SPAWN MORE OVERLORDS
That’s StarCraft 2 reminding me to build floating farms so I can increase the size of my army. Since I’m not the world’s best SC2 player, Sedagive? and the two boys hear this phrase quite often. Almost as much as
WE REQUIRE MORE MINERALS
On top of that, I was playing more and more team games with wurmr and Ajar. Sometimes the conversation gets heated, and keeping the discussion private seemed like a good idea.
I figured it was time to purchase a better headset and microphone combination. I liked the look of the Steel Series Siberia II headset / microphone combination. Steel Series is a big supporter of eSports, as well as as sponsor of one of my favorite StarCraft 2 shows, Kings of Tin.
What I didn’t like was the price (about $100 on Amazon Prime) as well as the mixed reviews on trusted StarCraft 2 community TeamLiquid.
At about $23 before shipping, the “Premium Hi-Fi DJ Style” headphones seemed too inexpensive to be any good. However, Monoprice customer reviews plus the TeamLiquid nods were enough for me to take the plunge. My order arrived a few days later, and I was eager to give them a try.
- The ear cups rotate and spin, which allows me to wear one “backwards” so I can still hear what’s going on in the house. This is really important when G+ is over and I can listen in case he needs my help.
- The cushioning is really soft, and the cans are large enough for my ears.
- The headset uses a 3.5mm plug and not USB. I wound up getting an external 3.5mm microphone for talking to my SC2 partners. The 3.5mm headphone cord is included
- The adjustment band is padded and very comfortable, no matter what angle I wear the headset.
- The 3.5mm cord is not permanently attached to the headphones. While I’ve never had this problem, semi-pro and pro-gamers bemoaned having to throw away otherwise good cans when the cord frayed or became loose over time. If that happens to the 8323 you can just replace the inexpensive cord.
The 8323 comes with a cord and an adapter for use at home.
I didn’t expect the Monoprice Premium DJ headphones to sounds particularly spectacular. I don’t listen to music on my computer, and the fidelity of the headset wasn’t a big deal to me. However, they do sound very nice and rich, and the in-game StarCraft 2 sounds do sound more crisp and beautiful than via the surround sound system I was using before.
The sound-proofing of the cans is good enough that I can’t hear someone five feet away with the volume turned to about 25%. Whenever someone is home I flip one of the monitors upside-down.
I usually play StarCraft 2 two to five times a week. Those sessions might be a half hour, it might be eight hours. Comfort was a much bigger concern than sound quality, and the Monoprice Hi-Fi 8323 headphones perform quite well in this regard.
The padded headband is very comfortable. Sometimes I can feel pressure on the top of my head after wearing the headphones for about an hour with one of the monitors flipped upside down and off to the side behind my ear. When wearing both cans in the “normal” position I don’t feel any hot spots on top of my head at all.
The padded ear cups are also very comfortable. However, they retain a lot of heat. I am normally a “hot” person and put off a lot of heat. I am not sure what could have been done to make the vinyl cups less warm while still retaining their noise reduction qualities. I imagine a cloth / mesh cup would be cooler, but also less effective at blocking noise.
This was the other thing I was concerned about. Most gaming enthusiast headsets are in the $50 – $150 range. Lesser-grade sets are in the $25 – $50 range, and I expected the Monoprice 8323 to be about as durable as a sheet of wet toilet paper.
Again, I was surprised. After two months of use, the headphones look brand new. I was surprised at the build quality when I opened the box. The headband is thick, and the pivots on the monitors are robust. I’ve been impressed, and I expect the headset to hold up for a long time.
This is where you plug the included headset cord into the 8323. You can also see how thick the padding is on the monitors.
Overall, I am very happy with the Monoprice 8323 DJ-style over the ear headphones. I wish they weren’t quite so “hot” feeling on my ears, but they are otherwise quite comfortable and sound very good for my use. For less than $25 I think they’re a fantastic deal.