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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Turn It Up!

While playing Stranglehold last night during a second exercise session for my Pounds for Pixels challenge, I realized that something was amiss. The game's volume was a little too low for my liking. Before my PS3 came along, I used a Sony MDRDS1000 5.1ch Digital Surround Headphone System to deliver sound to my headphones. Now that I have my MDRDS1000 connected to my big screen TV and PS3, I was in a bit of a bind when it came to providing audio while playing my Xbox 360.

Looking around my house, I found an unused set of Logitech 5.1 PC speakers. I made a small purchase off of eBay for a Logitech Game Adapter which allowed me to plug my Xbox 360 RCA stereo cables into my Logitech speakers. I plugged some headphones into the Logitech centre speaker module and I was able to play games on my newly relocated Xbox 360.

Last night, I found that I was having a hard time hearing some of the cutscenes in Stranglehold. The volume was way too low. So I reached out and nudged the volume a little higher on the centre speaker module. A few minutes went by before I realized that the volume knob had had no noticeable effect on my ability to hear what Chow Yun Fat was saying. I turned the volume up as high as it would go: no effect. I finished exercising, got on the Internet, and learned that the Logitech centre speaker's headphone volume must be adjusted at the source. Unfortunately, the Xbox 360 does not come equipped with built-in volume control (fair enough).

After showering and watching a little TV with my wife, I did what any gaming addict would do in my spot: I hopped online to find a pair of headphones with a built-in amp. While I considered picking up another Sony surround sound system, I wasn't too keen on spending quite so much money on a set of headphones that I'd only use while cycling. A quick visit to CNET reviews and I found one product that had all the features I needed at a pretty good price: the Ear Force X1 Stereo Headset. Although these headphones do not provide surround sound, they do provide good quality sound with a built-in microphone should I ever choose to do a little online gaming.

I plan on picking up my new headphones tonight and giving them a try. I think they'll work out just fine. As long as I can turn the volume up loud enough to drown out the sound of my frantic pedaling and laboured breathing, I'll be happy.

And as for Stranglehold itself, things are playing out nicely. The game is certainly getting more difficult and a little repetitive. But I did enjoy the brief section that took place in a helicopter. Shooting down gunmen and incoming rockets using a mounted heavy machine gun does add a little excitement to an otherwise linear experience.

Have a good one!