I’ve always been a PC gamer at heart. While consoles appealed to me in my younger years, I’ve never owned one and instead waged war in Age of Empires II on my Windows Vista (I know, I know) laptop. Although I casually played iOS games for a while, I’ve never found one that I can consider a “hardcore” game that I would continuously return to for the storyline or multiplayer – the two main reasons I’d consider playing any game.
The essentials of PC gaming begin with a solid monitor and graphics card to push those frames and make your games look incredible. The rest of the experience mainly comes from peripherals – your mouse, keyboard, and headphones – which all help you excel at the game you’re playing while enhancing the experience with programmable macros and directional audio. Logitech’s G933 Artemus Spectrum wireless gaming headset is perhaps the peripheral that has upped my game the most, as I truly found myself playing considerably better when using these headphones.
I’d like to note straight away that when referring to “PC gaming”, I mean “personal computer gaming”, as I’ve played my fair share of desktop games on my iMac, either directly in macOS or in Windows via Bootcamp. For the duration of this article, the term “PC gaming” simply means desktop gaming as opposed to mobile or console gaming. Ideally, a dedicated gamer would build a Windows machine for running the latest games at high graphics settings, but it is completely possible to game on a Mac, as I’ve done for quite some time.
Besides the considerable increase in gaming performance I noticed after upgrading to a headset with surround sound capabilities, there’s a lot to like about the G933. Certainly, there are things I would change about this headset if I could, but ultimately this headset came as the ultimate package of features for my use case, and I’m not sure another gaming headset would’ve met my particular needs so well.
Taking a look at the G933 Artemus Spectrum, one can’t help but notice the sleek, slightly sci-fi, “gamer” look this headset gives off. Aesthetically, it’s easily recognizable as a gaming headset due to its inset lines and large ear cups, but there’s a lot more to this device than initially meets the eye.
Full RGB lights illuminate the logos and LED strips on each ear cup, giving off colorful lighting in an array of possible effects. (However, they’re located on the back of each ear cup, so the wearer can’t see them at all – only shoulder surfers or perhaps a webcam audience.) A foldable microphone arm can be pulled out of the headset’s left ear cup and extended for communication on the battlefield. Programmable macro buttons line the back of the same ear cup to give the user an extra set of controls. A volume wheel resides just below the buttons for quick audio adjustments whilst in-game. Each ear cup has a side plate that can be popped off to swap out the removable battery or insert the storable wireless adapter for transport.
One thing I immediately noticed when first unboxing the headset was its size; this thing is rather huge. This becomes more understandable when taking into account features such as surround sound, or the fact that the microphone can be retracted and folded to nearly disappear into its ear cup, reducing what could’ve been an even larger footprint. The size doesn’t really bother me though, as I didn’t buy these headphones to be mobile or to wear in public. They’re gaming headphones, and as long as they do their job well, I can forgive a little bulk.
When I’m choosing a pair of headphones that I’ll be wearing for hours at a time, one of the most important factors I take into consideration – perhaps even above the sound quality – is comfort. The headphones obviously have to sound great, but they also need to feel great for me to really enjoy the audio.
The G933 cans come lined with upwards of a half-inch of plush, fabric-based cushions covered in a material Logitech refers to as sports mesh. The advantage this design gives over the traditional leatherette is that they breathe much better, keeping them cool and eliminating perspiration. And this is a valid claim, as I have never experienced my ears getting hot or even noticeably warm as compared to when I previously used my Bose AE2i headphones, which came with leather-cushioned cups that were capable of inducing some perspiration. The G933 cans have none of this in my experience, which is a huge bonus for long gaming sessions, and additionally the padding is detachable and washable, allowing them to be kept fresh for longer.
The main point of discomfort I find in this headset is the weight. Coming from my Bose headphones, which were the most comfortable pair I could find when I purchased them, the G933s were considerably heavier and had more clamping force on the sides of my head. I quickly adjusted to the extra pressure and now rather than the Logitech headset feeling heavy, my Bose headphones just feeling incredibly light – airy, even.
That said, I do still occasionally feel some discomfort from vertical pressure when wearing the G933s. The headband has an ample amount of padding, but having to support the weight of two large cans means that it puts more pressure on the top of my head, making it uncomfortable if they remain in the same position too long. The solution to this is to simply slide the band forward or backward on my head until I find the right point, and when I do I usually don’t have to adjust them again for the rest of my gaming session. While this isn’t ideal, I’ve found that many headphones have a similar problem of needing to be in a “sweet spot” to be purely comfortable.
