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My husband needed a new headset a couple of months ago, and since I handle the money he asked me to simply find him a comfortable set that fell within our budget. Seeing as that the budget is nearly non-existent, this was quite a task to tackle. Being a long-time gamer I've gone through a lot of headsets; some good experiences, some bad.
Shopping around on Newegg, my goal was to find a set that covered the whole ear, had good reviews for comfort and quality, were under $40, and didn't look like something that would fall apart in two weeks. If you've ever done serious shopping for a headset (and I mean serious as in "you're going to be wearing them at least 8 hours a day") then you know as well as I did what a tall order that is to fill.
After (literally) hours of search, I happened upon the Koss SB45 circumaural headset and can joyfully say that after three months of near-constant use they perform as perfectly as they day I got them. Let's look at this surprising find in a little more detail.
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Appearance and FunctionRating
The KOSS SB45 circumaural headset may not be the prettiest girl that came to the party, but it is definitely the one you want to go home with. That isn't to say that this headset is ugly - far from it - it merely lacks any kind of show or flash. It does its job and manages to look nondescript while doing it. Functionally, this headset has everything you need, including a lengthy 8 ft cord. The top band is adjustable and does a good job maintaining the setting you want it on. The earphones completely surround the ear, cancelling out background noise and providing a high degree of comfort. The band is similarly padded for added comfort for long use sessions. The microphone can be set in an up and out of the way position or down by the mouth when in use. It sets firmly in place and isn't adjustable, though KOSS did a good job at finding a decent one-size-fits-all distance. For storage or transportation, the large ear pieces fold in to compact the entire unit.
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Sound and Voice QualityRating
For the small amount of money I paid for these, I definitely wasn't expecting to be absolutely floored by the sound quality. As it turns out, I - in fact - was a lot more impressed than I thought I would be. The KOSS SB45 headset manages to capture several layers of strikingly clear audio and distribute it evenly throughout the large earphones. This results in a truly immersive audio experience. Of course, they're not going to measure up to 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound capable headsets, but are incredible performers for the price.
Through extensive VOIP and Ventrilo use, my husband and I have both verified that the sound quality is excellent, despite the non-adjustable microphone. The microphone does a great job of eliminating background noise and white noise, and doesn't have any problems with muffled speech or static.
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Comfort and Wearability for Extensive UseRating
Another department in which this headset shines brightly is in how comfortable it is to wear, even for eight or more hours straight. The headphones don't cause your ears to get clammy, don't put excessive or painful pressure on the top or sides of your head, and don't crush or contort your ears. More than once I've worn them continuously for four and more hours, but my husband wears them at least that long every single day. Neither of us has ever experienced any discomfort or annoyance when wearing this headset.
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My biggest worry when buying this headset was that it was going to break very quickly and easily. Every headset I have ever had, excluding my current Turtle Beach set, has broken within six months with standard use to the point that they were unusable. Through reading the comments on Newegg, however, it was repeatedly impressed upon me that this headset was built to last, with owners of several months proudly stating the perfect condition of their own set.
I've had my set for around three months now, and can echo those reviewer's sentiments. I've noticed no wear on the cord or plug sleeves, the foam doesn't appear worn or broken down, and the plastic is neither marred nor brittle looking. All in all, this headset looks and functions as well as the day I got it.
Now, all throughout this article I've been saying what an incredible value this headset is, but havn't mentioned the price.
This amazing headset can be had for only $30.00 on Newegg.com