One thing we are not too keen on personally is the integrated head-strap audio, which Oculus have seemed to have opted for. There is videos showing modding a Vive Deluxe Audio strap to the Quest to get around this, but this is an expensive route to go. This is where KIWI design have again entered the market, to bring an affordable way to manage the Quest Audio – we have now tested these, so, what did we make of them?
Whats in the box?
When you receive the product it comes in a very small box, but this is all they needed for what the headphones are. Inside of the box you will get a left and right earphone but as separate headphones. You will also get a packet with the three different sizes of silicone cups to make sure you can get it comfortable for each users ear size.
Getting them ready for use
As you expect this is really easy to get ready for use. All you need to do is attach the right size of silicone cup for your ear size, and then connect the left earphone to the left hand audio jack and the right earphone into the right audio jack, and you are now ready to go.
The build quality of the headphone is great, with the team taking the correct approach with the materials used to make sure they will have long lifespan.
Each separate headphone comes with a 3.5 mm audio jack, with the earpiece being made of a high quality alloy metal. When it comes the cable they have made them 33cm long to give them some droop between the head mounted display and your ear, so they are not too tight – and can also be looped around your ear to give them that extra support. The cable is covered by a high quality TPE material that gives it extra durability and strength and gives it over a 3000 bend lifespan.
As mentioned these earphones come separate, which makes use of the each side of the Quest coming with separate audio jacks. Which for us was a fantastic idea, as it means you don’t have a long cable to try to manage from one side of the headphones to the other. Which in the past has been an issue for us, and normally left us just using the internal audio option offered by the device.
These headphones bring two huge benefits for us, that make the experience of using the Quest better that the awesome job it already does. The main one is replacing the need to use the internal strap audio we don’t really like using, although it does work – we just find it can reduce some of the immersion being open to other sounds for external sources. The second is the removal of the aforementioned cable management using single input headphones, which at times we have caught when playing games like Beat Saber. With the length of cable provided on these single headphones being perfect to make sure you do not catch them.
If you are not the fan of the two cables hanging down by your face, you can find a way to manage this and keep inline with the head-strap. As we also use the KIWI design head-strap for the Quest, we run the wire though the loops to keep them off the side of our face. However, we have tested it just looping the cable over the head-strap for the Quest, and it does not really cause any issues or discomfort from our experience with it managed this way.
Another benefit of having the separate headphones, is they manage the 3D audio great for that immersion that is essential for VR. The team have also made sure each headphone is clearly labelled which one goes into which ear.
Testing the product
Of course the main thing you want out of a pair of headphones is great and clear audio. For this purpose we tested it across a number of different games, to make sure they would perform never mind what sort of experience you wanted. The games we decided to test these on were active music based games Beat Saber and BoxVR, action games like Arizona Sunshine and Space Pirate Trainer, and finally more relaxed games like Moss and A Fisherman’s Tale.
Firstly the active games, now, the other reason we wanted to test these outside of the audio was to see if the headphones stayed in while being active as well – which we are happy to say we have no issues with them falling out. The team state that the headphones will provide powerful base, with clear treble and stereo sound, again we can confirm they do this, and do a great job of it. When switching between the different genres of songs on both games, you could really hear everything clearly and judge everything in the tracks.
We then moved onto the more action based games, The main reason we wanted to do this was to check out if it offered great directional audio through them, and hear if they offer the pop of deep noises from the guns on the games. Again, we were highly impressed with both aspects of the audio for the titles. With being able to tell where the groans of the zombies and bullets from the drone were coming from, with the satisfying audio from both the current and futuristic style weapons.
The final test was more about the clarity of the audio, when it came to relaxing and concentrating on the tale being told through narration. With these headphones we found it so easy to get lost in the audio book qualities that both Moss and A Fisherman’s Tale have, and staying immersed in the worlds they have been designed in.
So, really the headphones passed with flying colours in every test we carried out, and I personally found that the audio was best set to one or two notches below full volume. This wasn’t because this caused any issue with the audio quality, but these things pump out some volume at full.
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a sample provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press sample does not affect my judgement of the product.