CM Storm Resonar Gaming Earphone Review
I have always liked my gaming sound loud and booming and to this end purchased (on James’ recommendation) a QPAD QH-90 headset, and have to say that I am as impressed with them today as I was when I first brought them.
I now find myself in possession of a CM Storm Resonar Gaming Earphone, note I said “a CM Storm Resonar Gaming Earphone”, yes this is how CM Storm have labelled their product. Now personally I would call these earphones, and to that end you may well see me referring to this product as earphones within this review.
These “earphones” are not your standard run of the mill over head band type, but are instead a pair of in-ear “Buds”. I’m intrigued how this will work out for gaming and am looking forward to trying these out!
Cooler Master (CM Storm) describe this headset in the following way…
‘The CM Storm Resonar is a premium in-ear headset forged for the competitive gamer who demands portability and exceptional sound quality to aid them in making split-second decisions. Whether playing a PC game, speaking with friends and family over the Internet, listening to music, or watching videos, Resonar was designed to provide a superb audio experience’
The Resonar arrived in a smallish box, depicting the earphones and providing details of the features available.
- Crystal Clear Sound
- Adjustable Bass Dial
- Supports Multiple Devices
- Extra Ear Tips
- Audio/Mic Splitter
- Carrying Hard Case
- Metallic Inline Mic & Remote
‘The Resonar incorporates high quality 8mm drivers with patented BassFX technology to deliver crystal clear sound and powerful bass. Each earbud is enclosed in a premium housing made of aluminium and includes an exclusive ergonomic rubber cap design to provide excellent passive noise isolation.’
- Multi-Function gaming earphone allows you to enjoy music, gaming, and voice communication
- Tangle-Free flat cable design for improved portability
- Enhanced sound experience through an aluminium housing
- Lightweight and durable ear cusions and buds
- Switch between your Smartphone, Tablet, or PC with the included adapter
The box can be opened at the front using a magnetically held side panel, and once opened the contents are very nicely presented along with some more details of the earphones, including the Specifications and a Frequency Response Chart showing the difference when using the patented BassFX high and low settings.
Once the contents were removed from the plastic inlay, the hard case was opened and inside were located the Extra Ear Tips and the Audio/Mic Splitter.
The contents of the box are listed and shown above:
- CM Storm Resonar Earphones
- Carrying Hard Case
- Warranty Card
- Quick Start Guide
In the hard case:
- Extra Ear Tips
- Audio/Mic Splitter
courtesy of Cooler Master Gaming
The Resonar earphones look smart on first opening the box. They certainly look more of a quality item than I would have expected from their modest ~£30 price tag. The ear buds look comfortable and the cable is smart in it’s non-tangle flat format.
The ear buds are colour coded for left and right (blue for left and red for right). On the back of the ear bud there is a twistable dial that allows the selection of the level of the BassFX technology output. The microphone/control box is located on the left ear bud cable, not on the main joined cable as is often the case, and falls naturally just to the side of your mouth in the perfect position to pick up your voice, the control box itself can be used to control some devices when the earphones are plugged into them and this is achieved by the use of a single button.
The earphones are connected to your device of choice via either a single gold plated 3.5mm plug (as found on most other smartphone/audio player earphones), or via an audio/microphone splitter (also gold plated), if the earphones are to be connected into the standard PC speaker/microphone ports. The plugs are well labelled showing a headphones icon and a microphone icon on the splitter and the CM Storm logo on the smartphone 3.5mm plug.
The Resonar were tested using our Intel Test Rig with a fresh installation of Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (service pack 1) installed together with all the latest relevant drivers and software. Unlike my fellow reviewers here at pcG I don’t have a Creative Sound Blaster Zx sound card installed in my rig, so all my testing was done using the inbuilt sound hardware on my rig’s MSI Z87-G45-GAMING motherboard. Although maybe not quite up to the standards of the Creative hardware, it’s still geared up for gaming use!
I shall be playing some of my usual games of choice during my testing period.
- Battlefield 4
- Survarium (Open Beta)
- Elite Dangerous (Premium Beta)
Along with playing games I will also be trying out these earphones with my PC playing music and also my Smartphone (a Samsung Galaxy S4), as these earphones are specifically designed to be used for these purposes as well as gaming.
New build on, games installed and ready to play. Let’s test!
First port of call for me was to listen to some music on these earphones, I plugged them into my normal (non-game) Windows build machine and fired up my music software. I am comparing these earphones with my gaming based Headset (QPAD QH-90) and also my normal in-ear earphones of choice, my Monster Beats by Dre.
