I’ve mentioned in the past the gamers are always looking to get the next best thing to help them compete in their game of choice. Sound can be an especially important part of the gaming equation, and can really give you an extra boost if you’re hearing things clearly. When Monster decided to get into the gaming headset game, they partnered with one of the very best: Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel. In this Fatal1ty by Monster FXM200 review, I’ll talk about what you get when a titan in sound partners with a titan in gaming.
The Fatal1ty by Monster FXM 200 headphones come with the following features and specifications:
- Exclusive fHex720 Sound Chamber Technology
- Game-tuned Pure Monster Sound
- Detachable Noise Canceling Microphone
- Over-ear Design with Total Noise Isolation
- Steel Core Headband
- Superior Durability and Fit
- Custom built Neodymium Drivers
- ControlTalk Universal for easy hands-free calls and music control
- High Performance Flat Cable, tangle-free performance
What’s in the Box
- 1 x Fatal1ty by Monster FXM200 gaming headphones
- 1 x Detachable boom microphone
One of Monster’s major goals with their line of gaming headsets was to make a pair of great gaming headphones at a reasonable price. With that in mind, you will find a lot of plastic on the exterior of the FXM200’s. With that said, these headphones do not feel cheap in the slightest. There are some design touches that give a bit more quality feeling too. Another design point that Monster wants to promote is the weight of these headphones. They are crazy light at just 8 oz. You can wear these things for hours and barely even notice they’re on your head.
Starting at the top, the grey plastic headband is about one inch thick, and has Monster’s “Pure Monster Sound” emblazoned across the top. On the underside of the headband there’s a strip of red leather-like padding, with “Fatal1ty Gaming by Monster” underneath. Some screened dot designs take up the rest of the space on the headband itself until you reach the expansion areas. The headbands adjust out about another inch and a half on each side, which makes them big enough even for someone with a huge head like me.
There is some more light Monster branding where the earcups attach to the headband, and then a slight break where the earcups can flex and twist slightly. The earcups are attached via a “Y” shaped hinge. The earcups themselves are relatively big, and are of the over-ear variety, which provides a bit more noise isolation. The outside of the earcups feature a textured top with a brushed metal area underneath. In the middle of that cap is the Fatal1ty logo. The earcups are padded with the same sort of red leather-like padding, and there is ample padding to keep these headphones very comfortable even after hours of use. Inside of each earcup is a similarly colored red fabric.
On the bottom of the right earcup is the cord. The cord is a nice, flat, tangle-resistant design. About a foot from the earcup is the in-line mic control. This control features a clip to attach to your shirt, a mic on/off switch, headphone volume control, and a push-to-talk button. The left earcup features a port for the included boom mic. The mic is just over four inches long, and the armature of the mic is flexible. There’s a 3.5mm plug on one end and a small mic bulb at the other end. The in-line mic control does also feature an in-line mic, so you can get your voice heard a couple of different ways.
Monster generally touts their Pure Monster Sound, which does occasionally push bass just a little bit more than it needs to be pushed, and when listening to music on the FXM200’s you will get just a bit more bass than you probably need. For some genres that can tend to muddle things just a bit. These are however gaming headphones, so I would argue that their performance for gaming is more important than their performance for music.
So how do these headphones sound while gaming? Really pretty fantastic. Games are tuned quite a bit differently than music, and these headphones are tuned for gaming. Directional audio is pretty spot on. I’ve been playing Overwatch quite a bit lately, and Blizzard did a fantastic job with their sound design for the game. Each character has their own unique sound profile down to their footsteps in game. While I’m not quite to the point where I can tell exactly who is coming based solely on their footsteps, I can hear those footsteps very clearly while wearing the FXM200 gaming headphones.
While you can absolutely use these headphones for both music and gaming, I’d probably recommend sticking with gaming if you can help it. They really shine while you’re playing games in a way that they just don’t when it comes to music. Since they are touted more for their performance with gaming, it’s probably best to use them in the way they are intended.
You can definitely make calls with these headphones, though I’m going to talk more in this section about gaming, and chatting with your teammates.
One thing to note, the box for the FXM200’s specifically mention PS4, Xbox One, and mobile for supported platforms. You can absolutely use these headphones on PC as well, but there are a few caveats to the mic operation on all consoles. The DualShock 4 controller has a 3.5mm input on the bottom of the controller, so plugging in there should be relatively painless. Newer Xbox One controllers also have the 3.5mm input, though older controllers do not. If, like me, you have only the older controllers, you’re kind of out of luck on Xbox One. You can obviously buy a new controller or an audio adapter and be right back in the game though.
Using the FXM200 microphone on the PC has a few more hoops to jump through. It is suggested that in order to use the FXM200’s with your PC that you’ll need a “Y” adapter, which is basically just one female 3.5mm port splitting to two male 3.5mm plugs. You can then plug one of each of those plugs into the headphone and mic inputs on your computer. I’ve been told that the headphones should start including this adapter in the future, but the pair I was sent for review did not have the appropriate adapter. A quick trip to Monoprice solved that problem, but I still didn’t have the best results on PC even with the “Y” adapter. If your PC or laptop has a mic/headphone combo jack you should be in the clear.
Now that you’re finally connected, how does your voice sound? Quite good actually. Teammates were able to hear me clearly, and depending on the gaming mouse that you’re using, you can probably set a programmable button for push-to-talk, or to mute/unmute the mic in order to keep your hands where they need to be. The boom mic is positioned perfectly, and the flexible armature lets you position the mic right next to your mouth.
The MSRP for the FXM200 headphones is $119, but you can find them at most online retailers (including on Monster’s website) for $99, and at an even deeper discount via sales on occasion. For $100, you’re getting a very light, very comfortable pair of gaming headphones. Performance for gaming is pretty great, and you really can wear these things for hours.
Monster wanted to jump into the gaming scene, and they picked a great gaming partner to launch their signature gaming product. The FXM200 headphones are great for gaming, and may just be what you need to push your game to the next level.