Creative Sound Blaster Tactic360 Sigma

Creative Sound Blaster Tactic360 Sigma

Feature

For most of its history, Sound Blaster headsets have been loyal to PCs, but the new Tactic360 Sigma changes that by bringing the classic to the Xbox 360. Marketed with such fancy features as separate volume controls for game audio and incoming chat connections, as well as 50mm speakers, we simply had to try them out.

Sound Blaster for console gamers


For most of its history, Sound Blaster headsets have been loyal to PCs, but the new Tactic360 Sigma changes that by bringing the classic to the Xbox 360. Marketed with such fancy features as separate volume controls for game audio and incoming chat connections, as well as 50mm speakers, we simply had to try them out.

Design and Features


It seems that the age of silly colourful LEDs is not going anywhere, at least when gaming paraphernalia is concerned. Although less gaudy than some, the earpieces of Tactic360 Sigma are yet again adorned by these useless lights. But perhaps they are a safety feature meant to stop gamers from hitting their heads together during LAN parties and since I don't attend those events, I'm simply clueless about this necessary feature?

The earpiece design of the headset is circumaural, but they do not do much to muffle outside sounds. We found this rather surprising, as this is usually the aim when designing circumaural earcups. The cushions are soft and very comfortable even with glasses and are covered with faux leather. Overall, the headset sits very solidly in place, but does not squeeze one's head or ears uncomfortably (and with a size 62 head, this is something). The faux leather could be a bad choice on a hot summer day, however.

The build quality of the headset is better than some other Creative headsets we have seen. The headband extends to show a steel core that should be more durable than the mere plastic core some headsets profess. When extended and manipulated to fit one's head, the headband did not give any warning signs or sounds of imminent breakage. Still, it is made of plastic and does not convince us as well as some other headsets have done.

Creative Sound Blaster Tactic360 Sigma
A so-called inline stereo amplifier attached to the headset with regular 3.5mm audio plugs hosts the above-mentioned separate volume controls for audio and chat. Without the amplifier, you can thus use the headset with pretty much any sound device, but the amplifier's USB plug is only usable with Xbox360. If you want to use the headset's full capabilities with a PC, you will have to buy the Tactic 3D Sigma model, which is pretty much the same headset, but with an amplifier compatible with Windows. One wonders how much more it could have cost to just have all the connectors in the same package.

The microphone is detachable, but does not rotate out of the way. You'll have to yank it out whenever you aren't using it to avoid the discomfort of having it around, with the added risk of losing it.

The main specs are as follows:

Headphones
Driver Units: 50mm Neodymium Magnet
Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
Impedance: 32 ohms

Microphone
Microphone Type: Noise-Cancelling Condenser
Frequency Response: 100Hz ~ 18kHz
Impedance: <2.2kohms
Sensitivity@ 1kHz: -41 dBV/Pa

Gaming use


We tested the Creative Sound Blaster Tactic360 Sigma headset with both PC and X360 games. On PC, you have to use the usual audio plug to connect the headset to the machine (there's a separate model of the Tactic Sigma for PC that uses USB connector instead), so the end result is that you get pretty nice sound with a very comfortable headset – not a bad combination, but you do miss the amplifier capabilities of the USB model. For the Xbox360, you get all the goods that this model has to offer. Once you have puzzled through the plethora of connectors and wires and followed the instructions on how to successfully connect the headset to your console, you will still have to separately download the THX software needed to actually use them – so you will definitely need an internet connection when you first use the set.

Insofar as sound quality with Xbox360 is concerned, the Tactic360 Sigma does not disappoint – at least if you consider the price of the headset. The THX simulates a 3D environment pretty decently, if not as well as dedicated high-end sets can achieve, and the bass is dynamic. Also the mid-range sounds are good, but the high end of the spectrum may be slightly muffled. You can improve the sound by creating separate equalizer profiles for the games that you play.

The microphone sound is very good and the THX software allows you to even adjust your voice with pitch and tone modifiers. This may be a good thing for those young teens who try to make themselves sound more grown-up than they are, or any robot-wannabes who happen to play Xbox360 games, but personally I did not really see the point.

Ratings


We’ve rated the Creative Sound Blaster Tactic360 Sigma in a variety of categories on a scale of 1 to 10.

Looks: 8.0/10
Design and Build Quality: 7.0/10
Comfort: 9.0/10
Sound Quality: 8.0/10
Portability: 5.0/10

Our score: 7.8/10

For the price point, the headset is a pretty fine product. Really, you cannot get much better for the console – that we know of – unless you are willing to pay a lot more for it. The small downsides are the faux leather, plethora of wires and connectors and the detachable microphone that might easily be lost. Good points are the price, comfort and sound quality. The best quality of the headset is definitely the excellent comfort even when worn with glasses. Overall, the headset is definitely worth checking out if you are comfortable with the price point.