The Cyber Acoustics AC-201 Headset
Feb 25, 2005 (Updated Jun 17, 2007)
Review by Dbbum
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Fully adjustable headset, velvet padded earpads, easy installation, multiple setups.
Cons:Adjustable headband can be uncomfortable at times.
The Bottom Line: Cheap price, above average quality, good choice for a starter headset or those on a budget.
My experiences thus far in headsets hasn't been very good. I started out by using generic earbud speakers with an overhead headband. I then moved onto a combination headset, microphone and single ear pad with an overhead headband. In fact I probably went through half a dozen of these style headsets. Every time there was a serious issue with either the microphone, speakers, or comfort level in general. So I finally went out looking for something that included an adjustable microphone with voice recognition technology, adjustable headband, comfortable earpads, and something that was under $20.00. Well I think I finally found the solution to all my problems with the Cyber Acoustics AC-201 Stereo Headset.
Recommend this product?
The Cyber Acoustics AC-201 Headset is voice recognition certified with DNCT4 direct noise canceling microphone technology. What this means is that the headset will work well with voice recognition software because abrasive sounds are eliminated. Even if you aren't using voice recognition software the DNCT4 technology allows for a crisp sound on other voice applications such as ventrilo and teamspeak. The same could be said for ingame voice chat for online multiplayer games such as Half-Life. The microphone as an extended arm that falls just short of a full 360 degree rotation, however you really only need about 180 degrees of flexibility to be able to wear the headset in either configuration. At the end of the extended arm is a thin flexible cord that holds the microphone in place. This flexible cord allows for further personalized comfort settings. The microphone itself is average sized, equal to a woman's thumbnail. Most of the time you won't even notice the extended microphone is even there. And with 180 degrees of rotation, the microphone can be stored in an upright position parallel to the headband.
The Cyber Acoustics AC-201 Headset features stereo speakers with velvet ear pads. I personally enjoy this particular padding style when compared to earbuds, standard ear pads, and enclosed studio style cups. Earbuds are just annoying. Standard ear pads can be uncomfortable and sound quality is lost due to ambience in your environment. The studio style cups are nice, but I always feel like Princess Leah with 2 big blueberry muffins on the side of my head. Cyber Acoustics uses a combination standard style pad with the additional support of velvet padding. This gives the headset a studio style look and feel without making your head top heavy. This particular headset has 32 ohms impedance and a frequency range of 20 - 20000 Hz. I know this all means something in technical terms but for such a cheap price I could care less. All of my online games, music, and voice related applications sound just pretty dang good. It's not top of the line high quality, but it serves its purpose quite well.
The Cyber Acoustics AC-201 Headset comes with a 7 inch shielded cord. The shielding is nothing more than a thin layer of extra plastic to protect the sensitive wiring. I'm no expert in the the gauge of plastic shielding but it's approximately doubled the size of a generic telephone wire. I've accidentally run over the wire several times with my computer chair and every time I cringe in horror. I've ruined several headsets in the past this way, although the previous cords didn't have any shielding thus the wires were damaged quite easily. So far that thin layer of shielding as done it's job, but I guess only time will tell.
It should also be noted that there is no extra hardware or software packaged with this headset. You simply plug the microphone and speaker wires into your computer. They can be used together as one whole unit, or separately as needed. The two plug feature would allow you to use the microphone while still using your regular desktop speakers. Most headsets feature these same options anyways.
My one and only complaint is the fact that the headset can become uncomfortable after 30 minutes of use. Even though the headset is adjustable and the ear pads are well padded, I always get the feeling that my head is slowly being squeezed in a vice. The adjustable headset is made of hard sturdy plastic, so if you have a big head, chances are you may have comfort issues. I actually placed my headset on a desk lap to keep the headband expanded all day long, and it really helped break in the headset so that it wasn't so tight.
According to the official Cyber Acoustics web site, the suggested retail price is $29.99. However this headset can be found at Circuitcity for $19.99 and at Staples for $14.95. The selection of headsets at Staples was horrible, but for $14.95 I couldn't pass up this overwhelming list of positives.
Overall the Cyber Acoustics AC-201 Stereo Headset has everything I need. The headband is widely adjustable, the microphone is crisp and clear and is also widely adjustable, the earpads have velvet padding which is a noticeable upgrade over other standard earpads, the grey and black colors match my computer, the 7 inch cord has extra plastic shielding, there is no extra hardware or software to install, and the price is very low for something of this elevated quality. If you're looking for an above average headset try the Cyber Acoustics AC-201. I honestly don't know how long this headset will last, but like I said for $14.95 I just couldn't pass it up. It's the best headset I've ever used, and trust me I've used some really horrible headsets in my day. I could have sprung for a similar headset for $40, but again the cheap price and overwhelming list of positives was enough to sway my decision. If I ever accidentally broke this headset I'd surely replace it with the same model without hesitation.
Share this product review with your friends