Wireless peripherals have historically been perceived as limited or unstable even with expensive hardware. The last few years, however, has seen a major shift in the capabilities of wireless technologies, especially for hardcore gamers.
With that in mind, we will be reviewing the Sound Blaster Tactic3D RAGE Wireless V2.0 Headset. We couldn’t come up with a shorter acronym here, so we’ll be using ‘the Tactic3D’ from this point forward to describe its features. The Tactic3D is available at various online r/etailers for about $85 USD. This is a low to middle ground price when compared to other wireless headsets.
Testing was done with a gaming PC and standard PS4.
Unwrapping the Tactic3D revealed to us a basic but sturdy design that actually survived the first accidental (honest) drop from the table. Buttons were easy to identify and press, and everything worked out of the box without any unexpected difficulties.
The adjustment of the cup lengths was overly stiff though, and be careful with handling the metallic bands as they are unnecessarily thin and sharp. They probably won’t cut your fingers, but it’s still an uncomfortable experience when handling them. The ear cups were also somewhat shallow, but the padding was sufficient. While they feel decent for a couple of hours of use, they don’t match up to the soft comfort of some other headsets like the Razer Electra.
We would have liked to see some higher quality metallic style wrapping on some of the critical spots around the cups and headband, but then there goes the price upward from its currently comfortable $85 price point. These are a relatively affordable gamer headset with lots of features, so we expected to sacrifice some comfort and quality of build, though it wasn’t as bad as we expected thankfully.
Battery life lived up to its 16 hour claim in most situations, often coming in just short of that at about 14-15~ when we were in games the entire time. There is a nice red glow on the cups that indicate power on and strength, though we feel this ate into the battery time. There may be a way to turn this feature off, but we couldn’t find it. As with most gamer peripherals, unnecessary flashing lights and indicators are an important feature, or status symbol of coolness.
The mic is completely detachable for easy storage, a nice bonus we don’t see on many other headsets, even some pricier premium units from different OEMs. One helpful thing you’ll want to remember is to hold on to it. We also found it easier to plug back in before you put on the headset. If you take it off while wearing it and then need to plug it back in a hurry, you may as well just take off the headset right away.
One of our greatest gripes about wireless headsets in the past was connectivity issues with communications programs like Discord, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Teamspeak, xSplit, OBS, etc. Previous headsets have randomly disconnected, or simply didn’t work with these programs. Often times you would have to plug the headset in, disabling the wireless option completely in order to use them with these programs. The Tactic3D works as expected for most of these programs, only getting confused when other wireless headsets were plugged in at the same time.
We were surprised by how large the USB dongle was. While it’s not larger than a storage dongle, most devices of this type should have a mini-dongle for use with a laptop. After connecting the device, we recommend downloading the SBX Pro Studio software on Sound Blaster’s driver website for further tuning and compatibility with programs on the PC. There is a ton of options that will let you adjust the headset to your specific needs.
The Tactic3D exhibited only one issue with Discord, and we were able to fix that by downloading the software mentioned above. Otherwise it was simply plug and play without any fuss.
The need of being able to shout at teammates through a headset is just as important as being able to hear them clearly in return. As gamers often behave, shouting and yelling in excitement (or perhaps despair) is a regular occurence. You want a headset that won’t severely distort your voice, or blow out the ears of those listening in. Fortunately, the extra foam cap on the mic helped to minimize popping that occasionally occurred. Overall, mic quality is sufficient, though I wouldn’t use the mic for anything super important or professional.
Sound output was acceptable enough, though the bass was way too deep. Gamer headsets seem to suffer from this unnecessary overdrive. Many gamers prefer smooth and stable sound like anyone else does. It shouldn’t be a given that excitable gamers need over the top bass that thumps out the mid ranges. In this headset, mid-ranges have their own problem and are a bit muffled at times, but only really keen-of-hearing audiophiles will likely notice the difference here.
Surround sound quality was surprisingly decent. The spatial sound experience naturally doesn’t approach the level of $300+ headsets that focus on this feature, but we felt it wasn’t needed for most of the games we played (FPS and MOBA games mainly). The Tactic3D still puts out an immersive experience, even spooking us at times when we heard sounds in far off corners of The Witcher 3 (a recommended game by Sound Blaster). You definitely want the SBX Pro Studio software here for proper settings support (for the PC).
What we didn’t expect, and were quite disappointed by after ensuring our setup was properly applied, was a constant hum in the background, especially when no audio was being played. Most headsets (the Turtle Beach Stealth series and the Cowin E-7 come to mind) go into an idle mode after detecting no audio present to prevent a radio hum, but these didn’t. The hum is subtle, and will mostly go unnoticed after you get used to it, but it’s there.
Also related to the background noise, the ear cups did little to muffle external noises. While we were obviously not expecting anything approaching actual noise cancelling technology, a good ear cup padding can still go a long way to provide some dampening of external noises, and further cushions your ears too.
Alas, there also didn’t seem to be a wired option, which is a nice feature to have when the wireless part goes out through battery life or compatibility reasons. A wired connection probably would have removed the annoying background hum as well, which is usually the result of poor implementation of wireless broadcasting hardware and software.
- Battery life lives up to its 16 hours in most situations
- Compatible with nearly every relevant program we tested it with
- Decent surround sound quality that gets the job done
- SBX Pro Studio software was decent with lots of options
- Detachable mic is a big win… just don’t lose it.
- Wireless background audio buzz, more obvious when there’s no playback present
- Playback quality bass was unnecessarily overdriven
- Be careful with the thin metal band when adjusting the headset
- No wired option
If all you need a basic headset with solid software compatibility, audio features helpful for surround sound gaming, and are not overly picky about audio quality with the possible exception of the mic, the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage Wireless V2.0 Headset does a decent job for the money.