The Ultimate Gift For Gamers

The New HT line brings your video games to life

Buy a good, not crazy expensive subwoofer if you like gaming even a tiny bit. My does it transform the gaming experience from one where all the focus, nerves and intensity exists solely inside your head to one where—with the help of the most modest of surround systems—you are engulfed in an alien environment. Screw virtual reality, who do you know that wants to wear uncomfortable glasses? Or a Samsung phone strapped to your head trying to fool the eyes into “seeing” some altered reality when your actual head is thinking “Ouch, I think the straps are pinching me.”

Bottom line? Bass is huge fun, and nowhere is this truer than when used for gaming. Industry experts predict that between gaming consoles and mobile apps, over 4.5 million gaming devices will be sold this holiday season in North America alone.

And while the teenagers who form the entry point into the gaming world can generally be found playing on headsets, chatting with friends while playing MLB’19 or Battlefield I online, things change as they get older. As gamers grow and their habitats evolve in step with larger paychecks, there comes a time when the headphones come off and great sound begins to add that extra dose of reality that heightens the senses and brings a whole ‘nother level of fun, intensity and realism to gaming.

To get a better read on this, I recently spent a few hours (ok, maybe more than a few) playing a mix of games with my son. Apart from the fact that I reaffirmed that anyone over the age of 30 is at a tremendous disadvantage playing against 15 year olds with lightning reflexes, I had a great time.

Tip for Electronic Arts: Get to work on getting right the sound of your sports games. Wrigley Field in Chicago has this warm, open acoustic that serves to slow the world down. Not an accident they call it “The Friendly Confines”, while Fenway in Boston—especially in the concourse has this cramped, bustling sound and feel from another century. The world was smaller back then and Fenway reflects this, but EA’s version doesn’t work hard enough at capturing this aspect. These sorts of observations arrive without effort once you get out of the world of earbuds and into a decent sound system, where one of surround sound’s greatest gifts isn’t merely sonic but the ability to transport one to a different time and place; like some fantastic aural reality machine (fortunately minus the awkward straps on your head).

Gaming is one experience REL’s Serie HT is seemingly custom-made made for (ok, they do pretty remarkable things in home theater too). As basic a plug ‘n’ play component as exists, the HT/1003 300 watt, 10” driver model may be the baby in this new range, but when used to support gaming, seemingly transforms itself into the equivalent of stacked 18” behemoths squeezed into a spare bedroom – we’re just not used to real bass when gaming (yet). So the effects of great bass are magnified. Part of it is the intensity and how rarefied the senses become when playing a good computer game; everything takes on extra focus when your position is surrounded and you’re about to be overrun. But the larger part is the greatly expanded sense of space and directional cues afforded by having deep bass wrapping around.

This holiday season, consider treating the family to a small addition to an already fun experience and add great low bass to the family fun center. It’s a relatively affordable way to bring the drama and fun of gaming to new heights and it gets players out of living exclusively in their heads and back—a tiny bit—into the real, physical world where space and dimensionality matter and the real world begins to exist within the confines of the gaming room, or spare bedroom where a console, a hi resolution tv and a modest sound system can transform the experience.

November 21, 2018 - Posted in: News, Principles of Sound