AZiO Levetron GH808 Gaming Headset Review
AZiO Levetron GH808 Performance
The Levetron GH808′s 40mm drivers sounded pretty good for gaming although I did feel like there was a bit of flatness to the overall sound signature. That said, the shortcoming is well compensated for by its crystal clear sound output, clean bass response and treble. While it sounded great, I felt that its directional sound trailed other stereo headsets and the overall soundstage didn’t feel as wide as other competing headsets such as the SteelSeries Siberia V2 for example. That said, my experiences were generally positive with the Levetron GH808.
Now I did mention that the response was quite flat, but to remedy this, AZiO included a “SuperBass” function which I think is basically just some digital processing that enhances the bass response. As advertised, the SuperBass function did indeed amplify the bass response, but I felt it was a bit too heavy handed. It didn’t evaluate where bass needed to be enhanced and just, boosted bass across the board. For example, while it was nice getting that booming feeling in my ears when an explosion occurred next to my character in Battlefield 3, it wasn’t so nice to have the footsteps to sound overly bass heavy. In fact, the SuperBass function was so powerful that it muddied almost everything when it was active.
As with any headset I review, I ran the Levetron GH808 through my usual set of demo movies, Valkyrie and Mission Impossible III. I first watched the movies with SuperBass disabled and I found the GH808 particularly suited for the vocal heavy Valkyrie with its excellent mid-range performance. Moving to Mission Impossible III, the GH808 once again did a splendid job during briefing sequences and sequences with a ton of dialogue, but I couldn’t help but feel that there was an apparent lack of punch when it came to scenes with intense explosions.
While testing movie performance, I also attempted to use the SuperBass function, especially during the intense explosion scenes in the movie Mission Impossible III. Once again, I felt like the feature was quite heavy handed in that it boosted the bass across the board and degraded the quality of audio rather than improved it.
For music, I tested the GH808 with a number of different genres and overall I’m quite pleased with the performance of the headset considering it is in fact a gaming headset. Among the sound ranges, I found the mids to be especially pleasant, which is rare these days with most companies now focusing on a heavy bass and emphasized highs. Mid level vocals in rock music were exceptionally clear and I didn’t find it drowned out by percussion or high electric guitar notes. Speaking of high notes, the GH808′s treble performance was noteworthy was well. I felt that it stayed distortion free all the way up until the the very high end, where a tiny bit of distortion was detected when sharps started to roll off the violin. Bass in dubsteps didn’t sound terrible, they were clear and free of distortions, but lacked depth.
With SuperBass enabled, dubsteps sounded much more rich and powerful. But that improvement came at the cost of sound drownouts in all other types of music. Whether it be classical or rock, if a note with even the slightest hint of bass played, SuperBass would grossly over-amplify it, making everything else sound non-existent.
The Levetron GH808 was an extremely comfortable headset. The extra wide headrest was exceptionally well padded and the curvature was perfect for the contour of my head. This helped distribute its weight evenly over a wider area and virtually eliminated skull pain. Despite having stiff-as-a-rock earpads, the earcups were still very pleasant to wear as the headset didn’t clamp down on my head too tightly. Unfortunately, I found that because the earcups aren’t made of the soft pleather that cup your ears perfectly, the earcups did not form a good seal around my small-ish head and thus was subjected to sound leakage.
Unlike the microphones on a number of headsets I’ve tested in the past, the Levetron GH808 did quite a decent job and is only matched by my current favorite for best microphone on a gaming headset, the Plantronics GameCom 780. Whereas most gaming headsets just claim noise cancellation, the Levetron GH808 actually did a terrific job at cancelling out noise. During Skype chats, the other party was barely able to hear my iPod touch playing on full blast using the integrated speakers even though it was placed a meter away from my head. Fan noise which was picked up very well with my Blue Microphones Snowball was cancelled out quite nicely as well. Audio output was good as well as my voice came out clearly and without any static while chatting over Skype. I did receive a couple comments that the microphone was a little quiet; however, but enabling microphone boost in the Windows Volume Control options fixed the problem. Doing so does introduce a minimal amount of static however, so be prepared to speak up if you don’t want to enable microphone boost.