The G2 II is the budget headset offering from Hecate, which is apparently the e-sports offshoot of Edifier. I wasn’t familiar with either brand prior to picking this set up for review, but I was keen to see what they offered. The G2 II is billed as a 7.1 surround sound headset, supporting PC and consoles. Having been impressed by previous 7.1 offerings from Turtle Beach, I was keen to see what the competition could offer, but very much conscious of the budget pricepoint (currently $39.99).
The first thing that struck me about these headphones is that as a wired unit, the only connection option is USB, which left me instantly disappointed, as the range of devices I could use them with was significantly reduced. I should perhaps have realised that this is a statement of intent, as these are very much aimed at the PC market where such a thing is less of an issue. My main console being Switch meant that to play in handheld I had to acquire a USB to USB-C converter, which worked fine, but added another layer of clunk that would have been avoided by opting for 3.5mm connectors.
The G2 II has all the features you would expect from a gaming headset these days including:
- Microphone support
- In line volume control and mute function
- RGB lighting
- Adjustable EQ (but there’s a catch!)
Now, note that I mention an adjustable EQ, but the big catch is that this requires software to modify the EQ, requiring a computer. This might not seem seem too much of a catch, but the issue is, the settings can’t be saved for use on consoles. This is a bit of a bummer, especially when we are looking at this as a site focused on console gaming.
As well as modifying the EQ, the included software allows you to apply a range of vocal effects when speaking, if you have any privacy concerns, as well as a range of effects such as reverb, which in all honesty is more of a novelty than anything.
The software is fairly unintuitive, with the EQ settings hidden away in a section only accessible by right clicking on the menu.
All in all the features are very impressive for a budget headset, but the way in which they are implemented makes their effectiveness somewhat limited for console gamers. In some respects, none of this really matters if the sound quality delivers, but unfortunately the old EQ issue means that console gamers will fail to reap the full potential of the G2 II.
These cans promise 7.1 surround sound, which has always blown me away in the past. With that in mind I set about trying out a range of games to best experience the effect. The first game I tried was Breath of the Wild on the Switch, and I was immediately impressed by the clarity and the detail in the sound. The environmental sounds in the game are so subtle and full of character and the headphones really conveyed this, even highlighting elements that I had never previously noticed.
As I went on to explore more and engage in combat I started to notice that the surround sound effect simply wasn’t there. I also noticed the bass was sorely lacking. After a bit of playing around I realised the Switch simply can’t output surround sound other than via the HDMI port.
I then set about trying Left 4 Dead 2 on PC, something I spent a lot of time playing in the past with my old Turtle Beach 7.1 headphones. Before I started I took some time playing with the software included and set up a much better sound mix, which showed off the bass the headphones were capable of. The headphones maintained the nice high end clarity whilst showing off admirable bass. Unfortunately despite tinkering with settings and enabling the 7.1 support in the game, I was unable to get anything resembling surround sound.
The audio was crisp and had good punch, but one of the key selling points was still missing. All in, for gaming these are a little limited, as you need a PC to get the full benefit, yet the surround sound still doesn’t seem effective. Console gamers are subject to a much flatter EQ that suits certain things, with lots of high end detail, but anything with real bass sounds weak and disappointing on console.
I put the headphones through their paces with a range of music on both Switch (via YouTube) and on PC. Naturally the experience differed based on the platform, which is something to keep in mind if you pick these up.
I tried some Fleet Foxes first, listening to the live recording of “I’m Not My Season” which was recorded at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn. On both Switch and PC this sounded lovely, with lots of detail and nice high end.
After that I tried JU$T by Run the Jewels, which is a pretty bass heavy track. The flat EQ on the Switch really showed here, with performance on the PC being much better. It’s frustrating as these are clearly capable of decent bass, but the mixing is all off without access to the software.
I also tried listening to Unsainted by Slipknot, where the detail in the guitar work was clear and crisp, but the double kick drum and low end were lost when using the Switch.
To try something a bit more well rounded I listened to Blinding Lights by the Weeknd, which came across a lot better, without too much heavy usage of bass.
In terms of music, these headphones definitely perform better on PC, and indeed seem to be aimed more at that market, but as they work on consoles, and we are ostensibly a console focused site, it would be remiss of me not to point out the shortfalls here.
The headphones are comfortable enough for shorter usage, but sometimes felt a little tight on my ears. There are no rotational brackets on the earpieces, with only head headband being adjustable. This is perhaps to be expect in a headset in this price bracket, but can be a little uncomfortable during extended use.
The material on the earpieces is a little firm, meaning you really feel the pressure around the ears.
Overall it’s difficult to recommend these headphones to console gamers. They will work, but most of the features are hobbled. That said, they do seem to be aimed at the e-sports market, which is obviously much more prevalent on PC. I played a few rounds of Fortnite on the Switch and did find the detail made it much easier pinpointing enemies footsteps when in and around buildings. I can see these would be useful in an e-sports setting, where the focus is on performance rather than necessary looking at sounding “nice”.
The headphones include a detachable boom mic which performed well when chatting, even on Switch.
For those that are into that kind of thing, they include built in RGB lighting on the side of the earpieces, which cycles through the colours. This seems a bit limited compared to the options offered by the likes of Razer, where the colours can be customised, but I’m sure the feature will perhaps appeal to some younger users.
Overall the headphones perform reasonably well for the price point, but the disparity in how they function between consoles and PC is frustrating. They are clearly capable of better sound, but this is limited by the inability to save the EQ settings to the headphones.
The difficulties I had getting any surround sound performance from these was also a real frustration, but I’m not sure how realistic such a feature is in a pair of headphones at this price point.
It’s hard to really recommend these as it stands, but it does feel like the ability to save the EQ settings for use on consoles would be a huge boon, as they are capable of decent sound in the right circumstances.