Yesterday, we took a look at the Agility RGB gaming keyboard from newcomer Wicked Bunny, which turned out to be pretty solid for a debut device. Today, I'll be reviewing the next item in the lineup, which is the Wicked Bunny Proximity HDSS Gaming Headset.
HDSS stands for 'High Definition Sound Stage' (not 'Hope Don't Sia Suay', though that applies too), which purportedly gives you 3 advantages: a wide soundstage, high definition audio quality, and stress reduction qualities (not sure if any amount of HDSS will help me through my Dota games tbh).
While I lack the technical know-how to explain how this is achieved (you can read more about it here), what we will be talking about is the audio experience of this mid-range headset.
Understated aesthetics (but still with those words)
The body of the Proximity headset is mostly made of high-quality plastic, which honestly looks pretty good, given that I'm usually spoiled by metal construction. The top of the headband and earcups are wrapped in what appears to be soft PU leather, while the underside of the headband is made of breathable mesh.
The exterior of the ear cups are surprisingly unadorned by RGB lighting and feature the Wicked Bunny logo in chrome-finished plastic instead. I like this relatively understated aesthetic, which could easily fly under the radar at office or professional environments unlike the usual medley of Christmas lights found on other gaming headsets.
What I didn't like, again, was the 'Wicked Bunny' words emblazoned on the top of the headband as well having 'Promixity HDSS' printed on each side of the headband joint. The former is just against my aesthetic tastes - I generally do not like ostentatious branding - while the latter...is a USP that belongs on the box instead of the headset itself.
The same obnoxious design choice can be seen on the Agility keyboard, which has the same huge-ass 'Wicked Bunny' words printed on the front.
Snug fit with a solid build
In terms of comfort, the over-the-ear cups fit like a dream, cradling my noggin snugly and blocking out most external noise despite the Promixity being a semi-closed-back headset. The headband is extendable, and just fits my rather large skull when fully extended - if you have an even larger head, this might be a problem, but for the average person, it should fit like a glove.
The top of my head didn't experience the usual slicking over after long hours of headset wear, probably thanks to their choice of mesh as the material. The earcups did feel bit humid after a while (as expected of PU cups), but wasn't as uncomfortable as most other headsets.
Weight-wise it was heavy enough to feel reassuring, and light enough to not give you neck fatigue over time. One thing to note is that the earcups do not fold or swivel, so you won't be able to lie them flat against your shoulder blades nor stow them easily into most headphone cases.
Along the non-detachable braided cable, you'll find the in-line controls which are light enough to not drag the headset down. The controls are simple enough - a mic switch on one side and a volume toggle on the other.
The detachable microphone fits in on a single orientation which means you won't accidentally stick it in backward, and the gooseneck is extremely solid and won't droop at all.
Surprisingly impressive audio quality
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I put these cans on, but I was pretty blown away by the quality. To be frank, I rolled my eyes a bit at the HDSS 'pseudoscience', but if this is what they meant by a wide soundstage, it certainly delivered. Of course it won't come close the performance of heavyweights like the ROG Theta, but for its price point of US$69.99 (~RM299) it does an impressive job.
The sound is relatively balanced, with smooth vocals and great sound separation. It's definitely not enough to cater to bass heads, but the bass had a decent presence overall. Unfortunately, there's no software for EQ tweaks, but fortunately I liked it enough out of the box to not miss it.
Now, the Promixity is marketed as a semi-closed-back headset, which lies in the contentious middle ground of being an open-backed headset with more natural sound but greater sound leakage, and a closed-back headset with better sound insulation with a trade-off in sound quality.
Being a hybrid of both doesn't automatically mean it enjoys only the benefits from both types of headsets though - it's usually a mixed bag depending how the headset is built.
The Proximity blocks out external sounds pretty decently when music is being played, but you'll still be able to hear environmental sounds when your music is paused. Surprisingly, sound leakage wasn't an issue whatsoever, which makes it usable in public - during LRT commutes for example - without the people around you threatening to beat you up for treating them to a free concert of your favourite weeb music.
It doesn't just excel at music either - it also performed well in games. After firing up a few games of Overwatch and Counter-Strike, I didn't find the Proximity lacking in terms of positional audio - in fact, apart from delivering key audio cues accurately, it also did a great job at immersing me fully into a game's environment, thanks to its rich soundstage.
The other bits and bobs
The Proximity's cable terminates in a combined 3.5mm audio header, so it will be compatible with most PCs, the Nintendo Switch, and any phone with a 3.5mm jack. PC users who have their PC tower located on the floor or relatively far away won't have to worry about the cable being too short either, as you'll get an Y-cable extension that adds another 1.3m to the existing 1.2m cable.
The microphone is not outstanding - it does pick up a bit of environmental sound and makes me sound extremely nasally (like I have a cold). However, it does get the job done if your sole purpose is to convey to your teammates just how noob and insufferable they are.
Buy or no buy?
At a price point of US$69.99 (~RM299), what you'll get is an enjoyable audio experience within a solidly built body that feels comfortable over long hours, albeit with a pretty average but serviceable microphone and plain aesthetics.
In short, the Wicked Bunny Proximity headset gives good bang for your buck - if you're looking for something that hits the middling spot between luxury and budget headsets, it's definitely worth a look at.
And that concludes our review for the Wicked Bunny Proximity HDSS gaming headset. We'll be releasing the third and final review for the Wicked Bunny peripheral series (mouse and mousepad) very shortly, so stay tuned!