Sony Playstation Gold Wireless Headset Review: Surround so capable, it makes Microsoft look silly.
Sony is about to release a new headset called the Platinum Headset, so of course here I am finally reviewing the Gold Headset, which first came out a few years ago.
It’s $99 bucks. On Sony’s consoles, it provides wireless game audio and chat, and great virtual 7.1 surround sound. Its build and sound are both above-average for the price. I wish that Microsoft had something that matched it feature for feature on the Xbox One…but they don’t.
The Gold Wireless has two powered-on positions when operating wirelessly with a Sony console, marked “1” and “2.” By default, “2” is a bass boost mode, but you can load other custom sound modes into that spot using an app on the PS4.
I almost always use these in the bass boost mode. The default “1” setting is fine. But it’s bass-light, and a little unsatisfying. For game audio, I want punchy, big, expressive sound, and I find the bass boost mode vastly preferable.
The included Virtual Surround mode is wonderful. It’s processed without any noticeable increase in game audio latency. Games see this headset as a true 7.1 surround speaker system, as do movie-playing apps on the PS4. It doesn’t have the immediate “wow-factor” that DTS Headphone:X and Razer Surround do, but it does have a more natural feel. Both of those competing systems seem like they’re trying to place your head in a simulated room full of speakers. The Gold Wireless virtual surround simply places the sounds accurately around your head, without any kind of overdone reverb or room-simulation effects. It’s tasteful, accurate, and I always leave it on.
You can also run this headset in stereo mode, and it’s just fine. If you aren’t using the dongle with a PS4 or a PC, there’s also an included standard 3.5mm cable for running in wired mode. The wired sound is adequate, but nothing special. In my opinion this headset is at its best connected to a PS4, running with the bass boost on and the 7.1 surround on.
This is a surprisingly comfy headset, and it fits my large head well, with two extra clicks of adjustment to spare, so it should fit just about anyone. The headband padding in particular is nice and soft.
The ear pads have a strange design that’s worth noting. On most headphones, the pad is an individual component stretched around the cup. Sometimes it’s glued down (which is stupid), and other times it’s held on by little posts… but it’s always a separate piece. Here, the padding is built around a plastic ear cup. It’s attached directly to the cup, which is a large rigid structure that’s rubberized on the back. You can see part of the structure of the cup at the right side of the photo above.
You can’t remove or replace the padding at all since it’s integrated directly into the headphones like this, which is a bit of a bummer compared to other models at this price like the HyperX Cloud II. However, the ear cups still feel great against my head, and they’re plenty large inside. The drivers are angled too, and breaking the seal a little with my glasses doesn’t seem to hamper the bass too badly. I wonder if they’re using a bit of the on-ear/over-ear hybrid magic that powers the MDR-V6? It’s hard to say what the driver is like. Sony doesn’t publish as many intense specs about this headset as their other audio products, and I don’t want to rip it apart.
Lots of folks complain about the durability of the hinge/headband on these. I’ve had two that haven’t broken and that’s all I can speak to. The hinges are largely plastic, though there is some metal reinforcement in the headband. You can see the edge of it peeking out a little from the depths in the picture above.
Mic performance on these is average. It’s not a boom mic, so it has a tendency to pick up a little more room noise than competing models, but my friends can always hear me just fine. Aside from the dongle and cables for connection/charging, a bag is included. It’s a fine bag. It’s cloth, and kind of thin, but it works okay.
Just like the Dualshock 4, battery life here seems a little shorter than it should be. Sony advertises 8 hours, and I usually fall a little short of that. It’s not terrible, but hopefully the Platinum Headset has a bigger battery.
The 7.1 virtual surround is the star of the show here, along with solid wireless performance. Microsoft has their own headset on the market. They’ve also licensed the Xbox brand to headsets like the HyperX CloudX, which is a better value and a better-sounding model overall… but they have nothing that replicates the impressive surround sound of Sony’s headset. If you want surround headphone audio out of the Xbox One, you’ll have to pay a couple hundred bucks for an external third-party DAC that connects via optical cable. It’s a shame.
The Sony Wireless Gold Headset is a great value for PS4 gamers, and if you’re a PS4 gamer who wants a headset, chances are you already own one. I am mostly writing this review to kill time while waiting for the Arkham Asylum patch to download.
PSN downloads take forever. It’s nuts!
Picutre of my face wearing the thing!