If you have watched a NASCAR or Indycar event in the last 10 years, you have probably heard the announcers mention that the crowd have scanners which allow them to listen to the radio communications of their favorite driver. Track Scan are a company which rent or sell those headsets and radios to race fans – and now – they sell Surround Sound headsets of amazing quality which you can use on the XBOX 360 or PC…
Track Scan’s XBOX 360 headset is Microsoft Certified and will only work on the 360. I am reviewing the PC USB headset only, although the 360 version seems to be largely the same.
Technology & Audio experience
Each side of the headset has four speakers. They are located at various positions which allow the headphones to accurately position audio in a way that almost makes you want to look over your shoulder. I actually think that when playing Call of Duty 4, I can hear people sneaking up behind me.
The sound is crisp and clean and easily covers both the high and low notes of the engines in the iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations software. Again, like with COD4, you can hear the direction of audio around you and there’s been times since using the headphones that I have not looked in the mirror and still known the location of other cars by their engine noises.
With my work at iRacing, I have obviously heard the software audio coming out of a lot of different speakers and soundcard combinations and it is with utter delight than I can say the VIBRAS Five.One headset matches the very best of them. Infact, I have heard so much variation of sound quality from most hardware – I wonder how many people have no idea how good our simulation can sound!
It isn’t just in games or simulations that the VIBRAS Five.One shines: The 5.1 Dolby Digital sound available when watching DVD movies is also a great way to give yourself the movie-goer experience… Movies are so much better when you’re not listening to Stereo!
VoIP? Skype? Voice Chat? Yes, yes and yes
The headset and it’s detachable microphone work perfectly with any voice communication program I have tried. The only complications are with Windows and it’s soundcard management – which is why I now have the on-board soundcard permanently disabled. (Windows would try to choose the active microphone from whichever soundcard it wanted, rather than the one I actually needed).
I don’t see there being any physical breakage to this product when it is used properly. The over-head loop is very strong, solid plastic, the microphone is an adjustable solid attachment and the USB control box had managed to withstand my weight a couple of times as I climbed out of the at-home cockpit and accidentally stood on it!
Benefits of headphones
Even when using an ordinary set of headphones, I feel much more immersed. Not only does it allow me to hear the audio much more clearly, it also blocks out all those noises which are waiting to distract me. We have two young cats here and I don’t want to be hearing them run around while I am trying to run a consistent race or keep my concentration in battle, for example.
The additional benefits of headphones are obvious… My wife no longer has to leave the room whenever I’m using the PC!
Even if you have an extremely expensive set of 5.1 Dolby speakers hooked up to your very-expensive PC soundcard, I think you should sell them and buy this headset or one like it. I cannot repeat enough times how much more I feel this quality of headset has given me.
[review pros=”Windows XP/Vista Compatible.
Comfortable adjustable headband.
Can easily detach/adjust microphone.
Bundled CyberLink PowerDVD software.
No need for a soundcard.
Adjustable settings in control panel.
5.1 Dolby Surround – excellent experience.” cons=”Would like to see drivers for other Operating Systems.
Price is a little higher than I would expect.
Price: $159.99 – www.track-scan.com
USB 2.0 Port
CD/DVD Drive (for installation)
Windows XP or Vista
I began my gaming journey via the family Commodore Vic-20, then later with my own C-64 and Amiga A600. These systems kept my attention until I moved up to PCs around the Windows MS-DOS Pre-Windows 95 era, which means I never really got into the console gaming market in a big way.
My parents spent a significant amount of time sharing my early gaming experiences, and this really helped foster my interests. I discovered racing games and space games for the first time, and those are still my main genres of interest to this day.
These days I use gaming to try to escape from the pressures of real life. I occasionally upload or stream gameplay to YouTube and Twitch, and enjoy the social interaction with viewers and other gamers.
Tim is British and lives in the United States with his wife and kids.
He works for software developers Image Space Inc. and Studio 397 on their racing simulations, and is a fan of Gaming, Motorsports, and photography.