Logitech G930 and Gamecom 780 Dual Review and Comparison

This is a review/comparison of both the Logitech G930 and the Plantronics GameCom 780.  I’d like to start this off by saying that I’m not an audiophile. I’m a gamer. Take what I say as personal opinion on the products offered and not the be-all-end-all discussion of audio fidelity. I’m also keenly aware that I’m reviewing a wireless set against a wired set. I will not let that impact my decision.

First up we have the Plantronics GameCom 780 Surround Sound Stereo PC Gaming Headset, $57.24 At Amazon (Local expect to pay about 79.99)

 

The highlights, from Plantronics:

The Plantronics GameCom 780 USB headset with Dolby® technologies transforms standard audio into a stunning 7.1 surround sound experience. The noise-canceling mic kills background noise so your commands are loud and clear. When you need to take a break, built-in spin joints let the earpods lay flat for easy storage. Need to adjust volume? No problem. The controls are right on the earpods so you’ll always have eyes on. The GameCom 780 is built to last with superhero-strength cords and joints; ultra-comfortable ear cushions and headband let you stay in the game for as long as it takes.

  • Dolby® Headphone and Pro Logic® IIx technologies transform standard audio into a stunning 7.1 surround sound experience
  • 40mm speakers pound out deep bass and immersive stereo sound
  • Built-in spin-joints let the earpods lay flat for easy storage when you need to take a break
  • Noise-canceling mic kills background noise so your team or opponents can clearly hear your commands
  • Easy-to-reach on-ear volume and mute buttons let you adjust the sound and still keep a hand on the controls
  • Superhero-strength cords and joints mean this USB headset will be around for all your battles
  • Ultra-comfortable ear cushions and headband make the GameCom 780 perfect for gaming, and great for watching videos, listening to music, and making PC voice calls.

  

Construction:

The Plantronics Gamecom 780’s feel very sturdy. No rattling or anything when shaken, quite solid in all honesty. The cord I’m not a huge fan of and would have preferred something braided, but there are no real problems with the one provided. Will go well with anyone trying to pull off a black and red color scheme for sure. The ear cups are kind of square with a suede or velvet texture. I’d feel pretty confident accidently dropping these at a LAN and having them turn out A-Okay, though I didn’t perform any sort of drop test!

Adjust-ability and Comfort:

The whole set adjusts easily for my gigantic noggin, so it’ll definitely fit yours.  The ears are a bit small (or maybe mine are huge) and this causes the cups to sit on my ear lobes and upper cartilage (more the lobes then the tops, but pressure on both for sure), and after extended periods causes my ears to get incredibly hot and generally uncomfortable.  The mic adjusts to go pretty much where-ever you need it, so no problems there.  The headband was quite comfortable and I’m not sure if it’s because my ears were taking so much of the weight or what, but they felt very light on the top of my head even though I certainly never felt like they were going to slip off.

Installation and Software:

Installation was easy enough, downloaded the latest driver (release 2) from the gamecom/plantronics website and ran the installer. It asked to reboot and I’m on my way. A sticker attached to the headphones said to install the software before plugging them in, so that’s what I did.
Once the software was installed I plugged them into one of my front USB ports. I had to go into the Windows sound settings to set them to 7.1, they defaulted to 5.1.

The software has different settings for Music/Movies and Games, and an option to enable or disable Dolby.  Very very minimal software.  Some may like the simplicity offered, some may want more.

 

Noise Cancellation:

Once on and adjusted there isn’t as much noise cancellation as I’d hoped. I have 11 high RPM NZXT fans in my PC (Sits on my desk) and a mechanical keyboard and can still hear it all with the Plantronics Gamecom 780’s. I can turn on my iPhone 4 and hear it playing a song on speaker down to about 1/5th volume perfectly fine, not much noise blocking at all. If my wife were in the same room I could easily carry a conversation with her with these on (and no sound playing, mind you)- I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s good or bad 🙂

Controls:

The controls are set up as switches, even the volume.  I have a set of Bluetooth workout headphones that have the same sort of mechanic so I was used to it, and one thing is for certain- it isn’t quick.  If you want to quickly change volume, it’s not going to happen.  You’ll have to find the switch and flick it up or down several times to your desired level (You’ll hear a tone in the headphones to indicate that you’ve gone up or down).  The mute for the mic is the same way.  Effective, but not fast.

