Where to buy: PDP
Price: $79.99 – Or Region Equivalent
I recently was given the opportunity to test out a number of products from hardware manufacturer PDP. First and foremost, let’s take a look (or listen) at PDP’s Afterglow AG9+ wireless headset. Product spec’s feature 50mm Neodymium drivers with two modes: Pure audio and bass boost. Fully wireless for both the PS4 and Xbox One, meaning no cable to the controller. Easy to use Plug & Play installation for both consoles with a removable noise-cancelling Microphone, and customizable Prismatic LED lighting on the ear cups. Let’s go through the list one by one.
Soundwise the AG9+ is not bad at all. The Pure Audio mode is bright and crisp, offering crystal clear dialogue. Bass Boost adds a little extra punch to explosions, but just a little. In fact, depending on the audio mix it might be hard to notice much of a difference at all. The Afterglow AG9+ uses a USB transmitter to go completely wireless but can also be used while charging or alternatively with the included AUX cable. Going wireless, I didn’t notice any lag or delay at all. The 40 foot range is pretty accurate as I was able to put my controller down for a few minutes to go downstairs and pour myself a drink from the refrigerator without ever having to leave party chat.
I could tell I was right on the edge of the max range as I heard an audible warning tone, but I never actually disconnected. The Plug & Play installation is exactly that. Simply plug in the USB transmitter into an available port on your console, power up the headset, and you are good to go. There are no other extra steps to setup. The removable mic simply plugs and unplugs straight out of the left ear cups. This makes the headset convenient for both gaming and listening to music on your mobile device while on the go. While not quite as good as some other headsets I’ve tried, the mic does a pretty good job of filtering out most background noises.
Any background noise that does come through, I’ve been told, is not enough of a distraction to the party chat to be an annoyance. The mic is supposed to be flexible but I found it to be on the stiff side of things. I had to use quite a bit of pressure to angle the mic just where I wanted it. While the LED lighting on the ear cups is cool for effect it is probably the most worthless feature of the AG9+. But I suppose the word ‘Glow’ is in the name. The lights can be customized to any color you wish or turned off completely. Personally I would have liked to see the feature implemented in a more practical way.
Perhaps pulsing in time to the music. Or gradually changing to red in color as the battery life winds down, letting you know it’s time to recharge. Hopefully PDP can implement these suggestions for their next headset. The overall build is pretty good. The headset uses light weight plastic in its construction and the memory foam padding on the ear cups and headband make it very comfortable. One thing to be wary of is the size of ear cups. While perfect for my ears, those with larger ears may find themselves a little pinched. Generally, after the first few minutes I hardly noticed that I was even wearing them.
I might question their durability because of the light weight plastic build. I have another headset that uses metal construction in its moving parts and it feels more heavy-duty, but I suppose that is the trade-off for a little extra comfort. Usability takes a little getting used to. All the controls are built into the left ear cup. The large center button powers the headset on and off and also functions to mute your mic. Simply press and hold to power on and off and a quick tap will toggle the mute. The mode button toggles between Pure Audio and Bass Boost modes with a quick tap.
Pressing and holding this button will cycle through the whole spectrum of colors on the LED’s or turn them off completely. There is a dial for controlling the overall volume and a second dial that controls the mix between chat and game audio. Once you memorize the controls it’s not so bad. But you do have to do everything by feel if you don’t want to take the headset off your ears. The only downside I’ve come across is occasionally when joining a party chat, the microphone isn’t recognized. I could hear everything in party chat, the mic activates when I blow on it or speak, but nobody hears me. Toggling the mute function doesn’t fix this and I have to end up restarting my console to get it working correctly.
Once you get the controls under your fingers the AG9+ is very easy to use, provided the mic is recognized. I question the durability of the lightweight plastic construction, though, the design is sleek and comfortable. However, I do believe that those with larger ears may indeed suffer due to the slightly unforgiving size of the cups. That being said, the headset offers clear, quality stereo sound, and its completely wireless functionality at right around $80 (or region equivalent) is good value.