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    RumbleFX Force Feedback Headphones Review

    Sound tests:

    Sound quality is not exactly audiophilic, but it is still excellent and competitive at and above its price range. ($60 RRP, ~$40 at online stores). They tend to be stronger at the midrange, and somewhat weaker in the upper frequencies, which is typical of many mid tier headphones. And the bass reproduction? Well that’s another story with these headphones. In addition to the ability to replay reasonably low bass frequencies (remember they’re only headphones!), the “Force Feedback” ability is the major feature of these headphones. As described earlier, in addition to a standard audio driver, each ear pad contains an additional transducer that increases the bass along with producing the vibrating effect. Even though our ears can’t pick up the extremely low frequencies, or the audio drivers can’t reproduce them, we can still “feel” the bass – hence the design of the “Force Feedback RumbleFX headphones”, to let you "feel the sound".

    For music I found that the headphones were fairly good for ordinary listening. However, there is definitely a noticeable difference between these and higher range headphones – my main benchmark being the Sennheiser HD570’s, which falls into the price range that Evergreen claim their headphones are in league with ( I found good overall pacing with a tonally accurate but slightly exaggerated and occasionally coarse midrange; with some performance drop offs in the higher range. Volumes could reach deafening levels without distortion.

    The listed frequency range for the speakers is shown as 5-28000Hz, noting that the human ear can detect anywhere between 20-20000Hz. Perhaps the lower end of frequency range provided accounts for what the DSP/transducer can pick up in order to replay the signals as vibrations (Note that music tracks are unlikely to reach down that low in the first place, but some game developers may program these frequency signals into their game code. Therefore ordinary audio devices cannot output these sounds, but someone using the RumbleFX headphones on a PC/console can feel the vibration effect). A point to note is that with a large frequency spectrum listed, it can be possible for any range driver to reach the peaks and lows, the main thing is that the volume and quality of those sounds will be much reduced, if audible at all.

    Another important point is that the Force Feedback feature will reproduce a vibration within the earpads that is directly proportional to the signal that is sent to it. Therefore, just because you turned up the setting to level II, and can’t “feel” much bass on your favorite track doesn’t mean that the transducers are not providing the intended effect – rather the signal from that particular song is weaker. The signal output from the same track from different sources (CD players, Sound card, etc) can also vary in strength and quality causing different effects via the same headphones.
    It is imperative that when using RumbleFX Force Feedback Headphones on a PC to make sure to set the output device to stereo headphones (if applicable). This dramatically improves the sound quality through all frequency ranges and ensures the directional sound experience.

    I did find that listening to some types of music with the force feedback on was somewhat irritating, as the constant “massage” - from a tickling feeling to a heavy rumble - coinciding with a regular bass thumping around the ears had an awkward feeling. However tracks with less constant bass can however be quite enjoyable with the vibration :)

    On the upper hand the transducers can create the highest bass levels I have experienced from headphones. Being very small the mini subwoofer did have a tendency to distort (when switched to level 2) while listening to songs with heavy bass, providing that over exaggerated distorted thumping noise when a subwoofer has been pushed past its limit.

    The headphones’ strength lies in their gaming performance. Along with excellent reproduction of sound effects, the force feedback feature works great here and provides a great enhancement to the gaming experience. You can literally feel the blast of nearby explosions or your own gunfire. And not only can you “feel” the explosions, but since they are captured from the audio signal you can feel which direction the sound is coming from (as opposed to a subwoofer) - albeit centered on your ears. Just wait till someone develops a force feedback gaming suit :)

    Ad-Libbing from a quote I read elsewhere - the “Force Feedback” feature of these headphones is like designer furniture – not a necessity to have, but pretty damn cool to own - except without a premium price tag. This makes the headphones a very attractive option for all potential headphone buyers. Even for anyone looking for a normal pair of headphones the RumbleFX Headphones come with quality outranking competition in their price range, with the added feature of the Force Feedback ability.


    Read our Sennheiser HD570 Headphones Review

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    Zalman: ZM-DS4F Headphones

    An affordable, ultra-portable headphone set.

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