the nice material it’s made out of but I still have to question the design. Not only does this part of the headset look shoddy, it actually causes some discomfort wherever the rubber strap rests after extended periods. However, the ear pieces are phenomenally made and extremely comforting regardless of playtime or use.
All the returning buttons on the left earphone do make a return, just in a different order and not as raised plastic lumps. The very bottom still has the 3.5mm jack and USB charging slot. Above that is the volume increase/decrease selection, the mute button, the slider to turn on the headset into one of two audio modes, the light indicating battery level, and the mixer between game and chat. The lone button on the right earphone is another slider that allows you to turn the 3D audio and virtual surround sound on or off. There’s no need to worry about pushing or sliding these knobs either. One push will get you the desired result. No multiple presses. (Looking at you again Gold headset.)
Looks and build aside, you’re here for the meat and potatoes. How does the addition of 3D audio affect the sound quality and how good is the sound quality to begin with? Well, frankly it’s awesome. Just the normal virtual surround sound and audio depth is amazing. I’ve utilized the Platinums across a wide array of games across a wide range of genres. To name a few, Battlefield 1, Rocket League, Sniper Elite 4, Disc Jam, Semispheres, Dead Effect 2, and Resident Evil 7. Granted I haven’t shelled out over three hundred dollars on an extreme high-end headset, but this is some of the best audio tech I’ve ever heard. The chaotic yells, shooting, and explosions of Battlefield 1 were taken to new heights, enemies were heard from afar after making the slightest noise in Dead Effect 2, and I could even hear the movements of a simple arm motion in Sniper Elite 4. Rest assured that there will be no disappointment in the tech itself.
The 3D audio also offers fantastic results. I won’t pretend to know all the aspects and details behind 3D audio as it’s relatively new to gaming. Nonetheless, I have been able to detect a difference between virtual surround sound and this. Instead of just hearing sounds from whatever direction they were made, I can pinpoint the exact locations from a point of origin. Not only would I be able to tell you Marguerite Baker is on the other side of this wall, but specifically where such as on the ceiling in that next room. These sounds don’t block out other surrounding noises though. I’m still able to hear them and with the appropriate amount of volume level considering the distance. More often than not I could still pinpoint the location. I just wouldn’t be able to hear it as loudly as another closer to me. The following goes without saying…I can’t wait to use these babies on The Last of Us 2.
The sound coming through the headset will definitely block out all other noises thanks to the way the ear covers are designed. The only time I could hear anything other than gaming, with them on, was my wife right next to me and speaking louder than normal. This will not work the other way around though. Sound bleeds through the headphones and you’ll be able to hear everything if they’re set down right in front of you. By no means a problem, just don’t expect it to contain sound away from someone in your immediate vicinity.
The only two problems I’ve had with the Platinums are the rubber strap being uncomfortable, described above, and the charging situation. They charge like any of the other PlayStation branded audio products, but they take forever to do so. Honestly it’s probably closer to three hours to get a full charge. Which is all well and good as you’d think they must last five times that number. Nope. The headset will last around five hours and can’t really be used while they’re charging. The battery drains faster than it can charge. That presents a problem when you’re in the middle of a multiplayer match with friends, don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, and don’t have a backup mic of sorts.
The PlayStation Platinum Headset is by far the best one crafted by the video game giant. The virtual surround sound is completely crisp and clear and the 3D audio clarity is superb. That function honestly introduced a new immersion to my gaming. Plus, parts of the earphones won’t feel like they’re coming off or physically and actually fall off. The only true downsides are the slow charging times, and how long the battery actually lasts once done charging, and the rubber strap on top of your head being mightily uncomfortable after awhile. Still when comparing the excellent tech, building materials, and the new 3D audio ability, The Platinums are definitely worth your time and money.
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