Compromise can be both a good thing and a bad thing. If something is made with a specific task in mind, in a 'no compromise' way, then it truly can rise above and become something fantastic. Alternatively if something has to be compromised to fit into budget or time constraints then the wheels can quickly come off.
The Zowie Hammer USB is definitely a no compromise gaming headset. It doesn't make concessions to movie fans, music lovers or, well anyone, in its quest to be the clearest communication headset available.
What it does excel at it certainly does. If you need a headset that is purely for games, and have other headsets or speakers for movie/music use, then this is very good. If all you need is something for VOIP then this is fantastic. Should you be the type of person who finds Motown music to be too bassy and longs for fantastic mids and the kind of high's that make dogs cover their ears, then these are also for you. There is enough bass for my liking certainly, but others who've passed through the OC3D bunker reported they'd have liked to see a vast improvement in the low-end.
Unfortunately games tend to be like movies. Lots of thumping bass in explosions, tyre screeches, cut scenes. Generally everything you'd expect in most media types. While a lot of modern music hasn't got the same catchy nature as the classics from our youth, nonetheless music is an integral part of a gaming experience and the Zowie Hammer is found wanting because of the lack of bass that is quite noticeable in exactly the type of team games that such a headset as this excels at.
Zowie have certainly designed these without compromise. They are brilliant in the midrange, fantastic at voice clarity and although enough bass for some people, if you really like a lot of punch you'll be quite disappointed. It's a true "gaming headset" and whilst it's easy to recommend for that purpose it's definitely not something to replace your entire audio output with if you use your PC for multimedia as well as gaming.
One of the most important factors is comfort. Here they are almost without equal. They are so light, and so comfortable, that even after a marathon all-day session at no point did the need arise to take them off and give my ears a bit of freedom. If we reviewed solely based upon comfort, these would be 10/10 without question.
But we don't review solely based upon comfort. The Zowie Hammer is great for the market it's aimed at. Comfortable, able to hit huge volumes without distortion and some of the clearest midrange we've heard. More oomph in the low-end and a little less of the high-frequencies and these would be epic. As it is they're merely good.
Crystal clear mid-range
Great Microphone clarity
Highs are a little harsh
Bass is quite weak
Microphone arm is a little too inflexible