When I first heard about the Psyko Audio Labs 5.1 headset I have to admit it seemed more like a gimmick than an innovation. After all, if true surround sound could be integrated into a headset in this way why hadn't anyone else done it yet? To my knowledge they are the only ones to place the headset speakers anywhere else but in the ear cups, so the design is very unique. The WaveGuides do their job, offering a distinct positional effect for each of the five surround channels, although at factory settings more of the highs seem to come through than the mids. This is correctable by using an equalization effect. The low bass frequencies are adjustable, but are a bit difficult to tune just right. Too low and they disappear altogether, too high and they start to distort.
The build quality of the Psyko headset is good, the cables have a rugged feel that can stand up to repeated plugging/unplugging, the amplifier control knobs are solid, the microphone plugs firmly into place and stays put and the ear cups easily adjust up or down. Although the headset uses plenty of padding on both the ear cups and the headband, you'll notice how heavy they are as soon as you put them on your head. While they do a good job of distributing that weight so that there are no uncomfortable pressure points, you may still find them cumbersome to use for extended periods.
I did notice that the red color had been rubbed off in two spots on the arms of the headset where the WaveGuide tubes join together. This is visible in one of the side view photos earlier in the review. I suspect this may have occurred in shipping. The clear plastic of the ear cups and headband had been protected with a peel-off sheet, perhaps Psyko should consider covering the rest of the headset as well.
When it came time to look up the price of the Psyko 5.1 headset I was floored, some online retailers were listing these at up to $299. I checked pricing on some other high-end audio headgear, and while a rare few were priced similarly (think Bose or Sennheiser) nearly everything comparable, and certainly everything we've reviewed previously, costs much less. Now with some bargain shopping I was able to find the Psyko 5.1 headset much cheaper, as low as $169 in some places, however that is still on the pricey end of the scale compared to many other gaming headsets.
OCIA.net awards the Psyko Audio Labs 5.1 gaming headset our Silver Seal of Approval.