MasterPulse Pro by Cooler Master gaming headset review
+ Looks really solid, metal frame enhances premium appeal
+ Inline remote control handles every feature available on the headset
+ Removable covers on the earcups enhances both aesthetics and also bass quality, can be customized with 3D printed custom covers too
+ Good sound quality, customizable sound with Bass FX Technology, virtual 7.1 channel surround and equalizer presets
+ Microphone quality is decent
+ Comfortable even over long periods
+ Reasonable pricing
- Non-detachable cables, no love for audio over 3.5mm jack
- Annoying placement of inline remote
Cooler Master has been on a roll, bringing in upgraded and all new products to the gaming peripheral scene. We have seen the MasterKeys keyboards, MasterMouse mice and also MasterPulse headsets, essentially an entire ecosystem of Cooler Master gaming peripherals is now available. I am currently using the MasterKeys Pro S, which is an excellent RGB mechanical keyboard. Well, today we will be taking a closer look at the MasterPulse Pro gaming headset, which offers a slew of flagship-class features with a minimalistic look. With the “Pro” moniker on here, we will approach this with high expectations, so Cooler Master better not let us down.
The MasterPulse Pro is packaged in the signature grey box that all recent Cooler Master products come in. I wonder if the reason behind it is an obsession with a certain Grey… In any case, you can see that the MasterPulse Pro comes with virtual 7.1 channel surround sound, their exclusive Bass FX Technology that allows you to tune the sound via hardware. Who says you need an equalizer to customize your sound? You get a few highlight features listed in multiple languages on the back of the box, among which are the 44mm drivers which is 10% bigger than the 40mm drivers you usually find in your usual pair of headphones.
Cooler Master has designed the packaging with a window for you to take a sneak peek at the MasterPulse Pro before you unbox it. On the flip panel you get some specifications as well as a short intro on the features of the MasterPulse Pro here.
The MasterPulse Pro is seated nicely in a plastic tray which in turn is placed in a hard paper box that slides out of the outer packaging. I really like the premium vibe the MasterPulse Pro exudes, not something which many gaming headsets can boast about.
When it comes to package contents, the MasterPulse Pro doesn’t come with much. In fact, you only get a user guide aside from the MasterPulse Pro itself. The MasterPulse Pro features an inline remote control box to manage all its features, and the USB connector is gold-plated too.
The MasterPulse Pro doesn’t skimp on its choice of materials, with the main frame being made of metal. All the parts that contact you when the MasterPulse Pro is on your head is wrapped in pleather, with substantial padding for comfort. The earpads are soft too, unlike certain headphones which have thick but stiff pads. Pleather is not really my material of choice though when it comes to gaming headsets, as I prefer the fabric material Logitech used on the G633 Artemis Spectrum more. And of course, you get RGB illumination here. After all, what peripheral is complete without RGB in 2017? The lighting is limited to the Cooler Master emblem on the sides of the earcups, but well, it’s something.
The earcups are pretty deep, so users with larger ears will still find these pretty comfy to use. You can see the self-adjusting headband is very wide to spread the weight of the MasterPulse Pro over the top of your head. The wires connecting the earcups are exposed at the side, a necessity for this design. The red cables offer some contrast to the monotone color scheme of the MasterPulse Pro. The earcups are capable of swiveling for a better seal on your ears, but if you are hoping for a portable pair of headphones to bring with you on the go, this is not going to be it as it can not be folded flat.
The controller is inline, which keeps some of the weight off your head. There is a clip at the back if you want to attach it to your clothing, but the cord between the controller and the headset is insufficient for the controller to be clipped to your table. It does get really annoying, I kid you not. The cable is the flat “fettuccine” variety to prevent tangles.
With the MasterPulse Pro, you don’t have to do anything other than to connect the USB connector to your PC and wait for the LEDs to light up. And that’s all there is to setting up the MasterPulse Pro. Despite the fact that it features quite a list of features, Cooler Master decided that it will suffice to use the inline controller to handle everything. While it’s convenient that I don’t have to install anything on my PC, I have no idea what mode the RGB LEDs are running in as Cooler Master didn’t include an indicator on the controller to let me know what colors they are showing. Well, I hope the people around me enjoy the light show as I don’t get anything out of this. With that said, the big button on the remote is to cycle through the lighting modes, and weirdly the bar below the button only illuminates when you have the virtual 7.1 channel audio mode active. You can toggle the microphone, virtual 7.1 surround, cycle through three equalizer modes and even adjust the volume, all from the inline remote. Which, sadly, sits on my privates most of the time due to it the cable not being long enough to be on my desk, and I absolutely have no intention of clipping it to my T-shirt. It would have been better if Cooler Master used a 1m cable cable to connect a controller to the PC, and a detachable 3.5mm cable to connect to the headset itself. That would have made the MasterPulse Pro more versatile, being able to be used with higher end sound cards or even smartphones, and I won’t have a block of plastic resting somewhere inappropriate.
