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F.R.E.Q. 7 Surround Sound Gaming Headset Review

F.R.E.Q. 7 (1)After reviewing, demoing, and using over a dozen different gaming headsets across the past few years, I’ve discovered a clear-cut few contenders such as the Astro Gaming A40 or the Tritton AX Pro 5.1. Yet, as adept as these two frontrunners are, each device still suffered from a niggling shortcoming or two. From having an undersized connection cable to providing middling Surround Sound fidelity, it seemed like the search for a flawless headset would prove futile. Amazingly, Mad Catz’s release of the F.R.E.Q. 7 is extremely close to faultlessness- providing a premium-priced but painstakingly designed aural accessory.

Shirking the type of plastic clamshell packaging which often leads to a bit of bleeding during unboxing, The F.R.E.Q. 7 is housed in a package which mirrors the headset’s angular aesthetic. Inside the container, owners will find the headphones securely protected in a polyurethane molding, along with the detachable microphone, and a convenient stand. Bundled with the equipment are two cords which connect to the device’s USB mini-connector: one to connect to a USB port and another which fits into a 3.5mm jack.  Pleasingly, both cables provide a secure connection which resisted uncoupling during energetic movement.

F.R.E.Q. 7 (3)Plugging the F.R.E.Q. 7 into a Windows XP/7/8 machine allowed the device to be instantly recognized on a variety of test systems. On one of our setups, we did have to navigate to the control panel to set the headset the default device, but otherwise the basic installation was effortless. Naturally, using the peripheral’s analog inputs allowed for listening to audio on an iPhone and Android. Using the F.R.E.Q. 7 to make voice calls on devices powered by Google’s OS proved to be a bit tricky. Although the three-ring connector should permit the peripheral to utilize the microphone, voice was only picked up via internal microphones.

To utilize the F.R.E.Q. 7’s advanced features, owners will need to download a 166MB driver from Mad Catz’ website. Once installed, the application permits software-driven control for both headset and microphone volume, as well as three EQ presets for gaming, chat, and music. With pedants may crave a bit more influence over output quality, the three selections convey a uncomplicated method to boost the appropriate parts of the sonic spectrum. Thanks to the F.R.E.Q. 7’s 50 mm drivers, bass output sounds delightfully rich, endowing explosions and drums with a burly percussive tonality. Higher frequencies are produced just as adeptly, exhibiting crystal-clear, sparkling timbres.

F.R.E.Q. 7 (6)Turning on the headset’s Dolby Pro Logic IIx functionality can either be accomplished from inside the application or manually- by pressing of a button on the left side of the F.R.E.Q. 7. While upscaling 5.1 digital audio into 7.1 channel surround founds like sonic sorcery, in execution the sense of fidelity sounds luxuriously rich, with testers able to pin-point the direction of sound sources during Dolby Digital Pro-powered sound tests. Nicely, even Skype conversations demonstrated additional resonance, demonstrating the F.R.E.Q. 7’s capabilities as a podcasting headset.

Although microphones often fail to match the quality of their accompanying headset, the F.R.E.Q. 7’s input is a cut above the norm. After plugging the bendable mic into the left side of the headset, the component snaps in place with a secure and satisfying click.  Voice quality is consistently distinct and vibrant; although the devices sensitivity requires the mic to be placed a few inches from the mouth, lest relaxed breathing can be heard. The purported noise cancelling ability of the microphone is to be commended, barring most background clatter from the mix. The microphone can be muted with a switch on the left side of the headset, which causes an indicator to stop glowing.

F.R.E.Q. 7 (5)Even the most demanding audiophile will have few issues with the F.R.E.Q. 7’s robust build quality. Constructed of sturdy plastic and metal, the headset exhibits a virtuous equilibrium, balancing weight and durability. Beyond opening the aperture of the headset to accommodate different head sizes, the peripheral’s earcups swing open, permitting owners to comfortably wear the headset around their necks. Notably, the faux-leather cups helped reduce outside noise which remaining comfortable during protracted playing/listening sessions.

Flaunting inspired design, faultless performance, and quality components as well as craftmanship, the F.R.E.Q. 7 is one of the best PC gaming headsets to be found. If players are able to tolerate the peripheral’s $200 purchase price, they’re apt to discover a device that supplies exceptional sound quality. While the headset can be pre-ordered now, expect the F.R.E.Q. 7 to hit retail channels this April.

