Creative has long made soundcards, and therefore one would think that it knows what it is doing when it comes to making headphones too. So can the Creative Tactic 3D Sigma (a mouthful, but supposedly the last word when it comes to gaming headsets) be the answer? We got listening to music, playing games, and recording the Pocket-lint podcast to find out.
The Creative Tactic 3D Sigma headphones sit above the Creative Tactic 3D Alpha headphones and are the company’s current flagship headphone model. Using the same tech as the special edition World of Warcraft headphones launched earlier in the year, the main difference here is that these have not only lost all clan and WoW association, but also been reduced in price presumably as there isn’t a hefty licensing fee to go with it.
Instead you get a pair of traditional headphones with padded ear cups and a padded headband making them very comfortable indeed. The headphones themselves have 90-degree rotation, ideal for packing flat in your bag, and the cups are big enough to encase your entire ear (my ears are big) meaning there is little noise bleed for those to enjoy around you.
Out of the left earpiece is a flexible boom mic for talking, although rather handily this can be removed if you aren’t planning on doing any talking. There is no noise-cancelling element to them.
Out of the left hand side is a flat ribbon cable that is immune to tangles and there is an independent volume dial and mute toggle so you don’t have to find the right keys on your keyboard or device to turn it down or shut out your voice quickly.
At the end of said cable is a separate mic and audio jack (3.5mm) both of which plug into a USB dongle that also happens to be a THX certified soundcard. On the plus side it means that all the audio processing is done via the headphones, on the downside when you want to use them with your MP3 player you have the mic cable dangling around in your pocket getting caught up in your keys.
In order to allow you to make the most of the 50mm speaker drivers in the headphones, the Creative Tactic 3D Sigma headphones come bundled with dedicated software that allows you to turn on and off different audio support. It’s here you’ll find access to the THX TruStudio Pro features and this includes setting the surround sound capabilities (three dimensional), the bass, dialogue improvements, and equaliser settings like Vocal or Pop.
Beyond tuning your headphones to sound the best they can, there is a fun, but rather pointless feature called voice FX that allows you to change your voice to sound like a demon, an elf, an old women, an old man, and plenty more in between. Some of the voice effects are, it’s rather sad to admit, very clever, while ones like the Robot will do little for you. Apart from messing with your mates on Skype, or Call of Duty for around 5 minutes before it gets boring, we can’t see the point of it. Still it’s a bit of fun.
Overall we found performance to be very good. From a voice perspective we’ve been using them to record the Pocket-lint podcast for a couple of weeks now (at the time of writing) and so check it out to hear what the author sounds like. The sound is well rounded and picks up plenty of detail without the need to shout.
As for listening rather than talking, we’ve tried the headphones with music and games and were pleased with both aspects, although more so for the gaming element. Music wise the sound is very rounded but a little soft and muddy. It’s not awful, just not great for audiophiles with the headphones overly bassy.
However, when it comes to games, it’s here where the Creative Tactic 3D Sigma headphones excel thanks to the 3D surround technology included. It basically lets you hear left and right stereo as well as up and down, giving you a spatial awareness of the gaming world you are in. It is very good. Why? Because it helps you pinpoint baddies more accurately.
At £90 the Creative Tactic 3D Sigma headphones aren’t cheap, especially as they are a one trick pony - a pair of headphones that you’ll only really use in front of your computer while playing games. We are impressed by the performance when it comes to speaking and gaming. If music is your main focus then there are plenty of other choices out there, but if gaming is your intention, then you won't be disappointed.