Most of you probably know Zalman for their aftermarket CPU coolers and case fans. Not long ago Zalman started to produce headphones which featured a pretty radical design and were aimed at gamers due to the fact that they supported true 5.1 surround sound through 6 speakers inside the cups.
Today I will be taking a look at Zalman's newest addition to their 5.1 surround sound headset lineup namely the ZM-RS6F USB. As the name implies this headset is based around Zalman's renowned 5.1 RS6 series headphones coupled with a USB sound card. The sound card itself is based on the C-Media USB 106.
The ZM-RS6F USB is aimed at gamers and other people who don't have a 5.1 capable sound card. The compact USB sound card is ideally suited for those who want 5.1 surround on, i.e. a laptop because it's both transportable and capable of matching most on board audio solutions featured in laptops.
The headphones are shipped in a rather unusual package. It's a hemisphere where the headphones themselves are fixed in the center. Since it's a clear cover it's easy to inspect the headphones for any visible faults before you open the package, which is nice if your country's postal service has a tendency to throw stuff around.
The specifications are nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact that these headphones connect to the USB port on ones computer.
The on-cord sound card is of the C-Media type. C-Media is well known and provides integrated sound car solutions to many motherboard manufacturers, and also makes the sound cards that SteelSeries's USB headsets use.
Now a 5.1 surround sound USB based headset isn't exactly something that emerges on the market often. Therefore I don't have a headset that I can use as a benchmark when it comes to judging the performance of this headset.
Besides the headset you also get a driver CD and a brief user's manual. I found that you don't actually need the driver installed on your system in order for the headset to function. Of course the built in driver in Windows XP doesn't support all of the functions that the USB sound card has, but it does function quite well. In order to get optimal performance you have to install the driver provided on the CD because it also includes a control panel that lets you adjust a lot of different aspects of the sound card.