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Creative Sound Blaster Blaze Review

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Being a gamer in a shared house, as well as quite an audiophile I go through a lot of headphones and speakers. Not only because the cables all seem to go, but also because I’m currently on a rather fruitless quest to find headphones on par with my speakers, a quest which may never be complete without spending an incredible amount of money.

While the Blaze doesn’t quite stack up to horrendously expensive speakers they are a solid all-round set of headphones. They provide a nice dynamic range and some good clarity in an incredibly comfortable form factor, although a few niggles hold it back from being perfect.

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Packaging for the Blaze is simple but effective. The headset itself is built out of plastic which allows some flex for expanding to various head sizes. The cups and headband are all coated in velvet, which earns top marks for comfort and is definitely appreciated for long arduous gaming or music sessions. The condenser microphone arm attaches to the left headphone cup using a 3.5mm jack, allowing you to remove the microphone when not in use. Along the 2.5m cable you have a simple in-line controller, allowing you to turn on or off the microphone and adjust the volume, as well as attach it to clothing using the clothing clip on the back. Beyond that you get a copper cable and gold plated 3.5mm jacks for the audio and microphone.

The first thing I noticed is that the headset is damn comfortable. The velvet padding breathes a lot easier than my current headset with its faux leather padding, meaning I can wear them for a lot longer without sweat causing discomfort. The design is also somewhat reversed, with the headband being attached slightly forward on the ear cups which I find more comfortable than the traditional middle attachment.

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When it comes to the audio the result is a rather mixed bag. Overall for gaming I found no real problem. While the frequency response is a little short (20Hz to 20kHz) the Blaze does well in the range that its given. For the size and price the headset has an incredibly crisp and sharp higher register, meaning the leading lines in a game soundtrack, as well as character’s speech and any weapon fire sounds better that a lot of headphones I have tried recently; doing so with a good surround sound emulation to boot.

With music however, where frequency are quite neat, a few niggles mark this good performance. While you get a crisp higher register the bass feels a little loose and somewhat uncontrolled. Listening to lower-tuned instruments, such as a bass guitar, parts of the percussion as well as some guitars becomes difficult as the part sound a little too muddy and begin to mesh together. This appears rather backwards to most headphones I’ve owned where, to cater to more popular musical tastes, the bass is boosted and kept quite tight.  While this is not a deal-breaker, and how much this affects you will depend on your music taste and how your music is compressed (mp3 files seemed to suffer the most,) it does sort of put me off using these headphones for walking around.

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The microphone, for the price and size, does well enough, but does not do anything glamorous. The frequency response is much wider and as such voices sound crisper than other microphones at the price point. Voices come through clear and I have yet to have a problem being heard. The inclusion of a removable mic windscreen also helps minimise excess noise and some popping. It is definitely better than my current headset and any other headset I’ve used recently.

The Blaze is a headset with a few niggles holding it back. The muddiness in the bass limits its uses beyond gaming but does not hold back the gaming experience and the lack of single 3.5mm extension means you will have the microphone jack flopping about. Other than that there are really no complaints with it. It is a well-rounded, solid feeling and incredibly comfortable headset. If you’re looking for a small headset for some late-night gaming then this is the headset for you. The Blaze is a fantastic headset and may very well become my go-to despite its little faults, and as such earns a 7.

Grab these direct from Creative http://uk.creative.com/p/gaming-headsets/creative-sb-blaze

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Rating:
7/10
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Studying BSc Psychology at University of South Wales. Primarily a musician with a love of all things audio technology and audio production gaming is my escape into hopefully beautiful worlds full of wonderful experiences and phenomenal soundtracks. I review with an unbiased ‘try anything once’ mentality and love to find wonderful little indie games or audio technology and will pull any game apart with no discrimination. In general my preferred games are story-driven open world adventures of any kind though I will play anything if I find fun in it.

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