I can recall a time when the image of the gamer with cans over his ears and a microphone in front of his face was strictly hardcore. It was reserved strictly for those who spent ridiculous hours mastering their kill shots (and for those who felt like stereotyping them to help push whatever product or ideology they were selling).
Gaming has shifted since then. Whereas online multiplayer features were originally tacked onto single player action as an afterthought or bonus, games these days now focus on multiplayer. In some, it’s the only option. If you want to enjoy these games, you’ll be need to play others who aren’t sharing a couch or desk with you. And to communicate with them, you’ll need a gaming headset like the Thrustmaster Y-300CPX.
Our review unit provided by Thrustmaster carries the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands branding. Of course, that game’s not Mac-compatible, but the design clearly indicates you’re serious about what you do.
My first impression upon unboxing the Y-300CPX gaming headset is that it felt kind of ridged and oddly angled. The plastic, adjustable headband was very tight and hard to set, but that also means it stays in place once you find your fit. The corners are sharply cut, too, but the ample padding above the head and around the ears means you won’t be coming into contact with them. The padding on the cans also creates a large, comfortable audio chamber around your ears. The cans pivot a bit for comfortable placement, but the overall fit was a bit tight for my tastes. That may not be an issue for those who don’t have a head as large as mine.
Thrustmaster Y-300CPX is designed for compatibility with multiple gaming consoles in addition to PC and Mac, and that’s both good and bad; good in that you can use the headset on multiple systems, but bad in that you’re given a lot of options you may not need. Connections for all systems are hardwired, meaning you’re stuck with dangling connectors you’re not using.
That USB connector is all we Mac gamers will need. Thrustmaster did attach a Velcro strap to the cord to keep them wrapped up, but I’d rather we be able to simply swap out the connectors we don’t need. Considering the cord measures four meters, it’s an awful lot to manage when you’re likely to be sitting no more than three or four feet from your monitor.
At the front end of all of this is an inline control system that makes it easy for you to adjust the audio and mic levels, and even to mute yourself if you so desire (and I wish more online gamers would). The control is too large to clip onto your person, but far enough down the cord to rest comfortably on your desk.
It’s good to have handy for quick audio adjustments without having to pause or exit the game.
As for audio quality, the Thrustmaster Y-300CPX does a good job on both ends. The 50mm drivers are equipped with a double electro-acoustic bass sound amplifier that forces home the explosions, roaring engines, and agonized screams of your fallen enemies. The drawback to this is that if you remove the mic to use them as standard headphones for music or movies, you’ll find the balance too heavy on the bass side.
Speaking of the detachable mic, I was impressed with its ability to stay put after adjusting it for proper placement near my mouth. Those on the receiving end of my test sessions said they could hear me clearly (albeit a bit “tinny”) and that they weren’t picking up the ambient audio from the room around me.
So Here It Is
It’s still hard for me to get used to the idea of online multiplayer gaming, largely because the competition is so much younger and so much better than me. But with initiatives such as Feral Interactive’s Calico and the ever-increasing number of online multiplayer games heading our way (complete with cross-platform compatibility), Mac users had better equip themselves with some quality hardware to meet the challenges ahead. The Thrustmaster Y-300CPX gaming headset is a good example of that quality hardware.
Provides: Audio playback and voice pickup for online gaming
Compatibility: Any Mac with USB input. Also compatible with PlayStation4, PlayStation3, Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360, VR headsets, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation Vita, as well as MP3 players, tablets and smartphones (including hands free call functionality)
Availability: Now at GameStop.com