The takeaway here is that these are fairly comfortable for a gaming headset. The padding on the cans is plentiful, breathes well, and stays cool, and the side pressure fades away after the first few days of use, either from the headphones being broken in, or the user simply growing accustomed to them. The main thing Logitech could do to make them more comfortable is to lighten them. In fact, I’d be perfectly happy with the removable of the RGB LEDs and even the programmable G keys if it meant the headset lost a few ounces. Otherwise, I’m content with the comfort level and have worn them for several hours at a time without feeling any noticeable relief when taking them off.
The crowning feature of Logitech’s G933 gaming headset is its full support for Dolby 7.1 and DTS surround sound technologies. Logitech partnered with Dolby and DTS to license the official surround sound algorithms in order to achieve the most immersive audio possible. And I can say that having surround sound can make a world of difference in games from stereo headphones with a small soundstage. With a larger soundstage, the level of immersion significantly increases when animals, voices, gunshots, explosions, and other sound effects can be heard from all directions.
Its strengths are particularly evident with first-person shooters, in which being able to hear the direction of an enemies’ footsteps provides a massive tactical advantage. I noticed a distinct improvement in my gaming performance when using the G933’s surround sound over my typical stereo headphones, particularly in stealthier game modes such as Call of Duty’s Search and Destroy, where directional audio made the difference between me winning and losing a game. There are also large advantages to be gained in other FPSs such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, or a Battlefield title.
It’s not particularly easy to describe the benefits directional audio provides, but with it comes a very real advantage in gaming. After using the G933 headset, I have no intention of ever going back to stereo headphones that have a narrow soundstage for gaming, and I feel that for many games my performance would suffer. However, if you’re willing to drop some money on a pair of stereo headphones that have a larger soundstage than most, particular open headphones, you’re likely to receive a better directional audio experience than even “surround sound” headphones, as the single driver is much bigger and will perform better under most circumstances.
The G933s are first and foremost gaming headphones, which means you probably won’t want to buy these if listening to music is your primary goal due to the features geared toward an enhanced in-game experience and the focus on surround sound. That said, while Logitech’s focus here was obviously to make a good gaming headset, the company naturally wanted it to work well for other types of audio as well, and it does if you’re not too picky.
Although I prefer other headphones for listening to music for multiple reasons including their lighter, more comfortable design, I have no qualms about firing up Spotify and listening to some tunes on the G933s if I don’t feel like swapping out my pair of cans. The headset also works well for watching videos, and I often don’t bother plugging other headphones into my gaming rig. Despite the gaming focus, these headphones do a decent enough job of handling other casual audio. It should be obvious, however, that an audiophile would never want to buy a gaming headset and shouldn’t make an exception when it comes to the G933s.
As with other gaming products from the company, you’ll want to install Logitech’s gaming software for use with these headphones, which is available for both Windows and macOS. The package adds quite a few features, including a full equalizer with both preset and customizable profiles for tuning the sound spectrum to your specific tastes on a per-game basis, as well as the option to using Dolby or DTS surround sound or to turn both off.
Here I would suggest enabling per profile surround sound and disabling surround sound in the default (read: when not in-game) profile, which will allow Logitech’s software to turn surround sound on while you’re in a game and off the rest of the time. This is because stereo audio tends to sound better with surround off, and the majority of music and videos you’ll be consuming will be stereo. Allowing the software to automatically turn off surround when not in a supported program means you’ll always have the best quality without having to constantly reconfigure the settings manually.
The cans themselves do a good job of sealing in audio and keeping sound leakage to a minimum, while also blocking out external noises to allow for a more focused gaming experience.
The Logitech G933s are wireless headphones, but they are not Bluetooth headphones, and that’s an important distinction to make. First of all, you won’t be able to use them wirelessly with an iPhone. The wireless adapter plugs into your computer or console via USB and serves as the transmitter for game audio and receiver for microphone audio. Second, the fact that this isn’t Bluetooth is a large positive, as it means there’s virtually no delay in the audio transmission and the quality isn’t reduced as it would be over Bluetooth. In general, you don’t want Bluetooth in a gaming headset, and it’s not ideal in any type of headphone at this time due to quality loss. Unless you need some wireless earbuds for working out or just want a really clean desk at the sacrifice of audio fidelity, you’re better off with wired headphones as the wireless capabilities of Bluetooth currently stand.
