Plantronics have fostered a considerable reputation for high-quality industrial audio products, so it’s no surprise their expertise has translated into several lines of excellent PC and Console headsets in recent years. The Gamcom 780 (USB, PC & Mac only) looks to continue that burgeoning reputation in the videogame entertainment sector, sporting a sleek design, 40mm speaker drivers and the latest in Dolby 7.1 virtual surround technology.
It’s an attractive proposition indeed, and if you thought you could only get accurate multi-channel audio placement from a headset with multiple dedicated speakers, you might want to think again; the technology packed into the 780 is amazingly detailed.
Speaker Driver Size: 40 mm diameter
Speaker Frequency Response: 20 ~ 20000 Hz
Speaker Impedance: 32 Ohms
Speaker Sensitivity: 123 dBSPL/mW
Microphone Frequency Response: 100 ~ 10000 Hz
Microphone Sensitivity: -45 dBV/Pa +/- 5 dB
Maximum Power Input For Speakers: 10 mW
Cable Length: 2 meters
Price: £36 on Amazon
Out of the box, the Gamecom 780 exudes an air of mid-level quality. It’s a chunky headset with a distinct black and red plastic design, with each can sporting some rather unique exposed wires and plush velvet-style ear padding. The headband sports a discreet logo and a decent amount of rigidity, but doesn’t feel as if it’d give way under flex and is hardly noticable in use. The 780 also sports a rotating boom mic latched onto the left ear cup, along with a relatively thin, bright red USB cable to plug into your PC or Mac. The same ear cup also sports a blue backlit button for turning the 7.1 surround effect on or off, and a volume rocker within easy reach.
Although it’s clearly no match for the heavyweight contenders in terms of build quality, the 780 seems like it would be a good fit for all but the most careless of users. Both of the ear cups can be rotated 90 degrees to face them down on your chest whilst the set is not in use and rested around your neck, and the packaging and peripherals are pleasingly sparse. You get the headset, the driver CD and a small manual in the box, and that’s your lot. Do we really need anything else?
The drivers themselves installed without a hitch on our test Windows 7 64-bit machine, and the tray icon allows you to switch between gaming and music modes with a couple of mouse clicks. There’s no further granularity to the audio than that though, so tinkerers may want to look elsewhere for their tweaking fix. It’s also worth noting that although the headset is Mac compatible, the Dolby drivers aren’t; meaning you’ll only be able to utilise the 780 in stereo mode on any Apple product.
For the money, the Gamecom 780 delivers excellent audio performance, with crisp highs and deep enough bass to satisfy the majority of mainstream gaming requirements. It’s by no means an audiophile-proof specification however, and you may find that the lack of options to tinker with the surround levels might not make everything as palatable as a set with dedicated controls. As it is however, I was able to pick out individual sound cues all around me in the likes of Skyrim and Sniper Elite V2, and there was a clarity and pleasantly warm tone to the audio that quickly made the Plantronics my go-to solution.
It’s worth nothing however, that although the cup design encloses your ear fully, the 780 by no means manages to cancel out external audio, nor does it contain it especially well. If you’re looking for a quiet set then you may need to hunt elsewhere, but in normal use I actually found the lack of isolation to be a boon. Turning the cans flat and resting the headset around my neck proved to be a useful utility when others were present in the room, during which time I was able to hear enough volume from the headset and continue a conversation without needing to miss anything from either side.
As far as the microphone is concerned, the quality is brilliantly clear and crisp considering the price that you’re paying here, and the separate controls for volume and muting are easily navigable even in the dark.
For the sub-£40 price bracket that Plantronics 780 regularly retails for, it’s a PC headset that offers amazing value for money. It might not come with a suitcase full of peripherals or be manufactured to the absolute highest specifications, but it’s lightweight, comfortable for long periods of use, and offers up positional audio that’s difficult to distinguish from its more expensive dedicated-speaker peers. The audio has enough depth to cater for all but the most ardent enthusiast listeners, and the boon of simply plugging in a single cable is invaluable for those of us with more gadgets and clutter than we know what to do with.
Verdict: Thoroughly Recommended.