After releasing the stereo headset Sonuz (tested here), CM Storm put on the shelves another 2.0 model, the Ceres 400. The biggest differences between the two peripherals are the size of the drivers (53 mm for the Sonuz versus 40 mm for the Ceres) and the lightweight design of the newer model. Both the Sonuz and the Ceres 400 are budget-conscious choices for those who don’t care about 5.1 surround sound models that are usually more expensive. We’ll first describe the Ceres, and then put it through the test.
The Ceres 400 is a mid-to-big size headset with a pair of 90 mm ear pads that completely cover the user’s ears. The padding is very soft and is wrapped in a cloth with tiny holes that make the ear pads breathable. The same material also covers the headband cushion.
The microphone is located on the left ear cup. It pivots upwards to stay out of the way if one wants to use the Ceres 400 like a regular headphone, but the microphone is not detachable like the one found on the Sonuz.
The cable is very long (2.5 m or 8.2 feet) and made of simple plastic, not cloth-wrapped as it is on the Sonuz. It has two 3.5 mm plugs (one for the microphone, the other for the sound channel), and it has a control unit a short distance (50 cm or 1.6 feet) away from the ear cup with a volume scroll and mute key.
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The main characteristic of the Ceres 400 is that it is a smaller (and cheaper) option for a 2.0 headset inside the CM Storm line than the Sonuz. It keeps the “big ear cups” style without being so clunky and heavy. The end result is a very comfortable headset for users who like circumaural pads.
The microphone is bendable, but it usually reverts to its normal position and must be bent again.
The control unit has a sliding button to mute the microphone that makes a noticeable click, so the user cannot hit it accidentally. The volume scroll could be a little bigger.
[nextpage title=”Testing the Ceres 400″]
One who chooses a stereo headset is well aware that it will be impossible to enjoy the immersive experience of a 5.1 surround sound mix. On the other hand, there are those who claim that a surround sound headset is only simulating an experience better enjoyed in a full-blown home theater. The fact is that some games lose their impressive sound landscape when heard on only a 2.0 stereo mix; for example, Battlefield 3. But how did the Ceres fare?
With a 40 mm driver, the headset features a strong bass. When we played Battlefield’s newest expansion, Armored Fury, the focus on tank warfare, the advance of the armored units, and the shooting of heavy caliber projectiles made our ears ring. Other sound effects and dialogue sounded crisp. However, the user cannot forget to adjust the sound options for this and any other games to a 2.0 stereo setting (if available), so that way there is no cacophony. The same advice holds true for watching DVD or Blu-ray movies. Aside from the whole sound immersion loss, the Ceres 400 delivered – especially during music listening – since music is natively a stereo medium due to the strong bass and high sensitivity (108 dB).
In terms of comfort (a very important feature for a device that will be on the user’s head for long hours of gaming), the Ceres 400 is one of the most comfortable models we’ve ever tested. The mid-to-big size means it’s not clunky, and the Ceres is surprisingly lightweight. The ear cups go around the ears in a smooth embrace, and the size adjustment doesn’t let the user’s head be pressed.
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The main specifications for the CM Storm Ceres 400 headset include:
- Stereo analog headset
- Connector: 3.5 mm mini jacks
- Cable: 8.2 feet (2.5 meters)
- Drivers: 40 mm
- Frequency response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ω
- Dynamic range: 108 dB ± 4 dB (at 1 kHz)
- Frequency response: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
- Sensitivity: -38 dB ± 3 dB (at 1 kHz)
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 50 dB
- More information: https://www.cmstorm.com
- Average price in the U.S.*: USD 49.99
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
In a direct comparison with the Sonuz, the other stereo model from CM Storm, we found the Ceres 400 to be a better choice; the headset is lighter and more comfortable, and it is less bulky. The microphone bends just a little more than the one found on the bigger model, but it still needs adjustments every once in a while to be kept bent. Minor differences such as the non-detachable microphone and the simple plastic cable are not worth purchasing the more expensive and bulkier model like the Sonuz; we preferred the lightness and simplicity of the Ceres 400, combined with its crisp stereo sound.
- Quality stereo sound with deep bass
- Extremely comfortable
- Lightweight headset
- Great for music listening
- Control has a clicky key to mute the microphone
- Microphone could be more bendable
- Tiny scroll volume