Disclaimer: We received review units, courtesy of Armaggeddon Malaysia in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Armaggeddon Malaysia, and/or its affiliates, in any way.
It's been a while since we got our hands on Armaggeddon's audio products and it looks like they've been hard at work pushing out new designs for their lineup. I received the Hornet-7 Pro 3D and Nuke 5 a couple of weeks ago, and since then I've been putting them through the paces and here are my thoughts.
These wireless earbuds are very similar to the Hornet-3 Wireless Earbuds I reviewed last year, and upon first glance, I couldn't tell them apart from each other. However, when it comes to the case, it has a very different look. Where the Hornet-3 had a more subdued look, the Hornet-7 goes all out with the gamer aesthetics. It features an Armaggeddon logo badge and an LED strip around the opening. The lights come into play for checking the battery life remaining for the case (flashing red for under 10%, blue for fully charged). They also light up while the case is being charged through the USB C port in the back. Take note if you do charge it next to your bed at night - the lights are bright and constantly shift colours, with no way to disable them. I found this out the hard way during the first time charging the case.
Functionally, there seems to be no difference - you get the music mode, game mode, and the ability to answer calls and use your voice assistant. The lack of tactile feedback when 'pressing' the earbuds remains - it looks like they are here to stay.
Pairing the Hornet-7 Pro 3D was straightforward and hassle-free. I did experience the buds unpairing themselves occasionally but a simple case reset was enough to fix the issue. I used them with my laptop and smartphone without any problems.
In terms of audio quality, I have no complaints here. The Hornet-7 features a triple driver setup which is a step up over the Hornet-3. When testing it out with music, I found it pretty balanced with subdued mids and lows and highs taking precedence. Since the main purpose of these earbuds is to let you hear your teammates yell at you over voice comms, it makes sense. The issue with the audio clipping from the Hornet-3 is gone.
Comfort-wise - they are the same as the Hornet-3. The earbuds fit snuggly into my ears and remained comfortable even after wearing them for many hours.
Testing the quality of the onboard microphone (raw recordings, no adjustments done):
Quality-wise, there's not much difference between it and its predecessor - considering how it packs the same microphone, it's no surprise. Its noise cancellation is also effective at removing background noise. All in all, it's nothing amazing but definitely good enough for gaming and voice/video calls.
Battery life has been reduced to 28 hours (8 hours earbuds, 20 hours of juice from the case) - less than the Hornet-3 on paper but in practice, I didn't notice the difference. There wasn't a situation where I felt the pinch of not having the extra 4 hours. In fact, I managed to last over a week on a single case charge based on my listening habits. I know it's not the same for everyone but I think most people will be satisfied with the Hornet-7 Pro 3D's battery life.
One thing I realized about using the earbuds in 2021/2022 is that the lack of wires makes them great for use with face masks - no need to worry about any tangling. The Hornet-7 3D Pro has an RM169 price tag, which is pricier than the Hornet-3 but the improved audio experience makes it the better choice of the two if you're trying to decide between them. Shopee Link.
Sitting in the middle of Armaggeddon's PC gaming headset lineup, I found the Nuke 5 a bit harder to review. For context, on my home desktop, I use a Superlux HD668B headset running through a Behringer U-PHORIA UMC22 audio interface. For my voice, I use a Shure 55SH Series II also running through the same interface with a Klark Teknik mic preamp. While my own setup costs much more than just buying a pair of USB-powered headphones, I feel that it is absolutely worth the money especially since I use them for more than just gaming. Regardless, I'll try my best to give an unbiased review.
In terms of setup, the Nuke 5 does a great job here. It pretty much plugs it into your computer and you're good to go. If you have multiple audio devices, make sure you have it selected as your default output/input and adjust the levels accordingly. Most games will just use Windows' default settings for audio.
Comfort-wise, I found them a bit tight for my head. Not sure if my head is too large but I think it would be suited for somebody with a smaller skull. And since I wear thick-framed glasses, the stock earpads pressed them against my face causing a lot of discomfort after an hour. It was hard to keep them on for extended gaming sessions. I've found this to be the case with most stock headsets (I've replaced the earpads on my own headphones with soft memory foam ones) so I wouldn't fault Armaggeddon. However, when I took the headset apart to see if I could replace the earpads, it looks like you'll need to puncture holes in your third party earpads to get them to fit. Seeing how Armaggeddon doesn't sell their own earpads, it's something to take into consideration if you wear thick frames like me. The PU leather also gets pretty warm after a while.
Audio quality was passable. Music sounded pretty flat by default (without changing any software equalizer settings) - highs, mids and lows all blended with each other. I thought it sounded better when listening to instrumental music compared to songs with vocals, with its deficiencies becoming more obvious with the latter (especially with heavier music). Vocals lose depth and sound thin. If you're not picky, it's fine but it's definitely not winning any awards for sound quality.
However, when using it for its intended purpose: listening to teammates over voice chat, it gets the job done. Stay away from this headset if you plan on mixing or mastering music. Surround sound worked well enough but considering how good surround sound is mainly dependent on software these days, it's not much of a selling point.
Like the WASP-7, the microphone is on this headset is great. I was quite surprised at how well it captured my voice during testing even when I wasn't in a quiet environment - the onboard noise cancellation impressed me. My voice came through loud and clear without having to make any adjustments. It's probably the biggest selling point of this headset. Check out the samples below (raw recordings, no adjustments done except for the last one):
One thing to take note of is that the mic will easily get bent out of shape if you frequently move a lot or take your headset off. The fact that the mic is non-retractable means there's no way to hide it if you're not planning to use it. Then again, you wouldn't buy this if you didn't want to use all of its features.
The non-detachable USB cable is braided (a nice touch) and features an inline remote - one dial for the headset volume, and a switch to mute/unmute the mic. Great for when you don't want to fiddle with onscreen or your PC volume controls while gaming.
However, being a USB device means the headset has some limitations. You can't plug it into an external DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) if you want to improve the audio quality of the headset. You're stuck with the headset's onboard DAC. On the plus side, this means that you'll be able to use it with any computer even if it doesn't have a soundcard (though that's pretty rare these days).
To plug it into a tablet or smartphone, you'll need to use a converter or USB hub. I tested it on a Pocophone F1 and it worked flawlessly, but my friend's phone (a Redmi Note 2) couldn't seem to recognize it even though it was powered (the lights were on). Results may vary depending on your device. But because of how bulky the headset is, I wouldn't recommend you pair it with your smartphone anyway, there are more suitable alternatives (like the Hornet-7). I also tested the Nuke 5 on a Mac Book Air (2020) and it worked with no issues.
If you're a fan of RGBs, you might like the design of the Nuke 5 - both sides feature a rotating light pattern that heavily screams 'gamer'. Unfortunately, there's no way to tweak or adjust the lights on the headset - they stay on as long as they are powered. If you're not a fan of bling on your headsets, you might want to skip this one.
Overall, the Nuke 5 is a decent way to spend RM85 if you're looking for an easy to use, bright and flashy, gaming headset with a good microphone. Not recommended if you have a large skull and/or wear thick-framed glasses. If possible, I would recommend saving up a bit more for better, more customizable headphones and a dedicated mic instead. Shopee Link.