Arctic Sound P531 Gaming Headset
Author: Jakob Barnard
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 11-21-2010
Provided by: Arctic Cooling
Testing and Conclusions

I tested the P531 heeadset for a solid week before writing up this review. I wanted to give the headset as much time as possible to test it out in a variety of circumstances and swap back and forth with my couple of other headsets.

The software was quick and easy to install. Once installed, every time I plugged the USB cable into the machine, it popped up in the system tray. With the in-line controls I didn't need to do much with it after the initial playing around, though there are plenty of options in the mixer and effects tabs. The below screenshots walk you through the different tabs. The instruction book goes through the options of each one.

First I have to talk about the surround sound with the subwoofer, 4 individual drivers in each earcup, and the integrated vibration units. Wow - this is a lot of fun. In games this headset shined. I tested it out in my three usual games: CoD4: Modern Warfare, Team Fortress 2, and Mass Effect 2. The directional sound and integrated vibration units really did seem to enhance the gaming experience. Side note, if jumping from music where you had the bass tweaked up right into a multiplayer battle, the booms may make you think the thing is going to rattle off your head. Oops.

The microphone seemed to perform as good as my old headset. Teammates didnít notice any difference when I swapped back and forth between the P531 and my old one. The length of the mic however did make it easier to use. It was easy to position for optimum reception without having to rest it anywhere on my face.

I did have two complaints though. The round design of the ear cups did bother me after a couple of hours sustained use. The roundness didnít feel all that natural to me and when comparing to my Bose QC2ís, the P531 was nowhere near as comfortable. However, since they are at least triple the cost, the Bose QC2ís darn well better be more comfortable.

The second complaint is the in-line controller on the USB cable. The controller itself worked great, but since my PC sits on my right side, and the cable attaches to the left earphone, I had it stretched either across my lap or on my desk. If I didnít want the volume controls on-hand, it was long enough to just route behind me and be out of the way. It wasnít that bad and comes with having a wired headset.

The two issues I noted have a lot to do with personal preference and one ultra-high-end comparison. So really when it gets down to it, the price point of around $67 for the quality of sound is a great deal. Both the cable and the discomfort with the shape were something that I eventually got used to after a few days of use, so neither keep me from giving the Arctic P531 the Gold Seal of Approval.

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