The much-touted Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound and Pro Logic IIx transported us to another world at the push of a single button. Our sense of awareness within a fast-paced game of Battlefield 3 increased tenfold. Thanks to the open earcups, you get the impression that sound is emanating from sources in an open-air environment rather than being forcefully directed at your ear canal. This is generally something that will sound different at first, but it has really grown on us and has a very natural sound to it. The sound is overall quite balanced, and no aspect of the reproduction overpowers the others. The bass frequencies aren't particularly heavy, but there is enough to enjoy bass-heavy music, or savor the explosions of the rocket you sent hurling at an enemy vehicle. At no point did we feel the urge to turn these speakers up to 11 to savor the gritty ambiance of the war zone, as it rang through clear at even low volumes.
Surround sound tests and in-game testing showed that the virtual surround offered by the Dolby Digital 7.1 processing was very accurate, and was honestly a bit surprising given that it's not a true surround headset, as all of the sound is generated by a single driver. We also didn't have software fighting over the sound processing, which we've run into in the past, so the GameCom software overlays and plays nicely with the rest of our setup.
Listening to music and movies is also a pleasure thanks to 40mm drivers that deliver great performance across a range of genres and also deliver decent bass. One thing to note if you plan on using these for frequent music-listening, the open backs do allow quite a bit of sound leakage, so those around you will be quite aware what you're listening to. Just as we observed in games, switching the Dolby surround on and off is a night and day difference in terms of clarity and immersion. After treating ourselves to a hard-hitting appetizer of Skrillex’s Kyoto, a main course of scenes from The Pacific, and washing it all down with some exhaust notes, our ears were thoroughly satisfied. Users who like to fine tune their cans may be disappointed by the lack of a graphic equalizer or other audio and microphone controls. Controls for the 780 that reside in the task bar are limited to gaming and music-optimized modes, but a greater degree of adjustment can be found in the Windows sound control panel. More robust software support is something we'd like to see from Plantronics as it would really allow the GameCom 780s to stand up to the similarly-spec'd (but higher priced) Logitech G35s.
Performance over TeamSpeak was more than sufficient. Noise cancellation tech did a great job of giving our voices authority over ambient noise and ignoring our breathing. Skype calls came through loud and clear on both PC and Mac. Microphone muting and volume controls worked like a charm on a MacBook Pro, however the 780 was stripped of its surround sound powers as GameCom software was not available for processing.