As with all headsets I test, I evaluated the Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum’s performance in three major criteria: Ergonomics, functionality, and sound quality. I feel that these are the most important points to appraise when it comes to this type of equipment.
Ergonomically it is quite good. It sits on my head quite comfortably. If anything, the headband might be just a tad too forgiving. Exaggerated head movements will send this headset sliding off my head; headbangers, particularly if your head is smaller than mine, may find the fit too loose. The padding both on the headband and on the ear cups, though, is high-quality stuff. You can keep the G633 Artemis Spectrum on your head for hours and hours without fear of fatigue.
In terms of functionality, the G633 shines like few others I’ve tested.
Because it is a dual-mode headset, I tested the G633 both as a stereo headset – which is what it is when it’s in 3.5mm mode – and as a surround sound headset. It changes character depending on which mode you’re using it in.
Let’s start with it in 3.5mm mode.
I used the G633 Artemis Spectrum in 3.5mm mode on both my cell phone as well as on my PC. With my cell phone, of course, you can use it not just as a set of headphones, but as a true headset (i.e., headphones + microphone). I was able to use it to control my phone’s media player functions, pausing and playing music with it using the in-line control pod. Moreover, I used it answering phone calls as well.
When hooked up to a PC in 3.5mm mode, the G633 is strictly a stereo headset. Not that that’s a bad thing. I prefer my music delivered in stereo anyway, and the G633’s performance as a stereo headset did not reveal any nasty surprises. Tracks that have distinct left-right panning mixes played back with good separation in the channels.
Having said that, the sound signature is decidedly on the cold side in stereo. Compared to something like my daily driver Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro, the G633’s audio sounds thin and a bit tinny. Given that the drivers are 40mm, perhaps that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Many of its competitors have bigger drivers, after all. For example, the last gaming headset I tested, which has a feature set very similar to the G633’s, is equipped with 53mm drivers.
Hook this thing up to a free USB connector, though, and the G633 transforms into something else. For one thing, you get lighting effects. Not that that’s important to someone like me, but it’s worth mentioning. Gamers, after all, love their bling.
More importantly, though, USB mode makes this a surround sound headset. Though the output is simulated surround sound (you just cannot get true surround sound in headphones), the effect is pleasing, particularly if you’re patient enough to tweak the levels in the side and rear channels. When I tested this in FPS games, I found that boosting the side and rear channels and lowering the front channels gave me the “unfair advantage” gamers would want: No one can sneak up from behind or from your blind sides.
Having said that, while spatial sound reproduction is good, the sound quality is still limited by the hardware. Simulated surround sound splits the audio signal, so in the G633, smallish drivers delivering divided signals make the output signal even smaller. The bass feels meek, no matter how much you tweak the sound settings; the mids, too, feel inadequate. As it was in stereo mode, the sound is just thin. I think the drivers are just way too small for a truly satisfying audio experience.
While this is a sobering negative, at least Logitech can be proud of the solid integration between its hardware and the LGS. Whether it’s tweaking the lighting effects or configuring the graphic equalizer for the best possible sound output, the LGS is ultra-responsive.
Let’s finish things up.
I hate to say it, but Logitech fails to live up to the godly aspirations it set for itself by naming this headset after a Greek goddess.
It’s not quite “audiophile-quality” audio. I mean, it’s not even as good as some of its market competitors that have been on sale for many months now.
Strangely enough, the G633 Artemis Spectrum RGB 7.1 Surround Sound headset is let down by its hardware specification. While the mic works well enough and it performs as a dual-mode (3.5mm/USB) headset as designed, the sound quality is such a huge letdown. I truly believe that the 40mm drivers just are way too small to deliver on Logitech’s lofty promises.
Not that numbers are the end-all/be-all to anything. The Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro is equipped with 45mm drivers, but it sounds gigantic compared to the G633. Granted, the DT880 Pro is an entirely different class of audio equipment, but to put things into an appropriate context, 40mm drivers really are tiny compared to the 53mm drivers from another gaming headset with a similar feature set as the G633.
Another niggle I’d mention is the somewhat loose fit of the headband. I’ve said often that my melon is probably bigger than many other people’s, so it’s somewhat disconcerting to find the headband fit to be how it is. I mean, how would it fit on someone with a smaller head than mine? Kind of scary.
These are somewhat strange observations given Logitech’s excellent and well-earned reputation for excellence. It’s not often when I find Logitech dropping the ball in such obvious ways.
On the plus side, the G633 Artemis Spectrum works well with its software component. The LGS remains the best software for gaming peripherals that I’ve used, and it helps cover up some of the G633’s limitations. The responsiveness of the hardware to tweaks to the software is impressive as always.
But it doesn’t eliminate the issues.
The $149.99 MSRP doesn’t help, either. That’s a fairly steep price for what is an adequate stereo gaming headset that also functions in 3.5mm mode; it’s nothing near fair for a product that delivers sub-par sound quality, even if that sound quality improves a bit when used in USB mode and in surround sound.
Sorry, Logitech. I think you’d better summon the powers of Artemis and keep on hunting for a better 7.1 surround sound headset design.
- Good-looking visual design.
- Comfortable – if somewhat loose – fit.
- Superb versatility and functionality.
- LGS integration.
- Dual 3.5mm/USB mode.
- Surround sound capability.
- Poor sound quality.
- Questionable value given price and performance.