Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma Review

Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma

“The Creative Sound blaster Tactic 3D Sigma’s have a lot of good things going for them.”
  • 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

If you are a hardcore gamer, then wearing a headset is nothing new – you’ve probably had one for years. For those just now getting into the gaming scene, hold onto your pants because there are literally 80 or 90 headsets to choose from, coming from several different manufacturers. Creative alone has ten different gaming headsets, all at various price points and each one touting a whole slew of features. The Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma (a ridiculously long title) feature what Creative calls “high-resolution Dual-Mode 3D surround” and are available now at the street price of $54.99 – 69.99. Now, since there are ten different Creative gaming headsets alone to choose from, we will attempt to tell you how the Sigma stands out from the rest of the line-up.

Features and Design

Out of the ten different headsets to choose from under the Creative brand, there are two which are very similar in features, the Creative Sound blaster Tactic 3D Sigma and the more affordable Alphas. Both headsets feature Dual-Mode analog and USB connections, THX TruStudio Pro technology, touchscreen controls, customizable audio settings, and various gaming FX voices. $30 more for the Sigma, and you get 50mm “high-resolution” neodymium drivers and a steel core headband which Creative claims will give the headset more durability and a longer lifespan. The Alphas do come with a 40mm Neodymium driver which is still very good, and would most likely would also be considered “high-resolution” by the same set of rules. Having a larger driver doesn’t simply make it more “high-resolution” or not. If you are thinking that this is nothing but marketing fluff, then you are probably on the right track.

Creative Sound blaster Tactic 3D SigmaThere are two connection types to choose from with the Sigma. The Dual-Mode analog or USB plug is nice because you can either use a USB port on the system, or the old-fashioned pink microphone and green analog mini-jacks, thus assuring compatibility with older systems.

THX TruStudio Pro technology supposedly allows you to hear directional audio while wearing the Sigma’s; footsteps can be heard behind you, gunfire in front of you, and your comrades to the side for example.

Creative Sound blaster Tactic 3D Sigma

If you have a Windows 7 based system, then you can use the TacticalControl driver which allows you to create custom equalizer settings and VoiceFX controls. You can also use the very same settings that world-famous gamers like Fatal1ty and complexity use while gaming – a cool feature for those that like to emulate their favorite star. There is a code field in the software that will allow you to enter secret codes you can find on the web to unlock even more features like extra FX or color themes.

The Sigmas have an average build quality that borders on the flimsy side. At the $90-100 MSRP price-point, the Tritton AX 51PRO’s and the Turtle Beach Ear Force HPA2’s offer a better build and have a more serious feel to them. Creative uses a nice faux-leather for their ear pieces which feels nice and helps to block out most of the outside noise. And fortunately for Creative, the shape of the ear pieces work to their advantage. Both the Trittons and the Turtle Beach headphones have larger ear cups with the Trittons being squarer than round, but the Sigmas just feel better, especially after prolonged use.

Creative Sound blaster Tactic 3D Sigma

The Sigma features an in-line remote control which you can use to adjust the volume level or mute it all together. The remote is lightweight and simple to use, and attaches to a nice flat cord which we had no tangling issues with whatsoever. The cord is nice and long at over 6 1/2 feet, and should work out for most users.

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.

Tactic 3D Sigma control panel

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.

Creative Sound blaster Tactic 3D SigmaSound 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.

Conclusion

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.

Highs:

  • Comfortable to wear
  • 3D directional audio works well
  • Very customizable

Lows:

  • Construction is a little flimsy
  • Muddy, flat bass
  • Software is not included, has to be downloaded

Editors' Recommendations