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As most of you know now (if not all) while typing these lines CeBIT the largest electronics & PC hardware related exhibition in the EU is taking place in Hanover, Germany with countless products showcased by pretty much every manufacturer on the face of the planet. Unfortunately however that left us with two choices, either go there ourselves to cover everything happening at CeBIT up close and personal (not really that far compared to CES so it would be a lot easier to do so) or remain here, post news from CeBIT and at the same time continue our testing to keep our schedule. Well the decision was quite an obvious one (although i haven't been in CeBIT for a long time) and so for the past 6 days we've been spending quite a bit of time with the latest peripheral by Mad Catz, the F.R.E.Q.7 7.1 Virtual Surround PC Gaming Headset.
Mad Catz is a leading global provider of innovative products for the interactive entertainment industry. Mad Catz develops and markets accessories for videogame systems and PCs under its Mad Catz (casual gaming), Saitek (simulation), Cyborg (pro gaming), Eclipse (home and office) and TRITTON (gaming audio) brands. Mad Catz also operates e-commerce and content websites for videogame and PC products under its GameShark brand, develops, manufactures and markets proprietary earphones under its AirDrives brand and publishes and distributes video/PC games. Mad Catz distributes its products through most of the leading retailers offering interactive entertainment products and has offices in North America, Europe and Asia.
If you place the F.R.E.Q.5 Gaming Stereo Headset right next to the F.R.E.Q.7 PC Gaming Headset you will probably not be able to tell the difference between them since we are talking about two virtually identical headsets (aside a couple of tiny differences). So both headsets feature the same exact design, same metal components, same neodymium 50mm stereo drivers, same removable microphone and the same USB/3.5mm plug connectivity which actually means that the F.R.E.Q.7 can't be any worse and that's a very good thing since the F.R.E.Q.5 is one of the very few stereo gaming headsets I’d ever choose to play games, watch movies or even listen to music with. So in essence what Mad Catz did was to get the already excellent F.R.E.Q.5 optimize it by adding Dolby Pro Logic IIx 5.1/7.1 virtual surround sound technology and ship it back out as the new F.R.E.Q.7 aimed towards hardcore gamers. Of course that's not really a bad thing it's actually a very old and efficient recipe since many manufacturers tune/optimize already released products to make them more appealing to other segments of the market whether we are talking about electronics, PC hardware or even cars. The only real question is just how much better (if at all) the new F.R.E.Q.7 is compared to the F.R.E.Q.5 and that's what we will talk about in the following pages.