CM Storm Sonuz £60
26th Aug 2012 | 08:30
What does an invertebrate sound like? The sea, apparently
There's something disconcertingly slug-like about this set of cans. Visual design isn't top of the priorities list for a gaming headset, but it does mean each of the Sonuz's features has to work that much harder to compensate for the sensation of donning a slimy invertebrate when you want to hear your games.
Its standout feature is a detachable mic, which can be placed on either side. We don't often see that in a headset, particularly one at this modest price, and while its purpose isn't immediately clear, it boasts the twin benefits of durability and the potential to confuse people as to which way round it's worn (if you're into sub-Rio Ferdinand practical jokes).
The Sonuz's other point of interest is its frequency response range, which swoops way down to 10Hz, allowing it to pump out low-end noise that you can't technically hear, but which can be combined as sub-harmonics to give audible frequencies a meatier sound.
A lot of headsets try this trick with varying degrees of success, but it doesn't quite work for the Sonuz because of that slug-like design; the inner ear cups angle outward at the bottom instead of sitting flat, resulting in a seashell noise that compromises the sound quality.
If you're bored, try it now: touch the tops of your ears with your fingers and angle your hands diagonally. Distracting, huh? For those sub-harmonics to work, the ear cups need to be sealed off so you can feel the bass physically bounce.
Will not comply
These cans aren't very malleable, either. Your only means of tailoring them to your bonce is by extending or retracting the headband, the cups sitting resolutely at an unhelpful angle. At 380g, this headset's no featherweight either, and after long play sessions that lack of flexibility can get pretty uncomfortable.
Everything else the headset is of admirable quality for the price - including giant 53mm drivers and a mic with impressive noise cancelling and detach-ability - but they're hard to enjoy in this package.
Elsewhere, it's a matter of what the Sonuz doesn't do rather than what it does that fails to impress. There's nothing really wrong with its volume control and mic switch, but we've seen far more inspired design solutions from Corsair and Sony at this price. It's awkward to have to look down and take yourself out of the game to fiddle with either, which is why Sennheiser's auto-muting mic arm, which shuts off when pushed up, is such a good idea. A volume control on the headset itself would also be good.
CM Storm has missed a good few tricks from rival manufacturers, and the Sonuz lacks anything distinct to shout about, beyond its detachable mic arm. Although we've harped on about it like it pumps hydrochloric acid into your ears, it's important to clarify that the Sonuz is a solid and functional set of cans, and feels unlikely to break any time soon.
But when you're browsing the market and find Creative's Tactic 3D Alpha for just over £40 and Corsair's Vengeance 1300 for under £60, you'd be a fool to opt for this instead.