F.R.E.Q. 7 (4)

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert ‘DesertEagle’ Allen is Tech-Gaming’s resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

54 comments

  1. You had me until I read $200. That’s a nice chunk of change.

    • Very true, but you do get what you pay for. I bought a $65 headset for WOW and it lasted about a month. Sound quality was a bit lacking during that time, too.

      • So true. I’ve got some horrible experience with headsets, I use them for gaming and work and it’s impossible to get something good quality for less than $100.

  2. Pretty F.R.E.Q.Y.

    The red one that is.

  3. Me likes. The one thing I wonder though, since I tend to use these things for way too long in one day (live events, meetings, etc) – is it comfortable for longer than 3 hours and such? It does look bulky. I am pretty loyal to Genius even though they’re crazy expensive, but this one looks amazing (love the red one).

    • I have this Genius headset: http://www.amazon.com/Genius-HS-04U-headset-headphone-experience/dp/B000KW5DNW

      It’s a steal for the price and super light.

      • Oh wow, hadn’t seen this one before! I love how the padding works around with plenty of open areas so my poor ears don’t feel like they’re in a sauna after 3 hour meetings, lol. And $25.99, really? This looks too good to be true :p

    • I recorded a three hour podcast and had some very long Skype calls using these and experienced almost no ear or head fatigue. Depending on your level of sensitivity, your results may vary.

      • “Depending on your level of sensitivity” are you calling me a wuss!? D: I COULD be offended! But like, not really. I am a wuss. Seriously tho, I may be willing to give them a try, if they survive me then they are the next best thing there is 😀 (Have I mentioned I destroy everything? lol)

        • Wait, new podcast cohost destroying everything? I want to see someone destroy Deagle’s love of all things Disgaea. Oh, wait… That’s SeanNola’s job. 😉

          • Hai thar Trident. It freaks me the fuck out people already know who I am, or don’t *screams* But to be fair, I only destroy hardware :3 Other than that, I like to lie to myself over and over believing I’m nice and all that crap :3

        • I looked up wuss in the dictionary, here’s what I found:

          Wuss- a weak person, ex. Someone who cries at anime or movies.

  4. You should give one to Sage so we can hear her on the podcast with the sound dropping out.

  5. Can you use this with the 360 or PS3, or just PC?

    • It’s geared for PC, but you could get non-Dolby sound out of your console by purchasing a few cords. You won’t get to use the mic, though.

  6. I have a pair of Astro Gaming A40s. Beyond pairing, they’re a great headset.

  7. Thanks. Good review.

  8. I really like the look of the black ones.

  9. It’s funny to think of how Mad Catz used to make pure junk. Between their sticks and headsets now, they make some really cool, but expensive stuff.

  10. Good review. I’d love to get a set of the black ones just for playing BF3, but dat price.

  11. Really good review. I tried the FREQ 5’s for a bit and was really impressed with the build.

    Ever think about giving these away for a contest?

  12. Thanks, Des. Another kickass review.

  13. I’d love to be able to preorder a set. Once you have a nice headset, its so hard to go back to just any old average one.

    Oh, and hai SayOMGWTF!

      • This will not end well. 😉

        Hello Sayomgwtf. Are you doing to have a handle like Desert, Nola, Samurage, and Blue used to?

        • Did you know that every single time I read your name I read it as “TreeHugger”? lol – Sorry, I need new glasses or less than 10 hour work day! And, well maybe “sayomgwtf” is kind of dorky and silly but that’s sort of the name given to me many moons ago by the indie community I love the most “The Silver Lining” or TSL as we call it. My real name is Say, feel free to follow me on twiter 🙂 -> https://twitter.com/sayomgwtf

  14. So is it real 7.1 surround or simulated?

    Also, welcome, Say!

  15. Welcome Say. I hope their debriefed on one dual stick shooters, tentacles, and hentei.

    Oh and Robert is really becoming the JRPG-loving Garnett Lee, it seems.

  16. Well written review. I’m debating on pre-ordering a pair.

  17. So Des, would you recommend this or a set of A40s? I really want a new headset.

  18. Glad to hear sound quality is solid. Im pretty picky about bass. It cant be too much like Beats.

  19. Nice looking set of cans.

    Woah, I meant headphones. Stop the jeers.

  20. Thanks, I’ve been looking for a new headset after my wife broke my other one. So these are sturdy.

  21. $200? You’ve got to be kidding me.

  22. This would have a perfect contest prize.

  23. I’d love to get the black or white pair. I’ve decided that PC gaming might be the way to go. There’s always BC and less restrictions than consoles.