Cinema-like experiences in the comfort of your own home have become widespread, aided by large television screens and surround sound systems. You don’t need to share a room with up to one hundred other people, listen to the rustling and crunching of popcorn or be booted in the back of your chair by some annoying child behind you who refuses to sit still.
The only problem with this home environment filled with 5.1 audio immersion, is that our rooms become cluttered with numerous speakers, trails of cables and the distinct possibility of upsetting neighbours. Not only that, but you don’t always wish to be sitting in your living room when you are in the mood for a film.
The Cyber Snipa Sonar 5.1 Championship Pro Surround Headset may have an absurdly long name, however it is one possible solution as it provides a distinct 5.1 surround sound experience – all within a typical headset.
So let’s take a closer look…
In the box, you will be first amazed at the fact you receive a padded case to protect your new headset. This will certainly prove useful, as no doubt you will find circumstances where taking the headset with you will improve your day.
The headset itself looks fairly large, with its massive ear cups dominating the design. At first glance, your initial instinct may be to worry about the weight of such a bold accessory, but fear not as you will be surprised at just how comfortable the headset is to wear – even for long periods of time. Just like the case that comes within the box, the headset itself features plenty of foam padding. Lovely soft cushion-like padding in fact that fit over and around your ears. With a little bit of adjustment to the headset to match the size of your head, not only will you be delighted by the sound quality but of the lack of pain you will feel even over an extended period of time.
In short, this headset is wonderfully, blissfully and fantastically comfortable. Over the years I have tested various headsets and headphones, all with the typical moment where pain kicks in – yet the Cyber Snipa Sonar 5.1 Championship Pro Surround Headset can be worn for a whole film without suffering the usual twinges. This is made even more impressive by the fact there are so many speakers crammed in to the design.
To provide the 5.1 surround sound experience, there are four speakers in each ear cup, so eight in total. This means for each ear cup, you have a speaker dedicated to bass (subwoofer) and another three speakers to represent center, front and rear. The result is a very true 5.1 surround sound experience for various compatible media and gaming.
The headset plugs into a Windows computer using a free USB port, which means you don’t need a sound card that supports 5.1. All the hardware is part of the headset so almost any computer can benefit from 5.1 surround sound, including notebooks for example.
On the cable is an inline device to control the various volume levels for the individual sections of 5.1 surround sound including sub, center, rear, front and the overall volume. There is also a switch to mute the microphone. The cable is also fairly generous 3m in length.
- Windows PC
- CD-ROM Drive
- Operating System: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
- Connection port: USB 2.0
- Minimum hard drive space: 5.5MB
Movie and Music Playback
The vast majority of DVD and Blu-ray movies offer 5.1 surround sound and what better way to experience this marvel than through a set of impressive headphones such as these. Although you might expect the only ‘real’ way to experience 5.1 surround sound is by having the speakers dotted around a room, the layout of the eight speakers within this headset prove without a doubt that the realism of cars crashing, explosions blasting and gun shots ricocheting can be enjoyed within such a confined unit. You will be able to identify in which direction a sound is coming from, whether it be from behind or in front and although it will never match an actual 5.1 speaker system layout spread out around a room, you won’t be disappointed.
The bass in particular certainly stands out, as your ear cups vibrate to replicate the intense action sequences occurring on-screen. This can be easily turned down independently from the other speakers if it becomes a little too much for your listening sensibilities. Although the bass is rich, the dialogue and other channels aren’t over taken and thanks again to the inline device, you can easily adjust each of the front, rear, center and sub levels to perfect what works for you.
The included software allows you to specifically select which type of content you are wishing to take advantage of. So for example – if you are listening to music by playing an MP3 file, you would select the ‘2 Channel’ option. This is clearly displayed to make your selection process simpler within the software, however with a little experimentation you can take full advantage of all the 5.1 speakers as well.
Even with a two channel (stereo) source such as a music track, I selected the ‘6 channel’ option (6 channel basically meaning 5.1). With a little tweaking of the dials provided on the unit, I was able to increase bass and the overall enjoyment of listening to my favourite artists.
For those that want a little more, you can even add all manner of effects that give the impression you are sitting in a cave, a padded cell and so on. You can also sing along karaoke style and by using the software attempt to remove much of the artists singing to replace it with your own. You can even adjust the pitch to make the Bee Gees sound like Barry White and vice versa.
VoIP and Gaming
A flexible microphone is included on the headset and can be easily adjusted to be placed in front of your mouth for any conversations you may wish to have, as well as utilising noise cancellation. This is perfect for applications including Skype, where you can chat with family, friends and work colleagues – while gamers will find it useful for issuing commands to team mates and trash talking to opponents.
A friend who kindly offered his assistance in comparing microphone quality of both this headset and one specifically designed for voice communication found it incredibly difficult to notice any difference whatsoever. He seemed impressed with the overall quality of the sound and had no problem hearing the conversation.
When tested with a few first person shooter titles, the 5.1 surround sound certainly didn’t disappoint – allowing me to hear enemies attempting to creep up from behind or from the side with relative ease. In fact any game that supported 5.1 sounded fantastic and now I am more than happy to stick on this headset in the later hours of the evening and enjoy a similar surround sound experience, even better without disturbing anyone else in the house who may be trying to fall asleep.
The Cyber Snipa Sonar 5.1 Championship Pro Surround Headset is a wonderful device, allowing you to enjoy the complexities and immersion of surround sound without the usual inherent problems. The sound is truly delightful, using all eight speakers to recreate a cinema-like experience or a gaming environment that comes to life.
With plenty of comfort and a microphone for voice communications, the Cyber Snipa Sonar 5.1 Championship Pro Surround Headset priced at around £50 is a must purchase for gaming and media enjoyment without upsetting your fellow house mates.
Features I loved:
- Extremely comfortable
- Realistic 5.1 surround sound
- Can be connected to computers and notebooks
Features that lacked a little:
- May look a little odd on your head, but you won’t care!