 

 

Sounds Tests:

Movie Test:

My first test is enabling Dolby and Movie Mode and then loading up Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The sound is… fine. I can’t come up with the right words to describe it. The bass isn’t particularly booming or anything and the even switching to 7.1 didn’t quite blow my mind. In the first few minutes of Mission Impossible there’s a scene where Tom Cruise is throwing a rock that bounces off of several walls and it didn’t quite excite me as much as I’d hoped I guess.  I was expecting clear separation and noticing the rock move around my head, and I didn’t quite get that.  There was some separation there to be sure but it wasn’t special.  Explosions and the car chase/sand storm scene were more of the same, just alright.

 Diablo 3:

Next up I loaded up Diablo 3, went to Options, Sound, and set channels to High (128) and Speaker Setup to 7.1 (I’ll also tried Pro Logic)
I did a typical Act 1 Inferno Farming run for about 35 minutes. The bass was decent, the highs were a little too high in my opinion (I ended up turning the master volume down specifically because of this actually) but I did really feel immersed. I was definitely noticing a lot more sound then I had previously with my 8 year old 2.1 set up.
I switched over to prologic and did the same run, much much better. No sound particularlly stood out as being too loud or too much, but the separation of left and right was very noticeable and quite enjoyable. I could close my eyes and tell where my companion was at, and that was pretty neat. Oddly enough turning it back down to 32 channels and putting it on 7.1 did create an enjoyable experience but I still felt it was lacking.

Battlefield 3:

Next up I loaded Battlefield 3, set the audio to War Tapes (only way to play!) and went on to play a few missions. Wow, the quality is so insanely better then my old 2.1 speaker set up. There really is no comparison at all. It didn’t have the issue of the highs being too high like in Diablo 3, and the gun sounds were oh-so-sweet.  No complaints here, the sound quality was great all around.

Music:

Next up I switched over to Music Mode, and listened to some Lossless quality The Glitch Mob. Without them being equalized it just sounded kinda muddy compared to what I’m used to (I use Sennheiser 280 Pro’s at work to listen to music). Turning on the equalizer and messing around a little bit really did bring out a lot of life in them. Probably wouldn’t use them to mix audio but totally passes the “as a person who isn’t an audiophile and isn’t a professional musician, could I stand listening to music through these for more then a few hours” test.

Microphone:

Next I wanted to try out my Mic. Unfortunately no one was available on Skype at the time so I had to improvise some tests- Using windows recorder with my iPhone playing a song at full blast less then 18 inches away.
Pretty darned impressed actually. The sound quality is top notch for a headphone mic and the noise canceling is quite good. You can certainly make out what song is playing on my iPhone but it’s not that bad!  I’d honestly rank this as the best voice isolating mic I’ve ever used or heard used during raids or Tribes matches.

GameCom_780-noise

Now through all this I have to say 2 things- I could hear my dog walking throughout the house. Noise canceling is not something that these headphones do well.
The second thing is that my ears were hot, sweaty and just not comfortable at the end of this review. I was initially going to use these for several days before passing judgement but I don’t think I can put up with them for that long. Maybe it’s my huge noggin, or maybe I have big ears or something but the cups were just not a good match for me. I’m going to ask my wife to try them out and see what she thinks without tainting her expectations at all.

Would I recommend these to a gamer?

Yes, but only if you have a decent return policy in case the fit isn’t ideal. They’re extremely well built, the software is easy enough, and they honestly sound pretty great in games if you’re willing to fiddle with some things.

Would I recommend these to a musician or hardcore audiophile?

I couldn’t in good conscious recommend these to anyone using them for anything but gaming primarily.  If you happen to listen to music for a few hours, sure they’ll do, but so will your laptop speakers.  Definitely not something I’d want to to watch a movie with, either.

Next up is the Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 with 7.1 Surround Sound ($110 at Amazon, expect to pay $150 local though I did see them on sale as low as $99 recently!)

FOR THIS REVIEW AND COMPARISON I LEFT EVERYTHING PLUGGED IN THE ENTIRE TIME AND DID NOT GO WIRELESS.

