There are two wolves inside you. One loves to hear high quality sound that does not distract others while playing video games. The other has sore ears, a sensitive scalp, and needs a break from using headphones. I think we’ve just found a solution that can satiate both.
Panasonic is releasing a neck-worn surround sound speaker especially aimed at gamers. This 4-channel curved speaker setup sits around your neck, like a thin, not-very-comfortable travel pillow. This keeps the player’s ears and head free of hardware. It feels like a great intermediate step between speakers that everyone can hear and a headset that isolates you from the world.
Dubbed the SoundSlayer Gaming Speaker, it connects via USB or 3.5 headphone jack and should, in theory, work like a typical set of speakers once plugged in. This also means that it should be compatible with almost everything. The site lists Windows 10, PS5, Xbox Series S/X, Nintendo Switch, as well as some older consoles.
This SoundSlayer has dual microphones for in-game chat that should cancel echo and controls that feel easy to access. Overall, it feels like an easy-to-use kit without much tinkering.
That said, there are 3 different game modes to optimize for different experiences. RolePlaying mode is designed to work with immersive RPGs like Final Fantasy XIV Online, which is partnered with the brand. An FPS mode, which focuses on sounds like footsteps to help locate enemy players, as well as a voice mode that will make dialogue clearer when needed.
The downside to this speaker setup is that it’s not really cheap. It is listed at $299 AUD on the Panasonic website and is also available on Amazon for $198 USD or $260 AUD. It’s also $247 or $339 for the limited-edition version of Final Fantasy, so if that’s your problem, you might want to jump in quick.
If you want something a little more versatile and you’re not married to this new tie idea, you can get some. seriously good gaming headphones (opens in new tab) at the same price or cheaper. our favorite PC gaming speaker set (opens in new tab)The Logitech G560 (opens in new tab) are also in that price range. Though none of these options quite fit this niche, which my wolves are howling for.
Whether this neck-sitting speaker style will see mass adoption remains to be seen, but these are the first I’ve seen designed specifically with gamers in mind. If they offer comfort, sound quality and convenience, this could be the answer for many gamers stuck between audio options.