Once you consider wi-fi headphones, you most likely think about Bluetooth, with the choice of reverting to a wired connection whenever you wish to connect with a non-Bluetooth gadget or if the battery runs out.
The SXFI Theater just isn’t that. No, these are wi-fi USB headphones, designed for film lovers who watch movies or take heed to music on their PCs and video games consoles (and likewise play video games, however be aware that there’s the SXFI Gamer headphones that are cheaper, however aren’t wi-fi).
So, a fairly area of interest product. You may’t use them wirelessly along with your telephone on the tube, practice or bus. For that, you’ll need the SXFI Air. You could possibly use the bundled 3.5mm cable, however most fashionable telephones lack that connection and should you’re contemplating these headphones you most likely solely wish to use them wirelessly.
Inventive wished a wi-fi reference to decrease latency than Bluetooth, and so went with its personal proprietary protocol. That’s why this setup requires the bundled USB dongle that plugs into your PC, Mac, laptop computer, PS4 or Nintendo Swap. There’s no Xbox help, sadly.
You get a 1.2m extension ‘dock’ within the field in case the transmitter results in the improper place or is simply too huge to plug in instantly.
Options & Design
The important thing function is Tremendous X-Fi or SXFI for brief. It’s ‘audio holography’ which, in plainer language, is digital encompass sound. That doesn’t fairly do it justice, although, because the sound is personalised to your ears, and it’s meant to be the identical listening expertise as should you weren’t carrying headphones in any respect.
The method is a bit of concerned, nevertheless it means asking somebody to make use of the SXFI app in your telephone to take three images: one among every ear and one among your face. (It’s virtually unimaginable to do that your self.)
A sound profile is created and uploaded to the cloud, which might then be downloaded to your PC or one other gadget the place you’ve put in the SXFI Management app.
Merely watch any video, take heed to a music monitor or play a recreation and you may press the Tremendous X-Fi button to allow the magic.
We’ll get as to whether it really works in a second, however for now, let’s rapidly cowl the opposite options.
These are over-ear headphones with cozy ‘protein’ leather-based covers and 50mm Neodymium drivers. The battery is nice for 30 hours, so that you gained’t be perpetually reaching for a USB-C cable to recharge them.
Controls are all on the left facet and embrace a quantity management, mic mute button and that SXFI button on the rear, with energy on the entrance. There’s a rubber cowl it’s a must to take away the plug within the mic.
The surface of the cups have an integral LED band encircling them: the color and brightness is managed from the SXFI Management app, however because the wearer, you gained’t see the lightshow.
The app additionally allows firmware updates and lets you alter the EQ.
Battery life is pretty much as good because the declare: in my testing I solely needed to recharge as soon as. The wi-fi connection can be as marketed: super-low latency ensures that there’s none of these annoying lip sync or dropout points you get with Bluetooth. Vary isn’t countless although. Whereas inside about 5 meters of the transmitter the connection was rock-solid, it did turn into flakey additional away, nevertheless it’s unlikely you’ll be over 5 metres out of your TV or laptop monitor.
Sound high quality can be superb: not the most effective for this worth, however sure very acceptable with loads of bass.
What about Tremendous X-Fi? Initially I had a comparatively poor expertise, both as a consequence of trying to take the images myself or having an out-of-date firmware (or a mix of each), however getting another person to take the photographs and utilizing the newest firmware actually improved issues.
Some individuals discover the impact life-changing, however I wasn’t blown away. Results in movies – primarily motion movies reminiscent of The Matrix – are probably the most spectacular with bullets flying previous you and explosions booming.
In video games, the impact varies from style to style. Chances are you’ll discover the positioning off-putting should you’re used to stereo sound in first-person shooters. I hardly ever play them nowadays however actually preferred the stereo model higher than SXFI. For sim racing, the impact proved nice – if not all that sensible – nevertheless it did add extra atmosphere and depth to the in-car sound.
Disappointingly, the mic is not that nice: whereas associates may hear me, they stated I did not sound notably clear. This was verified by recording utilizing the mic in Audacity and listening to it.
Music was the place I’d hoped the Theater would actually shine. The idea is that it ought to sound such as you’re not carrying headphones – as should you have been in a room with huge audio system and even at a stay live performance. However to me even after the firmware and profile updates, it sounded extra like I used to be exterior of that room and the door was shut. Others have put it in a different way, in that music lacks readability even when the soundstage is loads wider and there’s higher instrument separation (which it’s).
Worth & availability
You should buy the Inventive SXFI Theater for £169.99 from Amazon, which is £20 lower than the RRP. On the time of evaluation, that’s additionally the worth you’ll pay should you go direct to Inventive.
Within the US, you possibly can’t get them from Amazon, and there’s no low cost from Inventive: they’ll value you $199.99.
For a bit much less cash you will get the Sennheiser HD 450BT with lively noise cancelling (round £150/$160 from Amazon, however being Bluetooth headphones that’s not likely an apples-to-apples comparability.
You’ll discover a vary of choices in our roundup of the most effective wi-fi headphones.
As I stated initially, the SXFI Theater is aimed toward a really particular viewers, which instantly limits its mass enchantment. Should you usually watch films the place encompass sound is outstanding and also you watch them in your PC, PS4 or Swap, then these cans needs to be proper up your road. Should you additionally play video games, even higher.
When you can hook them as much as different units utilizing a conventional 3.5mm cable, the Tremendous X-Fi is misplaced, as is the wi-fi profit.
At this worth, you will get higher stereo sound and likewise lively noise cancelling, but when a secure, low-latency connection can be a precedence and also you need nice battery life, then you ought to be very proud of the SXFI Theater.
Inventive SXFI Theater: Specs
Weight: 346g (12.2 oz) with mic, 339g (12.zero oz) with out mic
Wi-fi Transmission: Proprietary Digital 2.four GHz
Frequency Response: 20–20,000 Hz
Driver: 50 mm (1.97 inches) Neodymium magnet
Working Vary: As much as 10m / 33 ft
Sporting Fashion: Over-ear
RGB Ear-Cup Rings: Select from 16 million colours
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