Differentiating between many headsets comes down to a few factors: price, quality, background noise control, and the look. What is especially important to FPS gamers is a quality headset with the ability to reproduce voice/chat and game sound with clarity.
Cooler Master’s CM Storm Ceres 400 is an affordable headset that is lightweight, stylish, portable, and the sound is superb. The 400 is the entry-level model from the new CM Storm gaming headset line and may ultimately be a perfect headset for a PC gamer on a budget.
Cooler Master’s 400 Ceres was designed with portability and comfort in mind. The mic is on the left side and it is adjustable with a click-wheel. The mic is easily handled and is more forgiving to positioning.
The headset features a plastic body with foam padding for the top of your head and ears. The 400 Ceres tends to feel sturdy but a little on the stiff side in the hand. Most of the movement comes from the sides of the headset.
In actual use, you realize the beauty of this stiff plastic design. Most headsets feature rubber or a hard plastic that is often heavy but the CM Storm 400 Ceres is one of the most lightweight headsets we have used. The 400 Ceres feels light like paper while still maintaining a sense of durability, compared to our older Turtle Beach X12 headset.
This lightweight, sturdy and flexible body is comfortable over extended periods of times. The padding on the head and ear buds was plenty and the adjustable headband made using it very comfortable. Heavier headsets often begin to induce headaches after only a few hours of playing, something we do not miss.
Pricing and availability with major retailers is hard to find, but generally the price of the CM Storm 400 Ceres averaged around the $45 mark. At this price headsets should come with some decent internals and offer bang for your buck. Cooler Master designed the Ceres to be an “on the go” headset for gamers that want to experience high-quality sound.
Let’s run down the specs before we decide if their goal was accomplished:
-Driver diameter: 40mm x 7.5 mm(H)
-Frequency range: 20 – 20,000 Hz
-Sensitivities(@1kHz): 108 dB ± 4 dB
-Connector: 3.5 mm headphone jack
-Inner Ear Cup Diameter: 90 mm
-Cable Length: 2.5m
-Pick Up pattern: Noise-cancelling
-Frequency range: 100 – 10,000 Hz
-Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 50dB
-Sensitivities(@1kHz): -38 dB ± 3 dB
-Audio Usage: Devices with 3.5mm audio jack
-Audio + Microphone Usage: Devices with a 3.5mm audio + mic
-Large high quality 40mm drivers deliver great sound
- Huge 90mm ear pads provide great comfort
- Adjustable headband for a perfect fit
- In-line volume control and microphone on/off switch
- Rotatable flexible microphone arm
-2 year warranty
Consumers considering the 400 Ceres will have some major decision factors when shopping around, but the 40mm drivers are the most important. We played a couple of hours of “The Walking Dead” and “Fear 3” as our test games and the 40mm drivers are, in a word, acceptable.
The ear buds are static (not movable). Most people like to take off their headsets and turn the buds in while resting the headset on their chest. This is not a big deal but it is something that we wish were included.
Games have ambient sounds, music, guns firing, and voices. The 400 Ceres handled everything well, but it did feel held back at times. There were these moments in which the sound was fantastic but the volume too low; or times where the sound was at a very low frequency and it sounded somewhat muddled. Music playback was crisp and clear, but again the “volume” of the driver could be higher. Outside noise was not a factor as the ear buds covered our ears with comfort and good isolation.
Voice communication tested in Team Fortress 2 and in other multiplayer games was reported as loud and clear by gamers we encountered. The Omni-directional mic (a microphone that can hear from all directions) cancelled out all background noise and our teammates never mentioned any of our background noise on their end.
The in-line volume control and microphone on/off switch was in a good enough location that it was quickly reached and easy to feel for. This cable is also 2.5 meters in length and for our use was good enough.
The mic is also where the 400 Ceres lost most of it’s “on the go” factor for us. Our Turtle Beach X12 headset requires USB power, whereas the 400 Ceres only needs a single jack to function.
This meant portability and one less wire to plug in; however, the mic is not detachable from the headset and it sticks out. It doesn’t look good while out in public to have a microphone that does nothing on a smartphone.
Since this is mostly a PC headset by nature, the portability is in the fact that it is lightweight and easy to plug into any computer quickly.
Compared to most competing headsets, the CM Storm 400 Ceres has the features and a good enough driver to compete at the $50 dollar price range.
At first use, the headset felt cheap but it turned out to be sturdy, and flexible enough to be comfortable. The 400 Ceres is light, meaning that over extended periods of time your head will not get weighed down by a larger headset.
The sound was enjoyable, although at very low frequencies the headset suffered. Voice quality was perfect, and the in-line mic controls were very easy to use. We think Cooler Master’s design team did very well, but they just missed the opportunity to make the mic detachable – which would have made this mic completely portable. The mic sticking out just makes a person look weird in public.
As it stands, the CM Storm 400 Ceres is a budget-friendly headset with a 2 year warranty, great sound, and is very comfortable to use. While it lacks the higher quality drivers, it is worth considering. The Ceres is ultra-light and CM did hit portability with the headset, just not in every situation. ABT recommends this headset fully, and after using this entry-level product from the CM Storm line we can only imagine how good the top of the line headset may be.
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