Steelseries Spectrum 7XB Wireless headset Review (360)

by September 1st, 2012
1075_SteelSeries_7xb_Transmitter_Box.jpg

Freedom from wires at last!

Headsets. There are lots of them out there. At YARS we have reviewed a few, but have only scratched the surface so far! However, we have never had a wireless headset, until now. When I reviewed the last Xbox headset from Steelseries, the Spectrum 5XB, I commented that whilst I loved the Spectrum mixer, I was a little disappointed that they had chosen to use the 5H headset with it. It seemed a waste when the 7H and the Siberia headsets were vastly superior. As if by magic the 7XB was announced and I have been excited ever since. This new headset would be wireless and based on the on the very well received 7H series of headsets. I was impressed with the PC version not long ago. It mixed clever design with fantastic audio quality – all at a price that didn’t make you cry to many tears. However, a few years ago, I had a wireless headset. It was crap. I never touched wireless again. I was scared off at that point. Today, I am happy to say, I am no longer scared. The Steelseries 7XB wireless headset for Xbox has restored my faith in wireless audio products. The 7XB maintains these same qualities. It has a clever design and it has great sound quality, but it also has a few clever tricks up it’s sleeve. It is more than the cross between the 7H and 5XB that I had expected! Steelseries Spectrum 7XB Wireless headsetLet’s start with design. As I said, these are based the 7H, so have the same 4 part build. The lead (on to that in a mo) and the ear cups all break away from the head band. The ear cups are large and sit comfortably over the ears. This not only ensures no pressure on your ears, but the leather pads cut out the vast majority of background noises. The headband is nicely padded and they seem to be even more comfortable than my 7H headset! You can also buy a set of cloth pads should you like. It would have been nice if these were included with the package. They also look great. With their dark exterior punctuated with the Steelseries logo, although my wife does think I look a little bit like a Cyber man as they are very square on the top!

Overall, I am seriously impressed

If you know anything about the Steelseries headset range, you will know they have a retractable mic. If you don’t know about this, it is one of the best design features I have seen on a headset. Basically, in the left ear cup there is a microphone hidden away. Pull it out and you can position it anyway you like on its completely flexible arm. Not using it? Hide it away again. The 7XB still has a wired connection to the Xbox controller. This comes via a little plug-in dongle. Housed in said dongle, is a volume dial that controls how loud the voices from other players will be. This then wirelessly talks to a little black and green box that plugs into your TV’s audio out and your Xbox’s USB. The transmitter has a volume control to adjust for different types of output. If you read the instructions and set this up properly, it works brilliantly! My wife is very happy – no more wire running from my wireless controller, across the living room, to the Xbox! I’m free I tell ya, FREEEEEE…. ahem. Steelseries Spectrum 7XB Wireless headsetSo it looks pretty good and has some clever features. But I have not touched on the cleverest. The headset has a few tricks of its own. Powered by 2xAA batteries, it has a built in ExactSND mixer to control the sound scape as well as built in Live Mix. Live Mix is a nice feature that was on the 5XB. It dynamically alters the mix between voice comms and game music and effects, so that you can always hear your teammates. It can be switched off, but for me it is really handy. You never miss that all important order to hide in the middle of an all out fire fight in CoD! The sound scape controls are a little more interesting. There are 3 settings (plus of course off). The first is called Performance. It is designed to maximise directional sounds. You lose a lot of base, but it is much easier to pick out ‘where’ sounds are coming from. For me this is an acceptable compromise most of the time. The next setting is Immersion. This is set up to give the best of both worlds. A good amount of bass, so explosions really rock you and in game music sounds great, but you can still make out most of what is happening. The final setting is Entertainment. This is reserved for films and music. Much more base, but less clear top ends. Transformers 2 sounded positively fantastic in this mode! All of these modes can be accessed at any time with a button on the right hand side of the headset. It has a small ridge on it, so you can tell which button it is easily. There are all assigned a different sequence of beeps, that you hear as you press the button. A simple, but effective way to know what setting you are switching to! On this side, there are also buttons for controlling the volume, switching off and enabling the Live Mix setting. Again, each button has a special beep to tell you what you have pressed. Steelseries Spectrum 7XB Wireless headsetOverall, I am seriously impressed. The wireless works extremely well. It operates on 2.6Mhz, and seems to get no interference. Apparently, it automatically hops channels (344 times/second) to make sure you never lose your signal. In practice, this seems to be true. In 2 weeks, I have no instance of any interference. The 50mm speakers once again deliver exceptional quality sound, with the ExactSND mixer enabling you to tweak the shape of the sound to suit most needs. As an added extra, you can now connect up to 4 headsets to one wireless transmitter. So for events or just having a few mates round (who have 7XB’s), this is a really nice feature. It is hard to judge the value for money. These are pricey (around £150) compared to wired and some lower end wireless headsets. However, they offer a very serious feature set that other wireless headsets only offer in a similar price range. Highly recommended for serious gamers who want to lose the wires! Some Specs Headphones

  • Frequency response: 18 – 28.000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 112 dB
  • Cable length: 1 m / 3.3 ft. (Detachable from headset to controller with 2.5 mm plug)
  • Jacks: 3,5 mm

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 50 – 16.000 Hz
  • Pick up pattern: Uni-directional

  • Sensitivity: -38 dB

Transmitter box

  • USB Powered (from Xbox 360)
  • 3.5 mm stereo jack input
  • Input level control
  • 2.6 GHz radio interface
  • Range: 9 m (30 ft.)
  • Dimensions: 83 mm x 83
    mm x 26 mm

The Scores

Build
Build - 10 out of 10 10
Gold Y Award
Gold Y Award
Value
Value - 9 out of 10 9
Features
Features - 10 out of 10 10
Overall
Overall - 9 out of 10 9

The Good: Superb sound. Great design. Comfortable.
The Bad: Price may be an issue for some.

The Transmitter The controls A nice angle Looks nothing like a Cyber man The retractable mic 

Gold Y AwardGold Y Award
4.5 4.5 / 5
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Andrzej Marczewski

Owner of YARS
Well, lets start by saying that I run YARS. Gaming has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember! I felt there were just too few games review sites out there, so created YARS to fill that sorry looking gap....

About Andrzej Marczewski

Well, lets start by saying that I run YARS. Gaming has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember! I felt there were just too few games review sites out there, so created YARS to fill that sorry looking gap....