Author: Carl Poirier
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/tt_isurus/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
There are several types of headphones and one of these is the in-ear version, known as earphones or earbuds. They are small headphones inserted in the outer ear. The advantages of these is they are less heavy, more comfortable, easier to carry, often better looking and more depending on the usage. Those and other reasons explain their continued popularity and practicality.
There are also different types of ear-fitting headphones, the general two types being earbuds and in-ear monitors. The difference here is that the in-ear monitors, as hinted by their name, are actually inserted in the ear canal itself.
This article is about Thermaltake's Isurus headphones, part of the eSports collection designed for gamers. These in-ear monitors may be a compromise for game addicts that don't like big headphones, but are still looking for a quality and adaptable product.
|Frequency Response||20Hz - 20kHz|
|Sensitivity||106dB +/- 3dB|
|Extension||Microphone in and Speaker out adapter|
|Impedance||< 2.2k ohm|
100Hz – 10kHz
||-42dB +/-3 dB|
Specifications are courtesy of Thermaltake.
The package contains the Isurus headphones, a travel pouch as well as the instructions and warranty information.
The headset is comprised of the earbuds can be used with three sets of differently sized ear sleeves, and an extension with microphone outlet.
The Isurus features a 3.5mm TRRS connector that allows the earbuds and the microphone to be run off a single wire. The small adapter splits it into two jacks to allow the microphone to be used on both devices with the connector, and those that do not yet feature it. Plugging the TRRS connector into a standard earphone port should not actually cause any problems, but the microphone is not guaranteed to work in this case.
The in-line microphone is small, discrete and close to the mouth because of the wire's design (shorter on the left than the right). There is also a clip to adjust the position of the headset to the user's needs or preference.
The earbuds are ergonomically designed to maximize comfort. It also has electro-plated finishes and is offered in black, red or white.
Three ear sleeves in differing sizes are offered to allow the user to customize the fit of the earbuds. Finally, the Isurus comes with a small travel pouch with two small pockets to fit the adapter and sleeves.
The Thermaltake eSports Isurus headset will be put to the test with music, movies and gaming. Hardware used to test the headset include the ASUS Xonar Xense soundcard, onboard motherboard audio and an Apple iPhone.
Comfort and Practicality
Comfort wise, the Isurus headphones are made to fit ergonomically to the ear's form, but of course not all ears are equal. That said the curvy design should accommodates the majority of ear types; the Isurus proves more comfortable than cheaper earbuds and other in-ear monitors for most users, the exception of course being those who generally don't appreciate the “in-ear” type earbuds in the first place.
The sets of included for ear sleeves meanwhile give the user a degree of customization for fit. The size of the sleeves will make a difference when wearing the headphones for a long periods of time, during gaming for example.
As earbuds, the Isurus is very light and practical compared to the bigger headsets, potentially serving as a good compromise for gamers in the market for smaller solutions. The extension and wire are designed to hang from the user's left, which could be an inconvience should the user plan on connecting the headphones to a source to their right. The clip does allow the user to better position how the wire runs from the earbuds.
While listening to music and videos, the difference between the Isurus and other in-ear headphones is small outside of bass intensity; the Isurus responds well to low frequencies, which is not often the case with earbud designs. This gives the Isurus an advantage when listening to music in general and watching movies, particularly ones with lots of special effects, explosions, etc.
The Isurus in-ear monitors can be useful for gaming, if mostly for the purposes of immersion. They let the gamer isolate himself from his surroundings more than average earbuds because of the slight noise cancellation and enhanced bass. Contrary to most other headphones of this type, the Isurus does deliver more accurate spatial awareness for surround audio performance. Sources from left to right are easily distinguished, as expected from a stereo system, but with Dolby Surround they seem to highlight sounds from the front and rear as well. This aspect comes in handy when playing an FPS game, or simply to enjoy better immersion through the sound effects in any game.
The Isurus's microphone is quite small and is almost unnoticeable. The recording quality isn't really all that great but it gets the job done. It is important to keep the microphone as stable as possible and close to the mouth for best results.
To conclude, the Thermaltake eSports Isurus in-ear headset is good for most purposes. It delivers an appreciable sound quality and bass enhancement for music, videos and gaming applications considering the form factor. It isn't as effective as a full size headset but still provides impressive qualities for users with a preference (or a need) for earbuds. Furthermore, the design is customizable with a choice of ear sleeves. The Isurus is comfortable enough for long hours of gaming or listening to music and are also compatible with phones using a TRRS connector. Gamers wanting decent performance in a portable form-factor should be satisfied with the Isurus.
It's not perfect however, as the microphone suffers from low quality recording and the wire is really designed to be positioned to the left of users while the earbuds are worn. Still, these "flaws" are more less acceptable since the Isurus is limited by the fact that it is an earbud solution. The wire issue isn't always a problem, depending on which direction the user will need to run the earbuds in order to plug them into their machine or portable audio player.
The Thermaltake eSports Isurus costs around $45 depending on color; it's available in red, white and black. For what it offers, the Isurus is reasonably priced.
Please do not redistribute or use this article in whole, or in part, for commercial purposes.