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 March 16, 2020, to address the headset’s versatility for telecommuters and common recording issues.
Who is the Beyerdynamic Custom Game for?
- 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.
The packaging doesn’t afford a lot; users will find the Beyerdynamic Custom Game headset, the main cable (1.6m) with the flexible cardioid mic/pop shield combo and integrated remote control, a Y-extension cable (0.8m), and six ear cup covers.
What’s it like to use the Custom Game?
The German-based company, known for its balancing of 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’re getting two products in one. I found myself frequently listening to music through the headset for enjoyment.
Nearly every piece of the Beyerdynamic Custom Game headset is user-replaceable.
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 their size and weight, these are supremely comfortable. Even with glasses, I was able to 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 accidentally adjust, 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 ambience to permeate the dampening materials.
To translate the parseltongue of specs, the around-ear headphones are closed-back, designed to improve isolation; its frequency response ranges from 5 – 35,000Hz, 15,000Hz more than the average human ear can perceive; and are a low-impedance, 16-ohm system, which means that they can be used with a phone without draining its battery.
Connecting the headphones
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 Dualshock 4 controller, gaming desktop, or anything else with a 3.5mm input and play away.
All headphones need a mic this good
Atop the cable is a flexible cardioid microphone, undoubtedly one of the best microphones that 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.
The Beyerdynamic Custom Game is more than just an interactive gaming headset; they’re an all-’round 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 headphones’ exploit 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. This specificity wasn’t recreated by other headphones like the Monoprice 8323.
On a related note, any gamer who plays first-person shooters knows that spatial awareness is key for a successful kill/death ratio. It’s imperative for users to hear and identify where an enemy is approaching from, in order to diffuse an impending attack. If ambient noise is impeding 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 who have variable hearing abilities in each ear are accommodated by the Beyerdynamic Custom Game, which allows for different position settings on each ear cup.
Should you buy the Custom Game in 2020?
If your mindset aligns with mine, $149 is steep for a gaming accessory; however, Beyerdynamic makes sure 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 seldom replace parts. Plus, the cardioid microphone does a fantastic job transmitting the speaker’s voice, while simultaneously rejecting background noise.
If you're looking to invest in a long-lasting headset, the Custom game are a top contender.
It may seem odd that a hi-fi audio company is entering the gaming sphere, but the variable bass reflex system is novel and effective. Not only that but regarding sound quality, Beyerdynamic is deserving of its repute. It’s refreshing to see a world-class company push its limits while bringing something new to the table.
Next: Best PC gaming headsets