by J.D. Kane on August 1, 2012 in Audio & Media, Peripherals
Cooler Master impressed us with its Sirus surround-sound headset last fall so much that we slapped an Editor’s Choice award on it. But what about those folks who prefer their audio to be in stereo? Well, CM has answered the call and the result is Sonuz. Let’s check it out, and see if it can impress us like the Sirus managed.
Ever since Cooler Master released its first headset last year, the CM Storm Sirus, folks have been wondering what the company would do for an encore. After all, the 5.1 surround sound Sirus earned a Techgage Editor’s Choice award when our own Ryan Perry reviewed it last October. Now, nearly a year later, the company has introduced Sonuz.
Sonuz is an interesting but logical follow-up to Sirus. Where the Sirus is a 5.1 surround sound headset, the Sonuz is purely stereo. Many gamers may like their games in surround sound, but there are people like me who strongly prefer stereo for different reasons. For music, I know I only want stereo – as most would. With the Sonuz, then, fans of the CM Storm brand now have more choice (never a bad thing).
Let’s get acquainted with the Sonuz, then, shall we?
Like its CM Storm sister, the Sirus, the Sonuz is clad all in various shades of matte gray, with some smart black accents. Visually, there is less variation in the Sonuz’s coloration compared to the Sirus’; the gray monochromatic presentation is austere yet very stylish and the color scheme conveys the impression that this is not a gimmicky piece of kit.
But it’s not just the color scheme that helps sell that impression. The Sonuz’s styling is as much a part of that equation. The earcups are somewhat egg-shaped, wide at the bottom and narrowing towards the top; they rise up towards the headband in a gentle sweep of a curve. The forward-swept contour is distinctive and dynamic, like a well-styled sports car.
Emblazoned proudly on the outside of both earcups is the CM Storm logo. Unlike the Sirus, the branding does not light up when the Sonuz is plugged in. This stays consistent with the austerity of the Sonuz’s design – thus far there is nothing garish about this newest CM Storm headset.
Like most wired headphones/headsets I know about, the Sonuz’s cable dangles out of the left earcup. The cable itself, an adequate 2m (78.74″) long, is wrapped in a really high-quality braided sleeve. About 0.41m (16″) down the cable’s length is the Sonuz’s in-line volume and microphone control. The volume can be precisely controlled from 100% loud to mute via a scrolling wheel, while the mic can be turned on or off with a two-position switch.
The cable terminates in dual 3.5mm plugs: the one with the light green rings (look closely in a good light â€“ Cooler Master’s coloration is too faint, unfortunately) is for the headphone-out jack, while the one with the pink rings is for the microphone-in jack. No adapters (some sound cards, for example, feature 6.3mm headphone-out jacks) are included with the Sonuz.
The Sonuz’s earcups incorporate 53mm (2.09″) drivers, which are fairly large for stereo headphones. The speakers are covered in detachable black foam pads, which are very comfortable even through extended use over several hours. The speakers are mounted on swivels which permit adequate movement, making it easy to find a comfortable fit. Adding to the user’s comfort is a patch of thin but adequate foam padding on the headband’s inner surface.
Perhaps the CM Storm Sonuz’s signature feature is its microphone. While the mic itself is not particularly remarkable, the ability for the user to plug it into either the left earcup or the right is. I personally cannot think of any other headset that has this capability, although to be perfectly honest, I still haven’t come up with a compelling or logical reason why this feature is necessary. Cooler Master helpfully provides two silicone plugs to cover whichever mic port is unused â€“ one is a spare, while the other is already installed out of the box.
Now that we’ve had a look at the Sonuz, let’s move on to testing.