Stereo Only –
Skullcandy’s original wired gaming headset, the SLYR, has been upgrade to the wireless PLYR2 model. While this new wireless model adds convenience by cutting the cord and is solidly constructed, serious gamers will probably look elsewhere because of the mere stereo-only sound.
The PLYR2 carries a nice presentation and comfortable fit. The unit actually comes in few different colors but overall features the same design. The headband is adjustable and locks firmly in place, the ear cups are much tighter and smaller than other models but are surprisingly comfortable, and overall presentation values are high. Even the Skullcandy logo is hidden inside the ear cups themselves.
Everything that is needed to connect this headset to an Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, or PC is bundled with the unit. The wireless receiver, which looks like a hockey puck, has three connections: USB, PWR, and standard 3.5mm Audio Input. Herein is the first problem – no HDMI and no Optical Input options. When connecting this unit to your favorite game console, the only option available is to use the included bypass stereo audio jacks. This can prove highly problematic if your PS3 or 360 is connected with an HDMI cable. Unless your HDTV has an option to use both HDMI and composite cables at the same time, the only way to use this headset will be to downgrade to composite or component cables; kiss your high definition visuals goodbye.
Although this headset is decent, it is still only stereo. The point is, serious gamers are probably going to skip this unit altogether because there is no surround sound. Sure, this unit costs about $130, but for a little more money a quality wireless surround sound unit can be purchased. And any surround sound unit provides an exponentially better gaming experience than ordinary stereo. This is why there is no option for optical or HDMI inputs on this PLYR2 model. Skullcandy boasts three different EQ settings in this model but the Precision mode is a little too similar to the Supreme mode, just like in the original SLYR unit. So really there are only two different sound options.
But this is a quality stereo headset. First, connecting this unit is simple enough provided you are using component or composite connections. The wireless receiver also has a sleek presentation as the Skullcandy logo lights up and ultimately acts as the on/off switch. The mic is also highly adjustable, more adjustable than most mics as the user can bend it in almost any direction as well as tuck it away in the up position (which also mutes it). However, I do have one minor complaint about the mic itself – there is this small extended plastic piece that anchors the opposite end. It just seems like a needless nub that could potentially get in the way and looks a little strange. Mic sound quality is really no better or worse than say the typical Xbox Live basic headset either.
This unit is powered by a lithium ion battery and gets several hours of use on a single charge; the unit is powered by the included USB cable. However, the included USB cable is very short making it nearly impossible to charge and play at the same time. There is also a helpful audio signal when the battery starts to run low indicating that a recharge will soon be needed.
The PLYR2 is also easily controllable in terms of sound and game to voice balance. There is actually a mini analog stick found on an ear cup – pushing it any of the four main directions will either increase or decrease the volume or change the ratio of game volume to voice chat volume. It is very easy to use especially considering that the user has to operate it without looking it. And the 2.4GHz frequency allows the user to travel a good distance away before the signal starts to break up.
While all necessary cables come with the unit including the Xbox Live cable used to connect the headset to the controller, there is one glaring omission – there is no safe way to store the unit. Other units, like the Astro A50’s included headset stand, not only gives the unit higher presentation values, it also provides an easy and safe way to house the unit when not in use. Adding a stand could have increased the price of this headset, but it would have been money well spent knowing that the investment is better protected and emits a much higher professional presentation. Without a stand, users will be more inclined to just leave it on a chair to be accidentally sat on or where the dog can get to it.
This unit is marketed toward hardcore gamers although this is not a hardcore headset but still carries a hardcore price. The stereo-only options are very limited and simply do not stand up against other surround sound units that are on the market. If you are looking for a stereo headset, the PLYR2 is a quality unit. But serious gamers are going to demand more.
– Decent sound quality
– 3 different audio options: bass mode, supreme mode, precision mode
– Very articulate mic
– Comfortable design with an overall impressive presentation
– Easy to use ear cup analog stick audio controls
– Works with 360, PS3, Wii, and PC
– Only composite connection, no HDMI or Optical inputs
– Does not come with a stand or travel case
– Unless your TV can support HDMI with Composite input, you will have to downgrade your visuals to use this unit
– Asking price is a little on the higher side
– Mic has a useless extended nub on the opposite end
– Doesn’t believe in using vowels
Not As Good As: Astro A50
On Par With: SkullCandy’s Wired SLYR Unit
Wait For It: SkullCandy’s upcoming wireless gaming surround sound unit