If it seems like we’ve been on a PC gaming, and more specifically, headset warpath as of late, well…it’s because we have been. The latest headset to call our head home is a more obscure brand, Genius. Their Cavimanus 7.1 headset might raise some eyebrows with it’s flashy name and “7.1″ verbiage. But is it really all it’s cracked up to be, especially considering it is 7.1 digital surround sound is only powered by two actual drivers? Let’s find out…
Frequency response: 20Hz~20KHz
Microphone sensitivity: -39+/-3 dB
Like most gaming headsets, the Genius made sure the Cavimanus’ box was full of color and short descriptions proudly boasting of notable features. Inside the box you’ll find the headset, a small pamphlet and driver disc.
The headset itself is completely different in design compared to our other in-house headsets, the Roccat Kave 5.1 and SteelSeries Diablo III headset. Where the other two are more matte, the Cavimanus is a very shiny plastic. On one hand this looks and feels pretty cheap. On the other, not everyone likes the matte finish the other two aforementioned headsets feature. To each their own.
The ear cups on the Cavimanus are large enough to wrap around our ears — a fit we feel is more comfortable in the long run for most gamers. The on-ear design might be easier to do but it is the over-the-ear design that wins in our opinion. Likewise, the padding on the headband in thin but ample enough we don’t foresee any comfort issues during longer gaming sessions. We played on average 1-2 hours at a time with the Cavimanus and found our heads not caring about the extra baggage one bit.
On the left ear cup you’ll find a volume knob dressed in faux chrome that quite honestly, looks and feels like cheap plastic more appropriate for a $20 headset.
Also on the left, you’ll find the Cavi’s singing microphone that can be stored neatly within the left ear cup when not in use. It’s made of plastic and doesn’t feature any fancy light. Finally, underneath the volume knob mentioned above sits a vibration on/off for when those rumble-y moments become a bit too intense.
Now. Let us just say that true 7.1 audio takes 8 actual speakers. As such, this digital surround sound is made possible thanks to a mish-mash of software algorithms tweaking audio in each ear to make it seem like it is coming from various directions.
In various scenarios, we thought the Cavimanus did a pretty good job transforming a normally stereo world into a more exciting, psuedo-multi-channel environment. It wasn’t quite as immediately apparent like the 7.1 moniker led us to believe, but it was nonetheless more diverse than playing a game with simple stereo headphones.
Unlike the Roccat Kave 5.1 headset, bass extension was actually pretty decent, with the (possibly gimmicky) “vibration” feature making all of the battlefield explosions feel just a tad more real.
For music and video, a bit EQ’ing is needed to extra the best sound. While some purists may scoff at having to taint their sound/headphones with EQs, we’re happy we can at least get the sound we want with said EQ. Still, if you’re looking for a good headset that also does good stereo audio, you won’t find it here. (But that seems to be the going thing with multi-channel gaming headsets anyway and not specific to the Cavimanus headset.)
A Decent Headset For The Money: Good Audio Performance, Questionable Build Quality
The Cavimanus has a good appearance about it. For haters of matte finishes, the Cavi’s super glossy paint job will eek out squeals of glee. On the flip side, the light weight combined with cheap looking plastic will make your $79.95 headset feel a bit more like $29.99. Physical looks aside, we’re happy to report that audio performance is respectable and certainly able to compete with other bigger name headsets in this price range (and that of higher-end headsets priced $10-$30 more).