MSI DS502 Gaming Headset Review
Peter Donnell / 7 years ago
A Closer Look
The in-line controller is quite large, with two control buttons on the side for bass and microphone control.
There is a huge scroll wheel that runs through both sides of the controller, allowing easy adjustments to the master volume. No shirt clip though, but since it’s so big anyway, it’s not exactly hard to find mid-game.
The microphone comes fixed to the side of the left ear cup, but don’t worry, when it’s not in use, you can fold it up and out of the way.
What’s really unique is that instead of the microphone being on a joint that turns, the entire side of the earcup rotates around the outside of the driver to move the microphone. Here it is partially turned.
Then all the way down, notice how the base of the microphone has moved to the other side of the driver. The microphone has a flexible boom, which helps prevent it from snapping if you happen to knock it. There’s a small red LED light on the end of it, as well as some LED lighting in the back of the driver, which we’ll see lit up in a moment.
Each driver has a semi-open back design with lots of mesh around the back that breaks up the matte finish of the plastics. Overall, the build quality feels great though and the headset does have a good premium look and feel in general, it’s nicely weighted and should survive some serious knocks and bumps with ease.
Each driver is mounted on a small pivot with offers a few degrees of movement to provide a closer fit around your ears, although not so much that you can turn the drivers inwards to make the headset more comfortable to wear around your neck between games.
The headband features an auto-adjusting design that means you can quickly wear it and have it feeling comfortable in virtually no time. My only issue is that it doesn’t like my rather large head (it’s pretty large) and the bottom of the drivers doesn’t sit flush with the bottom of my ears. I had a few other people try it and it fit them perfectly, so take note if you’ve got a bigger than average head.
The headband is very comfortable, with a nice soft padding and a wide band that helps distribute the weight fo a comfortable fit, even after long gaming sessions.
The ear cups are padded with a durable foam and covered with a soft leather material that gives them a close fit around your ears, and this also helps block out a little extra ambient noise. There’s some red cloth backing over the drivers, but you’ll notice the padding is quite shallow, so those with smaller ears may find their ear actually touches the material here. This isn’t a big issue, if an issue at all, but I’m sure a little more padding could offer some improvement.
The red LED on the end of the microphone, just adds to the overall touches of red from the rest of the headset.
Plugging in the headset, we’re treated to that stunning red dragon LED lighting on the side, while the mesh gives it a rather cool pixelated look that just adds to the overall gaming charm.
Once powered up, the headset is plug and play ready, so you can enjoy it right out of the box. The overall performance is pretty robust, with powerful drivers at maximum volume, but they lack the detail I was hoping for in the mid-ranges. There’s a bass boost mode that kicks in a vibration driver for some added kick, it doesn’t so much increase the amount of bass in the audio source, so much as it allows you to “feel” the bass. It’s a cool feature for gaming and immersion, but personally, I think the headset doesn’t need this feature, it sounds and performs well enough with it turned off.
Installing the software unlocks access to the surround processing, and a whole host of audio configuration settings and effects that do help bring out better sound quality, especially for movies and gaming, where surround processing is more common than with music. The software isn’t the best design, though, but it does get the job done. While I don’t think they’re that ideal for music lovers, the powerful volume and the clear highs works really well for Mumble and gaming in general, music lovers may want to invest in a similarly priced set of dedicated headphones.
One thing I did find surprising was the drivers. The file is about 120mb to download and unpacks to 264MB with a whopping 20,232 files. It looks like this could be better optimised and may just be that it’s MSI’s first headset, but for some reason the drivers took a staggering 45 minutes to uninstall from our test system.