Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset: AW988 Review @ [H]

FrgMstr

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Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset: AW988 Review

We have spent the last few days living with the Alienware AW988 headset perched on our head and have gotten a very good idea of what the first headset from Alienware in nine years is all about. We gamed, we watched movies, and we listened to a lot of music. We tell you how it did and all the features and build quality.
 

dragonstongue

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how is the background ambient noise isolation?

is the sound quality more bassy or treble rich sort of speak?

14 hour "play time" is quite good, shame they did not go a chunk higher say like an 1800 or 2200 Mah battery instead of only 1200 (basically using a PS DS3-4 battery, hell it is lower than my iphone 4 at 1400 ^.^, but I suppose considering this, they pulled of a wee bit of magic to make it last 14 hours)

is this with volume maxes out, full bass or whatever?

thanks for the review though, much appreciated sir Kyle o7
 

Mchart

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Looks like a decent product, but closed back headphones aren’t my thing. The sound staging just never compares to open back headphones.
 

sirmonkey1985

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are you able to change the voice alerts to beep notifications like you can with corsair? because like alienware they have the same annoying digital female voice notifications on by default.
 
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Sucks about the comfort. I think I'll stick with my HyperX Cloud 2 till something magical comes along, the velour ear cups are like pillows on my head.
 

FrgMstr

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how is the background ambient noise isolation?

is the sound quality more bassy or treble rich sort of speak?

14 hour "play time" is quite good, shame they did not go a chunk higher say like an 1800 or 2200 Mah battery instead of only 1200 (basically using a PS DS3-4 battery, hell it is lower than my iphone 4 at 1400 ^.^, but I suppose considering this, they pulled of a wee bit of magic to make it last 14 hours)

is this with volume maxes out, full bass or whatever?
Background noise isolation is very good. You have to take these off to have a conversation for the most part.

I would say these push more towards the treble side.

No, it is not full of bass maxed out. They sound great with the volume maxed out, it is not as if they get distorted at full volume.

are you able to change the voice alerts to beep notifications like you can with corsair? because like alienware they have the same annoying digital female voice notifications on by default.
No, the voice alerts are on the logic in the headset, and not fed through the AHC application. I found nowhere to turn these off. The voice on the Corsair is very pleasant, where these are more rough.

Are the batteries replaceable?
To my knowledge no, it is not advertised as such, and I have not taken these apart. But I would guess you could without much effort if you wanted to. Not sure it the battery is socketed or soldered. I would guess soldered.
 

FrgMstr

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My only fear is the batteries shit the bed in 3 years, and you are out buying a whole new headset once again. I'm trying to stay away from disposable tech as much as possible. Thank you for the answer Kyle. Much appreciated..
Just opened this up to see how "easy" it would be to get to the battery, and it would require a good bit of work. Actually just about surgery on these. So no, the battery is NOT replaceable.
 

trick_m0nkey

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As impressive as these seem spec wise, I can't stand how they look. Thanks for the review though....I would love to see more headset reviews.
 

FrgMstr

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Yeah, these are not coming apart easily without cutting some wires to get to the battery housing.

IMG_20180613_104928.jpg
 

Meeho

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How do these compare to Creative and Xonar headphone surround solutions?
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I have never been able to tell the difference in positional audio between a so called 5.1 or 7.1 headset and a good old fashioned 2 channel headset.

My choice has always been to use a mid range 2 channel audiophile set of headphones and a separate mic instead, as I've liked the sound better.

It's been a while since I listened to one of these gaming surround sets though. Maybe I should give them another try.
 
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FrgMstr

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I have never been able to tell the difference in positional audio between a so called 5.1 or 7.1 headset and a good old fashioned 2 channel headset.
Have not tested an 5.1. 7.1 and stereo is of HUGE difference in Hunt Showdown when it comes to locational presence and figuring out where the sound is coming from IMO.
 

Jim Kim

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Thing is, back when I was doing a ton of multiplayer FPS gaming in the pre-Source days I could fairly accurate follow an players footsteps across my screen with my eyes closed while using nothing but a set of stereo headphones.

Positional audio seems to have suffered since then, at least for me. I just thought that the audio in games wasn't done as well as it used to be, but I am not sure.

What I don't understand is why - in a mod for the old goldsource engine positional audio was perfect with stereo, and today one needs a multichannel headset.

