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Evergreen Technologies' RumbleFX Force Feedback Headphones (Page 2/3)

Posted: March 29, 2001
Written by: Chris Burek
ERP: $59.99 USD

Design & Features

The RumbleFX headphones are wrapped with soft, cushiony foam, providing a comfortable fit. Surprisingly enough, the headphones are not as heavy as you might think, being equipped to shake your head and all. They weigh about the same as normal headphones of equal size, and are built quite strong. They will adjust to fit your head and ears comfortably.

The cord running from the headphones enters a small unit which controls volume, hosts a switch for force feedback settings (off, 1, and 2), and also houses two AAA batteries (included). A small red LED indicates whether the force feedback effect has been enabled or not, and a clip on the back allows you to strap it to your clothes or belt for accessibility. The supplied extension cord plugs into this unit, then into your sound source. At 13 feet, the cable should definitely be long enough to meet most requirements. You also have the option of using the included headphone conversion jack, in case the 2.5mm jack isn't compatible with your sound source.

Performance Evaluation

Years back, when Panasonic came out with their Shockwave Walkman, the more expensive model of the Walkman featured vibrating headphones. If you've had the chance to try out the Shockwave headphones, you may already be pondering how the RumbleFX compares. Having tested both, I can say that the two are somewhat similar, though the RumbleFX has a much stronger and in-depth force.

We tested using an Aureal SQ2500 Vortex 2 sound card under Windows 2000, with games and MP3s utilizing lots and little low frequency effects, such as Quake III, Gore, and Undying. Although we stressed the testing with games and MP3s, we also took into account daily experiences with the headphones.

Game Performance

Game performance is definitively the most critical factor in evaluating Evergreen's RumbleFX headphones, because this product is aimed squarely at gamers. As mentioned earlier, the force feedback effect works with low frequency sound signals, such as explosions, and other effects with deep bass.

After going through sessions in each game using the force feedback setting at both II, and I, I was impressed to say the least. This effect does in fact help immerse you more into your game than almost any other device I've tried. I found the vibrating effect to add more depth and realism to games I already enjoyed. Most notoriously, the rocket launcher in Quake 3, as well as the plasma gun helped demonstrate the force feedback effect, as they utilize low frequency sounds. The RumbleFX also aided games' sound tracks, which become more alive and in your face. This baby really shakes your head.

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