Creative Fatal1ty HS-1000 USB Gaming Headset - Creative Fatal1ty HS-1000

By Hugo Jobling

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

One potential stumbling block for the Fatal1ty headset is its use of USB, as opposed to 3.5mm jack, for connectivity. For the majority of buyers, that's a good thing as the headset packs an in-line sound card which takes care of everything a dedicated card would otherwise be required for, such as virtual 5.1-channel and EAX effects. However, anyone already owning a dedicated sound card will doubtless be a bit miffed that it is bypassed when using the Fatal1ty headset.

Overall at the price point the Creative Fatal1ty headset is hitting, around £45 at time of publishing, it's hard to complain about the inclusion of what is, as we'll come to later, a pretty decent sound card. It's not like finding an alternative headset is difficult for those with dedicated sound cards.

On the subject of the non-requirement for a dedicated sound card, then, Creative deserves a great deal of credit for the driver and software package it provided with the Fatal1ty headset. Features such as the X-Fi Crystallizer, which adds (as best it can) detail into compressed audio, CMSS-3D, which offers virtual surround sound, and Creative ALchemy which enables reproduction of DirectSound effects (something that's no longer supported by DirectX 10). Not to mention supporting EAX effects in games which use them - many do.

Although not as good as a dedicated Creative sound card could produce, the Crystallizer still did a decent job of improving a selection of Napster tracks. Obviously as with all similar solutions there's a limit to how much better compressed music can be made to sound, but Creative's effort is among the best. Obviously the Fatal1ty headset isn't designed for listening to music, and I certainly wouldn't recommend it for that, but for occasional listening or background listening while playing a few rounds of Counter-Strike, its definitely good enough.

Gaming performance lives up to Creative's reputation. There's a decent amount of bass which is obviously great when a few grenades start flying around and helicopters are soaring overhead. The removable microphone lives up to its noise-cancelling pretensions too, with nary a complaint from several friends using both in-game chat in Left4Dead and firing up Windows Live Messenger voice chat, too.

CMSS-3D, too, is by far and away the best virtual surround system I've ever used. The result was far better than that achieved by the Saitek Cyborg. Creative's support for effects such as EAX and DirectSound allows its products to beat out the competition in this area. I had almost forgotten, having become used to stereo speakers, how tense Bioshock can be!

I still prefer using stereo headphones in stereo mode, and surround sound speakers for surround sound, but if you simply must have virtual surround effects from a headset then I can't think of a better alternative to the Fatal1ty. Without using a dedicated sound card of course, but that's beside the point.

Verdict

Creative has a long reputation for producing great audio equipment and the Fatal1ty Gaming Headset HS-1000 doesn't let down that legacy. Thanks to Creative's excellent back-end support the Fatal1ty is definitely the only virtual surround sound headset worth considering.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Value 8

Robovski

December 16, 2008, 5:57 am

This is 㿉.85 on Amazon.co.uk after VAT right now guys.

AJ

December 16, 2008, 1:33 pm

I see that you mention many other headsets in your review, but how do these compare to the Sennheiser PC 350's you reviewed previously ?





I'm in the market for a good headset for prolonged use during gaming and quality / comfort is of far greater concern than price.

Ed

December 16, 2008, 2:16 pm

@AJ





The Sennheiser's don't have the inbuilt surround sound support that these do so it's something of a non-comparison.





Personally I wasn't a huge fan of the PC350s. They seriously lack bass, which limits their appeal for listening to music and their astronomical price is one I'd never consider paying for purely gaming headphones. That said, they are very comfortable and are pretty much without equal in terms of gaming headsets - I'd personally just by better headphones and a desktop mic, though.





These look like a great buy if you don't have a decent sound card are on a limited budget, which doesn't sound like you.

Simon

December 16, 2008, 3:27 pm

Robovski, no it isn't, that isn't the USB one. The USB one is 㿖.41. Remember to search for the 'HS-1000', not just the 'HS'.

AJ

December 16, 2008, 4:00 pm

Thanks. That's interesting, I listened to some 350's at a friends a week / two ago and I have to admit I didn't notice the lack of bass at all. Perhaps I just don't listen to things loud enough :0)





I've never really been convinced by this surround sound in a headset idea previously, and I've also had trouble with USB (logitech) type devices, so the S350's seemed a good bet. At 㿼 the 350's are a very small investment. You'd think nothing of paying that for 2 games.





As both these headsets are meant for playing games and speaking to friends whilst doing so - surely they are directly comparable.





I do find the TR comments regarding the 350's confusing. On one hand they are the cream of such headsets, on the other they lack x,y,z and you'd be better off with a decent pair of headphones.





What to buy...

Andy Vandervell

December 16, 2008, 4:17 pm

It depends on what you're looking for. For listening to music the 350s are merely okay, but for gaming they're just about as good as you can get. I believe what Ed was trying to say, he can confirm or deny this, was that if wanted an all-round headset for both then you might want to look as something else - a more neutral set if you like. If all you want is the best for gaming, though, the PC 350s remain an excellent option.

AJ

December 16, 2008, 4:52 pm

Thanks, that makes sense.





For me these are for gaming. Although conceivably I would be listening to music at the same time it's going to be mixed with the dulcit tones of explosions, carnage, general chao and someone potential giving strategy updates. So I suspect I won't be listening too carefully for the odd lost detail.





I do agree that it's poor that the MIC on the 350 doesn't remove. Therefore making them useless for general use outside of the home with an MP3 player. Unless ofc you like looking a complete pillock :-)





I've always like Sennheiser's, so think my choice is made. Thanks guys and sorry for derailing this thread.

paul

December 17, 2008, 3:36 pm

i have the non usb version of this headset coupled with a creative extreme gamer sound card,for the price about 㿅 you wont get better headphones for gamming especially with the gamer card,i don't know how they do it but you have eight virtual speakers in a stereo pair of headphones and it really works you can detect enemies position a lot easier and if they above you or below,the headphones compliment the card well.

YG

December 19, 2008, 10:11 pm

So with a Kick-A** sound card (such as a X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty)the cheaper 3.5mm non-usb version should be better...shouldn't it?





How about throwing a comparsion between those two in ya review Hugo? With Company of Heroes for good measure!

paul

December 23, 2008, 11:18 am

YG i dont know how good the usb soundcsard is compared with the gamer sound card but as you say a good card must be better,even when i had onboard sound these headphones were the best ive used,you could pick up more in game sounds crisper sound with good bass,as i said for the money i cant see anything as good in that 㿅-30 price range,there is lot lot of online reviews on the 3.5mm jack version nearly all positive.

MrGodfrey

January 21, 2009, 10:26 pm

Thanks Hugo for this review. I was considering the 3.5mm version a year ago, now the USB version interests me for another reason - I wonder if it would work with the Playstation 3? Obviously the PS3 has no standard 3.5mm input for a mic; any idea if a USB headset like this would be compatible, or is Bluetooth the only option?





In any case I'm disappointed to hear about the headset applying too much pressure - I have a relatively small head and still consider this a problem with most headphones; particularly uncomfortable when wearing specs.

Troxie

January 22, 2011, 6:33 am

I just bought a hs-1000 yesterday from pc-world for £19.99 and I think it is one of the best headsets I have owned yet!

Gaming Headsets FTW

July 13, 2011, 12:40 am

I've had the non usb version for well over 2 years and they have served me well - for the price that these are going for they are perfect for the gamer on a budget. Really cant go wrong with these if you look after them well. Extremely comfortable with the velvet lining you wont even notice them on tbh.

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