Ar­magged­don Avatar Pro ZX500

Boom­bas­tic Sur­round

HWM (Malaysia) - - LAB TEST - TEXT // BRYAN CHAN

When it comes to sur­round sound head­phones, we're spoiled for choice be­cause there are so many head­phones from so many man­u­fac­tur­ers that of­fer ei­ther dig­i­tal or ana­log sur­round sound. Join­ing their ranks is some­thing new from Ar­magged­don, the Avatar Pro ZX500.

Aes­thet­i­cally, the ZX500 looks good. It has a black and yel­low color scheme, mak­ing it a great ac­ces­sory to ac­com­pany the Hari­mau Malaya jersey. Jokes aside, the ZX500 is dis­tin­guish­able from miles away, thanks to puls­ing yel­low LEDs and bright yel­low lines. When sit­ting on your head, the ZX500 can get a lit­tle tight, be­cause of the not-so-elas­tic headband. This is good in that it helps en­sure min­i­mal sound leak­age and in­su­lates from am­bi­ent noise, but it can get a lit­tle tight for some, par­tic­u­larly those with spec­ta­cles.

The ZX500 has two 40mm driv­ers that can re­pro­duce sound akin to a 7.1 speaker con­fig­u­ra­tion, thanks to the use of pro­pri­etary soft­ware. The soft­ware is user-friendly and of­fers the abil­ity to man­u­ally set the po­si­tion of the vir­tual speak­ers, as well as dis­able/en­able the 7.1 speaker mode. When we tried to play around with th­ese set­tings, we found that the po­si­tional el­e­ment could have been bet­ter, as au­dio from dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions could still be heard, even af­ter we put all the vir­tual speak­ers on just one side.

In ad­di­tion to sup­port­ing a 7.1 con­fig­u­ra­tion, the ZX500 has an­other in­ter­est­ing fea­ture, which is a bass boost but­ton. This but­ton, found on the in-line re­mote con­troller, sup­pos­edly adds more bass by in­creas­ing the amount of vi­bra­tion com­ing from the driv­ers. Dur­ing our time with th­ese head­phones, we found that the but­ton does add more bass, though the ef­fect is rather sub­tle.

As usual, we be­gan test­ing the ZX500 by first play­ing a num­ber of our au­dio test tracks from var­i­ous gen­res. Af­ter a cou­ple of days with th­ese head­phones, we have to ad­mit that we were ac­tu­ally rather im­pressed by the amount of clar­ity and def­i­ni­tion that the ZX500 is able to re­pro­duce. In Bon Jovi's 'It's My Life', the elec­tric gui­tars and vo­cals were clearly au­di­ble, with­out be­ing mud­dled at all! As for tracks with more acous­tic mu­sic and vo­cals, again, the ZX500 im­pressed us by hav­ing a good bal­ance of lows, mids and highs. Even the backup singers in Joanna Wang's 'The Best Mis­take I've Ever Made' were clearly au­di­ble.

Be­cause the ZX500 are head­phones that are op­ti­mized for gam­ing and movies, we also tested it with a cou­ple of games like Left 4 Dead 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Of­fen­sive. In both games, di­rec­tional sound was good and over­all au­dio qual­ity was great. The same can be said for when th­ese head­phones were used when watch­ing movies with 5.1 chan­nel au­dio.

In a nut­shell, the Ar­magged­don Avatar Pro ZX500 is a great pair of head­phones that pro­vides good di­rec­tional sound and has above aver­age au­dio qual­ity. We re­ally like the ZX500 and would rec­om­mend it to any­one look­ing for a pair of vir­tual sur­round sound head­phones.

With 40mm driv­ers, the ZX500 sure is loud!

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