By: Aaron Lai
February 7, 2014
When 2014 rolled around, the first question I asked myself was whether or not I would make a New Year’s Resolution. Resolutions are quite common around the beginning of a year, as leaving the past and looking forward to the future gives people a sense of hope for better things to come. These resolutions can be self-focused or selfless. Goals like losing weight, getting organized, or spending more time with family are quite common. In a study conducted by the University of Scranton, approximately forty-five percent of Americans make New Year Resolutions for themselves. Of those forty-five percent, only eight percent of them actually see the resolution go through. There are different stances of why people fail at keeping their resolutions, but one prevalent idea is that people often set unspecific or unattainable goals. Rather than saying that they “commit to exercising for half an hour at least every other day”, they put vague sentences out like “losing weight”. In essence, they list out the big things they want to see, but they forget about the little details that come with it. You can almost say it is the little things that make the big difference. And this brings me to the dilemma of the Cooler Master Ceres 500. The last Cooler Master headset we reviewed, the CM Storm Ceres 400, was generally an acceptable product. While it did not blow our minds or our ears off, it was not very heavy on the wallet, and the performance was as expected with the price. On the other hand, there were small details that made the Ceres 400 almost undesirable. Now that Cooler Master has shipped us their Ceres 500, we can pose one question: Is this better than the last model, or does it too forget the small things that matter? Hopefully, we will answer this and other questions in today’s review.
Today’s unit of the Cooler Master Storm Ceres 500 comes along with the Cooler Master Nepton 280L, a desktop water cooler, which will be reviewed later on by fellow editor Preston Yuen. It arrived on December 31, 2013, so it is quite literally the last product to land on our doorstep for the year. These items are all packaged together in a nice big brown box. UPS Standard was in charge of getting this parcel to our Calgary location in one piece, and they did a decently good job. There are no bumps or bruises on the parcel, which is good to see. This usually means that the products inside are in good condition. Opening up this box, both the headset and the cooler are placed in the standard brown packing paper to ensure that the products arrived at the destination fully intact.
Cooler Master sent us this headset in its retail packaging, as they often do with other review units. For the Ceres 500, the packaging follows a relatively similar packaging as the Ceres 400; with a nice window to see the actual product while it is still in the box. Of course, color schemes are different, as the Ceres 400 was more of a red and black headset, while the Ceres 500 follows a colorless look, with only white and black on the box. On the box is a nice large picture of the headset, with the 'Ceres 500' name written underneath. If you look at the bottom, there is a statement saying this is a gaming headset for PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3, but we will look into the actual performance later on. On the right side of the box, it reiterates the fact that this works with both PC and consoles; albeit last generation consoles. On the left side there are some audio specifications. Finally, flipping over to the back, we find a breakdown of Cooler Master’s biggest party pieces, which will be highlighted upon later on. As Cooler Master does deliver their products around the world, they have listed these features in nine other languages, but luckily for us, everything on the box is primarily English. If not, I would be pulling out Google Translate just to understand what “Leistungsstarke” means in Deutsche. (For your information, it means “Powerful”, and yes, I did look it up via Google Translate).
Before tearing open the box, I should let you readers examine the specifications of the CM Storm Ceres 500, as per the manufacturer’s website:
- Driver: 40mm driver
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ω
- Sensitivity@1KHz: 116dB ± 4dB
- Connector: 3.5mm jack/ USB
- Cable length: 3m
- Pick-up Pattern: Omni-Directional
- Frequency Response: 100 Hz – 10,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: -54 ± 3dB
- In-line remote: Removable Mic / Volume control / Mic mute / PC/ Console mode switch
There is one thing that brings me great joy when it comes to packaging, and that is the lack of blister packs. Even when I purchased my Sennheiser HD 439, it came in the worst blister pack ever made. It had to be opened with a knife. So without a knife in my hand, I opened up the Ceres 500 to see what I would get. Once again, packaging is pretty much the same as the Ceres 400, with the headset fit in a plastic shell to hold the whole product in place. Taking everything out, we have four items to note. The first is the Ceres 500 headset, along with a 3m cord permanently attached to the left ear. On the cord is also the in-line remote. The second item is the detachable microphone, which attaches on the left side of the headphones. The third item is an RCA-to-3.5mm (male/female to female) adapter cable, which is used when plugging the headset into a video game console. Finally the fourth item is a 2.5mm to 2.5mm, male to male, microphone cable, used specifically with the Xbox 360, and it plugs from the inline remote to the controller. There is also some light documentation for specifications, and a quick guide to plugging the headset into the different devices.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis