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Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game
March 6, 2017
7.6 x 5 x 20.3 cm
Sweaty hands death-grip your PS4 controller while you stare intently at the screen. Your left thumb nearly slides off the joystick as your character sprints ahead, mere feet from your team’s base.
“Turn ar… d!” Your teammate exclaims, his voice muffled as his roommates make a ruckus in the background.
Your character drops to the ground. As the view shifts from first-person to third-person spectator, the game stats appear. You lose, 49 – 50.
Beyerdynamic knows how frustrating miscommunication is and recently plunged into the gaming sphere with the CUSTOM Game headset. The cardioid, boom microphone effectively filters out ambient noise, allowing the speaker to take center stage. Though, with pre-established brands like Turtle Beach and Astro, is there room for a hi-fi audio company to join the world of gamers?
Editor’s note: this review was updated on September 23, 2022, to add the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless to the alternative recommendations.
Gamers should get the CUSTOM Game; after all, it’s in the name. Communication comes across loud and clear with the external cardioid mic. Plus, as the name implies, it’s easy to customize and, thanks to the plush ear pads, can be worn for hours at a time, with or without glasses. Conference callers may want to get a pair of these gaming headphones because of the excellent microphone quality and comfort. The boom microphone design reduces the impact of common recording problems such as the proximity effect.
What’s it like to use the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game?
The German-based company, known for balancing build and sound quality, treats the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game with the same attention to detail as its high-end Aventho Wireless. When you buy the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game, you get two products in one. I frequently listen to music through the headset for enjoyment.
Beyerdynamic’s ubiquitous design translates well into gaming headsets, as the massive ear cups and metal construction offer durability and weight distribution not seen on many other cans. Contrary to the size and weight, the CUSTOM Game is comfortable. Even with glasses, I can wear the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game headset for two and a half hours before flirting with fatigue.
Speaking of which, all the plush padding is removable and, thus, replaceable. The ear cup plates are also user-replaceable, allowing individuals to style their headset to their liking. Minimal maintenance is required, but every now and again, users should gently clean the ear pads with a damp cloth.
The 3.5mm headphone jack makes the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game compatible with just about any device. Plus, there’s a mute switch, and on the right, is a multi-function button, which calls upon virtual assistants. The other side houses a volume dial. Initially, it looks easy to adjust accidentally, but usage has proved otherwise. As we cover in the following section, yes, users can plug directly into their controller, if it allows for it.
How to adjust the sliders
Just like the Custom One Pro, the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game integrates adjustable sound sliders, which reveal or conceal a series of three bass reflex vents, like a physical EQ-ing mechanism. As the position numbers ascend, so too does the bass emphasis. Switching directly from the first position to the fourth creates a distinct contrast, but gradual transitions are harder to differentiate.
- Light bass: Complete concealment of the vents is ideal for noisy environments and for listeners who prefer to hear midrange and treble over the low-end.
- Linear: Good for casual listening. Though the bass appears to be a bit bumped on the frequency chart, its perceived emphasis is appropriate, never stepping on the toes of the midrange frequencies.
- Vibrant bass: Good for people who want bass elevation more in line with typical consumer sound signatures. This position lets a notable amount of ambient noise in.
- Heavy bass: Revealing all bass-reflex vents is good if you’re gaming in your apartment. It doesn’t matter if sound leaks out from the headphones, and there likely isn’t much environmental ambiance to permeate the dampening materials.
How do you connect the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game?
The Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game cable terminates in a standard 3.5mm plug, which can be connected to any compatible device. And, yes, that means that you can plug directly into your Sony controller, gaming desktop, or anything else with a 3.5mm input and play away.
How does the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game sound?
The Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game is more than just an interactive gaming headset, it’s a great set of cans. Though much attention is paid to the low-end reproduction, the midrange and treble are nothing to downplay either.
Casey Abrams’ Robot Lovers, takes full advantage of recording across the x, y, and z axes, and the headset exploits this mastering to the fullest. The CUSTOM Game provides a great sense of spatial awareness; it sounds like the incoming cowbell is placed precisely halfway between the drums and my ear and is isolated to the right channel. Other headphones like the Monoprice 8323 doesn’t recreate this specificity.
Any gamer who plays first-person shooters knows that spatial awareness is key for a successful kill/death ratio. Users must hear and identify where an enemy is approaching to diffuse an impending attack. If ambient noise impedes in-game audio, simply adjust the sliders to position 1, which simultaneously reduces ambient noise and prevents the low-end from masking midrange frequencies.
For readers dubious of the variable bass reflex system, doubt no more. It’s quite effective and simple to operate. Listeners with variable hearing abilities in each ear are accommodated by the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game, which allows for different position settings on each ear cup.
Is the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game microphone good?
Atop the cable is a flexible cardioid microphone, undoubtedly one of the best microphones I’ve used on a headset. The cardioid pattern allows for placement flexibility and is generally forgiving. These mechanics—in conjunction with the pop shield—do a decent job filtering out ambient noise, exactly what you want when communication is paramount. For optimal voice quality, place the mic two or three inches away from the mouth.
Should you buy the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game?
If your mindset aligns with mine, $149 USD is steep for a gaming accessory. However, Beyerdynamic ensures your purchase is a long-term investment with the ability to easily wash and replace parts. In theory, you could have the CUSTOM Game for years on end, only having to replace parts every now and then. Plus, the cardioid microphone does a fantastic job transmitting the speaker’s voice, while simultaneously rejecting background noise.
That said, the CUSTOM Game is all but discontinued and very hard to find nowadays. Instead, you may be better off with something like the Beyerdynamic MMX 150. This wired gaming headset connects via USB and comes with a 3.5mm adapter.
What should you get instead of the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game?
The TYGR 300 R Bundle is solid with its neutral-leaning frequency response and included Beyerdynamic Fox USB microphone for clear mic quality. It costs a bit more than the CUSTOM Game, but again, you get an external mic with the TYGR bundle. If you want a pared-down gaming headset with a wired connection and few features, the Beyerdynamic MMX 100 may be for you. This looks nearly identical to its big sibling, the Beyerdynamic MMX 150, but lacks a USB-C connection port and augmented mode.
The Logitech G Pro X is another solid headset, and this one costs less than the CUSTOM Game. Here, you get access to Blue Vo!ce software that’s pretty good and a solid build. Bass notes are pretty quiet here, so that may disappoint some gamers.
If you really want to step up your game, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is a popular pick for good reason: it works well. You get a comfortable fit, the best battery life of just about any gaming headset on the market, and good sound for $179 USD (often less).