Virtual surround headphones have been taking off as many companies rush to the field to produce the best multi-channel experience for your ears. Some of these solutions include various styles of approach, including configurable software, USB support, or simpler solutions like surround through Bluetooth. A model reaching for the latter of those options is the new CEEK 4D 360-Degree Sound Headphones.
The CEEK 4D 360-Degree Sound Headphones aims to deliver a 360-degree experience via Bluetooth with some additional features to go with it to add to the immersive experience with (like haptic vibrations). They feature haptic vibrations that match the bass of what you are listening to, to add emphasis to things like explosions and other dramatic events. All while aiming to provide a virtual 360-degree sound stage.
The design of the headphones features a heavy emphasis on the color gold. Everything is gold outside of the vibration intensity wheel and the LEDs that light upon the backs of each muff. If gold isn’t much your thing, they do have a second color option that balances it with black, which can be seen in the header image at the top of the story.
The headphone is a familiar design, made to adjust to the head as you are placing it on your head so that no manual adjustments beforehand are ever needed. The headband is pretty comfortable and lays nicely across the head.
As for the muffs, I feel that they need some attention as they don’t feel as comfortable. At first, I thought it was the softness of the pads, but one of our other editors made a good point that it is more so the size of the cushions than anything. They don’t naturally capture the ears as if they needed to be just a little bigger than they are (by a small measure). Therefore, they are putting pressure on the outer edges of the ear, reducing the enjoyment of listening for longer periods of time. This also causes the audible range to adjust a little as you move them around your ears. Another part of this is the amount of pressure they apply to the head, which can sometimes be solved by placing the headphones over a box or something to stretch them out a little overnight (vs trying to manually stretch them and break them).
All of your controls are located across (and the back of) the right muff. The controls running across the muff include a scroll wheel for vibration intensity, a power button that also triggers Bluetooth pairing and can be used to answer or disconnect phone calls, a 3.5mm input for the wired cable that comes with it, and a micro USB input for charging (they do not support USB connectivity to a computer).
The backside of the muff contains your track controls and volume. These are touch controls, therefore all you have to do is touch them. For the outer ones, you slide/swipe your finger into that direction to trigger them. So you would slide up for more volume, and down for less (for example). The one in the middle is for play/pause and it requires a double-tap to trigger. All of these seem to work quite fine and accurately. Outside of the loud beep you get in your ears when pausing/playing a track. It doesn’t seem to match the volume (seems consistent). I’d rather there be no beep or one that is just present enough to know you triggered the option, vs the awkward volume of the beep that is there.
As you can see in the above image, there is a dark ring going around the touchpad of the right muff (there is one of these on both sides). Behind these are LEDs that display the current mode or status of the headphones, like Bluetooth mode (in general) or Bluetooth Pairing mode. There also some LEDs behind the center section as well that add to them.
These LEDs are great for knowing when it is in pairing mode, but when in regular Bluetooth mode, they constantly flash blue every 5-6 seconds. This wouldn’t bother you as your eyes can’t see it while they are on your head, but it could be distracting to others around you. There doesn’t seem to be an option to turn that off.
It comes with an adjustable boom mic that works pretty well. It plugs into the bottom of the left muff and is used for gaming (or phone calls if you’d like) while in Bluetooth mode. The boom mic is easily adjustable and sounds good when used for chat.
When in wired mode, the 3.5mm cable comes with its own in-line microphone. That way you don’t have to walk around with a boom mic if just using the headphones during phonecalls.
The case is nice and would protect the headphones quite well from scratching or even basic falls. Everything can fit into the case, so you’re never leaving anything at home.
Bluetooth range (distance) of the headphones is pretty average, giving you up to up to 30 feet of distance pretty much. You will find yourself using these in Bluetooth more anything as there is little point to using the cable unless you just need stereo sound while listening to basic MP3s or streaming services/apps. Bluetooth is the only mode that gives you access to the virtual surround. You do have to have a multi-channel source (movie or music) for it to kick in though. If listening to the before-mentioned MP3s or streaming services, it will remain in stereo.