This wireless adapter method works well, and I have never experienced any delays in audio or dropouts or disconnections while at my computer. The signal extends several feet away and even a room or two over, depending on what objects or materials are between you and the receiver. I have no problem walking into the kitchen, which is next to the room my computer is in, and grabbing a water bottle out of the fridge while still hearing everything that’s happening on my computer.
It goes without saying that using the headphones wirelessly requires the battery to be recharged fairly regularly. This is easily done by connecting the headphones to a power source via USB using the provided cable, and my charging pattern has been an overnight charge every few days with moderate use. While I can’t confirm precisely how long the battery lasts for me, I can usually go through two or three days of evening gaming before I hear the charging indicator. Even when the battery runs low in the middle of a gaming session, it’s possible to charge them during use, although this changes them from wireless to wired for a short time. However, they don’t have to charge for a long period of time before they can be unplugged and wireless listening can be resumed for the rest of a session.
Multiple Input Sources
A feature that is fairly unique to the G933s is the ability to route up to three audio sources into the headset at once, for example, allowing users to hear game audio, take a phone call, and listen to a record player or home entertainment system, all simultaneously and silently to anyone else nearby. This is accomplished by routing a 3.5mm cable as a second source to the wireless adapter plugged into the computer, and by running another directly into the headset’s 3.5mm jack for a third input. Using the provided 3.5mm cable, which features an inline remote, or the auxiliary-to-3.5mm cable, users can feed in a variety of audio sources for listening to whatever they wish, all at the same time.
I’ve often used this feature for coordinating over a phone call with a friend while we were playing together online in an effort to reduce the lag caused by an Internet call or voice chat client. The solution works well, and the inline remote includes, together with a volume wheel and playback controls, a switch for muting game audio if hearing the phone call becomes difficult. Ultimately it’s a rather novel idea, but I personally found the feature to be quite appealing and useful. One thing I would change is to increase the maximum audio volume from the 3.5mm input on the wireless adapter, but overall the solution works quite well, especially for background gaming music.
Logitech claims the G933s scales well with a DAC (Digital to Audio Converter) and amplifier, though I haven’t been able to test this. It’s possible that better-sounding audio could be accomplished if a 3.5mm cable is used to route audio from a DAC/amp to the headset, which may be something to consider if you’re looking to use the G933s for audio enjoyment as well as gaming.
Another feature I haven’t been able to test but that is reported to work by both users and Logitech is that the wireless adapter can be plugged into the USB port of a console, such as PlayStation or Xbox, which expands its use case. Although using the G933s with a console doesn’t provide surround sound, as that feature requires Logitech’s desktop software, the headset should still work wirelessly via the USB adapter or wired through the 3.5mm headphone jack, allowing users to have a single headset for desktop and console gaming, a huge selling point for many gamers.
One important feature of Logitech’s G933 headset when it comes to online gaming is the microphone. In the case of these cans, the mic arm is retractable and can be folded up into the left ear cup, which not only keeps it out of the way when not in use but prevents it from being damaged. Raising the mic an inch or so from its lowest position automatically mutes the mic as indicated by a red LED, which has often proved to be highly convenient when using voice chat applications such as Ventrilo that I’ve set to automatically broadcast when I begin speaking. The mic’s quality is said to be one of the best that comes built into any gaming headset, and both online players and friends in Skype have no trouble hearing me.
The overall build quality of the G933s is somewhat lacking, as its shell is largely comprised of plastic that tends to creak a bit when the parts rub together. The core of the headband is made of metal, however, and I don’t worry that it will break during normal use, but I wouldn’t bend it to extremes or let it fall to the floor, as its exterior is largely comprised of plastic. At the same time, it would likely be heavier and less comfortable with a metal frame or more expensive if built from aluminum, but it think it would be a welcome change if the structure of the next iteration of this headset was of a higher build quality.
All things considered, the Logitech G933 Artemus Spectrum is a solid gaming headset, particularly if you value features such as multiple audio sources or cross-platform compatibility. Naturally, directional audio from stereo headphones with large drivers and a good soundstage is going to exceed the emulated surround sound from the multiple smaller drivers in each can, but the headphones that fall into these categories don’t typically contain features such as programmable macro keys, LED lights, or multiple input sources, if having these abilities are important to you.
Ultimately, the purchase decision has to be made by the buyer based on his or her specific needs (and wants, when it comes to LEDs), but if Logitech’s G933s contain some unique features that will help streamline your gaming experience, you can pick them up for $150 on Amazon or at a variety of other retailers. As for me, I’ve certainly enjoyed pwning noobs with them, and I’ll continue to do so directly after publishing this article.