Disclaimer: a young company representative sent these for review even though I told him I am not much of a gamer and suggested I could audition these based on audio quality more than I could comment on gaming. They are currently available through this outlet should you be interested.
Unboxing / Packaging:
The Sutai headset came in black cardboard box with the logo on front and and marketing slogan “gaming is a kind of attitude” down either side. It does not identify the product inside the box as a headphone, nor does it provide any specs about capabilities. If I walked past this package at a retail store, the logo would have caught my eye, but I can’t say I would have known what it was. Inside the box is the headset. a cloth bag for carry (again emblazoned with the logo and for the first time “High end gaming headset”. The headphones themselves do not rest in a tray and are loose in the box with the bag underneath. I would recommend at least putting the headset in the bag to provide some measure of protection in transit. The only other things are a QC inspection badge and a manual loosely translated into English with several questionable translations.
Build is mostly plastic with metal for the headband supports. Stress points are fairly heavy and thick so I would expect these to hold up well to average use. Clamping force is a bit high to start with but again, with the intended use being extended wear, I think it will lessen over time and is adjustable as the wire frame is fairly easily reshaped. Cups are on the large side depth wise but only slightly bigger than my ear on the inner so those with larger than average ears may find these to be as much an on-ear as an over-ear.
The Headset is listed as having 6 sound units on the card that came with it. It doesn’t say if that is total or per side so I took it apart as shown below. 3 per side includes the vibratory unit in addition to the sound producing ones. Pads snap off with gentle pressure and 4 small screws hold the plate in the cups so takedown is simple and pretty straight forward. Nominal impedance is listed as 32Ω with a sensitivity of 100-150dB/mW (straight from their literature — I’m not sure why you put this spec out with that broad a range as it means very little). In another place I found the specs list graphene horn drivers (dynamics) and a 50mm virbration horn (sub-woofer).
The cable on the headset is non-removable, but sports a 7.1 capable DAC chip and inline controls for the headset. Controls include a volume control knob, a vibration switch that turns the boom on and off, a light switch to enable/disable the rainbow effects displayed on the shell (as shown below) and a microphone mute switch. Connection is by standard USB type A connector. Volume controls work well, but it would be nice to have the ability to dial in the bass boost as for my tastes the on/off button was either too little or too much.
The microphone is well made with good flexibility and protection and worked well. It did pick up some ambient noise from the room but no more than other typical gaming headsets and I found the timbre of my voice to be more accurate than a lot of other headset mics I have tested to date.
These are not an audiophile headset and never made any claim to be. Tuning is very much for gaming where explosions, bullets, voices, etc are more immediately critical than the background music and that shows through very clearly. Understanding that going in will help you understand my comments are not so much criticism as setting the expectation.
The bass on the Sutai is entirely dependant on a press of the button. With the Vibration turned off (which I would call bass boost for those more musically inclined), they have little to no sub-bass and mid-bass is recessed and fairly shallow. With the vibration turned on, the sub-bass jumps to the front and over-powers the rest of the signature. Big bass notes rattle your head and teeth and explosions are felt as much as heard. Mid-bass is also amplified considerably with the bass boost enabled and becomes much more of a focal point.
Mids are recessed regardless of the vibration switch and take a serious backseat when the vibration is enabled. The best thing I can say for the mids is they are tuned so voices cut through the mix but other instrumentation feels hollow and distant. Again, this being a gaming headset, quality guitar was not on the menu.
Lower treble is forward but rolls off fairly sharply which leaves the Sutai with no tendency toward harshness or sibilance so fatigue is a non-factor while wearing them. Upper treble brings little air or sparkle but can be restored with heavy EQ.
Soundstage / Imaging:
This is where the Sutai shines. The 7.1 decode is capable of giving you bullets that whiz past from left to right, explosions in the background, and teammates vocals clearly over the top of the noise in the background. Stage is large with a good feeling of distance between the user and the events and imaging puts events in proper position around the wearer. Yes, I broke down and played some halo and Assassin’s creed to test these properly.
The other thing the Sutai does well is isolate both the user from the outside and the sounds in the headset from the outside world. I had to get the headset up to uncomfortable volume levels for SWMBO to hear anything leaking from them while seated next to me.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
The Sutai says right on the box that it was designed for gaming and it shows. Tuning is not going to excite those looking for a musical headset, but those interested solely in gaming will find the 7.1 surround, the vibratory feedback, and the better than average microphone a plus. I did enjoy gaming with them in the time I tried it and they will be passed on to a friend who’s autistic child fell in love with them while visiting with us. Thanks to Sutai for letting me try out something different.