Panasonic’s Soundslayer SC-GN01 Final Fantasy XIV Online edition promises to deliver the first-ever wearable four-speaker array in a wearable gaming speaker, but it doesn’t quite manage to hit the mark.
Sometimes, a gaming headset can just feel a bit too restrictive on your head. What if there was a better solution? One that you could just wear, instead of having to mess around with clamping force and all the rest? Well, Panasonic seems to want to address that with the Soundslayer SC-GN01. This wearable four-speaker array was designed in collaboration with the Final Fantasy XIV development team.
The unit we reviewed, the SC-GN01-PPFF (What a mouthful), also comes with a couple of neat Final Fantasy XIV-related trimmings and gaming-focused sound modes, but also comes in at a fairly steep price.
- Connectivity: USB-A, 3.5mm auxiliary jack
- Weight: 244g
- Features: Built-in microphone, quad-channel speaker array, multiple sound modes
- Price: $247.99 / £199.99
- Where to buy: Amazon US, Amazon UK
Included in the box: Panasonic Soundslayer SC-GN01, 3.5mm to 3.5mm auxiliary cable.
The box for the SC-GN01 was furnished with oodles of Final Fantasy XIV-styled trimmings, which we were big fans of. When you actually open the box and see the unit itself, you’ll also see that the boomerang-shaped speakers are also outwitted with the Final Fantasy XIV text on the left-hand-side, and a partially complete Final Fantasy XIV meteor logo on the right. However, those are just about the only differences between this limited edition and the normal unit.
You have an array of ports on the left and right of the SC-GN01. On the left lies a mute button, and a volume control button. In use, the volume controls are just too high up and do not feel intuitive to use. On the right, you have a rubber flap hiding away the 3.5mm cable jack, in addition to a microphone mute button, and a sound mode selector.
The sound button is outfitted with several profiles, that play the sound effect for changing your class in Final Fantasy XIV, and there are a couple of other nice little flourishes when you plug in the headset, too. It’s a fun theme that fans will be sure to appreciate.
Wearing the Panasonic Soundslayer SC-GN01 is as easy as just wrapping it around your neck, the left and right plastic stems are connected via a flexible rubber in the middle of the unit, which works well for adjusting the unit directly for you, and feels solidly built.
Coming in at just 244g, you barely notice them as you put them on, and the long USB-A cable coming out of the left stem ensures that you’re able to plug it in just about anywhere. The unit is also very slim and never felt uncomfortable to put on, though some slight cushioning on the bottom of the plastic would have been nice.
However, this design comes with one huge drawback. As you use the wearable speakers, the four-speaker array gets noticeably warm while in use. This might be good for those wanting to use them in winter, but after using them in the midst of a heatwave, we can’t say that they were good, or comfortable at all. It’s a source of heat beaming down onto your shoulders, after all.
It doesn’t get hot, but it does get warm to the touch after around 20-30 minutes of operation.
We were pleasantly surprised at the SC-GN01 Final Fantasy XIV edition gaming speakers. Due to the relatively small form factor, we anticipated much worse sound quality than it managed to achieve. The wide sound stage afforded by a quad-channel speaker solution meant that everything from the low to high frequencies sounded great.
There’s a warm fuzziness to the sound. The bass response wasn’t overwhelming like in so many other gaming products, and it afforded a more natural-sounding speaker as a result.
The sound modes are a little bit of a gimmick, with them mixing around with the channels and EQ between each of them, but to make the most use of the four speakers in the unit, we found that using the Cinema mode the most. We would have liked to have seen a custom EQ option for a more personalized sound profile, too.
From playing games like Warzone and CS:GO, we found that it managed to keep up with just about everything that we threw at it with ease, we could hear anything and everything clearly, with no lag or muffled sound.
Of course, the tradeoff for this is that you have a full speaker array pumping out sound on your neck, which means that other people will be able to hear you from some distance, based on the volume of the wearable gaming speaker.
If we were to compare it to a gaming headset, we’d say that the sound profile was most similar to the EPOS H6PRO‘s open-backed variant, sound travels through the air and up to you, giving you a slightly wider soundstage than something like a closed-back headset. It sounds about equal to higher-end gaming headsets, and there’s very little fiddling that you have to do in order to get the speakers up and running. It just works.
The SC-GN01 also has a built-in microphone, and it’s not great. since you are pumping out the sound around you, the mic attempts to compensate for this, and it ends up sounding rather muted and muffled as a result. It’s certainly useable, but it’s not anywhere approaching great.
Considering the price, we expected better out of the gaming speaker. The Microphone ends up feeling like a bit of an afterthought rather than a part of a whole, cohesive package.
Is it good for gaming?
In Final Fantasy XIV in RPG mode, while chatting to our pals over discord, the Panasonic Soundslayer SC-GN01 performed admirably, and all voices were extremely clear. Though through some of Elden Ring‘s more difficult encounters, the heat coming from the headset did make us feel quite uncomfortable.
These gaming speakers are really not suited for use in longer gaming sessions, it’s not hot to the touch, just unpleasantly warm, which is a real disappointment.
Should you buy it?
The elephant in the room with the Panasonic Soundslayer SC-GN01 is the price. Coming in at over $200, it’s certainly not a cheap peripheral, and with the whole gamut of connectivity options allowing it to be used on just about any platform, you’ll be able to use it anywhere. But, things like a heavy wire, in addition to the issue of the speakers getting warm and a relatively lackluster microphone give us some pause.
The Panasonic Soundslayer SC-GN01 certainly delivers accomplished audio, but has too many shortcomings and is too expensive to recommend to most people.
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