When it comes to choosing a new headset for your gaming needs, there is definitely a lot of choice about. As well as having a large selection of headsets, there are also many different price ranges to choose from. Do you buy something cheap and cheerful, something in the middle, or splash out on top of the range gadgets with 5.1 this and 7.1 that? Well, I’m hoping that the Afterglow Prismatic Wireless headset from PDP (Performance Designed Products) will show that you don’t have to spend huge amounts of cash to get decent, all-round quality.
As always, with any product, the first thing you notice is the packaging. The box for the Prismatic headset is easy on the eye. The front shows a view of the headset from the side, showing the different colours available for the illuminated earpieces. It also gives you a list of devices that the headset is compatible with. In this case, you can use the Prismatic headset with the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii & Wii U, PC, and mobile devices. It’s worth noting that with the Xbox One chat adapter, you can also use this headset with the Xbox One console, and I’m assuming that it works in the same way for the PS4, although I am unable to try this as I do not own one. The sides of the box has a feature comparison chart, as well as a run down of the custom audio profiles (see images). Lastly, the back of the box shows a list of what the headset can do – from extraordinary sound, to the easy slide microphone.
Now for the box contents. To state the obvious, there’s a headset in the box! As well as the headset, there is a large collection of wires – 2.5mm to 2.5mm (chat cable for Xbox 360), 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, RCA cable with a 3.5mm connector, mini USB cable, and the wireless USB dongle (which is connected by default to the RCA cable via the 3.5.. connector). As you can see, there is a cable for every occasion! It is recommended that you charge the headset before using it for the first time, something that I did not do. I soon charged it once I noticed a low hum while wearing the headset. To charge, simply hook up the included mini USB cable and watch the lights in the earpieces flash away until the charging is completed, in which case, the flashing stops.
The headset itself seems to be very well built and sturdy. The earpieces are made of a polyurethane leather type material, which only adds to the comfort of the ‘around the ear’ design. The earpieces themselves are a decent size, but could possibly be a little bigger for those people with bigger ears. The headset has a nice amount of flexibility, and is adjustable, although the earpieces do not rotate. The headband is made of plastic and sports the Afterglow branding and when adjusted, you can see the thin metal reinforcement strip that foes through the headband to the earpieces. Lastly, the inside of the headband has a very nice padding which adds to the comfort factor when in use. The left ear cup is where all controls can be found. On the outside of the earpiece itself, there is a transparent plastic design. Being able to see through to the inside allows you to see the circuit boards, etc, which actually looks quite nice! On the outer side of the earpiece is where the volume wheel is, as well as the mixer slider for voice and game sounds, connections for the 2.5mm Xbox 360 cable input, line in, and the mini USB port. The front of the left earpiece is where the microphone can be found and pulled out for use, next to which is the Mode button that allows you to choose which lets you select the audio profile that you wish to use. Lastly, on the outer left earpiece is where you’ll find the power/mute button.
Now for the fun stuff! Hooking the headset up to the PC was as simple as it could have been. Simply plug the USB dongle into a free USB port on the PC itself, and then connect the 3.5mm jack to the speaker/headphone port on the sound card. Once the drivers have installed themselves, you are good to go! To turn the headset on, simply press in the button on the left earpiece until it lights up blue and you’re good to go. Unfortunately, because of the amount of devices I have hooked up to my PC, there is a bit of a hum – this is only present on the PC and with the sound turned down slightly, the hum is not always noticeable. To set the colour to one that you prefer, simply hold in the Mode button for a few seconds until it starts cycling through the available colours. When you get to your desired colour, stop pressing the Mode button in and it will stay on the selected colour until the headset is powered off and back on again, or until it is changed manually – if you would rather stay colourless, you can depress the Mode button when you come to the part of the cycle that doesn’t feature a colour. The Mode button also allows you to choose one of the three audio profiles – Pure Audio (blue), Bass Boost (red) and Immersive (purple). It’s easy to keep track of which profile you have chosen as there is a light at the end of the microphone that changes colour as you cycle through the profiles.
Even though the Prismatic headset is primarily a previous gen headset, I was unable to try it with an Xbox 360 as I sold it literally the day before it arrived. I did, however, hook up the 3.5mm audio cable to the headset and also to the chat adapter connected to my Xbox One controller and was able to use it for both game audio and chat. I was informed by friends that my voice came across nice and clear, and it was the same for me whilst listening to them. I’ve also connected it up to my phone to listen to music, and as previously mentioned, it has been used on the PC. My partner even likes to take it upstairs at bedtime and hook it up to the TV so that he can watch without disturbing me.
As far as sound quality goes, I have no gripes with the headset. Game play was clear and I was able to decipher which location footsteps and gunshots were coming from whilst playing Call of Duty, and hearing the revs of engines in Forza 6 was just mind-blowing. On the other hand, watching TV and listening to music were both impressive, even more-so with the bass boost audio profile in play – I like to think that the 50mm speakers played a nice role in this! While on the subject of the bass boost audio profile, the bass levels are more than adequate when in pure audio and immersive profiles – having that bit of extra oomph never hurts though.
Overall, I am very impressed with the Prismatic headset. The sound quality is great, the build quality is sturdy & makes the headset feel like it can withstand every day uses with ease, and the fact that it can be used across multiple platform makes the whole package worthwhile. Althought the lights are a cool feature, I can’t see myself sitting here each time I use the headset and scrolling through all of the colours to choose the one I want. A great headset that won’t break the bank as much as other gaming headsets. You can currently grab this headset for around £70 on Amazon UK (at time of posting).