Mini-Review: The King of Fighters XII
Lost Virtua Hamster Races Back

Mini-Review: Able Planet PS500MM Headset

Able Planet PS500MM headsetThe current generation of video gaming dragged me kicking and screaming into the world of headsets with their fancy microphones and loud little speakers, and up until recently I've been moderately pleased with my wireless headset for the Sony PlayStation 3.  I don't do all that much speaking while playing online, but I do a lot of speaking and listening on my PC thanks to the Kombo Breaker podcast.  This is where Sony's wireless Bluetooth headset failed me, as for whatever reason, my voice sounded like I was broadcasting from the early days of AM radio (listen to our first episode of Kombo Breaker for an example).  When the offer to try Able Planet's PS500MM headset came my way, I jumped on it if, for nothing else, to improve my Kombo Breaker experience.  After two weeks of using the PS500MM for both Burnout Paradise and Kombo Breaker, I've come away pleased with the performance, but also have a few criticisms.

The PS500MM (hereafter referred to as "the headset") is a decently lightweight wired unit that includes a microphone with an on/off mute switch.  Fairly standard stuff, really, and it fits comfortably on my head after a few days of using it enough to break it in and find the sweet spot.  It connects via standard 3.5mm headset and microphone jacks, but I relied on the included USB adapter to do plug the headset into the PC and PS3.  My Windows Vista PC recognized it right away and made the necessary system adjustments to use it without any further intervention from me and, after unplugging, automatically turned control of sound back over to my standard speakers.  The PS3 needed some work to get the headset going, as I had to go into the console's accessory settings and specify that I wanted to use this particular headset over my wireless Bluetooth one.  Moreover, the combined length of the headset's cords and USB adapter wire are just short enough that I'll need to add a USB extension cord to the setup in order to play comfortably.  The existing cord's length prevents me from sitting back in my recliner while playing, and instead I wound up perched on the edge of the cushion.  That's not the most comfortable way to play after a few minutes of sitting at rapt attention.

As far as sound quality goes, music and speech sound great on the headset's little speakers, but I was much more impressed with the microphone's abilities.  Listen to last week's episode of Kombo Breaker to hear what the headset's mic can do, then compare that to an episode from last month in which I recorded with a barebones Logitech wired USB desktop microphone.  I'm ready to retire the Logitech unit and rely on the headset mic after hearing the difference.  The PS500MM retails for $99.99 which, in my opinion, is steep for a headset, but check at various online retailers and I bet you can significantly beat that price.  It's a great headset and I'll use it often, so it's recommended, but shop around if you're looking to pick one up.