Hardware Reviews
Hardware Review: OTTO Digital Gaming Headset

JR Sutich | 22 Oct 2007 22:10
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The OTTO Digital Gaming Headset (Model OT-8) arrived at our offices last month and I have been using it almost exclusively when playing online games since then. At first I didn't think I was going to like it, but now I prefer to game with them on.

When I first started wearing the headset, my left ear started hurting after about 90 minutes. This wasn't any ordinary mild discomfort, it felt like I was being tagged by a wildlife team to track the movements of online gaming herds. When I read the press release that came with the product it said "the ear pads are specially designed to ensure hours of comfortable game play". I was ready to call that line pretty untrue until I had an epiphany of perspective. The ear pads were designed for hours of play, but my ears weren't. Well, that just makes everything different now, doesn't it?

After a few more days of long gaming sessions of up to 8 hours, my ears adjusted and part of that was the design of the ear pads. They are indeed comfortable and now, a few weeks later, I don't feel any discomfort at all. I'm sure you're saying that's all well and good but even comfortable headphones need to sound good or who's going to enjoy them anyway? There's nothing to worry about in that department at all.

The OTTO Digital Gaming Headset (Model OT-8) sounds great. It didn't matter if I was playing World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Online, City of Heroes, Tabula Rasa, or a super secret MMO beta that I can't name. The headset delivered great sound and this was in no small part to the Digital Sound Retrieval System or SRS. The SRS is a 3D surround sound component that makes this product shine. Whether I was in an outdoor environment or inside a dungeon, if I closed my eyes, it felt as if the noise was coming from somewhere in the room with me. If you are using the headset for listening to music or watching video, I would recommend turning off the SRS system of things don't sound quite right. The SRS does have its own adjustable level, so you could even experiment with that to find a setting that does work for you.

Voice communications are becoming a vital part of online gaming, and Headset (Model OT-8) includes a fantastic, adjustable boom microphone. It didn't matter if I was using Ventrillo, Teamspeak, or the in game voice system. Everyone I grouped with had no trouble understanding me at all, and there were no reports of background noise or static. I want to thank Delmar from our Lord of the Rings Online site for joining several different games with me for our in office test.

The headset took all of 1.5 seconds to install. Plug it into an open USB port and you're done. It will show up as another sound device and conveniently has a volume control on the left earphone that controls your system's master volume. Located on the right earphone are the SRS on/off switch as well as the SRS level control. The headset is adjustable for heads that range in size from peanut to pumpkin, and padded so you don't get that "headset trench" on the top of your melon. If I had to change one thing, I would make the headphones themselves around-the-ear rather than just on-the-ear.

I highly recommend getting the OTTO Digital Gaming Headset (Model OT-8) if you are in the market for a well constructed, great performing piece of gaming gear. If you're not in the market, let the dog chew on your current headset. Reasonably priced at 49.95 USD, you can find out more info including where to buy your own Model OT-8 at www.hearotto.com.

Pros and Cons

  • SRS system sounds phenomenal
  • Design: Not around-the-ear
  • Easy to use USB device
  • Cord could be longer
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