Testing and Use
There are two things to keep in mind should you decide to pick up these headphones. The first is that you will need an internet connection to download the software from Creative – they do not include software or drivers in the packaging. The second is that you really should have a decent computer. Creative recommends an Intel Pentium 4 1.6GHz computer, USB 2.0 port and Windows 7, XP, or Vista in order to use them. On the Mac side, you will need Mac OS X 10.5 or higher and an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU. Remember, this headset is primarily for gaming–not video conferencing–so if you need a headset for doing business and have an older system, you may be better served by an analog headset.
Installing the driver from the Creative website is pretty painless, but make sure you read the instructions so you get the proper URL for downloading what you need. Be warned though, the typical Creative install package includes an annoying registration reminder and an auto-updater which will run in the background of your system sucking up unnecessary resources.
The Tactic 3D Sigma control panel works as advertised, and allows you to modify your sound settings. This includes setting microphone and headset volumes, activating and adjusting five different sound settings that include Crystalizer, Surround, Bass, Dialog Plus, and Smart Volume. It’s pretty cool that Creative will actually play a movie/audio sample for you while you adjust these settings. It allows you to test things on the fly versus having to modify the settings, go into the game or application to test them and then exit the game to re-adjust.
There is a separate EQ for music lovers that will allow you to adjust bass, mids, trebles manually, or use pre-defined settings for your favorite genre of music.
Lastly, there is a fun feature which will allow you to change your voice to sound like 18 different types of creatures or people. Want to sound like an Orc or a Munchkin? No problem. You can even make yourself sound like the opposite sex, so you can match that hot blue Night Elf you have been secretly playing in World of Warcraft.
Sound quality with the Sigma is pretty average. Good for gamers, bad for audiophiles. In-game bass and sound is clear and easy to understand. The 3D directional audio works as advertised, but you almost feel like it’s not there at times. Some headsets on the market really do give a more immersive feel when they are being used, the Sigma does tighten it up a bit, butthe sound isn’t as separated as we would have liked. In our estimation, Turtle Beach makes a better sounding headset overall. As far as gaming headsets go, the Sigma is above average though, but just barely.
The microphone works as advertised and is detachable if you decide you just want to use the Sigma for listening to music which is nice, but it would have been nice if the microphone could be moved over to the right side should you want it over there instead. People that will use the Sigma for teleconferencing will be happy with the comfortable design and the tight ear piece, which effectively blocks outside noise from leaking in. The microphone is sensitive and people could hear us clearly in our tests. There are a couple reports on the web from users who claim their microphone on their Sigma died on them, but we didn’t experience this at all.
For music listening, the Sigma is average at best. Vocals are a tad bit distant, bass is flat, mids are a bit cold, and treble is pretty much nonexistent – overall, very flat sounding. Under the equalizer controls, there is no pre-defined Hip Hop setting, so we used EQ Dance to boost bass and vocals as much as we could which helped a little. The bass just bottoms out pretty early and doesn’t go as deep as you would think for having large 50mm drivers.
The Creative Sound blaster Tactic 3D Sigma has a lot of good things going for them. They are comfortable to wear, block outside noise and have a lot of customizable settings for gamers looking to get that extra edge in-game. From a hardware perspective, it would have been nice if the Sigma had a little sturdier construction, but overall it feels like they will hold up in the long run. If you want more customizable settings, we recommend going with Turtle Beach who we feel have a more serious hardcore product. Audiophiles who want 3D, 5.1 or 7.1 sound might want to consider the Sennheiser PC 350, but be ready to fork out $179 for these bad boys.
- Comfortable to wear
- 3D directional audio works well
- Very customizable
- Construction is a little flimsy
- Muddy, flat bass
- Software is not included, has to be downloaded