On first listening to these earphones I was blown away, my music was clear, trebles rich and bass thumping. How could these earphones be on par with my Beats? Were they actually as good as my QH-90 headset? I did some like for like comparisons. The Resonar were not quite as booming as my QH-90 but think about it, the QH-90 is a headset with over ear cups with LARGE drivers, so even getting close to them is quite some feat with the Resonar’s relatively small drivers. On comparing with my Beats I noticed that the Beats were actually quite muffled and not so crisp on the trebles (something I hadn’t ever noticed before) but were heavier on the bass, swapping back to the Resonar the trebles came back and they pushed out what I consider to actually be a more reasonable and musically accurate level of bass. I tried the same experiment with my smartphone and got the same results, the QPAD trumped the other two (as would be expected), but the Resonar made the Beats sound muffled. These earphones are fantastic for music!
Whilst connected to my smartphone I also tried out the control box. The button has instructions for use with iPhones (various different clicks allow Next Track, Prev Track, Fast Forward, Rewind etc.) but no indication on how they will behave with an Android device. Well I can tell you that on my Samsung (with both the Google Music Player and Spotify) the button single press pauses on first click and then plays on second click. Double click moves forward a track, other than that none of the other click combinations worked for me (not that this is a big problem). I also tried the answer and hang-up functionality and that all worked perfectly.
So that’s the music tests done, how do these earphones fair for gaming? My hopes are very high based on my experiences so far.
First game to test is Survarium (pcG’s mulitplayer game of choice for some online rounds). I connected with James on Razercomms and asked how the microphone performed. The general consensus was very well with the only comment that the microphone was picking up more background noise than my QPAD normally would. This is probably down to the omni-directional style of the microphone as opposed to the more directional boom style microphone of my QPAD, again this is not a bad thing and works to the earphones advantage with the microphone hanging in-line on the left ear bud cable by your mouth. My voice was clear and easy to hear so all good on the microphone front.
We fired up Survarium and had a few rounds. The sound from these earphones is so good that I would say without direct comparison with my QPAD, trying them side by side straight after each other, I would almost say that the QPAD is no better. The QPAD IS better, don’t get me wrong, but not by so much that it’s that obvious.
Stereo separation was excellent, I never had any issues with identifying where I could hear gunfire or footsteps coming from in game and all in game sounds were clear and crisp.
Next game to test was Elite Dangerous. This game is one where I usually wear my headset specifically as I fix a head tracking device onto the headband, obviously this isn’t an option with an earphone/ear bud set. So for one evenings gaming session I turned off the head tracking in game and gave the Resonar a try. I discovered the same output as I had experienced in Survarium, sounds were clear and crisp the thump of the engines afterburners firing were rich with bass and the general ship/cockpit sounds were easy to hear.
So far so good!
Last game to try was Battlefield 4. We’ve kind of dropped this game as a multiplayer game recently but I still have a round online now and again when James isn’t around. All my previous experiences with the Resonar were backed up by yet another fantastic performance in Battlefield. These are great earphones!
Lets quickly cover the BassFX features, I twiddled the Bass dials on the backs of the ear buds and sure enough they change the bass levels, personally I think for my taste I would leave them on the highest level, but the option is there for you to fine tune them.
So are there any negative comments for these earphones? Well only one, I notice on one evenings use that the jagged edges of the bass dials on the back of the ear buds were irritating the insides of my ears. This may have been due to how I had them inserted that evening as I only noticed this once. Just something to note, although it in no way detracted from the excellence of this product.
The CM Storm Resonar Gaming Earphone has performed flawlessly in my review time with them, having owned a reasonably priced headset in the QPAD QH-90 I was expecting the Resonar to be worlds apart from what I was used to listening to when gaming, I was wrong.
These earphones push out astonishing bass and still maintain crisp trebles and in my opinion outperform my Beats earphones. This is quite something when you consider a pair Beats will set you back approximately £80. Alongside this if you consider my QPAD QH-90 cost me around £75 and these Resonar are so close to them in sound clarity, with the QPAD just outdoing them on Bass solidity (due to the closed cup design), the price of these Resonar earphones at approx £30 is amazing value for money.
Consider also that these earphones can be used just as well with music devices/Smartphones, I can’t imagine carrying around my QPAD for listening to music, but these Resonar are perfect for that as well as brilliant for gaming. The Splitter is a great idea and allows this multiple use. Partner this with the inline microphone (placed perfectly near your mouth – good design that) and control box for answering calls and controlling music players this earphone is a complete package offering functionality along with excellent quality.
As a final statement, I won’t be swapping my QPAD QH-90 for the Resonar, the QPAD headset is definitely better, but if I were to travel to a gaming session, I’d feel totally fine with carrying the much smaller and easier transportable Resonar with me and leaving the QPAD at home. I have however swapped my Beats for the Resonar as my main music earphones, and on that note, I can tell you that should I not have been able to keep these earphones after review (there are some perks to reviewing kit) I would be buying my own set. At this price and with this quality how could I not?
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Many thanks to CM Storm for providing this sample for review