By: Aaron Lai
March 3, 2017
Often when we are faced with unexpected circumstances, our natural instincts engage in order to deal with whatever may be flying our direction. Last Sunday, I was helping out in the Kindergarten class at my church as a substitute for a missing helper. As the class was finishing up, I went to the head teacher and held out my hand to high five her. Rather than doing the traditional thing and high-fiving back, she decided the best way to respond was to grab my hand with both of her hands. I quickly pulled my hand back before she actually grabbed it, and I awkwardly smiled at her. I then proceeded to fist bump, and she almost grabbed my fist again. Interestingly enough, when I inquired about it, she said she just did not expect me to high five her or fist bump her at any time. Thus she was flustered and reacted in the only way natural. While I would probably have left this interaction feeling very confused, this friend is a unique friend, so I could only laugh. I then spent a minute or two educating her on the high five, fist-bump, and explosion combination. Overall, I think it does seem pretty interesting how we deal with unexpected things. While I have no clue what her thoughts where as I held my hand in the air, she only did what seemed as a natural response. Thus when I received word of the Fnatic Gear DUEL, I had some innate instincts. For any company entering the audio industry, it can often be a rough go to start with. However, when I heard Fnatic Gear teamed up with an audiophile company named AIAIAI, my fears started to melt. Was this the dream team combination we could expect? Or would the final result just be another unsurprising disappointment? Let us see when we take a closer look at the Fnatic Gear DUEL!
Today's review unit of the Fnatic Gear DUEL arrived directly from Fnatic Gear's United Kingdom offices, traveling with Royal Mail before being transferred to Canada Post upon reaching Canadian soils. As usual, we have a Fnatic Gear bag holding the DUEL inside, with some extra bubble wrap wrapped around the container for cushioning any blows during transit. While these shipping bags are nice since they reduce the weight of the shipment, it also requires a bit more packaging material to ensure the inner contents are still intact when it reaches the destination. Otherwise, there are no gaping holes or deep scratches in the bag, so I made my own deep gash to get at the Fnatic Gear DUEL itself.
Despite being wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap, the contents arrived in average to mediocre quality. You can see there are quite a few dents on the edges and sides of the box. Even so, the box is still intact and holding strong. As with other Fnatic Gear products we have seen before, the retail container of the DUEL fits in with the rest of their lineup, in terms of appearances anyway. We have the DUEL shown on the front, with the company name on the left side and the full product name of "DUEL TMA-2 Modular Gaming Headset" given. If you may have heard the TMA-2 moniker before, this is because it was used on another modular headset by AIAIAI, an audio design company. Further inspection of the box will show indeed Fnatic Gear actually worked with AIAIAI to create the DUEL, with the basis of the design based on AIAIAI's own TMA-2 modular headset. Thus the front picture is actually of the "Gaming Configuration". Flipping to the back reveals another configuration called the "On-The-Road Configuration". Otherwise, the box is actually void of any specifications related to the inner contents.
However, if you are interested, we have pulled up the specifications from the manufacturer's website:
Diameter: 40 mm
Impedance: 32 Ohm
Rated Power: 30 mW
Mac Power: 70 mW
Magnet Type: Neodymium
Resonance Frequency: 75 Hz
Sound Pressure Level: 117 dB
Diaphragm Material: PET + Titanium
Dimensions: W: 180mm, H: 200mm, D: 95mm
Net Weight: 275g
Package Contents: 1x Headband, 2x Over-Ear Earpads, 2x On-Ear Earpads, 2x S02 Speaker Units, 1x In-Line Microphone Cable, 1x Boom Microphone Cable, 1x Drawstring Pouch, 1x Insert with Stickers & Manual / Instructions
Upon opening the Fnatic Gear DUEL's retail container, the inner contents was definitely not what I expected, compared to other gaming headsets anyway. Rather than having a single unit held in some foam bracket, I pulled out six different bags holding various contents in addition to a drawstring bag. From the specifications above, you can see the contents of these small bags are actually different parts of the headset, and so some assembly is required for the Fnatic Gear DUEL. Some documentation is, however, provided to help users with putting it together.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis