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The first product review published here was of the Mortal Kombat X branded fightpad from PDP (Performance Designed Products) , an interesting peripheral that strove to be something a little different from the norm. It attempted to be a little unconventional in its approach, and in that I'd say it succeeded. The products for this review also come from the same company, and they both try less to go against the grain but work with an already established trend, the trend of gaming with the use of headsets.

The subject of this review and comparison are the PDP Afterglow Karga released in November2014 and it's newest rival, the Afterglow AG7 (releasing in October 2015 as of the time of writing).

An update to the original review

As of recently (I can't give a specific date), the Afterglow AG7 headset now works with Windows 10, giving an even greater advantage over the Afterglow Karga. Just remeber to set your sound devices back to the default (most likely speakers) before you unplug the headset to avoid issues when re-pairing with the Xbox One.

An important note about the products

One thing that I was interested to learn when I discussed both products with the company was the method by which they communicate with the Xbox One console. Whilst the Afterglow Karga connects directly to the Xbox One's controller, the AG7 takes a different tack. Instead of needing a wire of any kind to take the audio and chat data and send it to the headset, the unit is powered by a transmitter that plugs directly into the console itself.

Which option is right for you? Hopefully this review and comparison will help you decide or at least inform your decision a little when looking around.

Before we go into the ins and outs of each headset, I will state that as usual, you're going to need scissors to get either one of these products open.

The Afterglow Karga


Place the box so that the piece that you would hang the product on a shelf with faces upwards, with the small tab-like part away from you.

There are 2 pieces of tape sealing the box one to the left and right of the edges, cut these with scissors.

Push the tab that is directly in line with the hanger away from you until it comes free of the box.

Once the tab is free, pull the top of the box, the lid, up and towards you.

Inside you will see what partially resembles an egg box - with two separate sides. Remove this first and a cable, packed in a sealed polythene bag, will come free as well.

Pull the top layer of the egg box away to reveal the headset, sealed in more polythene.

Be careful when removing the headset, as it comes out of the bottom, ear cups facing down.

Remove the plastic film protecting the ear cups and then pull carefully on the sides of the headphones near the cups to extend the headband at each side. This allows you to remove the film on the top of the band itself.

Finally, on pulling out the microphone, you'll see a piece of film on that as well. Try to look for a point where it joins on itself and pull it away like a plaster.

Turning to the cable bag, remove the piece of tape from one edge.

Inside you will find a piece of paper regarding returns and support, as well as the user manual. You will also find a sticker of the afterglow brand logo

In the bag, there are actually 2 cables, one 3.5 mm cable that allows the headset to connect to pc and the other that allows it to connect to the Xbox One controller with a proprietary connector on the other end to plug into the headset.


The afterglow Karga is a solid looking headset, with ear cups that seem soft to the touch. The microphone sticks out of one ear cup and, whilst it doesn't fit flush to the surface, only sticks out a little. The controls, such as they are, are all on the controller connector. The headset is not as heavy as you might think, fitting comfortably with the adjustable headband.

The point where the controller plugs in to the headset (via a small socket) is on the same side as the microphone, which means less confusion with crossing wires.

Speaking of the microphone, it has a good range of flexibility. However, making sure it is correctly re-inserted into its proper place in the ear cup is a little tricky at times. Also, it doesn't extend as far as you might wish. However, when it's at its fullest extent, it clicks into place, so at least you know when to stop pulling. The lack of physical extension on this microphone is made up for by the small unit's sensitivity which is immediately audible when you start using the headset.

Control connector description

The ability to control the Karga comes, unsurprisingly, from the Xbox controller end of the connector. The buttons are well-raised and tactile, laid out with 2 on the left, 2 on the right, and one in the middle of the connector. There is also a switch on the side of the connector that turns the LEDs that cement the Karga as part of the Afterglow brand on and off.

Plugging the connecter into the controller is simple. Just hold the large end of the connector with the buttons facing upwards, placing the metal section into the Xbox One controller's headset port. It should click into place firmly if you've done everything correctly.

The right-hand side of the connector consists of the master controls namely volume up on the top right and volume down on the bottom right. In the centre of the connector there is a large circular protrusion. This is the mute button. You can either press the area around the centre of the central raised portion itself to turn the microphone on and off. You will be able to tell if the microphone is on or not by the ambient noise from outside coming into the headset at a higher volume. However, if you can't hear anything (if you are in a very quiet room for example), tap the microphone (even if it's not extended) with a finger to see if you hear it touching the microphone.

The other two buttons on the left of the connector are for balancing the game and chat audio, with the top being for game and the lower one being for chat. You press the button of choice to raise the volume of that in relation to the other option.

Removing the connector is simple, just pull firmly on it and it should come loose.

The afterglow switch is located to the right of the connector, with the effect being on when the switch is closest to you.

First impressions in use

The only thing I had to worry about when putting my Karga into action for the first time was updating my controller. You'll know if your console is asking you to do this if it makes a standard Xbox UI sound. From here, plug in a USB cable between Your Xbox and your controller, then press A and wait. I wouldn't press any buttons during this time, simply to avoid accidentally interrupting the process. Once the update process completes, you won't get a direct confirmation sound but you should hear sound from your headset and you can remove the USB cable.

The sound on the Karga is clear, packing a good punch and with no noticeable latency between button presses and audio responses. All games I tested the product with came through clearly along with a larger amount of bass than I'd really expected. However, the controller connector did, as discussed briefly later, feel rather bulky even though it looks fairly flush with the controller. Volume was easily adjustable and the headset was a comfortable fit. No wonder it has been recommended on a few top 10 lists I found whilst conducting initial research for this review.

The Afterglow AG7


The unboxing process is relatively similar, other than the fact that the manual, sticker and returns sheet are in one polythene bag and the cables needed are in a separate one.

The cable packaging for the AG7 has a transmitter (a small USB dongle), a 3.5 mm cable and a micro USB cable inside.

The headset itself isn't in a large polythene bag this time, but encased in plastic-like material that is sealed at both ends. It's simple enough to unseal both ends and pull the material off from one side.

The film protecting the outside of the headset is mostly one long piece but it is just as easy to remove as before.


The AG7 looks remarkably similar to the Karga, with the first noticeable difference being the small wires where the headband adjusts. The other difference is that the ear cup where the microphone is also contains all the controls. Said controls include two volume knobs, the circular section on the ear cup itself which acts as a button and a separate large button with featuring a raised dot.

Press and hold the circle on the microphone ear cup to turn the headset on, pressing once without holding mutes the microphone and repeating this unmutes it again. To deactivate the headset, press and hold the button again.

The large button with a dot on it is actually the mode button. Press this button to change between "bass boost" and "pure audio" modes. It starts off in pure audio mode and you'll know when you've activated bass boost as the frequency range towards the lower end of the scale increases pretty dramatically.

To turn off the glowing LED's in the headset, press and hold the mode button for 5 seconds. This process is, at least at time of writing, a very inconsistent process.

The top volume knob is a master volume setting and the one further down is for adjusting the balance of in game chat vs game audio.

First impressions

The AG7 headset is near enough identical to the Karga except for the features noted above and a rather intricate control system that is helped somewhat by audio tones when you work with certain functions, such as turning the unit on or off, or changing the headset's audio mode. It feels just as comfortable as the Karga if not more so and again there is no noticeable latency between pressing buttons on the Xbox One controller and the audio response.


When I wrote the Mortal Kombat X fightpad review, I decided to write information on each specific game I used it with. However, since most games seem to react in the same or similar ways with both of the headsets, I'll briefly summarise what I found through my initial tests.


The Karga was easy enough to connect and after updating my controller as described above, the sound came through pretty much instantaneously. The quality was surprisingly good, but that's not saying much since I hadn't tested a gaming headset before this review.

The noise issuing from the microphone allowed me to notice that it was active, handy for moments when you don't want your fellow players being all too aware you are talking trash about their tactics etc. At least with this headset you won't accidentally leave your microphone on in an online match if you don't choose to.

The only real issue I found when first testing these headphones was that when turning the volume to higher levels, the low frequencies caused distortion, but this could be due to a number of factors.

Impacts in Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat X are both solid, with a stereo field that allows for easy tracking of on-screen movement once you get used to it.

The fact that you can still hear a little of the outside world is good if you are visually impaired, as you will still be able to catch things that other more noise-cancelling brands eliminate by design. Whilst some might find this breaks the immersion of whatever game you happen to be playing, it can come in handy if you are, say, expecting any phone calls or visitors at the door.

