Review: Pulse Wireless Stereo Headset: Elite Edition

Product: Sony Pulse Wireless Stereo Headset: Elite Edition
Manufacturer: Sony
Original MSRP: $149.99

Audio Review:
The audio review for this product is available on Episode 287 of the podcast.

We reviewed the Sony Wireless Headset when it came out last year, and overall it was pretty good for the price. The build quality, and the fact that it looked like you had strapped two PS2′s on your head made it a bit unwieldy. They had a decent sound, but a slight lack of bass and overall pretty poor battery life. After getting mere minutes with this new headset at events though, I could already tell that a much better model was on the way to our homes.

Audio Quality:
If you want to compare the Pulse headset to the prior Sony offering, these are better in every way, and by a pretty good margin. Available volume is ample, and the Virtual 7.1 Surround, while NOT Dolby’s system, does a fantastic job at filling your ears with a wonderful audio landscape. The Virtual 7.1 mode can be turned-off however, and in full stereo, the audio still sounds great.

One issue that’s definitely been addressed is the overall quality of the audio produced, and after hours and hours of use, I can definitely say that nothing is lost here. High and Mid are distinct, and the amount of bass available can be immense if you so choose. Something that’s unique to this unit is the addition of what Sony calls ‘BassImpact’, and it’s something that changes the game in terms of immersion with gaming headphones. As I’ve tweeted, instead of simply having a solid amount of bass available with larger drivers, which they do, the Pulse (I think this is how they got their name) also includes something I can only describe as having a Rumble Pack on each ear.

In a technique that reminds me of what can be experienced on one of the motion-based rides at Disneyland, the headphones will actually pulse or rumble with the bass. In most instances, I love it, but it does require you to adjust the amount you get with different games. Battlefield 3, with the huge amount of explosions and other beefy sounds, can make these headphones really kick your butt. Like I said though, the effect is fully adjustable with a slider behind the right ear. The effect is tough to describe, but in most cases, it really did pull me into the action a bit more than expected.

Also available are specific preset modes, which include:
Game
Music
Movie
Shooter
Fighting
Driving

Each has a distinct theme, and even though the “Game” mode has a great mix, using the specific modes for each genre sounds really good in those games, except for Battlefield 3. Using the “Shooter” mode can really send almost too much bass to your ears, and switching back to the default seemed to balance things out much better. The nice thing is that there are plenty of options, including the ability to adjust the amount of bass and the balance between game and voice volume.

When using the included 3.5mm cable (standard headphone cable) to connect to my Vita and my phone. you don’t have to turn the power on unless you want to use the virtual 7.1 processor. When plugged-in this way, the microphone is unusable, as the mic only works when connected via the USB dongle. Again, the audio quality was excellent in every use that I could attempt. The Virtual 7.1 definitely worked better when playing games on the Vita, but I did also like the effect when using the “Music” mode from my phone (my default MP3 player.) The other fact that I really like here is that since the microphone is built-in to the chassis of the headset, you don’t look ‘weird’ when using them in non-gaming situations. These are definitely the headphones I’ll use on flights now, especially since they do an amazing job of blocking external sounds out.

Build Quality and Comfort:
The build quality is really first-class all around. They feel incredibly solid, and have some great flex, so they don’t feel liked you’d break them any time that you grab them. Once you learn where the controls are located, everything is laid-out well enough that you can reach all of the buttons and slider without having to take them off.

I performed a battery “stress test” by playing a sustained gaming session from full charge until the headset shut down automatically. With the virtual Surround effects active, the battery lasted 6 hours and 19 minutes. Not bad really in my opinion, and I’m pretty certain the battery would last even longer with the surround effects deactivated. Two warnings were given audibly, one at around 20 minutes from a full drain, and the other at around 3-5 minutes before it shut down.

In that 6+ hour session, the headphones never became uncomfortable, which is rare in my experience. I’d definitely say that they’re on par or even a bit better than my precious Turtle Beach P21′s, better because there’s not a hissing sound when the Surround Effects are active. Also, the Pulse headset definitely blocks more external noise than most others that I’ve used.

Setup with the USB dongle is incredibly easy, be it on a PS3, Mac, or WIndows PC. On all 3, simply pop the dongle into the USB port, then turn the headset on. In all 3 instances, the audio was automatically piped to the Pulse, and the microphone worked without making any tweaks. Looks like I’ve found my new headset for when I want to play Battlefield 3 on my PC.

Conclusion:
I really do love these headphones. At the $149.99 price point, you’re getting a lot of bang for the buck. The ability to plug them in to any device with a standard headphone jack adds an incredible amount of value, and with an amazing build quality, and an equally amazing audio quality, this can easily be a set that you’ll use for more than just your PS3.

