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Review: SteelSeries Spectrum 5XB Gaming Headset -Xbox 360

by Steven Williamson on 14 April 2011, 16:32 4.5

Tags: SteelSeries

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Perfect for team-based multiplayer gaming

As a particularly lazy gamer; the kind who expects to just switch things on and have them work immediately out of the box without having to refer to a manual, I was soon a little bit disappointed to discover that there is a little bit of fiddling around with the 5XB before you can set things up effectively. It's worth the minor hassle though. To set things up, it’s a case of plugging the black plastic, half-circle-shaped AudioMixer into the base of your Xbox 360 controller - like you would do with an official headset - and then inserting the pink and green headphone jacks that trail from the left cup of the headset into the base of the mixer. Plug the USB lead into the console and then check via the Xbox 360 dashboard that you've got your audio set-up to be received via a headset and not out of the T.V.

Usually that's it - the headset is plugged in and you're ready to get on with your gaming. With the 5XB though, there's the AudioMixer to take into account. The LiveMix feature on the AudioMixer, which slots tightly and sturdily into your Xbox 360 controller, is an absolutely brilliant addition to the headset. On either side of the mixer you have two volume controls, one for voice and the other for game. On the front of the mixer, there’s a switch allowing you to turn the mic on and off; and on the back you can turn the LiveMix feature on and off. When you turn the LiveMix feature on, it lowers the volume of the game automatically so that you can hear your team-mates crystal clear rather than the in-game effects.

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This has turned out to be invaluable for me in games like Call of Duty Black Ops, where an explosion, or a barrage of gun-fire, can drown out the voices of team-mates. LiveMix automatically senses that you're speaking so adjusts the game volume for you. Alternatively, you can set your own volumes before the game, or on the fly, or turn LiveMix off completely. Considering SteelSeries is new to console headsets, it's testament to its research that it has even beaten MadCatz to the market by offering an additional feature that is perfect for those who play competitive, team-based games online. Having played the likes of Black Ops, Halo Reach and Homefront over the last month or so, the LiveMix feature has proven to be an important tool that has enhanced my multiplayer experience.

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