 

 

First, from the the Logitech website:

This headset delivers a fast wireless connection so you can level up without being tied down. Add 7.1 surround sound, three programmable G-keys and a comfortable, adjustable fit and you’ve got everything you need to win.

  • 7.1 surround sound
    • Advanced Dolby® technology delivers a detailed soundfield that lets you hear your enemies before they see you.
  • Adjustable, memory foam-lined headband
    • Creates a personalized fit to fend off fatigue.
  • Laser-tuned drivers
    • We analyze each acoustic element—magnet, coil and diaphragm—to optimize the drivers and pinpoint unwanted distortion, so you hear only rich, clear audio.
  • Plush, noise-isolating ear pads
    • Ease pressure points and seal out unwanted noise.
  • Three programmable G-keys
    • You’ve got one-touch command over music, voice morphing, chat clients and more.
  • Noise-canceling mic with auto-mute
    • The microphone reduces annoying background noise for clear, intelligible voice commands, and automatically mutes when you rotate it up and out of the way.
  • Microphone mute light
    • The microphone tip glows red when muted.
  • On-ear audio controls
    • Adjust volume and microphone mute on the fly—don’t fumble for controls in the heat of battle.
  • Adjustable audio settings
    • Tweak surround sound settings and equalizer levels using the included software.
  • Real-time voice morphing
    • You can select from six voices— troll, mutant, alien, giant, cyborg and space squirrel.

That’s a mouthful, anyway:

   

Construction:

Construction wise the headset is mostly plastic, and while it doesn’t feel cheap, I wouldn’t feel confident using it as a blunt weapon. The surrounds of the ear cups are leather/pleather and quite soft and comfortable. The same material is on the headband. The weight is noticeably a little heavier on the head then the 780’s, though I don’t know if there’s an actual weight difference- more a testament to the excellent headband on the 780’s I’d imagine.

Also, the charging station is pretty nifty. It’s round and has a place where you wrap both sides of the cord (the part that goes to the PC and the part that goes to the Headphone set) around it for storage and keeping cables tidy. Very neat. In the center of this is an adapter for your wireless dongle.

Adjustability and Comfort:

My ears fit fully inside the cups on the Logutech G930’s and even after prolonged use I didn’t feel ear-fatigue (is that a thing?), the headband was comfortable and there was very little slipping when shaking my head, never to the degree that I thought I’d drop them off of my head.  I could, have, and will wear the G930’s for hours without complaint.

Installation and Software:

Installation software wise was the same as any other and just as easy as the Gamecom. Once you get into the software though it’s another story-Inside the software you have settings for each of the G-Keys (anyone familiar with Logitech hardware knows what these are), and it automatically finds the games that you have installed and sets up profiles for them. In the software you can also change your voice to be an alien or whatever, mess with the default equalizer settings, and make sure that your surround sound is working correctly, or adjust it if you prefer one speaker direction to be louder then the others.

Very nice and polished software with quite the handful of options to mess around with, maybe a little cluttered for some but it’s plenty intuitive.

 

Noise Cancellation:

With the headphones on it made a noticeable dent in the room-noise, though they were incapable of completely silencing my computers fans.
With the same iPhone test that I did for the Gamecom 780, I was able to hear my iPhone playing music down to about a third volume, so a bit more noise cancellation then the 780’s.  I got a phone call while listening to music and if it wasn’t for the phone causing my desk to vibrate, I would have missed it.

Controls:

I found the controls of the Logitech G930’s to be phenomenal.  Muting the mic can be done with out thinking about it and in one swift motion- theres a red light on the boom that lets you know when you’re muted as well which was a very nice touch. I’m very much a fan of the wheel-style volume control.  It allows for very quick adjustment and a bit of fine tuning as well.  Adjusting the volume for different situations was easy and quick.   I didn’t program the 3 G-Keys, and I’m not 100% sure what you’d use them for on your headphones, but they’re there, and easily accesible- It’s pretty difficult to hit the wrong one, but a tiny nub on the second one would have gone a long way into making it that much better. You can also mute by moving the boom back into it’s normal resting place, though I found that to be slower then hitting the button.  Perhaps useful if you’re going AFK.

