Published on November 6th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Hardware Review: Andrea Electronics SuperBeam SB-805 Ravaged Branded Cans
Stereo Output Specs
- D/A Conversion Resolution
- 16 bit
- THD + N
- Frequency Response
- Output Load
- Output Voltage
- Standard USB 2.0
- Microphone Jack 3.5mm
- Speaker Jack 3.5mm
Review Note: A hardware sample was received for review purposes.
As I sit here and write this, there is an array of construction happening around me.
Although I am inside a rather large retail store with a Starbucks located inside of it (Free Wi-Fi FTW!), my chair lightly rumbles as large mechanical equipment hums 15 feet away. The only thing that separates me and the equipment is a wall with large windows and a few empty chairs. Oh yeah, and the sleek set of ‘phones that I’m listening to.
That is one thing that you will find noticeably sound about the most current set of headphones from Andrea Electronics. The SuperBeam SB-805 is amongst a few headsets that have very little competition in the PC gaming headset arena. Now, it’s got a new look to kick off 2Dawn Games’ new multiplayer title set in a post-apocalyptic world. Ravaged is now available for $24.99 and can be purchased by heading to the official site.
The first thing you will notice about the SB-805 is its design.
Most times when examining a headset for the first time, you’ll find the general cord locations: Mic and Headphone Input, left and right channel inputs and maybe a USB cord for power options–which are common and found in the SB-805.
Here is what you can find in the box:
- Andrea Electronics SB-805 Corded Headset
- USB Dongle/Soundcard
- Instruction Guide
- Soft zip case
You’ll also likely notice some sort of ear piece for a drop down mic or place that it can be plugged or stowed away when not in use. It usually dangles off to the side, maybe even obstructing your focus during games.
In the case of SB-805, however, you won’t find any of that.
The microphone design is a benefit and the most unusual feature. The mic technology used focuses on wrapping a “beam” of pickups to the front area. The binaural recording process also opens up the realm of 3D sound recording, which can be accomplished with the help of the Audio Commander software.
If you could imagine an invisible band that wraps from ear-to-ear picking up everything you say. That’s exactly just what you get. Dual mic recording with noise suppression sounds like a podcasters dream and Andrea Electronics makes it a reality.
Instead of something dangling in front of your face and having to slap it out of your way in frustrating moments–there is nothing. This provides a sleek design and openness to the set.
- A/D Conversion Resolution
- THD + N
- Supply Bias Resistor
2.2K Ohm @ 3.3VDC
- Frequency Response
- Input Range
0 – 1.25 Vrms
- Dynamic Range
- Record Gain Range
-6 to 33 dB
For those looking for the mic mute outside of the in-game controls, you’re in luck. The cord features a simplistic control wheel for the volume and a button to mute/unmute the mic.
You might be asking: Okay, so the set has some sort of space-age beam mic, but what does it sound like?
The audio software that is available on the company website works with your device to deliver the best sound possible. With an in-depth history in audio device development that dates back to 1934, not to mention F-16 fighter pilot communication, Andrea has engineered sound software and delivered its genius for the common good of the gamer.
In the software you’ll find plenty of equalizer presets and various other tools such as noise reduction for speakers and mic options. These are made possible by a USB dongle/Sound card which houses both the mic and headphone auxiliary plug. Now, you might be wondering how these perform with just an average headphone input and not the software.
I’ve been writing this while listening to my iPhone shuffle through a mix of music via Spotify. Sounds of construction or any passer-by haven’t disturbed my music trance one bit. Not even the sound of drilling but a few feet from my seat have interrupted my experience. This is made possible with the use of the Computer Headset Mobile Adapter. Although not included, this accessory (more like necessity) rings in at a price of $9.95.
This device simply takes the two pronged end of the headset wire and turns it into a simple input jack. Having this option makes it possible to enjoy your music from any device housing a 3.5mm input.
The included 50 mm drivers for the headset bring a necessary depth. I’ve seen other sets promote a corded experience with 40 mm drivers. These simply can’t compete with what Andrea has to offer. For online gaming, or music buffs, many people want to rely on something that can be jacked in, not lose power at crucial moments and a device that simply—brings the noise.
After a brief hands-on a while back with the headset, the one thing that really caught my ear was the depth in tones. Deep bass can be heard as it trembles off, mids provide depth on both ends of the sound spectrum, and the highs are as sharp as your ears can handle.
The same can be said whether plugged into your music device or if you’re blasting through enemies. One game where these truly stood out was Saints Row: The Third on PC. Dialogue isn’t lost, becoming an inaudible grumble, and explosions aren’t smothered by machine gun fire.
It is hard to find a complaint about the set. The only gripe I can foresee others having is the universal use it promises—minus the console aspect. The set is also wired and boasts some serious quality. If you are worried about the mic cord dangling about when the headphone jack is plugged in, there’s an app for that. Not really. It is actually a piece that can be purchased separately that combines both plugs into one.
Wearing these for long periods of time did leave a bit of discomfort. The set relies on the tightness in design for noise suppression. While the ear padding is quite comfortable, it makes my general everyday set feel loose and over-sized. I did find that they were comfortable to a certain extent. Probably about average when comparing it to others out there.
The extra cord to minimize wiring is sold separately. This seems like a must have accessory for anyone who’d want to universally use the set. The price tag makes it seem like it should be included.
The SuperBeam SB-805 packs some serious heat. When you get a product made by experts in the audio engineering field there is no doubt that it will show in its quality. That’s exactly the case with the SuperBeam SB-805 cans.
The set chimes in at $179.95. Most headsets seen at that price offer wireless connectivity with 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. While other sets boast these qualifications, the SB-805’s still offer quite the depth in sound.
The headset geared towards PC preferred players still has much to offer in the realm of versatility. The USB-powered set delivers when it comes to the corded player in the PC realm, but also offers up itself for surround sound recording and noise suppression.
If you are seriously considering a new gaming set with a wired interface, there is, hands down, no doubt that you should consider purchasing the Andrea Electronics SB-805 PC headset.
+ Superb Sound quality
+ Audio Commander Software
+ Mic/Audio input adapter for smartphone use
– Adapter sold separately