Testing & Results
I used a wide array of different headphones in testing the CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminum Gaming Headset. The interesting part about testing headsets is that it really all depends on your own hearing and what you like and don’t like. What that means is that pretty much everything I have to say about how the CM Storm Pulse-R sounds is based on my own opinion. I’ll try to be as objective as possible and give numbers and stats whenever I can, but the best way to tell if you like how a headset sounds is to try it out yourself. I used a sound AuidoCheck.net’s headphones sound tests to check frequency response, dynamic range, quality, driver matching, wiring, binaural signal, and full music playback. I also played games with the headphones and wore them for extended periods to check for comfort and stability.
- CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminum Gaming Headset – $84.99 (NewEgg / Amazon)
- BOSE QuietComfort 15 Noise Cancelling Headphones – $299.99
- Turtle Beach Ear Force M Seven Mobile Headphones – $149.99
- JVC Super Bass HA-V570 DJ Headphones – $17.95
- JVC Black Series HA-S650 On-Ear Headphones – $69.99
Frequency. The first test I used was a frequency test to check high and low ranges for each of the headphones. Admittedly, all of the headphones but the JVC Super Bass headphones were able to reach the highs and lows of my limits of hearing. The CM Storm Pulse-R was clearly audible from 18kHz to 8kHz in the treble range and from 20Hz to 200Hz in the bass range. Some of you may be able to hear ranges higher or lower than this, but this was the extent of my hearing. Years in the military have left my ears a little worse for wear.
Dynamic Range. I ran the CM Storm Pulse-R through a dynamic range test next, looking for how easily I could hear various levels below full sound. Again, this is going to depend on your own hearing, but I could clearly hear up to 72dBFS (decibels below full sound) on the Pulse-R without any distortion or fuzz.
Quality Test. I followed the dynamic range test with a quality test aimed at making sure the headset was built to reverberate properly at the lowest lows and the highest highs. When we hear low bass tones, we often judge their clarity and audibility by how we feel the bass as well as hear it. Good headphones will reverberate at lower levels to help you feel the bass, but they shouldn’t rattle. Rattling was a big problem with the entry-level JVC HA-V750 headphones, and was also present, although to a lesser extent, on the JVC HA-S650 headphones. As for the CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminum Gaming Headset, I did experience a tiny bit of rattling at the lowest bass tones.
Driver Matching. Since each ear cup houses a separate driver, it is critical that the drivers match the sounds as they head up and down the ranges. A good stereo sweep that sends equivalent levels to both drivers simultaneously will let you see if there is any range where the drivers are mismatched. During the sweep, if you start to hear any sounds pan more to the right or left ear, or echo back and forth, the drivers have not been properly matched. This wasn’t an issue at all with the CM Storm Pulse-R Headset.
Wiring. Any decent headphone manufacturer will ensure that the right and left ears are wired appropriately, but it is also critical to ensure that the polarity between the two drivers match as well. When a signal hits the two drivers, they should both rotate in the same direction based on the signal. The CM Storm Pulse-R passed the wiring test by showing proper polarity between the drivers during centered and twisted signal play.
Binaural Testing. Binaural testing shows the headphone’s ability to recreate exact sound. To test this, a recording of sound is taken with a microphone inside your ear, where the sound actually reaches you. Playing this back through good headphones, which rest very closely to the area where the sound was recorded, should make it sound extremely realistic. This test doesn’t work with regular speakers because of their positioning relative to your ears. The CM Storm Pulse-R sounded very good to me during the binaural testing, although not nearly as good as the BOSE QuietComfort 15 headphones.
Microphone Tests. I’ve tested the microphone on the CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminum Gaming Headset against three other microphones by making a recording of each within minutes of each other in the same environment; my living room. The washer and dryer were running in the background, as were my kids. The CM Storm Pulse-R does an excellent job of cancelling the surrounding noise and providing a clear recording. The recording wasn’t as clear as the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema recording, but it did get rid of the background noise a lot better.