Now aside from the fact that you cannot remove the cable, you will also notice that the MasterPulse Pro doesn’t feature a microphone boom sticking out of the earcups. Nope, the microphone is not on the inline remote either. For some reason, Cooler Master saw it fit to place the microphone on the earcup itself. While it may be quite weird, it was actually quite sufficient for gaming purposes. I did use the MasterPulse Pro for some Overwatch with my friends, and it picked up my voice with no issues at all. Still, I wish Cooler Master went with a boom microphone to minimize noise picked up from the surroundings.
The earcups are definitely oversized, probably for a more gamer-esque aesthetic. The only part that illuminates in RGB are the logos here, and as part of the Bass FX feature, the plastic covers here are magnetic, removable to deliver better bass and a more open sound. Cooler Master even provides the 3D printing templates for these, so you can customize your headset with your very own custom designed covers. Cooler Master is definitely upholding the Maker Spirit and we really like to see what else can they bring to the table in terms of customization.
With the cover off, you get full view of the metal mesh under it. In fact, I think the metal mesh looks better, or is it just me? While I was about to dismiss the Bass FX Technology as yet another gimmick thrown around by gaming peripheral manufacturers, I was seriously awed by the difference it brought to the sound. It enhanced the already quite impressive low end, giving it more weight, and also allowed me to hear slightly more of my surroundings. When I say more weight, I don’t mean that it has gotten bloated, but the bass notes just sounds punchier and more solid. What impressed me more was that the highs were unaffected by enabling the Bass FX mode. The MasterPulse Pro has a noticeable emphasis on the lower end, and while the mids and highs are not the best I have experienced, they are delivered pretty well too. Turning on the 7.1 channel virtualization emphasizes the mid range, making everything seem louder, but not necessarily better. The Music preset boosts the lower frequencies, which is quite a silly move from Cooler Master since the MasterPulse Pro already has sufficient amounts of bass to begin with, and even more with the Bass FX Technology in play. I think a better option would be to release a software to customize the equalizer presets. After all, it’s all about making it yours Cooler Master, right?
Gaming with the MasterPulse Pro is great, with positional cues coming through crystal clear, but the 7.1 channel virtualization didn’t improve the experience much, if at all. The virtual 7.1 channel mode causes the earphones to feel more spacious, but I really didn’t feel any better spatial separation with it on. Want to know my favorite settings? Bass FX on (earcup covers removed) and the Gaming equalizer preset. Perfect for anything that involves sound. Movies can sound better with the virtual 7.1 channel surround, as the entire scene feels more expansive. You don’t get any Dolby or DTS enhancements here though. Comfort wise, they are very comfortable. I can feel the MasterPulse Pro clamping down on my head but it’s far from excessive. The weight on the other hand, is on the heavier side, forcing me to reposition it until I found a sweet spot at the top of my head. The pleather earpads made my ears warm after a while as I do not have air-conditioning at home. I hope Cooler Master will consider offering fabric replacement earpads for those who are stuck in warmer climates.
So did the MasterPulse Pro impress us? You can say that. It sounds good, and the comfort is also pretty decent. I would have have preferred a less annoying placement of the inline controller, some fabric earpads and maybe less weight on my head, but the MasterPulse Pro is a solid gaming headset through and through. The pricing of around RM349 is also pretty reasonable for a USB headset, with the virtual 7.1 channel surround sound being a highlight for those who prefer a wider sound. Also, if you are okay with wearing a massive pair of headphones out, the MasterPulse Pro can actually work with a smartphone over USB. I tried it with my Honor 8. But of course, you will have a hard time cramming them into your backpack when you are done listening. With that said, I award the MasterPulse Pro our Silver Pokdeward, as it is a great gaming headset, with a reasonable asking price and a good list of features supporting it.
The MasterPulse Pro is unavailable in Malaysia at the time of writing, but we will be sure to update you guys when it is made available here!