Creative Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Gaming Headset

A soundcard and headset combo which is comfortable to wear but feels flimsy and cheap

Creative Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Gaming Headset
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Comfortable, good sound quality, nice software features

Cons

  • Flimsy build, wobbly microphone

Bottom Line

Creative's Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Gaming Headset is two products in one -- a pair of headphones and a soundcard -- at a reasonable price. It's a good buy.

Would you buy this?

Creative’s latest foray into the headphone market, the Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Headset, offers the features of a Sound Blaster sound card — such as X-Fi, Silencer, EAX and VoiceFX audio technologies — in a comfortable headset.

The headphones are attractively designed, with black pleather over the ears and on top of the headband and white plastic for everything in between. Unfortunately the build quality leaves something to be desired, with the plastic feeling thin, flimsy and cheap. The in-line controls include a microphone on/off switch and volume buttons. A circular red LED pulses slowly when the microphone is off and stays solid when it’s on. It’s also worth noting that the volume controls will change the system volume directly, which helps streamline things.

As the headset is aimed at the serious gamer, it also comes with a detachable noise-cancelling microphone that can be rotated upwards when not in use. While the microphone is a welcome addition, it felt a little bit too flimsy and was prone to swinging around and smacking us in the face with any sudden head turns. Gamers who will be staring straight ahead for the majority of their time with the headphones may find this only a minor gripe, however.

The Sound Blaster Arena Surround Headset was comfortable to wear for several hours of music listening and sounded good out of the box when we listened to a selection of tunes from different genres that had a variety of bass levels. After installing the included software, however, sound quality improved noticeably, with heavier bass and a more obvious surround effect thanks to the software’s audio adjustment options.

The accompanying software includes Creative MediaSource 5 — a media converter and organiser — and a trial of Creative Media Toolbox 6 which can be used to tag, record and clean up music by removing noise, hisses and pops. The Creative Entertainment Console is where you’ll find all the options for EAX effects, X-Fi surround and clarity controls, as well as microphone effects such as voice distortion and noise cancellation.

The Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Gaming Headset is available now for a recommended retail price of $169.95, which, considering you’re paying for a USB soundcard and a comfortable and good quality pair of headphones, seems pretty reasonable.

Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: headphones, creative, headset
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?