The surround effect is quite nice and relatable to a lot of the nicer virtual surround headphone options out there. When using them on a PC, you do want to make sure you have them selected (as your audio output) as headphones and not headset to get the proper sound out of them. If you select the output as a headset, the audio becomes incredibly compressed and tinny for some reason. So set the output and input (microphone selection) separately to get the best performance out of these as a headset. All of this is assuming your OS will give you both options as some systems only display them as headphones for output.
There is no software required for the virtual effect. It automatically kicks in when you start playing back a multi-channel source.
When it comes to range in terms of sound/frequency, the range is around average between mids and highs, with a preference to the highs. There wasn’t anything that really jumped out. Mind you, we have a pretty extensive collection of high-end gaming and audiophile (listening) headphone models around the office here to set the bar with. So this creates a level of expectation when it comes to price vs performance. This doesn’t mean they sound terrible. They don’t sound too bad at all. They just lack any aww for the price.
However, there is plenty of bass making them great for hip-hop/rap and club genres. Good for movie watching and some video games where lower frequencies add to the experience. The bass doesn’t have an incredible range to it or anything, so it is all about SPL (intensity) than it is trying for accuracy (audiophile)–which it doesn’t seem to be aiming for the latter.
As mentioned, all of the talk about haptic feedback and gesture controls on the box or website is actually just referring to the haptic vibration that matches the bass in what you are listening to. I don’t know why there is any mention of haptic gesture controls as the touchpad does not have any haptic feedback to it. It’s just the bass of what you are listening to via haptic vibrations inside. This can be controlled by the scroll wheel on the right muff, so it can be dialed down if it becomes too much for you (or increased if it isn’t enough).
You likely won’t be enabling the vibration much when listening to music unless you really like to be rattled during things like hip-hop/rap or club genres. This feature seems to be best for movies and video games, although this is still going to be up to user preferences as some may not like the haptic feedback directly on the head. I personally prefer to keep haptic feedback to my hands, body (haptic suits for consumers are right around the corner) and the furniture I am sitting on (as that is always a fun immersive experience). It seems a little distracting at times when the vibration is coming from your head/ears.
We didn’t know what to say about these at first. They are absolutely perfect for those looking to show off and would like an incredible amount of bass with what they are listening to. It performs well in these areas. Battery life is good with up to 12 hours of playback on a single charge. The gold-everything, the flashing LEDs, vibration/haptic feedback feel more like Flavor Flav walking around with the clock around his neck (we think the black/gold model has the best balance design-wise) The vibration is best off or turned to a low level (there, but not rattling your head). The LEDs in Bluetooth mode are a bit distracting to those around you. I’d say that an “always-on” approach would be easier than repetitive flashing every so many seconds (if the LEDs are more about gaming), else have them stop after so much time. The comfort-level of the muffs needs improvement. They need to be just a little bigger to be a proper “over-ear” design for most ears we tested them against. Finally, the range of sound seems a bit average for the price. All of this put together makes them feel like they are a bit unfinished or should fall within a more affordable price range. Not everything gets the two thumbs up from us, unfortunately. We have a lot of models to compare to within the price range and function to come to this conclusion.
|Buy from CEEK|
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- Measurements: Headphone: 210x200x100mm
- Connectors: Detachable 3.5mm audio cable/bluetooth
- Driver Unit Size: 40mm diameter
- Impedance: 32
- Max Power: 30mW
- Frequency Response: 20Hz~20KHz
- Magnet: Neodymium
- Haptic Feedback (Rumble): Yes
- Virtual Surround Mode: 3D surround via Bluetooth mode (only)
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Operation Distance: Up to 10 Meters
- Battery: 1200 mAh
- Battery life: 12 hours with Vibration
- Audio Jack Cable Length: 1070 mm
- USB: Micro
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.
Don’t forget to subscribe for a chance to win cool prizes!