• Manufacturer: Cooler Master
• Model: CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminium Gaming Headset
• Price: £61.45 (at time of review)
Cooler Master have decided to up their game with an entire new range of customisable products within the CM Storm brand. The Aluminium range covers three key areas for gamers, a keyboard, a mouse and a headset. Today we are taking a look at the Pulse-R Aluminium Gaming Headset, dropping straight into the £60-£70 price range they will be coming up against some fierce competition, with the likes of Razer, Steelseries, Logitech and Sennheiser. The competition is strong so Cooler Master are going to have to set themselves above the rest in this new product range.
Can Cooler Master smash the competition, not only in the quality of the products build but also in performance where it matters most? Without further ado lets take a look the CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminium Gaming Headset, launched in August 2013 we eagerly awaiting getting our hands on the product range.
Driver 42mm driver
Frequency Response 20Hz-20KHz
Connector 3.5mm headphone jack
Cable Length 3m Removable Cable
Pick-up Pattern Omni-Directional
Frequency Response 100 Hz – 10000 Hz
Sensitivity -42 ± 3dB (0dB = 1V/pa.1KHz)
Signal to Noise Ratio 60dB or more
Removable Mic Volume control and Mic mute
The packaging a simple silver and black theme which is fitting as the headset itself is silver and black, it also has the company branding and product name and bullet pointed specifics regarding the headset.
The back of the packaging continues the silver and black theme with more detailed information regarding the product which points to key areas that the user needs to be made aware of the comfort of the headset, the durability of the product as wells as other key features such as the in line remote and the removable microphone.
Still keeping with the black theme the side of the packaging contains the headset specifications split into two areas, headphones and the microphone itself.
The other side of the packaging is directing us to go to the CM Storm website for more information and does this in several languages also.
The packaging comes in two parts, sleeve with printed information and then a simple plain black box which has the Pulse-R Headset and separate detachable microphone.
The CMStorm Pulse-R Aluminium gaming headset comes with a detachable microphone, as well as braided audio cable which also detaches from the headset.
Also inside the box there is an instruction manual on how to fit the microphone and cable.
Whilst most of the headset is made out of plastic there is a aluminium headband which also reinforces the solid build of the headset.
Along with a solid headband there is quite a large cushion, making it fit comfortably on your head.
As you can see throughout the headset the aluminium theme is predominant, which off sets the black plastic quite well.
Attaching the braided cable and the microphone is pretty easy and with a small amount of force they slot into these holes.
Setting up the headset was an easy affair, purely because the headset is plug and play. If you have other devices connected to your system like I do then changing the default device within playback and recording devices may be necessary.
With such a quick setup, I was able to get straight into some games to test the audio quality, for this I played a few rounds of Battlefield 3. One of the first things I noticed was the exceptional bass that the 42mm drivers gave. The bass was definitely well defined, quite heavy and thick in places. I believe this was benefited by the closer fitting ear cups, combined with good drivers has a nice room filling quality to the sound. Not to mention the great sound that has been put into the game itself.
The few rounds of Battlefield 3 I played where as rich and detailed as I could ever remember. The same could be said about music playback, though the headset is aimed at gamers and gaming in general. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t listen to music. After a few rounds of Battlefield 3 I launched Foobar which is my audio manager of choice at the moment and selecting a various mix of songs I tested to see if the 42mm drivers where capable of playing them to my satisfaction.
In this instance, I wasn’t disappointed with some of the heavier bass elements. Unfortunately, some of them can turn out muddy but the Pulse-R quite happily played ball and gave good, clear tones throughout testing. Not only that but the headset performed well whilst I watched a movie. For this I chose a particularly heavy action orientated scene in Iron Man 3, something with lots going on and the headset was fully capable of playing back almost all the different sounds as they happened on screen. There is nothing worse than dull flat sound when watching a movie, listening to music or playing a video game.
Moving onto the microphone I tested these using three VoIP applications, TeamSpeak, Mumble and Skype. Using TeamSpeak and Mumble I personally tend to use push to talk which allows for short burst communication and I had no complaints about my audio quality. However, the same could not be said about Skype, which is typically broadcast using Skype’s own voice recognition. The quality issue could be due to various factors such as the audio codec used by Skype for the communication or simply down to the way the person I spoke to has their audio set up. I did attempt to fix the problem by looking at my settings but because the microphone has limited adjustments within windows all I could do was reduce my overall gain to reduce some of the noise. As I said previously using dedicated VoIP software I had no issue with the microphones quality and this could be due to that software having more features and a better audio codec than Skype. Also, the short burst transmissions also help reduce almost all noise.
To give a decent example of the audio quality recorded using the microphone here is a short audio sample I recorded. This took place in quite a quiet room with very little background noise.
Overall the performance of the headset was very much satisfactory, and something I expect from Cooler Master.
The audio and build quality where extremely good , which I was impressed with. Whilst this isn’t Cooler Master’s first foray into the audio market, they have clearly chosen to set themselves apart from the rest.
With so many other brands situated within the same price bracket; why buy the Pulse-R? Well, the build quality for one. It’s by far one of the best headsets I have ever had the pleasure of using and I have had quite a few in various prices ranges over the last few years. Many have let me down, be it due to audio quality, or build quality or both. I understand that over time breakages happen and faults occur but you don’t expect them within the first two months of use.
The cable fitting into the headset does so with a satisfying click and the same can be said for the microphone too. There is no way you are accidentally going to rip out either from the headset, not without trying to do so anyway. The entire finish just works so well, most headsets are purely plastic of varying quality hence the breakages that occur because that plastic becomes brittle over time. Not with the Pulse-R in my opinion. Every part of the headset shows the quality of the design and materials used.
The Pulse-R Aluminium Gaming Headset is by far one of the most rugged, solidly built headsets I have ever used, but is not without some flaws. I felt that the in-line volume control was slightly too large for what it was, and the volume slider seemed too big, making it more of a three point volume control than a more controllable in line remote I have seen on other headsets in the past.
In conclusion, I feel that anyone purchasing the Cooler Master CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminium Gaming Headset will not be disappointed. It is a very well designed headset. This product does not come on it’s own either. It is part of a new range of products. The mechanical keyboard and the Reaper mouse. I would like to give the Cooler Master CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminium gaming headset our Design Award as well as our Value Award purely because I do not think you will find another headset at this point in time that can do what it does with the same quality for the price it is at.
When awarding the CM Storm Aluminium Gaming Headset I thought a lot about how it performed and what made it stand out above the rest. With the background noise from the microphone, I had to score it slightly less than I would have liked as it covers other criteria really well. As for Value and Design, five stars is the max I can dish out and that is what it truly deserves.