We don’t normally assign scores to hardware, so instead I’ll simply say that the Pulse Wireless Headset is Highly Recommended. These exceeded every expectation, and I’ve enjoyed them any time that they were used. The only caveat is that you’ll definitely need to adjust the level of the “BassImpact” feature with some games. Other than that though, I can’t say that I can find fault with them at all.

Score:
9.5

**Well, except for one thing. Today, when I attempted to use the headphones, they seemingly lost connection to the USB dongle. Using the included instructions, I can’t get them to connect again. After talking to our representative at SCEA, it sounds like I’m the only one that has experienced this issue. I do personally feel that this is an isolated incident, but I needed to include this info nonetheless. I do still highly recommend this headset, but just know that this issue is a possibility**

“First Impressions” Video:

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Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Podcast Co-Host, Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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  • http://twitter.com/costillaman Rico Costilla

    I would link to this in the YouTube video since they’re asking for a full review in the comments.

    • http://psnation.org Glenn Percival

      Thanks for reminding me

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Bothe/100003643879706 Michael Bothe

    Great review and demonstration on this headset. Damnit i bought the Turtle Beach P11 for my PS3 which I am happy with . Not the best , but i am pleased til I can afford these.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/Stoffinator2008?gl=CA&hl=en Stoffinator

      I have the Turtlebeach myself, they are pretty good headset as well.

  • ps3

    remember if u loose the USB dongle sony DOSNT SELL replacements, loose it or break it u are out of luck, sony will not provide u a replacement, same with the original headset, they dont sell them so u loose on the money

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Stoffinator2008?gl=CA&hl=en Stoffinator

    So it sounds like the batteries last as long as the other headset. Pretty good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003253637101 David Wilson

    Quick question does the bassimpact work on vita?

    • http://psnation.org Glenn Percival

      Yes. You can use all of the features except for the microphone when connected with the cable.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    @PSNationTorgo:disqus I have a question for you – why are YouTube videos re-wrapped? I don’t know why, but I have specific scripts for controlling YouTube, such as how much bandwidth my computer allots to it.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    …for my big noggin…

    True that, I have a big head as well :)

  • http://twitter.com/Apocwhen Adam

    I’ve read the USB dongle now has an Audio In port in the form of a 3.5mm jack. Can you describe how this works?

    Would this let one connect the USB dongle to a TV for power, and then using a 3.5mm male to male wire from the TV to the USB dongle allow you to receive wireless audio from your TV?

    Thanks

    • http://www.facebook.com/rcastudios Ryan Amirault

      Yes, what you said is correct. So long as you have a USB plug close by you can connect any device with a male-male 3.5mm cord and the sound will be transmitted to the headphones wireless. It’s an amazing feature, exactly what I had been looking for! :)

  • SigX

    Heard from several reviewers that the microphone does work when connected via provided cord (for the iphone anyway). Just wondering if maybe you had muted the microphone accidentally or if you put the L connecter in the headphones instead of your devices.

  • http://www.vitaherbglobal.com/ VitaBase

    i bought the Turtle Beach P11 for my PS3 which I am so happy with . Not
    the best , but i am pleased til I can afford these. Plus I like the chat
    and game volume separated which makes me smile. I will say I like the
    no mic shown on them. That is so awesome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fz118 Fritz Lorens

    have a question, will it work with PC? and how do u charge it beside plug it in the ps3 system?

  • http://twitter.com/ImATaniwha Reuben Rupapere

    Is it at all possible to use the auxiliary input at the same time as having the game sounds come through? I know it’s kind of odd but I like to have my own personal playlist for when I play

  • http://www.vitaherbglobal.com/ VitaBase

    it at all possible to use the auxiliary input at the same time as having
    the game sounds come through? I know it’s kind of odd but I like to
    have my own personal playlist for when I play. I like the no mic shown on them. That is so awesome.

  • Jamies

    When the included audio cable is connected to the headset, the surround sound cannot be used

  • Cre-Ammon Ratima

    Did you ever get to re-sync your dongle with your Pulse headset or did they never work again. I think this has just happened to me as well. I don’t know why but I was playing BO2 then all of a sudden they just switched off. No warning chime or anything whatsoever. So please help or am I needing to speak with Sony for a full replacement?

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  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Stoffinator2008?gl=CA&hl=en Stoffinator

    You should add a update about the headsets manager available in the app section.

  • jackomaster

    hi can i use this headset while charging? is it normal or will it cause any problem/damage?