Pros: Good positional audio with software
Cons: USB only
Thermaltake has taken a strong hold on the peripheral market with their Tt eSports set of peripherals. Tt eSports is a division of Thermaltake dedicated to bringing out the most personalized and highest quality gear for competitive gaming. Gaming headphones today are a dime a dozen and companies need to pay extra special attention to detail, software, and comfort. Most gaming headsets are labeled gaming due to their technology offerings giving gamers an advantage and being more immersed in your favorite games.
Most "gaming" headsets will have similar features if they are any good and want decent sound. Today I will be looking at another headset review with RGB lighting and 7.1 surround sound called the Cronos RGB. Let's see if the Cronus can stand out against the competition between visual illumination, comfort, and premium virtual sound performance.
Why choose Cronos?
The Cronos RGB 7.1 offers true RGB and excellent RGB illumination. You can choose up to three different lighting effects with 256 colors between 7 preset LED modes. The Cronos also offers premium virtual 7.1 surround sound performance and will keep you comfortable for hours of gameplay. The bendable boom mic will allow you to stay in constant contact with your friends during intense gaming moments.
The specifications are as follows
- DRIVER UNIT (MM) 40MM NEODYMIUM MAGNET
- CHANNEL VIRTUAL 7.1 SURROUND
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE 20 HZ ~ 22 KHZ
- IMPEDANCE 32 OHM
- SENSITIVITY 97 +/-3DB
- WEIGHT(G) 365
- MIC NOISE CANCELLING YES
- MIC FREQUENCY 100HZ ~ 10 KHZ
- MIC IMPEDANCE < 2.2K OHM
- MIC DIRECTIVITY OMNI-DIRECTIONAL
- MIC SENSITIVITY -54 +/-3DB
The Cronos comes in a box attractively designed for viewing the headset up close, showcasing RGB, and the back discusses software and color options. My first impressions while unboxing was that Thermaltake paid close attention to detail on why this headset is a premium product. They want to capture the gaming audience here with premium features like RGB and 3d surround sound advertisements.
The accessories included are as follows:
- Cronos RGB headset
- Warranty policy
- Quick install guide
The entire design of the Cronos follows an industrial RGB look. They show off Chrome, screws, and the infamous dragon logo. The three RGB effects are the spectrum, pulse, and static. Each effect offers 256 colors between 7 preset LEDs. The 7.1 on the Cronos comes equipped with a powerful 40mm neodymium magnetic drivers and impressive digital sound technology. It can produce 16 bit and 48 KHz of stunning quality audio. The 7.1 surround sound is virtual but enhanced using their current software to deliver audio clarity and accurate bass. This is important to give you a competitive edge where the sound is everything.
The Cronos is specifically designed to be as comfortable as possible using their 3 section design. The 3 section headband made with LYCRA fabric provides excellent comfort for long hours of gameplay. Wearing the headset personally felt great! Some headset feel good at first but after long hours can begin to make your head hurt after long hours but the Cronos felt good on both my head and ears. I ended up play Overwatch for at least a few hours and never felt any discomfort from having the headset on.
The ear cushions are wide at 25mm using premium fabric and signature foam. Each cushion having a thickness of 25mm provides excellent comfort for long hours. The Cronos is designed to fold flat providing good portability and packing. This can also be more comfortable when you rest your headphones over your neck and shoulder. I also want to point out the detail of the dragon logo in the earcups. This is a nice feature that gives the headset a premium look. Small things like this are what can make a product stand out.
The inline control is designed to adjust volume or microphone controls in seconds. It is in a position that is easy to access and offers a clip to attach it to your clothes or a surface if desired. You can easily adjust your RGB colors using the RGB button to cycle through the 7 LED colors and 3 lighting effects. The microphone is easily adjustable to accommodate various comfort options.
There are good design decisions to be seen everywhere on this headset. The band also offers excellent advertising of the dragon logo and the Tt eSprots division. The USB cable is no exception with a braided cable, gold plated USB, and excellent cable length to provide good distance from your screen. Thermaltake took extra care when designing this headset and paid attention to the details that are most important to making a headset "Great".
Testing audio is never easy and can require expensive equipment. Headsets can be kind of difficult because they are parts that require one to interact with personally. There also isn't a ton of software to test these devices against or an easy way to capture surround sound. However, the Tt eSPORTS line of peripherals offer software that I will go over and I will talk about my experience with the device.
My test bench is as follows:
- ViewSonic XG2703-GS Monitor
- Motherboard- EVGA Z170 Classified K
- CPU: Intel Core I7 6700K
- Network Card- Netgear AC 1200 USB
- Cooler- EKWB Predator 280mm AIO
- Memory- Avexiir DDR4 3000 MHz
- Video Card: Nvidia GTX 1060
- Storage- Zotac Sonix 480GB (Boot Drive) / Toshiba VX500 512GB / OCZ TL100
- Power Supply- Corsair RM650X / Sleeved CableMod red/black cables
- OS: Windows 10 x64 Pro
- Headset- Thermaltake Cronos RGB 7.1 / Creative H7
I have to say I've tested a bit of Thermaltake hardware lately and the software side of things has been mixed. I am happy to report though that the Cronos RGB software works excellent with zero lag and offers good functionality. The technology like Xear and speaker shifter works flawlessly. I also really like the details at the top showing the capture and playback quality. You can download the software and manual here.
The software allows a user to simulate the speaker direction and distance and offers 12 different preset modes as well. There are 3 modes for the RGB illumination of the Cronos RGB; static, pulse and spectrum. You can pick out the exact color of the LEDs to match your PC build.
The Year technology and EQ settings within the software can deliver 10-band EQ function that can be adjusted manually or allow a user to create different profile settings for different game categories like FPS (First Person Shooter), MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), RTS(Realtime Strategy), and ARPG(Action Role Playing Game).
This headset sounds fantastic. I listened to a wide variety of music and movies as well as games. They are not music-focused but still provide deeper bass than normal cheap headphones. I didn't experience any muffled noise or flatness. Comparing them to the Creative H7s makes the Cronos feel a bit different. The H7's have better sound technologies and software but the Cronos can hold its own in the 7.1 space for sound quality.
The best test was with DOOM and Overwatch because you can definitely hear the difference and direction of where the audio was coming from. I also tested Heroes of the storm as they have an option for surround sound and headphones in the sound options menu.
I tested the microphone using standard tests like Skype, and Ventrilo. Using the mic did provide clean and crisp voice and speech. Voice chat during gameplay was fun when trying to harass my friends. This headset is USB only and doesn't offer separate 3.5mm jacks for portability and versatility. A good instance of this would be the ability to use both the headset on XBOX or PC. The quality was really good those for the boom mic and offered no muffled noise. The noise canceling works as advertised as well.
The worst thing about this headset is the USB-only option. I have seen other headphones offer both USB 7.1 surround sound and 3.5 options providing excellent performance and versatility. There are more positive than negative though and the Cronos deserves to be recognized for its attention to detail about its product.
There is much to love about the design of the Cronos 7.1:
- Great sound quality
- Comfortable and lightweight fit
- Stylish aesthetics
- Good software control
I would highly suggest this headset as it offers a lot of features and control for a gaming headset. The ability to use the directional audio give a good advantage over basic stereo audio. If you're trying to stick to a decently priced pair of headphones, and want excellent audio with RGB then the Cronos RGB 7.1 is definitely worth your investment. You can buy the Cronos 7.1 right now on Amazon for $79 (CRONOS RGB 3D 7.1 Surround Sound PC Gaming Headset).