Game On! The Best New Audio Tech Gear for Gamers
Here’s a mix of speakers, all-in-ones, and
headphones that look (and sound) great right
next to your console or PC gaming system.
JBL Authentics L8 Wireless Speaker
You’ve got us: these aren’t gaming headphones. But when we looked for a two-way speaker that would work just as well hooked up to an XBox One or PS4 as it would to an iPod, we didn’t have to look much further than the L8.
The L8’s form factor is minimalist, functional, and imposing; smooth edges, a gloss black finish, sleek silver control dials, and a removable foam grill complete the look. At over seven kg, it’s designed to be placed in a permanent spot rather than be carted around at will.
Getting audio to the L8 is a breeze: it supports AirPlay, DLNA, Bluetooth, and NFC as well as aux and optical audio inputs. Two USB ports in a top-side enclosure allow you to stow and charge your devices, and there’s support for a Qi charging pad as well (sold separately).
The sound is a revelation: with 120 watts emanating from two speakers and on-board DSP, it’s huge. Thumping bass, clear midrange, and crisp treble make for one heck of a listening experience with a ton of power: the system has 40 steps of volume, and 30+ provided for club-like levels of room-filling sound.
The free JBL (iOS and Android) MusicFlow app allows you to customize your sound: the L8 is one of the first Harman products to feature Signal Doctor, which “restores the details lost in today’s compressed music files.” Enabling it did clean up the audio, and there are a bunch of other equalizer settings available as well.
Rs. 54,990; harmanaudio.in
NAD VISO HP50 Headphones
We get it: some of you aren’t all that hardcore about your gaming, and best describe yourselves as weekend warriors. For you, a dual-use headphone will hit the sweet spot.
The HP50 over-ear headphones are lightÂweight, but durable, with a decidedly premium build quality, and feature 40mm drivers, a microphone, three-button iOS-compatible multi-click remote, and a detachable flat cord. The ear cups pivot to allow the headphones to fold down for transport, and available colors include black, white, and red.
The headphones are noise isolating and come with NAD’s RoomFeel audio technology, which aim to “add back to the recording without altering the audio signal.” The result is warm, soundstage-inspired, rich sound. There’s a reason the headphones have won a ton of awards already: it’s not often that an audiophile-grade product offers such outstanding value.
Rs. 22,500; la-kozy.in
ROCCAT Kave 5.1 Headphones
“Imagine your advantage within the heat of the battle when you exactly hear where your opponents are before you can actually see them,” ask gaming specialists Roccat. Well, with these headphones, you won’t just be able to hear your enemies”“you’ll be able to feel them as well.
That’s because the headset features a vibration unit, in addition to 40 mm speakers that deliver your game’s audio in 5.1 surround sound-enabled glory. It’s designed to be worn for extended periods of time with extremely customÂizable fit settings, and every channel on the output is adjustable via a desktop controller. Since gamers accidentally disclosing information over the built-in microphone is an issue for those in the know, an LED light confirms whether mute is enabled or you need to clam up and let your mouse do the talking, rather, shooting.
While the Kave 5.1 is a great buy for gamers looking for value, it doesn’t reproduce other audio as well. They’ll work for music-listening in a pinch, but aren’t a real dual-use option.
Approx Rs. 7,500; roccat.org
FiiO E18 Kunlun
This one’s quite a clever device: it’s a USB Digital Audio Controller and Amplifier specifically built for smartphones. And why would you need one? Because iOS and Android gaming is no joke, and deserves good audio as well.
Supplied cables get the sound from your device to the DAC, and your headÂphones plug right in. What you get for the exercise is rich, boosted sound that makes you wonder how you ever listened to music or played Asphalt 8 on your iPhone without it.
An included 3500 mAh battery pack keeps your device going if it’s out of juice ”” a rather nice touch that sets this one apart from other amps in the category. If you’re the type to do most of your TV watching on your laptop, the USB input will let you boost the audio to far more pleasing levels.
Approx Rs. 10,900; proaudiohome.com
Sennheiser PC 363D
If you’re serious about your gaming, you probably want the Cadillac of gaming headphones. Look no further: the rather terribly-named PC 363D features everything Sennheiser knows about headphones, as well as all the bells and whistles gaming audio demands.
The headset comes with 7.1 surround sound. Built to “blur the line between extreme comfort and out-and-out luxury,” this one features laser-cut swivelable ear cups (to “prevent sweat buildup”), a deep directional audio experience and DolbyÂ® sound processing technology.
The 7.1 surround sound tells you exactly where the bad guys ”” be they trigger-happy jihadis or bikini-clad flesh-eating zombie cheerleaders ”” are hiding, while a best-in-class microphone mutes automatically when it’s flicked away from your mouth. At over 25k, it isn’t at all cheap, but it’s clearly aimed at the serious PC gamer who is already likely to have spent several times that amount on the rest of his kit.
Rs. 26,990; shop.sennheiserindia.com
Just because you’re on the go a lot doesn’t mean you have to settle for a sub-par smartphone or portable gaming experience. What you’d need is a rugged, multi-functional speaker with great audio and several connectivity options.
That’s where the Harman Esquire steps up to the plate. True to its name, this is one elegant, refined speaker. Primarily positioned as a portable high-end Bluetooth and NFC speaker, it suits our gaming purposes just fine. Beyond that, this is one heck of a good looking speaker. It charges via mini-USB, and in a particularly nice touch we’d like to see on more devices out there, the charger has three USB slots built in: one for the Esquire, and two more for whatever else you’d like to simultaneously charge.
But what about the sound? For a speaker this size, it’s huge. We were surprised by both qualities of great voice reproduction and low distortion even when the volume is almost maxed out; a two-way speaker system with built-in bass port helps the Esquire punch well above its weight. Clear, crisp highs and bright mid-range clarity coupled with extra-low bass frequencies give the Esquire a rather balanced soundstage ”“ quite a rarity for a device this size. Dual microphones mean it can also function as a portable conference phone system, and you can place it horizontally or vertically depending on how your group is positioned.
So how does all this help you getting your gaming-on-the-go on? Bluetooth, NFC or an aux cable will get your audio to the device, and a full charge gives you 10 hours of juice. Whether it’s racing, simulation, or a shoot-em-up, get ready to take that experience to a whole new level.
Rs. 19,990; harman.in