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Creative's new gaming headset can tell up from down

Sean Hollister

Creative's latest cans may not have the pizazz of a wireless World of Warcraft rig, but they've got one feature guaranteed to make hardcore PC gamers swoon -- they claim to be the very first to offer truly three-dimensional surround sound. Embued with the latest revision of Creative's THX software collaboration (dubbed THX TruStudio Pro) the Sound Blaster Tactic 3D series "delivers a 360 degree surround sound gaming experience so gamers can hear sounds clearly from the front, back, above and below." There's also a set of customizable audio profiles so you can tune all the other presumably-more-powerful TruStudio algorithms just the way you like, though it's not clear whether Creative's included on-board memory or just has a desktop app. In terms of hardware, the $60 Tactic 3D Alpha comes with 40mm drivers, a USB audio adapter and a detachable noise-canceling microphone, while $90 buys you the Tactic 3D Sigma with larger 50mm drivers and a steel headband as well when both debut later this month. We have to admit, we're curious to hear for ourselves whether they work as advertised -- they sound like just the thing for a nice, relaxing Portal speedrun. Full PR after the break.

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Creative Announces the Sound Blaster® Tactic 3D™ Line of Gaming Headsets for a Completely Immersive 3D Audio Experience

Milpitas, CA September 1, 2010 – Creative, a worldwide leader in digital entertainment products, today announced the new line of Tactic 3D™ gaming headsets featuring THX® TruStudio Pro technology for a completely immersive 3D audio experience. Available in September, the Sound Blaster® Tactic 3D Alpha™ and Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma™ gaming headsets are the first Sound Blaster headsets to feature customizable profiles, for a precise audio experience every time.

"Creative gaming headsets are the only headsets in the world to deliver a true 3D immersive experience – with sound coming from around you, above you and from below. As games have evolved and 3D video has become the norm, Creative headsets with THX TruStudio Pro are the perfect complement, providing gamers with a completely immersive, mind-blowing 3D audio and video experience," said Steve Erickson, VP and GM for audio and video at Creative.

"We've taken our THX TruStudio Pro audio technology suite and given gamers control of every nuance of the way their games sound, allowing them to customize their own TacticProfile™, which can then be shared with other gamers. We have even included pre-configured profiles from world-renowned gamers such as Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel and members from international professional gaming teams compLexity and Dignitas, allowing gamers with one click of their mouse to reconfigure the headset audio properties to the exact specification of the professional gamer," said Ryan Schlieper, product manager for gaming audio at Creative.

The THX TruStudio Pro audio technology, developed by the legendary sound engineers at Creative, in conjunction with THX, uses proprietary advanced algorithms that allow sounds to be recreated above, below and all around the gamer, surpassing the limitations of typical 5.1 and 7.1 headsets. It also allows gamers to hear voices and sounds in amazing detail regardless of how far away they are, making the Tactic3D line of headsets the optimal way to fully experience audio in the next generation of 3D gaming.

THX TruStudio Pro Surround Audio delivers a 360 degree surround sound gaming experience so gamers can hear sounds clearly from the front, back, above and below. "The difference between hearing sounds just to left of me versus to left and above me is huge when playing in a tournament match. THX TruStudio Pro Surround gives me the advantage I need versus using standard 5.1 and 7.1 headsets," said Yfran "Eafra" Garcia, professional FIFA player.

THX TruStudio Pro features proprietary THX TruStudio Pro Crystalizer™ real-time audio restoration technology, which enhances in-game sound by restoring low and high end frequency curves lost to compression. "With THX TruStudio Pro Crystalizer we hear details that you just aren't able to hear otherwise, which gives us a definite competitive advantage," said Alex "Sodah" Ringe, professional World of Warcraft player.

THX TruStudio Pro Smart Volume™ addresses the problem of abrupt volume level changes in games by automatically and continuously measuring volume, and intelligently applying gain and attenuation to compensate for those changes. "In critical gaming matches there is a lot going on audio-wise. You have team leaders calling out instructions, gun fire and other audio cues happening all around you. Having THX TruStudio Pro Smart Volume is important because it allows me to hear everything in the map, near or far," said David "Xp3" Garrido, professional Counter-Strike player.

THX TruStudio Pro Dialog Plus™ enhances voices during in-game communication for clearer dialog, allowing the gamer to hear the dialog over the rest of the sounds and over ambient noise in the listening environment. "Whether you are listening to dialog or listening to your team strat caller, it's critical to be able to hear commands clearly and THX TruStudio Pro Dialog Plus allows voices to cut through in-game audio even in the most intense situations," said Michael "Twix" Shane, professional World of Warcraft player.

Explosive THX TruStudio Pro Bass™ produces heart-pounding, customizable bass levels without compromising signal integrity. "It is always satisfying to get a frag with the rocket launcher. It is even more satisfying with THX TruStudio Pro Bass enabled," said Brian "dkt" Flander, professional Quake Live player.

All of the features within the THX TruStudio Pro software suite are completely customizable and can be saved with the TacticProfile feature, so gamers don't have to modify their settings every time they play.

Features of Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Alpha Headset

40mm Neodymium drivers for great gaming audio performance
Optimized lightweight design for marathon game play
THX TruStudio Pro software suite for an immersive audio experience
Customizable TacticProfile enable gamers to save their own settings or use pre-configured settings from pro-gamers
Programmable VoiceFX™ for voice morphing into in-game characters or during VoIP chats
Detachable noise-canceling microphone allows headset to be used as great sounding headphones
Dual Mode™ USB 2.0 adapter enables headset to be used in analog mode
Non-tangle flat ribbon cable

Features of Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma Headset

All of the features of the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Alpha, plus:
50mm Neodymium gaming-tuned linear high-resolution drivers
Steel core headband for a precise fit with maximum durability

Pricing and Availability
The Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma will retail for US$89.99 and the Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Alpha will retail for US$59.99. Both headsets will be available in September. For more information on all of Creative's gaming products check out

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