Yapster Blaster Headset Review (Xbox 360 / PC)

I will start this review simply: If you own a PC or Xbox 360, and are looking for a headset and mic, but have always been turned off by the steep cost of entry offered by Turtle Beach and the other big brands, you can stop reading and go pick up the Yapster Blaster Headset for $30. I suppose that I should save this part for the end of the review, but I almost feel like someone at TekNmotion is going to figure out they priced these wrong. Now, just in case you’re still reading, let me elaborate. The Yapster Blaster Headset is a headphone and microphone kit that, as headphones, can work with anything that has a 3.5mm headphone jack (the standard size). To utilize the microphone, you can use these on your Xbox 360 and PC (it’s headphones only for PS3 and OnLive MicroConsole. And yes, it comes with an adapter to fit in your Xbox controller). There is a USB connector to power the mini-amplifier it has, but you won’t need that for most anything outside of your Xbox. For those into specs, the headphones themselves are powered by 40mm Neodymium drivers. Please don’t ask me what that means.

The packaging is unassuming, which I guess goes with the theme of the headphones as a whole. Included in the packaging are the aforementioned headphones, with about 8′ of cable from the headphone to the first set of 3.5mm jacks. About a foot down from the headphones is a volume control and microphone mute dongle. If you use the included amplifier, you’ll extend the reach by about another 8′, and you’ll gain access to an RCA input that will be needed to hook up your Xbox 360 (thus you’ll always need this attachment if using it with the Xbox 360). To be honest, if I saw these headphones on the shelf next to others, I’d probably pass right by; don’t expect any wow-factor from the packaging.

The directions are a little vague when it comes to diagramming how everything hooks up (or more importantly, when you need to use certain parts), but fortunately it isn’t rocket science. If you’re hooking it up to your PC, skip the amplifier piece entirely, and jack right into your sound card or integrated ports. The microphone works well; I was able to get up and running with voice chat in seconds using OnLive, which pleased me greatly. Ample cord length ensured that I could run the cords behind my desk to keep them out of the way as well. Hooking the headphones up to the Xbox 360 requires the amplifier unit to be added, which isn’t terrible, since the added 8′ really helps to ensure you have enough cord length to sit comfortably away from your large HDTV.

It should be noted that there is no independent chat volume control, so you’ll need to manage chat volume via the controls on the Xbox. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but if you’re playing Black Ops, and some jack-off decides to start screaming into the microphone during the load screen, or while trying to listen to something else in the game, you’ll wish you could quickly turn down the chat volume and still have game volume. Lack of chat volume control aside, the overall volume and microphone mute dongle is at a good height, and while I still prefer to have the volume controls closer to where my hands rest, I didn’t have to fumble around too much when needing to mute my mic on the fly. The headphones themselves fit nice over my slightly large head, and there was virtually no discomfort after long gaming sessions. The headphones are over-ear, but you will still hear outside noise during low volume usage.

The headphones look and feel cheap (with the exception of the nice microphone extension). That being said, I do like that you don’t look like a storm trooper with these on your head, which is something I can’t say for some of the other headsets I’ve used. But there’s no getting over the feeling that these headphones have all the warning signs of breaking easily, or falling apart over the course of normal wear and tear. That’s not to say I experienced any issues while reviewing the headphones, but one week is not exactly a stress test. My word of advice: be gentle, or buy two pairs. The sound quality of the headphones was surprisingly good. I didn’t push the volume to the max (I do want my hearing to last), but the volumes I was playing at for games like Black Ops and Red Faction Armageddon were crisp, clear, and booming when it needed to be. There was a slight buzzing noise present when using the amplifier (which means all Xbox 360 games). It wasn’t noticable once the action got started, but during low volume parts, you will hear it. People I chatted with made no mention of any interference or buzzing, so this seems to be for input only (and frankly is on par with several other headphones I’ve used with the Xbox 360).

I will finish this review the same way I started it: if you have been in the market for a headphone/microphone combo for a decent price, get these headphones. I have become a recent headphone convert, because it allows me to hear everything in the game that I am supposed to, without disturbing the house. Considering that these headphones can be used on just about any device, and that the microphone can be used on PC and Xbox 360 makes this very attractive. That it’s priced at $29.99 makes this a no-brainer. I will say that going into this review, knowing the price and looking at the headphones in the box when I received it, I was expecting to be let down with a disposable set of headphones that wouldn’t see the light of day after the review. The folks at TekNmotion packed an amazing amount of quality into an unassuming package, and priced it for the masses. Do not pass these up.

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