Cooler Master is at it again adding more and more peripherals to its CM Storm lineup. CM Storm is Cooler Master’s gaming themed class of peripherals. In the past Cooler Master has been known for their large selection of heat sink fan assemblies, however fairly recently they have jumped head first into the peripheral world. So far they have done quite good for themselves. The CM Storm lineup of keyboards including the Quickfire Rapid and the Trigger have been some of the best keyboards we have had the pleasure of reviewing. On paper the CM Storm Pulse-R gaming headset looks impressive. At a glance it features an aluminum construction, 42mm drivers, white accent LED illumination, and slide volume and mic controls. It’s design and construction really sets this headset apart from the rest. But enough talk, lets get into the review!
Features and Specifications
We established on the previous page that the CM Storm Pulse-R looks just as good visually as it does on paper. It’s pretty rare to find a headset with an aluminum construction especially at this price range. Apparently the aluminum plating can be removed allowing users to customize, or mod the headset as they see fit. This might appeal to all you modders out there. You know who you are.
|Connector||3.5mm headphone jack|
|Cable Length||3m Removable Cable|
|Frequency Response||100 Hz – 10000 Hz|
|Sensitivity||-42 ± 3dB (0dB = 1V/pa.1KHz)|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||60dB or more|
|Removable Mic||Volume control and Mic mute|
MSRP for the Pulse-R is $89.99 at the current time of writing this article. This puts it in the mid-high end class of gaming headsets.
A Closer Look
I’ll start with packaging. As you can see below, the Pulse-R was delivered in a nicely designed thick cardboard box. The box is made from thick dense cardboard and should house the precious contents nicely. Upon opening the container you are instantly greeted by the headset and microphone housed in a custom molded plastic housing. This housing does a great job at keeping it from moving around especially during shipping.
The contents of the package include about what you would expect: the headset (of course), the detachable microphone, the detachable cable, and the setup manual and warranty pamphlet. Feel free to glance through the manual as it does have a lot of helpful information as far as features and setup go.
Of all that’s included, lets start with the headset by itself. Upon first examination, the Pulse-R feels fantastic. It feels slightly heavier, giving it a sense of quality. It also feels very solid in my hands. Parts aren’t clunking around as I handle it or play with the adjustments. The plastic used in the construction is thick and dense which is probably what is giving it the sense of quality, paired with the aluminum obviously. The one thing I was very glad to see was the lack of shiny gloss plastic. On some applications it is fine, but on any peripheral I can’t stand it. It gets dirty, always looks oily, and difficult to clean and maintain; which is probably just my pickyness and why I detest stainless steel appliances.
But anyways, moving on to the earpieces. I’m not sure exactly what material Cooler Master used on the cushion, but it feels like a soft, thin “pleather.” Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t feel cheap by any means, it just doesn’t feel like leather, though it looks like it. As far as comfort goes, the Pulse-R is stellar. Each ear is height adjustable. The also have the ability to rotate making this headset even more comfortable depending on the shape of your head.
Next up, we’ve got the microphone. This piece snaps in right into the bottom of the Pulse-R’s left earpiece. This is very handy depending on what your needs are with this headset. If all you feel like doing is kicking back and listening to music, then what would you need a mic for? But during the heat of battle during your favorite MMO or FPS game, the mic is a must.
Finally we’ve got the removable cable. This plugs into the left earpiece just behind the mic plug. It snaps in pretty tight so you won’t have to worry about it falling out. The cable is three meters long which should is definitely long enough for PC gaming use. The cable is braided which improves the durability factor exponentially. At the opposite end of the cable we end at the audio and mic jacks which connect to the headphones and mic ports on your computer. There is also a USB cable used to provide power for the headset’s accent lighting.
The volume remote located about two feet down the cable from the Pulse-R has the capability to mute the microphone as well as adjust the headset’s volume level. This remote is unique because the volume is adjusted by sliding the larger ‘slider’ back and forth. There are some advantages and disadvantages to this. The advantage is that it is nice and simple and making drastic changes in volume quickly is easy. The disadvantage is that it is ultra sensitive. It was difficult to slide the mic on-off switch above it without sliding the volume slider out of position.
The accent lights on the Pulse-R are one of my favorite features. Normally I am not one for flashy lights and bright colors on all my computer components and peripherals, but this was different. The lights are pure white and not overpowering. The headset has lights just behind the aluminum housing on each earpiece and one in the mic. The light in the mic was an excellent addition because it is only on when the mice is turned on via the remote. It’s just a nice visual indicator to tell you whether people can hear you or not. Additionally there is another white light inside the remote.
Performance and Conclusion
The CM Storm Pulse-R was tested in three unique environments: music, movies, and gaming. Each of these environments has something unique to offer so lets see just how well the headset did in each.
Music – The audio quality of the Pulse-R for music was fantastic. The bass was low but not so overpowering that it became annoying, and the highs were sharp and crisp. Once I started listening to music, I couldn’t stop because I was so impressed with the quality that I had to listen to more and more my favorite songs just to see how they sounded.
Movies – In my opinion, headsets and movies don’t mix well. Mostly mostly because I rarely travel and I prefer watching them at home with a loud home theater setup. I went into this test not expecting much but it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. Movies with DTS or AC3 sound made this headset really work it’s magic. Voices came in incredibly clear and crisp, while sound effects sounded fantastic.
Gaming – My gaming experience was probably identical to that of my movie testing experience. The first game I chose was Battlefield: Bad Company 2 because I have always been impressed with the depth of audio of that game. Again, similar to movies, voices came in incredibly clear. Gunfire and explosions came in nice and deep letting you hear the full potential of the 42mm drivers.
Overall I’d have to say that of the three tests, the music test stood out the most. Even at max volume, the Pulse-R was able to deliver undistorted, crystal clear sound.
The Pulse-R by CM-Storm was an all around amazing headset. It’s construction was solid, and it was packed with features that the pickiest of gamer would love to have built into a headset. CM-Storm managed to pull this off while making it look good as well. The accent lights were a terrific touch and make this headset stand out from the crowd.
- Appearance: No problems here. The Pulse-R is the best looking headset I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. The accent lights were an excellent touch, and the matte plastic and aluminum finish blend well together. 20/20
- Construction: Yet another strong point for the Pulse-R. The headset as a whole was firm and heavy. Thick plastic and aluminum take up most of the construction. In addition to that the cable is braided giving it even more durability. 20/20
- Performance: For gaming, music, and movies, the Pulse-R did quite well. Voices in each sounded crisp and clear with no distortion even at high volumes. 18/20
- Functionality: CM-Storm did an excellent job packing this headset full of features, the microphone light probably being my favorite. The cables and mic are detachable. And lastly, the two-way comfort adjustments were a nice added touch. My only gripe in this category is the awkwardness of the volume remote. It’s just too sensitive and it’s hard not to change the volume when turning the mic on and off. 17/20
- Value: The current MSRP for the this headset is $89.99. As far as gaming headsets go, this one sits right in the middle of the low to high end gaming headset range. Considering the features, construction, and sound quality the Pulse-R offers, I wouldn’t look any further. The Pulse-R is a fantastic headset for the price 19/20