T-Dagger ANDES T-RGH300 USB Gaming Headset Review

REVIEW

Supplier: Syntech Price: R 429

T-Dagger is an entry level brand from China focused on the gaming peripheral market, and today we take a look at their ANDES T-RGH300 USB Gaming Headset. The ANDES is a very well priced stereo USB headset that features closed 40 mm drivers and green lighting accents on each ear cup as well as the tip of the microphone. Other than that, T-Dagger doesn’t make any claims as to the SNR, frequency response, or anything else for that matter, so we’ll have to do some testing of our own to figure things out.

The first thing you’ll notice is the green LED lighting on each ear cup and tip of the microphone. The lighting is advertised as having a breathing lighting effect, although this proves not to be the case as they’re always lit at full brightness. There is also no way to turn them off, and the light on the microphone can be distracting especially if gaming in the dark. Unfortunately there is nothing more to say regarding the lighting due to there is no customization available whatsoever.

Specifications
Interface USB
Calbe 2.1 m rubberized
Drivers 40 mm
Ear cup design Closed
Frequency response 80 – 14,500 Hz (measured)
Microphone adjustment Swivel arm
Lighting LED, single colour (green)
Compatibility PC and PS4
Warranty 1 Year

The headset doesn’t have any swivel mechanism whatsoever, instead relying on two slightly flexible metal bands that run across the top of the headset to allow the ear cups to settle in position. Below these bands is a pleather band which presses against your head. This has some movement in it which allows it to rest across the top of your head regardless of head size. Once on your head you’ll find that the headset clamps your head fairly tightly yet still allows background sounds though with ease. This is unusual for closed ear cups, as they normally block out quite a lot of background noise when firmly clamped to your head, but with the ANDES it didn’t matter how tightly I squeezed them to my ears I still clearly heard all ambient sounds in the room.

This meant that I had to turn the volume up higher than normal to block out ambient sounds, but that introduced another problem in the form of distortion. For the most part, distortion could start to be detected at around 60% volume and getting worse from there until at 75% it was unpleasant. It didn’t matter whether I used the Windows volume slider, the media player volume slider or the little volume wheel located behind the left ear cap, distortion was always at the same approximate volume and therefore a clear limit that we were at the limit of the drivers. The sound stage was fairly wide, but nothing mind blowing.

The sound quality was average, but listening to almost any music it was clear right away that the treble was overpowering. The back of the box does say “Clearly high pich” [sic] but that seems to be the absolute truth. A few minutes of playing around with equalizer settings brought some of the mids back, but did little for the bass. After resetting the equalizer to a flat profile it was time to dive a little deeper and see what was actually happening. By playing sine waves of various frequencies and measuring the results with a spectrum analyzer we can get a better feeling for what the headset is doing that makes the treble so overpowering. Measurements were taken from the centre of the left driver approximately where your ear canal would sit, and at 50% volume to remove distortion from the mix.

Well that, unfortunately, doesn’t paint a very nice picture. In an ideal world, a headset should have a fairly flat frequency response unless tuned for a certain type of music. We can see, however, that below 500 Hz and above 13,000 Hz it is far quieter than the 500 – 13,000 Hz range, with bass suffering terribly. The higher end of the spectrum isn’t too much of an issue as most games, music and movies won’t have much in that frequency range, but the low bass is why the headset lacks any sort of booming feel to it. Overall, however, a lot of treble can be very tiring to listen to, so even though you won’t get a flat frequency response no matter how hard you try you’ll certainly want to adjust your equalizer to account for this as much as possible.

Something not shown on the chart is another oddity, where anything from 14,500 Hz and above has large spikes in the 4,000 – 6,000 Hz range. On the other end of the spectrum, below 29 Hz there are also spikes in the 200 Hz range. Both of these present themselves as buzzing noise, with the low side also having a rapid ticking. 40 Hz and below were so quiet that they were below ambient, so they’ve been left off the chart. The tests were repeated at a lower volume in case there was distortion being introduced, but to no avail. As such, we can say that the real world frequency response of the headset is 40 – 14,500 Hz, although with sounds below 80 Hz being so much quieter I’d be more comfortable saying 80 – 14,500 Hz.

Moving onto the microphone, the experience was very different. It is extremely sensitive and picks up a lot of background noise, so you will want to turn its level way down. With its volume all the way up I could clearly hear birds in the distance outside that I would otherwise have to strain my ears to hear. The flexible arm allows you to position the microphone in almost any position in front of your mouth, but it cannot be tucked away or disconnected when not in use. Again, the green light became distracting, being bright enough to be annoying even in clear daylight.

Having worn the headset for just under an hour I had to take it off as the ear cups were just too uncomfortable. At no point did the fairly tight clamping hurt my ears thanks to the soft pleather design, but the heat became unbearable. I tried quite a few times as headsets normally become a lot more comfortable with extended use, but even after a combined total of around ten hours of use (often just wearing them with no sound playing at all) the comfort level did not improve.

Having been exposed to many mid and high end headsets it’s easy to criticize the ANDES harshly, but one must not forget that it is an entry level headset with an entry level price point. Even so, it is nearly impossible to recommend the headset as it is an unpleasant experience in multiple ways and there are many alternative options which are simply better in every aspect.

Cheap Poor listening experience
Decent microphone Very little bass
USB interface works on computer and PS4 Uncomfortable to wear
USB interface works on computer and PS4 Green LEDs cannot be turned off or dimmed

Conclusion

Unfortunately the headset was built to a small bill of materials and it shows. A simple switch for the LED lighting would have made a difference to the annoyance that sits just below eye level, and even then the money spent on the lighting would have been better spent on slightly better drivers. Deep, rolling bass is not to be expected from entry level 40 mm drivers, but the lack of mid bass and the intense treble could have been addressed by better quality drivers of the same size.

FORUM DISCUSSION