Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset Review
The Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is a gaming headset designed primarily for use with the PlayStation 5 console. Released alongside the PS5 in late 2020, this headset aims to showcase the new console’s spatial “Tempest 3D” audio, providing an immersive 360-degree soundscape when used with compatible games.
With a clean white design mirroring the aesthetics of the PS5 itself, the Pulse 3D Headset delivers virtual surround sound and dual noise-cancelling microphones in a comfortable, over-ear form factor. But how does it stack up against the competition? This review will examine the headset’s design and features, audio performance, microphone quality, battery life, and overall value.
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Design and Features
Straight out of the box, the Pulse 3D Headset makes a strong first impression with its sleek yet simple white plastic chassis and blue accent lighting around the earcups. The clean two-tone color scheme perfectly matches both PS5 console models.
Despite the plastic build, the headset feels fairly solid and durable. The synthetic leather ear pads and headband provide decent noise isolation and remain comfortable even during longer gaming sessions. On-ear controls are straightforward: there’s a mute button, volume up/down buttons, and a power button.
The Pulse 3D connects wirelessly via a small USB transmitter that provides lag-free 2.4 GHz RF and a working range of about 32 feet. It’s also possible to use the headset wired with the included 3.5mm audio cable.
Custom-tuned to take advantage of the PS5’s 3D spatial audio, the Pulse 3D promises 360-degree sound that immerses players into game worlds. Virtual surround also works on PS4 consoles. And for PS5 players without 3D audio content, there’s still DualSense controller integration where game audio channels are split between the controller speaker and headset.
Other key features include:
- Dual hidden microphones for clear voice chat
- On-headset controls for volume, mic mute, power
- 12+ hour battery life
- Fast charging (60 minutes for 3 hours of play)
- 3.5mm audio cable for wired use
- Lightweight, comfortable fit for extended gaming
packed with 40mm neodymium drivers, the Pulse 3D Headset delivers clear audio with emphasised bass that’s quite typical for gaming headsets. Mids and highs come through brightly, lending gunshots, explosions, and sound effects plenty of punch.
Where this headset shines is its virtual surround implementation intended for PS5 games. 3D spatial audio creates an impressively wide and open soundstage, with excellent directional accuracy that helps players pinpoint enemies or other audio cues precisely. Sony’s proprietary Tempest 3D tech even upmixes standard stereo audio into an immersive 360-degree soundscape.
These surround sound benefits also apply to PS4 gaming using the dongle transmitter. Just note that Xbox consoles currently don’t support Tempest 3D, so the Pulse headset would function as a stereo headset only on Xbox One or Series X/S systems.
Across various games tested on PS5 such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon Forbidden West, and Gran Turismo 7, the sparkling 3D audio proved thoroughly engaging, pulling me deeper into these stunning open worlds. It’s easy to hear where sounds originate from, whether it’s behind, overhead, or 100 virtual metres away. This precise directionality gives players a legitimate competitive advantage in multiplayer titles.
Compared to headphones offering DTS or Dolby Digital surround decoding, Sony’s Tempest 3D spatialisation feels more natural and lifelike to my ears. The technology is still developing – only a limited selection of PS5 titles currently support it – but that catalogue expands steadily.
While sound quality doesn’t quite match audiophile headphones, Sony has tuned the drivers and sound profile very capably for gaming purposes. Again, bass is impactful without muddying the clean highs. Whether immersed in epic adventures like Horizon Forbidden West or chaotic online shooters like Call of Duty, the Pulse 3D Headset brings out lots of audio detail.
Embedding dual noise-cancelling microphones inside the left earcup rather than using a boom mic, Sony opted for a more streamlined, integrated design that matches the PS5 aesthetic. Unfortunately, microphone quality proves mediocre overall.
My voice sounds clear enough, if a bit thin on the Pulse mic, but background noise cancellation is fairly average. In quiet indoor settings this microphone gets the job done, but it struggles with loud ambient noise. Chatting with teammates or streaming with any actual background noise, my voice came across rather faint.
Hardcore streamers or competitive esports players would likely want to upgrade to a secondary mic. But for casual gamers relying just on game chat, the built-in mic is serviceable, if not amazing. Those used to boom mic headsets may need to speak up a bit more than usual.
Sony rates the Pulse 3D’s battery life at 12 hours of continuous gaming audio, which seems reasonable according to my testing. At default volume levels of around 60%, I managed roughly 13 hours before needing to recharge. Considering most people don’t play for 12 hours straight, this headset could feasibly last a few days between charges.
When power does run low, the quick-charging function revives the headset nicely – a speedy 60 minute charge keeps the party going for about 3 more hours. A full recharge takes around 3.5 hours. This long-lasting endurance combined with convenient fast charging makes battery life one of the headset’s stronger points. The headset conveniently shows remaining battery percentage when powered on, so you’ll know exactly when to juice up again.
It is a bit disappointing that Sony still relies on microUSB for charging here rather than adopting the increasingly common USB-C standard. But this is only a minor complaint.
Usually selling for $99 / £89 / AU$159, the Sony Pulse 3D resides in that affordable mid-range price bracket for gaming headsets, costing significantly less than premium models. Considering its PS5-tailored design, solid features, and 3D audio support, this headset provides good overall value.
It doesn’t really stand out enough in areas like mic quality or battery life to compete against similarly priced headsets focused mainly on Xbox or PC users though. As mentioned earlier, audio buffs seeking top headphone sound may want to keep shopping around.
However, PS5 owners after an audio upgrade over stock controller speakers should find the Pulse headset money well spent. For a headset created specifically to showcase their new 3D spatial sound, Sony delivers a quality, ergonomic product that mostly lives up to expectations at a fair asking price.
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From its matching white aesthetics down to the custom-tuned 3D audio, Sony built the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset purposefully for PS5. This laser focus on next-gen PlayStation gaming gives the headset advantages Sony fans will appreciate, especially when experiencing that vibrant, directional Tempest 3D spatial sound firsthand.
A comfortable, lightweight design and 12+ hour battery make the Pulse easy to use for extended play sessions. Controls are intuitive, while integrated dual mics facilitate in-game chat. Though microphone quality could be better, it remains adequate for casual players. Compared to premium gaming cans, overall sound quality also falls a tad short, but still nicely emphasises critical sound effects for competitive advantage.
For die-hard PlayStation gamers seeking to unleash their PS5’s spatial audio powers, the reasonably-priced Pulse 3D Headset succeeds as a formidable audio upgrade tailored specifically to their ecosystem of choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What consoles/platforms does the Sony Pulse 3D headset work with?
The Sony Pulse 3D is compatible with PS5, PS4, Windows PC and Mac. It connects wirelessly to PS5 via the USB dongle and can also connect to most other platforms via the included 3.5mm audio cable.
Does the headset work for Xbox consoles?
No, Xbox compatibility is not officially supported, as Xbox consoles do not support Sony’s proprietary Tempest 3D Audio tech that the Pulse Headset is designed for. You can still use the headset wired on Xbox, but would only get regular stereo game audio.
How is the sound quality?
With emphasised bass and bright mids/highs tuned for gaming audio, sound quality is very good overall – though more critical listeners may prefer open-backed audiophile headphones. The Pulse’s standout feature is its Tempest 3D spatial audio, which provides immersive 360-degree directional sound on supported PS5 games.
How long does the battery last?
Sony claims 12 hours of continuous use per charge, which is accurate in our testing. Fast charging offers 3 more hours of play after just 60 minutes of charging.
Can you use the Pulse 3D while it’s charging?
Yes, the headset supports simultaneous charging and playing when wired via USB cable. Sony advises against playing wirelessly while charging.