updated 11:20 pm EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
Experience in audio brought to gaming, Striker headset coming in October
Polk Audio brought a few of its audio units tuned for gaming to Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle over the weekend. Offering the existing 4 Shot Gaming Headset, N1 Gaming Sound Bar and Striker Gaming Headset for users to listen to, patrons of the gaming convention were able to experience what a company with more than 40 years of experience in audio can bring to gaming.
The company took a different approach when trying to design sound devices for gaming, combining its sound experience with features that gamers need. It worked with Microsoft to create products that fit with the consoles, including the 4 Shot headset, which made for the Xbox One. Polk even created its own special headset adapter to work with the Xbox controllers. To aid the sound immersion in games, the company worked with the core titles in the console space, like Madden and Halo to create specific sound profiles to capture the true feel of the games.
While the 4 Shot is the top of the line headphone for the Xbox One at $160, it can still be used for everyday listening. The headset has a striking design that doesn't seem out of place from the look of some boutique headphones. The sound within delivers as well, giving players the feeling that they are fully immersed in a game like Diablo 3. The 4 Shot has an extended boom mic that the company said offers a better fidelity that other products on the market.
The N1 Gaming Sound Bar was also at the booth, giving consumers a taste of what a tuned sound bar is capable of. In the case of the $300 N1, Polk included two tuned modes specifically for Madden and Forza Motorsport. However, the design was appropriate enough for everyday use, in either black or white with wood accents. It has other sound modes for standard activities like watching television, but also contains Bluetooth for connections to smartphones or tablets. Polk wanted the N1 to be focused on games, but still be used for home audio needs. The sound bar delivers booming audio with hard-hitting bass, and makes games like Madden come alive with player impacts.
The Striker, which was announced at Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier in the year, is the newest gaming audio device that Polk is releasing in October. While the company is marketing it as an entry-level headset at $90, it still holds the same high-quality Polk Audio and considerations for design. Compared to the 4 Shot, it does have more plastic parts in its construction. However, most of the plastic feels rugged, like it would stand up to abuse day-in and day-out from demanding gamers. The Striker does have a different mic than the 4 Shot as well, tucking into the side of the ear cup rather than underneath it.
Even though all of the products Polk brought to PAX were made for gaming, the company wanted consumers to use them with other devices. Polk believed that it was important to include features that created the best media space with the products, but wanted the aesthetics to be something users would not be ashamed to be seen with. This means features like removable cables, aluminum hinges and mics that can be tucked away were features that are important.
Polk Audio is still a month away from releasing the Striker headset, but it doesn't appear that they are done expanding the gaming line anytime soon. Electronista was told that Polk has yet to announce its full line of gaming products, so there will be more to look forward to in the future.