 

Sound Tests:

Movie:

Watching the same scene from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was an out-right no contest between the G930 and the Gamescom 780. I could hear the stone bounce around the room very clearly and could see myself using these specifically to watch movies at my PC when the wife is asleep because of it. Very good quality here. Bass was great but not over bearing during some of the more intense action scenes as well.

Diablo 3:

Loaded up Diablo 3 and did another Inferno Act 1 run, switching half way between 7.1 and Prologic. Both were absolutely fantastic with crisp sounds, good separation and ear tickling bass, not a single complaint. I found that the volume control on the side of the left ear piece was very quick for when I wanted to turn up or down what was going on. Extremely quick, easy to find. Very nice, Logitech! I can honestly say I haven’t had a better audio experience in Diablo 3 then the Logitech G930’s.

Battlefield 3:

in a Team DM match and proceeded to have a heck of a match. Performance wise I was doing better, and I can’t help but thing the sound was helping. It’s hard to quantify obviously, but I found myself looking and finding enemies after hearing things a bit more then usual. Certainly better then my lousy speakers!

Music:

Listening to the same music, I actually had to use the EQ to turn down the bass a little otherwise it was a little rattly. Even without the EQ the sound quality was really good, nearly on par with my 280 Pro’s. I’m honestly going to have to do a comparison with them at some point to see which one is better here. Quite remarkable for a gaming headset.

Microphone:

There is a light on the microphone boom letting you know whether or not you’re muted, which I found quite handy when troubleshooting why I didn’t get any sound during my mic test (my fault, not Logitechs!).
The mic is more sensitive then the 780, and and while it lacks the incredible isolation that the 780’s have, it’s still way better then simply using a boom mic or some other option. The quality of the audio I would say is about the same as the gamescom however.

GameCom_780-noise

Logitech_G930 – noise

Would I recommend these to a gamer?

Would I recommend these to a gamer?

In a heart beat. I didn’t even get into the fact that they’re wireless.

Would I recommend these to a musician or hardcore audiophile?

You know what? If you’re the type of person who collects headphones and knows the difference between ATH-AD700’s and A700’s or actually even knows what Behrdynamics is and you happen to play games or are looking for a wireless headset, I would seriously give these a shot- no joke.  They’re not going to deliver the same quality as your studio phones hooked up through your DAC and headphone amp, but they’ll deliver crisp sounds with great bass, a great mic and no wires.

 

Overview:

Plantronics GameCom 780 Surround Sound Stereo PC Gaming Headset

  • Comfort
    • 2/5 –  Could not give them more then this.  If you have small ears, maybe.
  • Sound Quality
    • 3/5 – For games they’re great, if a little on the High side sometimes.  Movies and music not as good.
  • Build Quality
    • 4/5 – Freaking fantastic build quality but not a fan of the controls.
  • Software
    • 4/5 – Minimal but still perfectly useful, didn’t run into any bugs or snags during my testing.
  • Mic
    • 5/5 – Easily the best I’ve ever used or heard used.
  • Overall
    • 2/5 – People are going to look at this and wonder why they scored so low when there’s several higher marks up there.  I honestly can’t go above the weakest link here.  Headphones are useless if you can’t wear them and all the great features in the world would never make up for that. If the cups are larger or maybe if you’re just shaped differently then me they might be great, but I can’t review something with a set of ears I don’t have.
Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 with 7.1 Surround Sound
  • Comfort
    • 4/5 –  Ears fit perfect in the cups, minimal sliding when moving.  Can feel the weight on your head, but after hours of using them non stop it was not an issue in the least.
  • Sound Quality
    • 4/5 – Severly tempted to go 5/5 here, and it’s definitely 5/5 for gaming.  A badass home theater or monitor setup will always be better for Movies and Music.
  • Build Quality
    • 3/5 – I absolutely love the controls, no doubt about it.  But I’m not in love with the plastic-y feeling and nature of them.  If I dropped these I’d be worried.
  • Software
    • 4/5 – No bugs or errors during my testing, lots of options to play around with.  3 more buttons if you’re a fan of macros.
  • Mic
    • 4/5 – Great sound from the mic, though it picks up background noise more then I’d prefer.
  • Overall
    • 4/5 – An absolutely outstanding product and one that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone.  If you’re thinking of buying some cheaper, deal with what you have and save your pennies.  Your patience will be rewarded.

 

 

 

 


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