TACTICAL MIXING CONSOLE AND SIRUS AUDIO CENTER SOFTWARE
The puck-sized ‘Tactical Mixing Console’ is the core component of the Sirus’ sound quality and definitely a killer add-on that allows external control of the entire headset. The bottom of the mixer has an excellent rubber-grip halo that will prevent it from errantly moving:
As we can see, there are primarily five options that can be switched on-the-fly simply using the middle button – Rear, Front, Master, Center, and Bass. The buttons to the left and right are for muting the microphone and headset speakers respectively. Instead of having to minimize a game window or a movie to change settings software-side, the external functions on the mixer allow for fast and easy transitions from one option to the other.
Mentioned prior, the cabling running from the Tactical Mixing Console is braided, as with the headset. As well, the secondary USB allows powering of the headset and mixer, so the dull red lighting gives excellent illuminance in dark environments without feeling tacky or obtrusive.
Now on to the Sirus Audio Center software, which at first glace may seem plain; it is anything but. You have your normal ‘info’, ‘settings’, ‘minimize’, and ‘exit’ buttons up top, with an LCD-style readout of your current configuration followed by the volume slider.. The ⇌ icon represents your current audio profile and will allow you to cycle through other present/custom profiles. The ‘SVN’ (Smart Volume Normalization) button boosts the sound quality and bass strength by emphasizing certain frequency ranges.
Right-clicking on the ‘speakers’ and ‘mic’ buttons gives a slue of advanced options to choose from. Oddly there is no way of telling these features are here from first-launch, and the only way to access these menus is by right clicking the two buttons. ‘Volume Control’ is the default option, and along with ‘Sample Rate’, is shared between the two buttons. The 10-channel ‘Equalizer’ is pretty solid as it contains preset and custom profiles, but is available solely for the speakers:
‘Environment Effects’ on the speakers are pretty neat, and you have four to choose from: ‘Concert Hall’, ‘Underwater’, ‘Shower’, and ‘Psychotic’. The microphone using ‘Xear SingFX Magic Voice’ has its own set in ‘Monster’, ‘Duck’, Male’, and ‘Female’. A mix of psychotic and monster definitely makes for an interesting experience, but these modifications are for simple tomfoolery instead of everyday use. Definitely two solid and funny additions by Cooler Master:
That does it for the microphone menu, so let us focus of the rest of the speaker options. ‘Speaker Settings’ allow changing the configuration to ‘Stereo’, ‘Quadraphonic’, or the default ‘5.1 Surround’.
For extra flexibility, the Sirus software also has a ‘7.1 Virtual Speaker Shifter’ which works beautifully. Instead of cheap emulation, the 7.1 surround-sound will imitate the two extra back speakers on the 5.1 headset perfectly. Furthermore, you can customize the virtual speaker layout to your preference. Along with ‘Flex Bass II’, I was astounded the first time I used both features in Battlefield 3, as they literally projected a full surround-sound setup perfectly with excellent bass, despite the Sirus headset being two speakers short in 5.1.