Testing & Results
I’ve been using a pair of Razer Tiamat 2.2s for the past few months, so most of my impressions of the Func HS-260 headset were in comparison to a device that was designed for a slightly different purpose (with a different driver arrangement). The Tiamat retails for $20 more than the HS-260, so keep that in mind during any of my observations as well.
I used a lot of the resources from audiocheck.net to experience the technical limits of the HS-260, but most of my time spent with them was listening to whatever I was most familiar with. I spent an evening listening to albums that I like to use to compare different sound devices with – I tend to stick to more “electronic” tracks that are usually pretty instrumental. I’ll break out the Tron: Legacy soundtrack for it’s Daft Punk collaborated orchestral pieces, and my go to album for almost anything is The Glitch Mob’s Drink The Sea. I’ll try to stream some radio stations from Pandora as well (with some classical music thrown in for good measure), but the real fun is using them in a game with great sound engineering like the Battlefield series (although I can’t get enough of those giant robot footfalls from MechWarrior: Online – a great test of the lower frequencies if anything). I’ll be the first to admit my hearing isn’t what it used to be (and I’m no sound engineer in the first place), so if possible I’d recommend trying out any pair of headphones in person that you’re interested in – the experience can vary greatly per person.
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
System Memory: 8 GB (2×4 GB) DDR3 1600 MHz
Processor:Intel Core i5-2500K @ 4.4 GHz
Audio: Asus Xonar DG 5.1 (Dolby Headphone / Surround)
Video: XFX R9 290
Disk Drive 1: Western Digital Black 7200 RPM 1TB
Disk Drive 2: OCZ Vecter 2 50 GB (Cache, Intel SRT)
Enclosure: NZXT Phantom 820
PSU: Cooler Master V700 80+
Monitor: Hanns-G 27″ 1920×1200 LCD
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
With that out of the way, let’s start with the audiocheck.net sound samples. Their headphone tests are pretty straightforward, and walk you through frequency tests, binaural recordings, driver matching tests and polarity checks (among others). I found the frequency tests especially interesting, although they correspond more to the abilities of your ears rather than the capabilities of the drivers. Still I noticed a lower range of audible frequencies from the 50mm drivers of the Func HS-260s compared to the Razer Tiamat 2.2 (you know, with the dedicated “subwoofers”). The Tiamats would almost “push” into the 20 Hz territory with a noticeable (but still subtle) rush, while the Func HS-260 seemed to smoothly transition from one frequency to the next. I lost the sounds in both headsets around the 18-19 KHz mark, which is probably the upper limit of my own hearing.
The driver matching test moves through the entire spectrum of sound waves and I didn’t notice any discrepancies between the left and right drivers on the Func HS-260. They sounded even throughout, whereas the Tiamats gave me a slight “swimming” feeling during the test sample – I couldn’t tell if it was just my imagination, so take that with a whole pile of salt (there are four drivers total in the Razer Tiamat 2.2s, so I might have been hearing something unique to that arrangement).
The “bass shaker” test was interesting, as it is designed to uncover any unwanted noises from rapidly-vibrating drivers. Perhaps you have heard a vehicle pass by that has a powerful subwoofer installed – and you can tell by the entire trunk assembly buzzing like a nest of angry hornets. That is what this test is designed to highlight (and to be clear, that isn’t an effect you would want in a headset. Or a car, for that matter). The HS-260s produced a rich, deep bass that was surprisingly clean and not overwhelming, without any component rattling or buzzing.
The Dynamic Volume test starts at a “full volume,” then lowers the volume in steps with the last audible step being the dynamic range of the headset (or more accurately, your ears). The Razer Tiamat has a little better isolation so I could hear some softer sounds, but the HS-260 wasn’t significantly far behind (and they were pretty close when I switched to using the leather ear cushions – I could still hear the voiceover at 48 dB below full scale volume with hints of the voiceover beneath that).
The polarity tests showed the HS-260s to be wired correctly (always a good sign), and the binaural test revealed a sound stage that was capable of reproducing an accurate sensation of direction and distance.
Most of this testing ends up being pretty subjective and limited by my own ears rather than the headsets I use, but it is interesting to compare the different tones and capabilities of headsets side by side using synthetic tones. The HS-260 performed the tests just fine and seemed to match Func’s claims of frequency response and driver tuning, so you should feel confident you’re getting the technology that you’re paying for.