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For my birthday a few months ago, my boyfriend Simon bought me a pair of these Cat Ear Headphones (Update (12/7/17): now there’s an improved and upgraded wireless version that changes colors and supposedly has fewer wiring issues). Not only do they feature the pointy cat ears, but they also light up and can be used as speakers in order to share one’s music; or in my case inflict it on others. They are incredibly novel and also incredibly expensive. So it was incredibly harrumphing that they do not work as expected straight out of the box.
I mean, they work just fine as headphones so I’m not exactly crying false advertisement. And I suppose technically they could be used for gaming, if that game were on a cellphone or possibly the Nintendo DS. Because the headset uses a 4-pin jack, which combines the headphones and the mic into a single cable, you can’t use it with most PC’s which have separate jacks for audio and mic. I am to understand that the current generation of gaming consoles are compatible with the 4-pin jack, but it leaves us last-gen plebians with our dicks hangin’ out.
Nonetheless, it is possible to make these headphones interface with both the PC and the PlayStation 3. It requires more equipment, sure, but for some it is a worthwhile endeavor.
Getting them to work with computers is simple. You merely need a 4-pin splitter, like this one. This cable will divide the audio from the mic into separate cables. Do note that you want it to have one female jack that splits out to two male jacks. Adapters that combine the audio and mic also exist for new-ish laptops and cellphones (two female to one male jack) so be aware of the difference before purchasing.
Just plug the jack from the cat headphones into the female jack on the splitter and the male pins into their respective jacks and ta-da! Cat headphones on the PC. Easy-peasy.
Getting them to play nice with the PS3 is more challenging and requires further investment, but is still doable.
You’re going to need a few things first though:
- The aforementioned 4-pin splitter.
- Your PlayStation’s included AV cable (but if you lost it, here’s one on amazon).
- A composite-to-3.5mm adapter.
- A 3.5mm coupler.
- A 3.5mm-to-USB adapter.
- And, if your setup isn’t forgiving enough, a 3.5mm cable extender. This is only needed if your cables aren’t long enough to reach.
That’s a lot of equipment and it seems daunting, but it’s no big deal, promise. Just follow these directions:
- 1. First, plug your AV cable into the back of your PS3. Don’t worry if you are using HDMI; you can set the PS3 to use both outputs.
- 2. Next, plug the red and white pins of the AV cable into the female jacks of your Compsite-to-3.5mm adapter, leaving the yellow jack hanging.
- 3. Then, plug the 3.5mm coupler onto the male jack.
- 4. After that, plug the headphone jack of the cat headset into the coupler, leaving the mic jack free for now.
- 5. Plug the 3.5mm-to-USB adapter into the front of your PS3.
- 6. Then plug the mic jack into the according jack on the adapter. The PS3 only accepts audio input through USB, so that’s why we have to pipe them in through different adapters.
And that’s the cabling setup! If your 4-pin splitter isn’t giving you enough distance to have your mic in the front and your audio in the back, you can use the 3.5mm extender I mentioned to give one of your cables more reach.
Now you just have to configure your settings.
- First stop is Settings > Audio Output Settings. Change it to Audio Input Connector/SCART/AV MULTI and then save that setting.
- Second, back out and change Audio Multi-Output to ON.
- Then, go to Settings > Accessory Settings > Audio Device Settings. This controls your mic.
- Change the input device to be C-Media USB Headphone Set and the output to System Default Device.
And that’s it! You should now be able to use both your headphones and its mic feature to look like a cat/radio hybrid while you teabag noobs and loot their corpses.
So the headphones themselves, you probably want to know what I think of them since I put so much effort into using them, yeah?
Well, I want to say first and foremost that you are paying almost entirely for novelty with these. I mean, the sound quality isn’t bad at all, but these aren’t Bose or Beats by Dre. I do not endorse buying these if you are looking for amphitheater acoustics. They are just perfectly decent headphones.
They are notorious for being poorly constructed though and prone to breaking and coming out of the box damaged. Some people’s lights didn’t work. On some one or both of the speakers were out. Mine work just fine, but it’s something to be aware of before buying. From what I could glean from the reviews, the damage usually occurs when you extend the headband because the wiring inside is too short to accommodate the stretching. My head is small enough to use them without adjustment so that’s not been a problem for me personally.
The main thing about them, for me at least with regard to their intended use of gaming, is that they are fairly comfortable. Not as comfortable as my PC gaming headset (this one, if you’re curious), but much more comfortable than the dogshit Turtle Beach Pla I was using. You know that kind of burning ache you get on the top of your head from headphones with a band that presses down too hard? The cat headphones, despite being very heavy, don’t give me that. There is a little ache from the ear cups pushing in on either side of my head, but my fancy headset does that too. It’s only really a problem if I’m wearing my glasses.
Incidentally, the cat headphones weigh a lot more than headphones probably should and you can’t do any crazy headbanging in them or they’ll fall off. Just so you know.
The mic quality is passable, but not crystal clear. My crewmates described it as sounding like I was underwater. You can hear the difference in this video, where I am wearing the cat headset, and any other where I’m using my steelseries headset or my webcam mic. I think it’s probably fine if your friends aren’t accustomed to you sounding fucking beautiful normally.
Overall, the headset is a welcome edition to my Audio/Visual octopus of cables because it outperforms the piece of shit it’s replacing, but if you’re looking for The Best There Is, this ain’t it. If you are wanting to look like a mechanical cat on your Twitch stream, this may be up your alley if you’re willing to invest in making them work. (Incidentally, if you need a cheap lighting rig for streaming that fits in a small space – no umbrellas! -, here’s how I did mine for about $50. Also cat-themed!)