Review: Logitech ClearChat Pro USB Headset

head_review2Logitech is a big name when it comes to PC accessories, so looking for a headset with their name on it was what introduced me to the Logitech ClearChat Pro USB Headset.  I read through dozens of reviews for this headset, and collected the same basic good and bad points from each website.  Now that I’ve had the chance to use the headset personally, I will provide you with a thorough and unbiased review.

Comfort

The first thing I noticed about the headset was that it seemed quite comfortable to wear, even for extended periods of time.  The ear padding swivels and turns slightly on the center point and is made of a soft leather material.  The band connecting the headphone speakers is also covered by a leather material, so it’s not just hard plastic pushing against your head all the time.

Comfort is significant because I consider this product to be a mid- to high-range gaming headset.  In fact, I bought the Pro USB headset specifically for the purpose of being able to use it while I play multiplayer PC games online.  After gaming for 2 hours or more, I did notice that my ears eventually felt a little sore from the pressure of the headset, but I think this goes for anything strapped to your head for a long period of time.

Style & Strength

Looks were not important to me when choosing this headset, but I was pleasantly suprised that it has a sleek, dark appearance.  The leather not only makes the headband more comfortable, but also improves the overall aesthetics.  At first glance, you can tell the ClearChat Pro headset is made of quality materials that won’t fall apart easily.  The microphone boom appears to be strong and doesn’t dangle like so many other headsets do.  The boom is made of the same quality plastic as the rest of the headset’s frame without any edges that lead into the receiver itself, furthering the cool look of the headset.

From what I can tell, there are three slightly different models of this same headset.  The one I have is the style in the picture below.  It’s volume controls are located on the cord of the headset, which gives you your increase/decrease and mute microphone options.  On the other models, the volume and mute controls are on the outside of the earpiece itself, which retains the modern look of the headset.

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Features

The features of this headset are what set it apart from others in the same price range.  The ClearChat Pro USB couldn’t be easier to install; the USB plug-in is all you need to begin using the device.  It supports plug-and-play for Windows, so you don’t need to install any additional software or drivers to begin using it.  Your USB port serves as the typical microphone/audio inputs for the headset, and Logitech’s laser-tuned audio drivers run the audio through that one USB port, freeing those mic/audio inputs for other devices.

When you’re using the headset for purely audio (like listening to music), you can swing the boom up so that it is parallel with the headband.  This keeps the mic out of the way if you just want to listen without disturbing other people nearby.  The ClearChat Pro USB also features an equalizer for optimizing sound quality to fit your preference.  This is located next to the volume controls on the right side of the headset.

One feature that is in the newer wired and wireless headsets is the way in which the microphone mutes.  You are able to mute the microphone simply by swinging the boom up and out of the way, whereas you must press a button next to the volume controls on the older model.  In all three models, a red light indicates whether or not mute is enabled.

Obviously, if you buy the wireless headset, you’re getting exactly that.  It features the same USB plug-in but with a built in 2.4ghz wireless receiver and slightly different looks.  Overall, the audio quality should match (or come very close to) it’s wired counterparts because it uses the same laser-tuned audio technology.

Quality

Finally, here’s the most important aspect to consider when buying a headset.  While the ClearChat Pro isn’t the cheapest headset, it certainly doesn’t boast the audio quality of something Bose brand headphones would produce.  In most reviews, the main complaint people had was that the audio quality wasn’t as good as they had hoped.  My opinion is that those reviewer’s expectations were set too high.

The audio quality for gaming was surprisingly good.  In games such as Left 4 Dead and Crysis, I heard things that my standard computer speakers wouldn’t allow me to.  This headset reproduced a 3D environment that the game intended (i.e. zombies running in front and behind me matched with the actions on screen, as well as explosions and bullet ricochets).

Listening to music was mentioned as a weak point for the ClearChat Pro.  In my opinion, the audio quality beat anything I’ve owned previously, given that I have never spent more than $50 on headphones.  Bass and mid-range were excellent for rock and jazz in particular.  I could tell that things in the high-range like repeated cymbal crashes or guitar solos sounded a little “airy”,  especially if I had the volume cranked up.  But overall, songs sounded pure and bold, with emphasis on the low-range bass tones.

In the product description, the ClearChat Pro says it features a noise-canceling microphone.  I went out of my way to test the mic by putting a full-sized fan on high as I recorded myself reading.  I was surprised at how well the mic filtered out the wind and picked out my voice.  By adding a small sponge material I found on an old headset, I almost completely eliminated the noise of the air rushing past as I spoke.  I thought the microphone performed quite well, and projected my voice clearly without any crackles or pops.

Conclusion

Recommended Use:

  • Budget gaming mic/headphones and PC calls such as Yahoo!, Skype, AIM, Windows Live Messenger, etc.

Pros:

  • Clean, modern, sleek design
  • Easy to install and use – takes only 1 USB port
  • Audio/microphone quality is quite good
  • Constructed of quality material – won’t break with normal falls
  • Comfortable
  • Priced right; better-than-expected performance for it’s price

Cons:

  • Potential soreness after extended use
  • Isn’t top-of-the-line for music listening

Final Score (out of 10):

8.5