Hauppauge PC2400 X-fones - Review

Hauppauge PC2400 X-fones - Review

Hauppauge PC2400 X-fones - ReviewGet rid of those wires around your neck

Pros: Comfortable, impressive surround sound through PowerDVD, easy to set up and use.

Cons: Stereo performance could be better. Not good at eliminating background noise.

Bottomline: The PC2400s are a worthwhile investment for the less discerning listener, being easy to set up and use and comfortable to wear.

Price: £80

Manufacturer: Hauppauge

Hauppage's product range consists mainly of TV tuners, so the PC2400 wireless headphones are something of a diversion for the company.

They're intended for games, music and video and connect wirelessly to the computer over a radio frequency signal. A transmitter is provided, which plugs into the PC's USB port. The setup process was straightforward: as soon as the USB stick was connected it picked up the headphones and added them as an audio device for any Windows program to use.

You can even broadcast to more than one set of headphones and, with a 10m range, can enjoy audio from other rooms in the home. The cans themselves are pretty comfortable, with audio controls included on each for volume, bass boost to improve the ambience, and a power switch.

Hauppauge also claims to offer virtual surround sound, but in fact this is a benefit of the supplied PowerDVD 7 software rather than a hardware feature of the headphones. If you take advantage of it, the results are impressive, and certainly enhance the gaming and film viewing experience over conventional stereo.

Otherwise, quality was mixed. The device isn't effective at eliminating background noise, and in terms of sound quality we were disappointed that the audio range wasn't more distinct. High, mid and low tones became convoluted and muddied, especially with more complex sounds.

Being a USB device the headphones require a computer in order to work at all, whereas a Bluetooth earphone set performing a similar function would be able to connect to devices such as mobile phones and some portable music players as well.

On the up side, the signal between the phones and the PC was impressively strong right up to the maximum range of 10m. The PC2400s are comfortable, convenient and easy to set up and use.

The audio quality could be better but the virtual surround option adds impact, if you can use it, and less discerning listeners will find that the benefits of the headphones outweigh their average performance.