The arrival on the market of PlayStation 5 has delivered in the hands of players all over the world not only the next-gen with exclusive annexes and multi-platform titles able to exploit, more or less, the new Sony flagship, but also the inevitable batch of new official accessories to use at the better the console. Among these, the brand new Sony Pulse 3D subject of this review: a pair of wireless headphones that can also be used in wired mode, which aim to take advantage of the innovative PS3 5D audio managed by the console's Tempest Engine.
We therefore spent a handful of days with these headphones trying to test them with as many video games as possible but not limiting ourselves to verifying their operation only on PS5, but also going a little further and connecting them to PlayStation 4 and PC to evaluate the best possible way. quality of sound response and compatibility of this accessory.
The result of this test of ours is poured into the review you are reading: an in-depth article that highlights the numerous strengths of a headset that, leaving out a handful of defects mostly concerning the build quality, has really amazed us even and above all in function of the selling price.
Now follow us in ours Sony Pulse 3D wireless review for PS5.
As soon as they are taken out of their packaging it is immediately evident how the Sony Pulse 3D wireless design is a perfect extension of the aesthetic style adopted by PlayStation 5. The headphones are in fact presented with the upper arch and the external part of the speakers in the same very light gray as PS5 while the upper soft band and the inside of the speakers are instead colored black albeit with a matte, matte finish compared to the console's dark glossy inserts.
The trick of the double upper headband allowed Sony to find a perfect compromise between constructive quality, aesthetic impact e comfort since the plastic part is never directly in contact with the head. The headphones rest and take place through the slightly elastic rubber band on the top. This allows you to have an acceptable adjustment of the height of the speakers and at the same time helps to unload the weight of the headphones on the whole top of the head without there being a single point of contact.
Even the ear cups are made with an eye on comfort. They are filled with a soft but consistent sponge and covered with a synthetic leather that is particularly pleasant to the touch and not exaggeratedly subject to the typical overheating of this material when of poor quality. Clearly we are not faced with a fresh headset given its ability to coat and incorporate the entire surface of the ears, but the compromise is absolutely pleasant even for long gaming sessions.
Among other things, the design choice of making two perfectly round ear cups is interesting, able to house small and medium-sized ears (those with very large ears may find the external perimeter of the headphones a bit annoying) and to return a depth of housing above average. The consequence of this particular conformation is in the perfectly regular shape of the headphones and in a decidedly reduced size, considering the complete coverage of the ears.
Wanting to look for a weak point of the Pulse 3D as regards their design is the choice of using poorly made plastics both for what concerns the external structure and the upper arch, and for the components relating to the buttons and volume controls. . To the touch, therefore, a fairly cheap build quality is perceived, on the other hand to propose that sale price somewhere you had to save, and the headphone seems to flex a lot when gripped while the junction points between the bow and the speakers do not return a great feeling of resistance.
Going into the details of the specifications of the Sony Pulse wireless 3D for PS5, the headphones weigh 295 grams and feature two 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets, one per speaker. We are therefore average in terms of weight (perhaps a little below), while we would have expected a little more in terms of the size of the speakers, especially in relation to the large space offered by the round pavilions.
Put your controls they are located on the perimeter of the left speaker and, in order, we find the button to manage the audio mixing between the volume in game and the chat, a switch to activate the monitoring of the audio of your microphone so as to listen to what the mic perceives , the button for adjusting the volume, the one to deactivate the microphone, the USB Type C port for battery charging, the 3.5mm mini-jack port and the power button.
On the external side of the speaker we also find a small rectangular LED that indicates the power on and pairing status of the headset and possibly its being recharged. To be honest we are not very convinced of the positioning of this light, since it is really difficult to see being placed just below the junction point between the speaker and the bow.
On the left pavilion we also find the 2 microphone holes, one very high above the first button and one instead mirrored at the bottom after the power switch. In this way the headset is able to pick up both ambient noise and one's voice without the aid of the usual rod that comes out of the gaming headset. At first glance, the Pulse 3D could in fact be easily mistaken for simple listening headphones and we really appreciated this aesthetic choice by Sony.
