Using the gaming chair is quite a strange thing, as the ideal audio setup unfortunately requires quite a lot of loose cabling going between your chosen media player, to your TV and/or standard sound setup, and then back to the chair. It also presents quite a challenge as there aren’t many audio setups that have splitters for rear speakers, front speakers and a sub all of which are long enough to mean you aren’t sitting 2 inches from the screen. Fortunately, TheGamingCollection kindly supply you with 2 phono cables of some size that make reaching the connectors not too much of a bother. The final setup I settled upon was a bit elaborate though. Component from the Xbox to the current 2.1 setup, then an HDMI cable to the TV, and 2 rear speaker phono cables, to the phono extender cables from the Renegade. Phew.
As I said before, it creates quite a mess of cables, if TheGamingCollection can come up with a way to achieve a bit more of a seamless link between media players and the chair, then this reviewer would be a very happy bunny. Perhaps a cable hub of sorts could be supplied?
To test the gaming chair, I put it through it’s paces on several different platforms to test not only its audio capability, but its comfort and rumble strength and effectiveness. For a gaming test, I used Call of Duty 3, Flatlout 2 and Rock Band on the Xbox 360. For a music test, I listened to Pendulum’s new album, In Silico, using the Xbox 360 media player.
Many of you may be wondering why I used Call of Duty 3 for this test as apposed to the latest offering from Infiniti Ward. Well boys and girls, it’s down to the first level in COD3 being one of the most manic of any other FPS game I’ve played; that’s right, I’m talking about the graveyard fight. In this scene there are so many bullets and grenades flying everywhere, exploding in front of you, behind you, to the sides, it’s mayhem; and thanks to the Renegade I was able to appreciate it in all it’s glory. Never have I felt so involved in a battle scene as I did with bullets feeling as if they are being shot right passed my head and the vibrations became almost overpowering when a grenade went off near me, blasting me in the back with an overpowered rumble. The clarity of the higher end sounds is also quite astonishing. I spent at least 2 clips just firing my Thompson machine gun randomly, as it sounded that damn good. The main improvement of the Renegade over a standard speaker setup though, is the proximity of the speakers. They are so close as to completely isolate you from outside noise – similar to in-ear headphones – completely immersing you in the action; good luck trying to have a conversation with someone while using this thing.
Flatout was also improved nicely thanks to the Renegade. The crashes felt slightly more spectacular thanks to the screech of metal blasting right into my ears in my own bubble of noise (though the rumble was never quite in time with each crash). The engine noises were also fairly good, but there was a distinct lack of bass from some of the larger engined racers. Even though the sub woofer from the 2.1 setup was offering one avenue of bass, I found it difficult to listen for, as the speakers next to your head are so overpowering compared to any front mounted speakers and/or subs you may have. It seems a real shame that a sub woofer wasn’t mounted in the chair also, that would have created the perfect sound setup. That said, the experience was still fantastic, and the motors although not quite in time with crashes, seemed to work well when bashing your way though debris and definitely contributed to the feeling of immersion.