Similar to the recently reviewed Azurues mouse, the Isurus gaming headset is part of the Tt eSPORTS lineup, the range announced by Thermaltake at CES in 2010 to provide additional gaming peripherals for the “world e-sport gaming area” due to “constant request” from distributors and end users.
Read on to find out how the Isurus fares.
- Premium bass
- In-line microphone
- Electro played finishes
- Ergonomic design
- 3 sets of ear sleeves
- Multimedia player compatible
- Driver Unit : 13.5mm driver
- Frequency response : 20Hz – 20KHz
- Impedance : 16ohm
- Sensitivity : 106dB +/- 3dB at 1KHz
- Characteristic: Omni-directional
- Frequency Response: 100Hz~10kHz
- Impedance: < 2.2kohm
- Sensitivity: -42±3dB(0 dB=1V/ubar
- Cable length:1.2m
- Connector: 3.5mm adapter plug
The packaging overall is following the common themes of the Tt eSPORTS lineup. Similar to the Azurues mouse, the packaging is styled to appeal to the gaming market, with a sleek high-tech industrial feel of blacks and reds. Also like the Azurues mouse, it has an equally confusing tagline: “Professional and Simplicity in Gaming Battles.”
The sides of the box have large red panels which stand out well and draw the eye when stored on the side.
On the rear of the box, there is some basic product information in fifteen languages, which demonstrates the diverse market which Thermaltake cater to and operate within.
One main difference in the packaging is that there are perforated strips on the top and bottom of the packaging which must be ripped off in order to open the box. This is presumably for hygiene reasons, to ensure that there is an obvious way to determine that the box has been opened and thus prevent people from returning used headphones for other people to end up with.
There is a flap on the front of the box, similar to the Steelseries WoW mouse and the Azurues, though instead of velcro like the Azurues, they have opted instead to use magnets. It is a slightly strange choice to use two different fastening methods on products from the same range which are almost identical in style and form, but the magnets work effectively and definitely feel more natural than the velcro approach. Inside the flap, there are some listed product features, compatibility icons and technical specifications.
To the other side, there is a plastic window into the box, displaying the headphones alongside the Tt logo on the front of the included pouch.
Also contained within the box is the quick installation guide and warranty policy.
The Isurus headset are a fairly standard looking set of headphones, though unlike a standard set of in-ear buds, they have an in-line clip for attaching the headset to your clothing, along with a Tt branded in-line microphone for online chat. They are available in three colours: “Shining White,” “Diamond Black” and “Royal Red.” The set being reviewed are the Diamond Black version, which look pretty good. The default configuration also has the increasingly common ‘triple band’ 3.5mm jack (which is also gold plated), which allows the use of the microphone with devices that are compatible.
The Isurus also comes with a Tt eSPORTS branded pouch for carrying the headset around in while avoiding wires becoming tangled. There are also side netting pockets for storing additional smaller components such as the alternative earbud sizes.
The package also includes three sets of earbud replacements for different ear sizes: large, medium and small. This ensures that while the medium earbuds will suit most people (the reviewer included) the others should ensure a comfortable, snug fit for ear canals of all sizes.
For devices which are not compatible with the tri-band 3.5mm jack (such as desktop computers and laptops) a separate cable is provided which splits out the headphones and microphone into two separate gold-plated 3.5mm jacks, which can be independently plugged into mic and headphone ports on a standard PC setup.
The Isurus headphones were tested under a variety of conditions, including in games as intended, as well as listening to a wide variety of music on both computers and portable devices, to really give them a run for their money.
“Silent Wars” – Arch Enemy: Unfortunately, this harsh metal offering was extremely tinny and needed some bass boosting with an equaliser to bring it up to par. Once configured correctly, it worked well, with strong bass and a good feel, but it did need tweaking.
“Riding with the King” – B.B. King and Eric Clapton: This song was perfect in the standard configuration, alongside The Beatles’ cover of “Rock and Roll Music” and Biffy Clyro’s “God & Satan,” with good accurate bass response and crisp, clean highs.
“Cochise” – Audioslave: This was also excellent, with a warm overall tone and a good rock feel to the overall sound.
“Brian Wilson” – Barenaked Ladies: Similar to Beck’s “Where it’s at,” Boston’s “More than a feeling” and Biffy Clyro’s “Mountains,” the highs were unbearably harsh and needed the edge taken off them with an equaliser tweak. The bass response was actually fine in all of the above examples, with clean, warm mids, but they were marred by an almost painful high edge that needed toned down.
“Battle Scene” – Black Mages: Like “Those Who Fight Further” from the same band, the highs were similarly harsh like the previous examples, but in spite of that, had really superb bass response, thick and powerful.
The gaming setup with online multiplayer games was excellent, with good directional audio, even bass response from explosions and gunfire, as well as clear voice chatting, which may be some of the cause behind the default focus on the high treble areas. There is good separation between action and voices, which allows good multi-purpose use without having to compromise on either side of the balance.
The headphones can be found for around £20, which is extremely good value for comfortable, budget in-ear buds that have a microphone, conversion cable, carry case and alternate buds included.
Overall, it has to be said that as far as the default configuration goes, the Isurus headset tends towards the treble end of the spectrum, often to a fault. The highs were often pretty harsh and the bass was occasionally quite anaemic, requiring some manual intervention with an equaliser to even things out to an acceptable level (a cardinal sin in the audiophile world, though this is definitely not the target audience for these budget gaming buds). With that said, the default configuration was often perfect for many scenarios, and indeed the headphones sounded pretty good on most occasions once the equaliser had brought the bass up a little and the treble down. It ultimately boils down to the notion that on a case by case basis, YMMV: your mileage may vary.
It can’t be denied that the accessories and extra mile that Tt have gone definitely help the appeal of the headphones. From the stylish carry case to the additional buds and gold-plating, the Isurus is definitely a set that looks well and will be suitable for most people. They provide great value for money, with all the additions considered.
Like the Azurues, there were a few grammatical slip-ups that made the product feel just that little bit tackier, in ways it really doesn’t deserve; I would really urge Thermaltake to have someone review the taglines and specs going forward to ensure that the intended meaning is coming across.
Ultimately, they are a very affordable set of headphones and worth a look.
- Excellent value for money
- Included branded pouch keeps everything together and avoids tangling
- Highs are pretty harsh in standard use
- Shaping required with equaliser to make listening to many songs acceptable