Today I am going to be taking a look at the Logitech G430 Surround Sound Gaming Heatset. It’s an entry level headset which comes under the G series range. G series has been around for quite some time now and Logitech are always looking to expand this range. The G430 combines 40mm drivers with a excellent cardioid microphone so I am expecting it to live up to the Logitech name. The headset covers all of the key areas but will the headset be able to produce a decent sound? How will the microphone sound over VoIP? Only testing will tell so it’s onwards and forwards with the review. Let’s quickly look at the specifications and then the product itself.
Focused on innovation and quality, Logitech designs personal peripherals to help people enjoy a better experience with the digital world. We started in 1981 with mice, which (new at the time) provided a more intuitive way of interacting with a personal computer. We became the worldwide leader in computer mice, and have reinvented the mouse in dozens of ways to match the evolving needs of PC and laptop users.
Since those early days, we have expanded our expertise in product design beyond the computer mouse, with a broad portfolio of interface devices that are the “last inch” between you and your computer or your console game, digital music or home-entertainment system.
Windows® 8, Windows® 7 or Windows Vista® operating system
7.1 Surround sound requires software installation*
Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
Impedance: 32 Ohms
Sensitivity: 90dB SPL/mW
Microphone Pickup pattern: Cardioid (Unidirectional)
Type: Pressure Gradient Electret Condenser
Frequency response: 50-20KHz
Sensitivity: -40dBV/Pa re: 0dB = 1 Pa, 1KHz
Test conditions: 3.0V, 2.2K Ohm
Having taken a look at the specifications let’s take a look at the packaging.
The packaging of the G430 comprises of two parts, a cardboard section with the now common place X-ray image of the product on display as well as the Logitech logo and the product model. The other half of the packaging is a clear insert which displays the headset itself.
Looking at the back of the packaging has more in depth information on the headset itself. A brief synopsis on the product with numbered points and an image of the headset which points to what is listed. All that information is listed in various languages. The left hand side of the packaging has more information regarding the headset, including imagery and branding.
Let’s take a look at the right hand side of the packaging is made up of the plastic insert and the cardboard part of the packaging. The clear plastic insert allows you to have a good close look at the headset itself. The card board section has the same branding that is displayed around the rest of the packaging.
Protecting the product as well as used to display it the clear plastic insert holds the headset in place.
Let’s start off with a nice and close look of the G430 headset itself. Keeping with the blue theme that Logitech are so fond of, here’s the headset.
The headset ear cups fold flat for easier storage which is now common place with many gaming headsets. That way you can lay the headset down flat on your desk when it is not in use. It also makes it easier to pack them in a bag as you can place them flat against a hard surface to prevent damage.
The headband has the same blue foam padding. It is designed to make the headset comfortable the headband is filled with the same foam padding as the ear cups.
Moving on from the rest of the headset, we have the braided audio cable which is fixed into place and cannot be detached. The cable also includes an in-line volume control and the ability to mute the microphone.
The last item that comes supplied with the headset is the USB adapter which is required for use with the Logitech Gaming Software and the surround sound feature.
Launching the Logitech Gaming Software, we are greeted with icons on the bottom left which denotes the devices attached. In this instance I have a Logitech gaming mouse as well as the G430 headset. Selecting the headset changes the icons on the bottom right. Firstly we have the “Home” icon which gives an overview of the attached device.
The second icon in the list gives access to an equalizer allowing customisation of audio settings for the headset. This allows us to change the headset volume as well as the microphone volume and change the bass and treble.
There is an additional drop down menu, with advanced equalizer settings. This in turn gives us even greater control of the audio that the headset provides.
Next we have the “Surround Sound Mixer” that allows us the enable the surround sound options as well as adjusting volume of each individual virtual speaker.
This in a nutshell is every option available when using the G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset in conjunction with the supplied USB adapter. Let’s move on and find out how it performs.
Having taken a good look at the Headset in the closer look section, we can see the physical appearance of the G430 headset but now it is time to take a look at the performance and build quality.
As is typical with almost all peripheral designs, the G430 is made predominantly of plastic. However, unlike on other headsets that I have seen and used, the headband uses stainless steel to help make it strong, solid and less likely to break over time.
