Whether you like playing video games on consoles like the Xbox 360 or you prefer to enjoy your games on the PC, having some quality sound can really elevate your overall experience. This is particularly true for titles where you need to talk to your fellow players and that's why there are so many gaming headsets on the market. The thing is that many of them can be quite expensive.
It may not exactly be a household name, but KMD actually has quite the wide assortment of gaming accessories. One such example is the KMD Talkback PRO a universal gaming headset that will work with the PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, among many other platforms. This review sample was provided to us by Innex, the same company that supplied us with the RetroDuo Portable Version 2.0.
A Headset for All Gamers
Many gamers don't restrict themselves to a single platform. While they may have a grand old time with League of Legends on the PC, they might prefer to play Street Fighter on the Xbox or Call of Duty on the PS3. And, if they're wise with their wallets, they don't want to have to invest in separate headsets for each of these platforms.
It's the same fundamental philosophy behind other multi-platform products like the Eightarc Fusion Synthesis. You get one product that you really like and then you can use it on multiple consoles and the PC. The KMD Talkback Pro is exactly that. You get universal connections for USB and for RCA audio (red/white), plus a 2.5mm connection for the Xbox headset. With a lengthy 12 foot cable, you shouldn't have any trouble using this headset regardless of where you put your console or PC.
The construction is largely plastic, so the Talkback Pro can feel "cheap" compared to its more expensive competition. That being said, there is plenty of padding on both the earpieces and on the headband. The earpieces don't breathe very well, though, so you may run into sweaty ear syndrome with extended gaming sessions.
The Control Scheme
First, there is a simple switch for you to swap between Xbox and PS3. If you're using this headset with your PC, then you use PS3 mode for that. Second, you'll find two sets of volume dials, offering you independent control of chat and game volume. That's a pretty handy feature.
The connection process, as you imagine, is about as straightforward as it gets. You use the standard USB connection for just about everything, except for legacy products where RCA may be more appropriate. Strangely, I couldn't get the Xbox configuration to work properly via USB, but everything was fine on the PC and with anything coming through RCA.
Yes, It's for Talking Back Too
Of course, this is a headset and not just a pair of headphones. The boom mic is completely removable and it plugs into the standard 3.5mm jack in the left earpiece. The boom is on a flexible arm that you can then easily bend and twist for the best possible position. That's the good news.
The bad news is that because it just uses a standard (circular) 3.5mm connection, I found the boom mic had the unfortunate tendency of spinning around when I didn't want it to go anywhere. This didn't happen all the time, but it did become a point of frustration for me.
What a Tangled Web We Weave
Having a 12-foot cable is incredibly versatile, because you don't want to sit right next to your Xbox in order to use a headset. That's fair enough, but because of all the different connections and interconnects, the cabling for the KMD Talkback Pro turns into a jumbled mess far too easily.
On the same end where you find the USB connection, you also see your cable branch out for the RCA connections with some length of cable. And where you have the inline controller for volume and the Xbox/PS3 switch, you have a thin cable of not negligible length with the 2.5mm connection for the Xbox headset input.
While I do realize that this would add some cost to the overall product, I would have really liked to see if some or all of these connections were removable. That way, you only have the cables that you need and you can put away the ones that you don't. My makeshift solution was to use some twisty ties, but that's hardly an elegant fix.
The Audio Experience
While you won't be blown away by the sound production or sound quality of the KMD Talkback Pro, you won't be disappointed either. The in-game sounds from the dual 32 speakers were rich and complex, not shattering your ears with bass nor piercing your eardrums with tinny shrieks. I was able to get great balance, both with playing games and with listening to a range of music.
The ear pads did a commendable job of passively blocking out sounds from the outside world, so you really can immerse yourself in battle (or whatever game you happen to be playing). That being said, the ear pads are made from that material that can eventually crack and flake over time. The lack of breathability, as mentioned, can lead to sweaty ears too.
MEGATechie Auditory Ace or MEGATechie Tainted Talkback?
With an MSRP of $49.99, the KMD Talkback Pro gaming headset is an affordable option for people who want a viable headset that they can use on a variety of platforms. Having both USB and RCA audio makes this quite flexible, but this is a powered headset. What this means is that if you are using RCA audio, you will need a USB power source to use it.
The cheaper plastic feel and the tangled mess of cables take a few points away from the Talkback Pro, but the affordable price and above average sound quality easily make up for that. KMD may not be your first choice when it comes to gaming headsets, but given my experience with the Talkback Pro, they should be one of the choices you consider, especially if you're on a tighter budget.