The only other issue I came across, especially during the initial testing period, was that when trying to perform ultra combos in Killer Instinct, the Karga's controller connector got in the way. Although I believe it might be possible to adjust your playstyle to accommodate it, the sheer size of the connector itselfmight make this a long process.

Game sound is, apart from the distortion mentioned above, clear and well balanced frequency-wise. The padding is soft and comfortable with the adjustable headband being a good fit as well.

When testing the Karga in an online environment, the headset stopped working when I unplugged the USB cable I'd used to update it. This happened for about 5 to 7 seconds, which made me think I'd broken something by accident. However, once everything was up and running again, the headset worked as well as the AG7 when used in the same environment.


The AG7, whilst having similar sound quality to the Karga, does not suffer from the crackle of the former model. The amount of ambience that comes through is similar as well, but the main point where this newer headset differs is the audio mode setting. Whilst in "pure audio" mode, the sound output is similar to the Karga. However, you can kick the frequencies up a notch by simply pressing the mode button, moving it into new and undiscovered bass territory. I wasn't sure if I'd notice the difference before I tried it, but Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat X, Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag (what I managed to play of it, at least) as well as Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious 7 all took on a whole new life.

I had no problems with the AG7 transmitter which is just a dongle that you can plug into the side of your Xbox One. However, for those who are wondering, the dongle does not work with a PC, only with the console it's designed for.

The volume dials turn smoothly, the transmitter is a firm fit and the only strange thing you might notice is that every time you start the console with the transmitter plugged in or insert it during a game, a message pops up saying "headset assigned." What this means, as well as how it affects the console, isn't exactly clear but that's likely to be something to do with Microsoft rather than PDP. Moreover, the presence of the notification did not interfere with the tests that I carried out other than interrupting a couple of Kinect commands due to my speakers broadcasting the notification sound. My best advice is to say that when you plug the transmitter in, just be aware that this message will appear.

In online tests, the headset continued to deliver. The quality of my opponent's sound was always clear, with no noticeable dips when I moved around physically to test the range. Moreover, the balance between chat and game audio was easy to adjust and once set, it just stays put meaning you don't have to readjust anything afterwards. My opponent also had no issues with the quality of my headset's microphone, meaning that once it was extended I could just continue to talk without fear of not being heard.

In a second online session, however, my opponent reported that I was quiet and they had to adjust my volume on their end to accommodate, though whether this was the fault of the AG7, I can't be sure.

Other notes

Can I work with both headsets simultaneously?

Yes you can. For those late night multiplayer sessions, simply plug the Karga into a controller and the AG7 transmitter into your console. Audio should then come out of both, with independent volume adjustment for each unit.

PC connectivity

Connecting the Karga to PC is simple enough. All you need to do is plug one end of the 3.5 mm cable into the socket on the headset and the other end into a headphone jack on your pc. The cables don't, however appear to fit completely into the sockets, most likely to facilitate easy removal/insertion at each end.

The AG7, in spite of its wireless capabilities relating to the Xbox One console, are also limited to this same cable connection, with the included one being rather short.

Pros and Cons


Pros: Cons


Pros: Cons


Whilst both headsets have disadvantages when using them with no vision, most frustrating of which being that you can't tell if the lights on the ear cups are on or off, it is clear that either is a viable option for a gamer looking for that extra touch of immersion. However, on a subjective level and after the testing I've completed, I would say that the AG7 is the better headset of the two. This is due to its relative simplicity (no controller updates or Xbox One system volume adjustments needed), as well as the fact that it automatically connects to the transmitter. However, if you're looking for a possibly cheaper option depending on where you buy, the Afterglow Karga, despite its faults, might be a better choice. However, regardless of which you choose, whether it's the older but trusted Karga or the newer and subjectively easier to use AG7, you should be well on your way to full immersion.



The information in the manual for the Afterglow Karga currently hosted here did not correspond to the unit used in this review. I am currently trying to clarify with the company the reason for this disparity. Therefore if you get the Karga and you don't find the manual matches up completely, don't worry - what you have should work as intended. ***end of disclaimer***

If you choose one of these headsets, you can find the Manual for the Afterglow Karga here and the Manual for the Afterglow AG7 headset here .

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