I have been using my 5K+ for about 2 years now and I have to say that once I finally figured out how to dive into all the settings and get the headset running properly I have loved using it. Since day one I have been using the Vive DAS as my head strap. The DAS is/was a great head strap to use on the OG Vive. Moving over to the 5K+ it did work but it was not great. I felt the strap did not fit low enough on the back of my head (making the HMD front heavy), and personally (although the audio was great) the speakers pressing against my ears over long play periods would make my ears fatigue/hurt.
I am now using the new KDMAS that Pimax released and I wanted to give a honest review on how I think it is based off using it for the last 4 days, and coming from the Vive DAS as stated above.
The install was super easy. I mean SUPER easy. I honestly do not understand why there were so many questions about how to install the KDMAS (even before the guide was released). I guess because I already installed the DAS I was more “aware” of how this needed to be done…not sure, but the install was cake.
I was lucky enough to get the plastic hinges. The strap will go all the way down to the top of the back of my neck before it stops with ease. I personally loosen the velcro strap on top completely, put on the HMD tightening the wheel on the back, and then tighten the velcro. With the angle of the strap arms, the cushion on the rear holding lower on my skull, and the velcro keeping the HMD pressure more on my forehead and less on my cheeks (the comfort kits makes this much more comfortable as well), the HMD feels almost weightless on my face. I can play for hours now while being completely comfortable the entire time. Don’t get me wrong I definitely know it is there, but once in game I rarely pay attention to it unlike when I had the DAS which I constantly tinkered with while in game to make comfortable.
Audio: (This is using the normal Windows 10 volume. No special EQ settings)
The audio in my mind is the best of both worlds. You can use it as off ear (like the Index) or on ear (like the DAS). I will explain both below. The headphones are able to move backwards, forwards, up, and down. I can easily put them in any location that I want with ease, and/or move them out of the way when I don’t want them.
- Off Ear - My wife, daughter, and some friends do not like the on ear audio like the DAS. So the fact that you can use the KDMAS as Off Ear is great…but there are down sides. The audio when using the KDMAS Off Ear is crystal clear. No matter what game I am playing I can easily hear every sound and the volume can go high enough that it will honestly hurt my ears going past anything over 50% volume. The only downside is there is very little bass. Granted I personally like a deep bass response so this may be my ears simply not perceiving it as a decent amount. It could also my be on-board audio. Others have stated it is fine on their KDMAS when using Off Ear.
- On Ear - Installing the ear cups on the headphones is a breeze, and if you have a mixed bag of people playing (on ear and off ear players) taking them on and off takes 5 seconds. The second you install the ear cups the audio completely changes. You still have the super crisp sound quality that is provided with the Off Ear setup, but now all the bass is there and sounds wonderful. The ear cups just barely sit on the top of your ears (for me anyway). I did not like this at first as I wanted to press them against my ears which made the bass/treble audio sound better like the DAS. After hours of playing I noticed having the ear cups just barely touching my ears was better as I had no ear fatigue at all like I did with the DAS. Turning up the volume slightly will also give the higher audio quality of pressing the cups against your ears. There is also some noise cancellation which I did not expect. I can hear people around me if I focus on them, but if/when I am in the zone playing a game, the outside surrounding audio is easily muted to the point of not being distracting.
- Audio cable - the audio cable that is included to tie both the left and right side together is about 5" too long. I have no idea why they would make the cable that long. You can mess around with it and “hide” it around the comfort kit, but one would just assume since this is a custom made cable they would have at least measured to make it a little shorter
- Ratchet system - The ratchet wheel on the back of the KDMAS is fickle. Coming from the DAS, the DAS ratchet system and wheel were robust and built solid. I would grab that wheel and ratchet the headset down to my head feeling the ratchet system working and never worried about breaking it…very solid build. The KDMAS is not the same. When you are tightening the KDMAS there is a 50/50 chance you will “feel” the ratchet system. When you start to get it tight on your head it will stop on its own and you have to wiggle the strap side to side to make it get tighter. Maybe I just like my HMD too tight on my face, but this does not seem normal. When loosening the KDMAS the same thing will happen. The strap will start to loosen and randomly stop. To get it to keep loosening you have to wiggle the strap side to side. This again does not seem normal. The wheel on the back of the KDMAS seems fragile. I feel like it is going to break off any second when I am using it (especially tightening). So I basically baby the strap when taking on or off.
All in all, putting the KDMAS on the 5K+ has made the HMD in my mind 100% better than it was while using the DAS. Complete game changer. Granted the build quality of the KDMAS feels “cheaper” in some aspects, the overall functionality of it surpasses the DAS in my opinion. I have no earthly idea why it took almost a year to build this thing and get it to customers, but that is in the past.
Hope this helps someone more clearly understand what the KDMAS is like.