However, there is, inevitably, a downside since the absence of a directional microphone a few centimeters from the mouth leads to greater background noise and, above all, the inevitable acquisition of audio from the environment. Headphones partially dampen this issue through some sort of noise reduction that actually looks more like a mix of ambient audio in an attempt to make it lower than the volume of your voice. But clearly when you are silent, the headphones record all the voices and noises that surround us and transmit them to matchmates without any kind of filter.
But the most important peculiarity of the wireless Pulse 3D is clearly the wireless nature of these headphones that make them particularly versatile and perfectly suited to the needs of a console gamer. Inside the product package we find in fact a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi dongle that serves to manage the wireless connection and can be inserted into any USB port of PS5 and PS4, but also of a PC or Mac. The real strong point is the incredible ease of configuration and use of these headphones that perfectly reflect the now ancient concept of plug & play. Once you have connected the dongle and turned on the headphones, you will not need to do anything else: the console changes the audio output on the fly in a completely automatic and invisible way and everything will work perfectly.
All the configuration of the listening volumes and the microphone passes from the official settings of PS5 or the operating system on PC and Mac, but unfortunately at the moment there is no real advanced equalization management through an official and dedicated application.
Compatibility is absolute even on PC and Mac, including microphone, even if you lose the most advanced features such as audio mixing between game and chat and mic monitoring, but in terms of installation and use, everything happens in an immediate and problem-free way. At any time it is always possible to use the mini-jack cable included, also in the package, to connect the Pulse 3D to any source equipped with this connection, including the DualSense (but also the Xbox pad) to switch on the fly from the mode wireless to wired. In this way the headphones no longer consume the internal battery but are powered by the pad (always keep this in mind) or by the computer and this makes it possible to use them even when, for example, we have downloaded them during a long gaming session.
But clearly the most advertised feature of these Pulse 3D is their full compatibility and, indeed, the specific design to make the most of thePS3 5D audio managed and powered by Tempest Engine.
For information, we take this opportunity to remind you that this three-dimensional audio is actually experimentable with any stereo headset connected to the DualSense via cable and, at the moment, it is supported only by the exclusive PlayStation 5 arrived on the market: Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (and the remastered of the original Marvel's Spider-Man), Demon's Souls, Astro's Playroom and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. The peculiarity of the Pulse 3D is the ability to listen to 3D audio even wirelessly, with the headphones physically disconnected from the console's joypad.
In terms of real user experience, the positional effect is certainly enhanced and increased compared to simple stereo earphones and very close to the acoustic quality offered by stereo headphones with full coverage of the pavilion that cost more than double. However, a certain weakness remains in the positioning of the front or very lateral sounds but this is clearly a limitation of the Tempest Engine, not of these headphones, and it is inevitable that multi-channel solutions such as Dolby, DTS and Atmos manage to be more striking on this front. However, it must be taken into consideration that the PS3's 5D audio is compatible with any stereo headset and does not require special certifications. From this point of view we can only praise the work done by Sony.
Where the Pulse 3D seem to suffer a little, however, is in the precision of the basses that have always appeared to us to be very oversized and too muffled, probably in an attempt to appear more powerful and expanded. The yield, on the other hand, is absolutely excellent, both in terms of volumes and precision, of the mids and highs, particularly lively even when listening to music and films. We were not surprised either by the autonomy of the headphones: according to Sony's statements it should be around 12 hours but, from our point of view, we are closer to a maximum of 10 hours. Notwithstanding that, as explained above, the headphones can easily be used in wired mode or recharged during use through the USB Type C - USB Type A cable included in the package.
The Pulse 3D wireless for PS5 have absolutely convinced us: they have excellent acoustic performance, work perfectly with the 3D audio of the console both in wired and wireless mode and, above all, they are configured and used in an instant without creating the slightest headache. And they are also compatible with PC and Mac. Here and there you can see some elements on which Sony has saved to keep the production cost of this product low, first of all the plastic used for the upper headband and buttons but, we want to be clear : with this quality / price ratio it is impossible to find a competitor of equal value.
- They work perfectly and easily both wired and wireless
- The price is incredibly competitive
- Excellent sound accuracy
- Not excellent plastics, especially in the buttons
- Something more could be done for autonomy