The materials used are of high quality and what you would expect from Logitech. Everything from the braided cables to the material used on the ear cups and headband show that this is a quality product. As for the comfort, I found that over time the headset became slightly uncomfortable to wear and this is for two reasons in my opinion. The smaller padding used on the headband focused a specific pressure across the top of my head and the usual placement of it on my head when wearing headphones or a headset wasn’t viable for long periods of time. After long periods of use I found that headset would become uncomfortable, this is due in part to my own largish ears. I understand that many companies try to design a product that fits all different characteristics, but this is not always possible. In this case, I do not find the G430’s particularly comfortable, however given time, the plastic could mould to suit my head better.
The G430 Surround Gaming Headset is designed to use Logitech’s Gaming Software alongside the supplied USB adapter to control the headset. This is also where you can enable surround sound. The headset is designed to have a virtual 7.1 surround sound feature, so I enabled it and jumped straight into Battlefield 3. I have to be honest here and say that I wasn’t overly impressed. The surround sound didn’t really work for me, though I have used it with a different headset I found that Logitech’s implementation just felt a little off.
When the surround sound feature was enabled, I found that it also affected VoIP services. It seemed to make it sound like the audio was coming from all directions, even though the VoIP services such as Skype, TeamSpeak and so on usually one use mono and sometimes stereo audio outputs so in that sense it did add some kind of dimension to the call, even if it wasn’t necessarily there.
I also tested the G430 surround sound capabilities whilst watching a movie and yet again I felt that it didn’t work as it should have done. I have used the same kind of feature before with a different headset and I found its implementation was much better.
Primarily the G430 is designed for gaming, however many gamers will also wish to listen to their music with them, so I also included this aspect in the testing. As with the gaming audio tests (which were excellent), there were several points to focus on: low, mid and high tones, which were tested by playing a variety of different genres from pop right the way through to dubstep.
Another key element when buying a gaming headset is the microphone quality. This is where this headset really excels. After having used several different headsets recently, I found that the microphone on the Logitech G430 was of excellent quality. Its placement on the headset allowed me to position it directly near my mouth, allowing me to speak clearly into the microphone.
Here is a short audio sample recorded using the G430’s Microphone. (The sample was recorded in a relatively quiet room)
I used the microphone whilst I was using Mumble, Teamspeak and Skype. I asked the opinion of those I spoke too and they all agreed that the microphone quality was excellent.
I quite like the design of the headset, it did appeal to me from the outset and its simplicity and quality of materials used in the construction of the headset is what I expected from Logitech. However, the G430 does not come without its faults. For long periods of usage, I found the headset became quite uncomfortable. The headband padding was too thin in my opinion and could have done with being much wider than it actually is and to add to that, the material used to cover that foam was slightly rough in texture and could be quite uncomfortable too.
As you can probably gather from my previous comments in the performance section, I was not overly impressed with the surround sound aspect of the headset. This comes directly from the software giving very limited control over the virtual speakers other than volume as far as I can gather. I have spent quite a bit of time checking my own setting and checking settings within the Logitech Gaming Software but as of yet I have been unable to rectify the issue.
I can understand why it has been implemented, but the way it seems to conflict with VoIP applications is quite annoying. VoIP usually transmits in stereo but when I turn on the surround sound I could hear the audio coming from all the “virtual” speakers which at the end of the day spoils the entire experience.
The audio quality in stereo was excellent and the microphone quality is possibly some of the best I have ever used to this day. It picked up my voice clear as day without any tweaks or changes. As you can hear from the audio sample the microphone does indeed work really well and it is a big selling point of this headset if you need clear, precise voice communications with your team mates.
With all the above it’s time to finish this review and conclusion. I don’t feel that the headset deserves an award, purely on the basis that the surround sound did not work as I thought it should do. Whilst the headset is of high quality in the design arena, its main purpose falls flat on its face and with that I have chosen to not give it an award.
The scoring of the Logitech G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset was determined by the key elements of the headsets design, build quality, overall performance and the value.
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