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Mad Catz FREQ 4 Review 7.1 Gaming Headset With Metal Suspension Headband

Gaming headsets retractable type microphones are perfect because they are less obtrusive than rotating boom microphones, allowing you to take them out on the road without the headset screaming "gaming headset"! That said, if you like NASCAR style headphones, you will sure love the FREQ 4 and its bona fide gaming look with huge earcups and a prominent dual metal band over head.



The FREQ 4 headset isn't exactly discreet so, you probably aren't likely to be bold enough to sport the FREQ 4 headset outdoors, although they sure do a good job of keeping your ears cosy warm in the cold!

The Mad Catz FREQ 4 headset has a non-detachable boom arm microphone with a retractable system that allows you to manually recoil the boom arm neatly into the earcup housing. The only bit that is visible is the small microphone housing, which sticks out just a little bit. The boom arm is more flexible than bendable so, it isn't exactly memory wire, although the boom mic can still bend enough that you can keep at an angle away and close to the mouth.

The FREQ 4 headset integrates RGB lighting on the front of the earcups with a "funky" design and reminiscent of a street art graffiti. Construction-wise, the FREQ 4 headset is mostly made of plastic, aside from the metal bands overhead and the suspenders that hold the suspension headband. 
Most headphones with suspension systems usually use hard plastic or fabric suspenders so, the metal suspenders on the FREQ 4 suspension mechanism feels more solid, although it has very limited high adjustment, which can be a problem for those with tall heads. If the distance between the top of your head and the top your ear is more that 10cm high, the FREQ 4 earcups are not likely to fit properly around your ears.

The FREQ 4 suspension headband measures 3.5cm wide and, it's padded all around with the word "FREQ" subtly etched on top. The earcups backing stick out 6cm outward and integrate 2.5cm thick foam padding with a 5.5cm round diameter that provides very good passive isolation and very little sound leakage, even at 100% volume. The 50mm drivers (16 ohms) have a 2cm depth with thin padding on top. The inner circumference of the earpad is lined with soft material, preventing any rubbing against the ears.

The FREQ 4 boom arm microphone can extend out up to 9cm. The plastic microphone housing itself, it's just 1cm long and has a similar design to that of an inline microphone with a single tiny pinhole in it, containing an omni-directional mic capsule. The microphone quality is good with some noise filtering that prevents a lot of background noise from leaking into the microphone, especially from under like from a clicking keyboard. If you insert a foam shield (not included) into the microphone and keep it close to your mouth you can make the microphone sound better and prevent popping sounds.
The FREQ 4 headset doesn't use a traditional headphone yoke, instead it uses a thick straight retainer that joins the earcups via a rubber pivot that allows the earcups some freedom of movement, although not quite as much as a headset with proper tilt and swivel hinges. The exposed short bits of cable coming out of the top of the earcups have a rubber sheath.
The FREQ 4 headset inline remote integrates four buttons, one of them mutes/unmutes the microphone. The other three buttons are the 7.1 sound channel and volume control of the earcups, not the source volume the headset is connected to. The mute button has an led built-in. The 7.1 button, which enables surround sound doesn't have an led, which would have been useful too.

The FREQ 4 headset inline remote is sizable, measuring 7.5cm long, 3cm wide and 1.3cm thick. The buttons are made of plastic, they are low profile and with a clicky actuation. The inline remote is located 50cm down the cable so, it will dangle around the naval area of your stomach depending on your height. Total length of the OFC (oxygen free copper) cable is 1.8 meter long and terminates into hard plastic plug with a gold-plated USB-A connector. There is no clip on the back of the inline remote. The headset weighs 800 grams.

The FREQ 4 headset comes with downloadable software, although it's pretty hefty in terms of size, taking over 100MB of storage space. The software is compatible with several Windows versions (7,8, 8.1 and 10) and has a basic user interface that works well. You can change the speed and led light pattern from 4 light patterns (heart beat, breathing, constant or color changing) or turn off the leds. 
The software also gives you access to settings for adjusting the volume level of the microphone, side tone, and headphone speakers. There is an equalizer built-in too with a 10-band slider system for tweaking the default sound signature.
The FREQ 4 headset drivers deliver loud volume (115dB) sound and immersion. The soundstage increases noticeably with 7.1 sound turned on, which makes the midrange and treble become slightly more forward and detailed over the bass, letting you hear footsteps. The Mad Catz FREQ 4 headset comes inside a disposable type cardboard box; hence it isn't a hardback nor it has a foam insert that you could use for storing them. You can buy the Mad Catz FREQ 4 from amazon. Check out the review of the Mad Catz RAT 6+ gaming mouse.

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