Stuff goes through more than their fair share of gaming headphones during the course of an average year. We’re not clumsy and don’t need to constantly replace our kit (okay, there was that one time…), they just keep turning up for us to play with. But usually it’s brands that we’re extremely familiar with that turn up on our doorstep. Not so these headphones, the Sades A-60 Spellond PC gaming headset whose naming convention we’ve since given up trying to figure out. They come into SA from Shenzhen, China and you’d be forgiven for thinking that these headphones would feature poor build quality. Perceptions are hard to break, after all.
The Sades Spellond is a much sturdier set of cans than you’d expect. Construction is extremely solid plastic on the cups and upwards, the plastic headstrap has a whole lot more flex than you’d expect and the inners are a leather-like substance – in blue in our review unit. There is a rough fabric covering the speakers themselves but don’t worry about that. The padding is wide enough that your ears won’t make contact. Comfy too. There is no twist in the cups themselves though, so playing with an ear free is an uncomfortable affair but if you’re keen on blocking out the world…
There’s a mic-bow recessed in the left ear-cup and the whole thing will connect to your PC with a braided cable, around 3 metres long. Along its length is a weighty control pad (which manipulates volume, mutes mic or speaker output, activates vibration and turns the lights on and off) and the cable terminates in a USB connector. The connector is a little thicker than is comfortable if you’re planning on plugging something else in next to it.[blockquote] Impedance: 16 ohms at 1kHz
Driver: 50mm, NdFeB
Connection: Braided cable (3 metre), USB only
Mic Sensitivity: -38dB, +-3dB
Ready To Go
We tried these cans out on a gaming notebook, the Aorus X7 Plus (look out for that review soon) running Windows 8.1 as well as a MacBook Pro running Mavericks. The Spellond headphones come with a driver disc but we like to think of physical media as almost archaic round here so we just popped in the USB and went with both machines. There were no issues at all, the Windows setup took a moment to self-install some local drivers and the MacBook just needed to have its main output switched before the A-60s were up and running.
We ran the A-60s through our usual sound tests, which consist of using them until we can’t keep them on our ears any more. Sound though a Mac is loud. Extremely loud, though we were only doing music at the time. The Spellonds are almost loud enough to use as an external speaker when they’re cranked up to max volume and all of the controls, minus the vibrate function (which we dislike anyway), work just fine on Apple hardware. They’ll stand up to a sonic beating as well, we had to whip out the death metal to get them to distort.
Taking them over to a Windows and gaming environment made the sound a bit more sedate. You can still blast sound at levels that will make your eyes water but the 7.1 emulation that the Sades have in games is quite impressive for such a low-cost headphone setup, without the brutal ear-hammering that stereo music can provide. We’ve gotten better, from the likes of Sennheiser and Turtle Beach, when it comes to surround audio from cans but they’re typically a much pricier affair. You can pick up a pair of the Sades A-60 for under a grand and that’s worth taking a slight dip in your surround sound experience. That said, what does come through is clear and detailed, which is all we could ask for. It helps to know when enemies are creeping up on you.
Make no mistake, we’ve heard better when it comes to gaming headphones but not at this price point generally. The build quality is excellent, though it’s missing a couple of engineering features we’ve become accustomed to, and sound reproduction is also good enough to lift an eyebrow or two. The only thing that’d concern us is that Sades is a relatively unknown brand and we’ve got no idea how these would age. A long-term test will probably see to that but, hey, these don’t cost the earth either.