Zalman is known worldwide for providing cooling solutions for Processors, VGA cards, hard disk drives and other chipsets. Their prime strength was mainly centred around CPU cooling solutions for AMD as well as Intel processors, until some time back when they pulled a rabbit out of the hat by offering the ZM-RS6F Theatre 6, the first real surround headphones.
When it comes to headphones, the normal stereo headphones have come a long way from being the simple 2-channel headphones to surround sound and the wireless ones, some even vibrate! The Dolby surround headphones basically simulate a 5.1 effect and aren't the real thing. The Zalman ZM-RS6F Theatre 6 is a "True" 5.1 headphone that is equipped with multiple drivers for a real 6-channel (5.1) effect. The product has been around in the international market for some time now and finally it's about to hit the Indian market, we were delighted to review it.
The 5.1 headphones can be used for computers equipped with a 5.1 soundcard, multi-channel home audio and video systems and DVD-based gaming consoles like the PS2 and Xbox. Users having the 4-point surround sound processors or soundcards can also take advantage of these real surround headphones; the only thing they will miss out on is the fifth/centre channel.
Architecture and Implementation
The first impression of the headphones is that of a futuristic headset, which you last saw in some sci-fi flick where the hero single handedly saves the world from extinction. Similarly these headphones are meant to single handedly give you a 5.1 effect as against the five separate satellites that normally do so. One look at them and you know that these aren't any ordinary headphones but something much more than that. The build quality is the best I have seen, easily as good if not better than the Bose or the Sennhiesers that I have come across. The materials used are top notch with heavy reinforcement wherever required. The high quality plastics do make the headphones a little heavy but it's manageable. The headband and the ear cups are cushioned very generously giving a very rich and classy feel to it.
As far as the architecture is concerned, each ear cup is composed of three separate drivers, two drivers in the centre take care of the front channels, while the two drivers placed a little behind the ears produce the rear channel effects. The two drivers in the front together make up for the centre channel. The separate driver architecture ensures the true 5.1 surround effects through the headphones. Hence the headphones can be used for a 5.1 channel source like the DTS movies on DVD and enjoy the 5.1 effects just like the way you would on a 5.1 speaker system.
As far as the comfort factor goes, these headphones are extremely comfortable with the soft cushioning of the ear pads ensuring maximum comfort. The adjustable headband makes sure that the headphones fit perfectly fine for everybody. The ear cups encircle the ears completely ensuring that it cuts out the outside noise and delivers a wholesome listening experience. The frequency response is in the range of 50 Hz - 20 KHz and the sound pressure level in decibels is 89 dB +/- 3 dB at 50mW.