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Wow Thing Review


Wow thing, you move me.

When I think about all the peripheral love PCs get, I start to feel sorry for the neglected console systems. They're treated like the redheaded stepchildren of some dysfunctional gaming hardware family. I mean, PCs get cool joysticks, 3D accelerators, sound cards and various speaker systems all specially designed with the gamer in mind. What do the under-loved consoles get? A torrent of crappy, gimmick-heavy controllers, racing peripherals with all the comfort of wearing a full set of South African neck rings, supposed video-enhancing gold-plated video cables, and those fabulous fishing rods that have about as many uses as a fresh booger.

Well, audio technology pundit SRS Labs has decided to assist our favorite gaming systems by introducing their new Wow Thing for gaming consoles (no, not the Wild Thang. Tone Loc introduced that years ago.) Priced just right at $29.95 (the PC version is $24.95), the Wow is a simple device that blesses gamers with added booming bass and mild 3D-positional sound. Finally, the Cinderella of gaming systems gets a glass slipper…of sorts.

Installing the Wow is relatively simple. Your console of choice - N64, PSX, Dreamcast, PS2 & even Gameboy (via the included two-way headphone adapter) - plugs into the Wow Thing control unit, and the control unit plugs into your TV. It's a cinch!

The control unit is where all sound tweaking takes place. Once it's installed and turned on, you can toggle the Wow Thing's enhancements on and off via the "Bypass/Wow" switch. The "Bypass" setting reverts your sound to the old, flat TV quality gaming sound we have come to expect. You don't have to always listen to booming bass with rich quality audio, but we know you'll want which case you simply flip it to "Wow" and listen to the audio enhancements.

Other switches and knobs for your fondling pleasure include the "Wow" knob, which allows you to adjust the level of Wow's enhancements. And rounding out the unit are bass and volume dials, which function just as they would for any other sound system. It's a truly complete and easy-to-use package.

And from that package you can expect a huge leap in audio quality for your console gaming. The games literally come alive with hard pounding bass and improved clarity. Our ears were pleased with the enhanced sound for all games tested (Twisted Metal: Black, Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec, Armored Core 2). The engine sounds and tire screeching in GT3 are amazing to begin with, but when you strap the Wow to your PS2 the game adopts a new level of realism. You'll be awestruck by the obvious difference.

The Wow boasts 3D positional sound, but fails to compete with PC sound cards and their fancy-shmancy EAX and A3D capabilities. However, the positional sound does become more apparent when you plug a set of headphones into the provided headphone jack.

Ultimately, the Wow Thing is a great little gadget that every gamer can love and afford - and it actually does what it's supposed to do. Peripherally deprived consoles can now skip the 12-step therapy sessions and go straight to SRS Labs' Wow Thing for much needed audio support.

Revolution report card
  • Boomin' bass w/ rich audio clarity
  • Practical
  • Affordable
  • Easy-to-use
  • 3D positional audio is lacking
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.

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