I began my review of the Plantronics GameCom 777 headphones in a flawed manner. I happen to work with studio-grade headphones quite often, and tend to look for things such as clarity, frequency range, and absolute flat response to help me work better. I ended up being dissatisfied, until I reminded myself who the target audience was.
Though the above-mentioned characteristics are important to a gamer, he is also looking for a rich experience. At least I am. I don't use my studio headphones all the time; at home, I enjoy my music, movies and games on commercial headphones that tend to colour the audio, thus making my listening experience unique. Armed with this new approach, I decided to test these cans and see if they could pass my eagle eyes and bat ears.
Design And Build The packaging is slick. It comes in a well-designed, sturdy box that gives you a glimpse of the headphones through a plastic screen. The package includes a plug-and-play USB soundcard and the headphones, with a 6.5 foot long cable running through a tiny volume \ mic control unit. The soundcard has a surround sound switch, indicated by a blue LED strip that glows when activated. The mic boom is a sleek strip of plastic and sits snugly inside the headphone body when not in use.
The headphones are made of chunky plastic and it look like they could survive a punch with the Gauntlet of Zeus. However, like all other things in the universe, it is only as strong as its weakest link. The tiny strips of plastic that attach the cans to the upper piece are surprisingly thin. Unless you're a tad careful, they could break quite easily. Not the best idea when you're dealing with gamers who like to throw their headphones at the screen when they get their butts handed to them online.
Sometimes our greatest strength comes from our weakness. But not in this case.
Putting on the headphones was like climbing into bed after a long, hard week. They envelope you, give you a hug, and make you feel warm and fuzzy. The padding is soft, there is adequate space for your ears inside, the cans have vents, and they're definitely a lot cooler than a lot of other headphones I've tried. However, I tried them out with the air-conditioner running, and I don't know how comfortable they'd be in your average hot, sweaty gaming cafe. I'd expect the thick cushioning to make you sweat in that case.
Performance I decided to test the headphones with some music first. I chose a Metal track, an Electronica track, a Rap song, and a mix by a DJ friend; a song that he claimed shook the very foundations of his club.
The Metal song was strictly ok. I immediately noted that the lows were mild but clear, with more focus on the mids and highs. The ambient Electronica track fared much better though. Everything could be heard clearly, and the samples played with a lovely texture. The Rap song really stood out, because you could hear every word the vocalist spat out. The vocals were uber-clear on all the tracks.
Then came the bass-heavy mix track. Simply put, it was disappointing. Though the bass didn't take the muddy road that most headphones today take, it didn't quite have the punch I expected. Turning up the bass on my player's equalizer seemed to make it boom, so this was as good as the lows would get.
The cans would disappoint this man.
I would, however, like to point out that these headphones do a great job of showing you how crappy MP3 files truly are. The muddiness \ general lifelessness really stood out with these headphones, which instantly made me like them. I ran them through recording software using a well-balanced audio track, and found a few areas of the frequency spectrum that they didn't really cover; but that's alright, as long as it accentuates certain other areas of the spectrum.