Something just doesn't make sense to me.
I think you'll find the reason here https://www.hardocp.com/news/2017/02/10/who_killed_pc_audio_will_soundcards_ever_be_thing_again63

tldr it's Microsofts fault
 

Maxx

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Positional audio seems to have suffered since then, at least for me. I just thought that the audio in games wasn't done as well as it used to be, but I am not sure.

I use Rainbow Six Siege for audio testing. It has fantastic audio design if you have good hearing (although it doesn't work how people may expect). 7.1 these days is all virtual/software and so not really very good. I used to use it on my Razer Kraken in RB6 and thought it worked reasonably well, but stereo on my Void Pro is easily an equal to it if not superior. In fact I'd say software 7.1 on a headset does more harm than good in the vast majority of games (certainly if you're USB and not 3.5) but you're right to suggest stereo positional audio isn't great in many titles.
 
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FrgMstr

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I use Rainbow Six Siege for audio testing. It has fantastic audio design if you have good hearing (although it doesn't work how people may expect). 7.1 these days is all virtual/software and so not really very good. I used to use it on my Razer Kraken in RB6 and thought it worked reasonably well, but stereo on my Void Pro is easily an equal to it if not superior. In fact I'd say software 7.1 on a headset does more harm than good in the vast majority of games (certainly if you're USB and not 3.5) but you're right to suggest stereo positional audio isn't great in many titles.
Been using Void Pro for Hunt for months now.
 

FrgMstr

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Yes, I read your review for the HS70 and noted your comparisons to the Void Pro (I also posted in that thread). I unfortunately have not played Hunt but every software 7.1 solution is a bit different (I mentioned Razer's since their Surround is well-known and supports any headset) and it also depends on the game. I agree with your findings on sound, too; the 40mm drivers used in many wireless headsets (helps power draw a bit), like my previous Plantronics 7.1 RIG, tend to not be as loud and lean towards treble as compared to the 50s on say, Void Pro or Kraken 7.1. I've seen people swear by 7.1 for games like PUBG so who knows; RB6's audio engine is unique in that it mimics waves bouncing through open spaces/surfaces so it works best with stereo.
I actually bought two Void (non pro) wireless headsets when Corsair had them on sale the other day. I should plug one of those in and give it a go with Hunt.
 

Zuul

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eeeeeehhhhhhh....yes the AW. Got the top of the line 2010. Worth the $3000 at the time? Oh hell yeah for a few months. Then I started to think about family and it turns the damn thing boils mah ballsack
 

shpankey

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I was all set to buy this and then read how they don't get loud enough over and over. I just can't let that one go. Maybe Sennheiser has something comparable.
 
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eeeeeehhhhhhh....yes the AW. Got the top of the line 2010. Worth the $3000 at the time? Oh hell yeah for a few months. Then I started to think about family and it turns the damn thing boils mah ballsack

Been there done that, got the tshirt, hat, pen, was gunna also say the mug, but I think I was it for buying an Aurora 7500 that only worked 8 months later.

The trials and tribulations of wasting insane amounts of money on a fucking computer that would cost tree fiddy if I built it myself.

This is how websites like this are here, to edumacate everyone to stay the fuck away from over priced shit that has leds < no leds back in the early 2000s, dont think they were invented then.

I am sure, if they were we would of been driven nuts 20 years ago, instead of just the last 8.

< Noes that leds were invented in not just another decade, not another century, but another millenium = special, just like me.
 
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Seyumi

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I got these headphones for my sons Alienware setup. They’re pretty abysmal especially for the $200 price tag. They look nice and I like the wireless but these don’t sound much better than bargain bin “gamerz” headsets at Walmart or something. Primary complaints include:

-Max volume is quite low. Max volume is like the "normal" volume I would use while gaming.
-Sound seems a bit muffled / muddy. Basically sounds as low budget as you can get.
-Not much soundstage with these. No sense of immersion at all.
-Bass isn't great. Sound just gets more distorted the more bass.

And yes I messed around with the settings on the Alienware Command Center. I don't think they're defective or anything. I have some Asus "gamerz" headphones that cost around $170 new. They sound better in almost every aspect but not like a night-and-day difference or anything. (more clear, better soundstage, better / tighter bass, gets louder, etc.)
 
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