First, a bit of a disclaimer. The PLYR 2
is not a headset for someone looking to put together some gear to start participating in videogame competitions. For one thing, it's wireless, which is strictly and specifically prohibited by many gaming competitions. Secondly, this is a stereo
headset, not a surround sound headset. You will be able to tell whether something's coming from the right or left, but the whole in front or behind thing won't be well-defined.
The PLYR 2s are more for your well-rounded gamer who doesn't like having their head tied to their gaming systems. The PLYR 2 headset has a boom mic that rests along the left side of the headset, going up along the side of the headband when not in use or swinging down to the left side of the mouth for using the microphone. The boom mic is bendable and posable, letting you put it where you're comfortable with it, and has an automatic switch, so that it's active when it's down in front, but mutes when you swing it up and out of the way.
The other controls on the headset are almost as intuitive. There is a four-way stick on the right ear cup; pushing it up or down changes the volume up or down. Pushing forward, towards the gaming system moves the balance to include more game volume, while pushing the stick backwards away from the gaming system and towards you changes the balance to include more of your voice and less of the game audio.
With your right hand over the right ear cup, the thumb can easily locate and operate a three-position slider which is in a trough in the design of the ear cup. This slider is the control for the EQ3 three-position equalizer. Also located in the trough is a mini-USB connector used to recharge the headset's internal battery and, on the bottom of the right ear cup, a jack for attaching the included Xbox LIVE Chat cable. I hate being tethered to my game controller (and shame on Microsoft for the awkward implementation), but it's a lot better than playing with a headset that connects to the controller and has a cord leading from your head off into the distance, as well. The wireless aspect makes the chat cord a lot more bearable.
Installation is relatively quick and painless: the GMX Stereo Transmitter needs power, which is accomplished via the included USB to mini-USB cord - PS3, 360 or PC, simply plug the thing into an available USB port. Next, you need an audio signal. On the transmitter, there is an audio port labelled "audio." The cords you're going to use depend on system, but in the end, this is where the sound goes in. For a PS3 or Xbox 360 , the included RCA piggyback audio interface goes inline with your RCA stereo audio out from your console and goes to an audio jack that fits the transmitter's audio in port.
For use with the PC, you can use the PLYR 2's internal sound card by simply plugging it in, waiting for Windows to finish installing the drivers, and then going into your audio devices settings, and selecting the Skullcandy PLYR 2 as your default device for audio playback and recording. However, this is only a Mono Signal. Alternatively, you can use a 3.5mm audio cable (not included) and use your existing sound card's audio out. Really, there's not much that a gamer would want to do that a Mono signal is sufficient for, so I would highly recommend picking up a 3.5mm audio cord if using with a PC.
As for power concerns, the GMX Transmitter plugs into a USB port to get power, while the PLYR 2 headset, itself, has an internal rechargeable battery. I found that it lasts for at least six hours on a full charge, which may not qualify as a "marathon" gaming session, but, then again, the PLYR 2 didn't run out of steam... I did. To help keep the power for when you need it, the headset will automatically turn off after a certain period of inactivity. I've never had it happen to me when I was actively using my PC, but when I left the headphones turned on and left the PC for a few minutes with no sound playing, I came back to find they had turned themselves off. This is good for extending battery life, but it makes it a bit harder to put a number to how long the battery lasts.