“Asus’s Active Noise Cancelling headset for gamers that need quieter frag moments”
Among ASUS ROG line up for headset, this is the only lone ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) model they have. This is also the first ANC headset to cater for Pro Gamers, other brands such as Razer and Steel Series do not have any sort of ANC featured headset. This gives ASUS a head start, pioneering the way for the gamer peripherals market. Can ASUS make this a sweeping success for them?
The retail box that contains the Vulcan
Flip the front cover open and descriptions fill the page
The Headset is bundled with a rugged case that contains all the peripherals and cables
Everything aside from the user’s manual was fitted within the case itself
The headset when picked up felt hefty, this is definitely not your light weight cheap feeling toy. It feels incredibly solid and the hinges at the side are of no exception, clicking satisfyingly into place.
What goes along with the build quality is the stellar looks that this headset has. Majority black with accents of striking red thrown into the mix.
“In my eyes, this is an instant eye catcher among gaming headsets”
Below the left ear cup lies several connectors. From the top, the input for the detachable microphone, the audio cable plug to your PC and finally the ANC switch to turn it off or on with an indicator light below it.
At the side is a glossy plastic cover with ASUS ROG logo on it and a carbon fiber pattern background finish.
On the right ear cup lies a pop open plastic cover to unveil a battery unit housing, for the ANC module within the headset.
The in-line microphone mute and volume control module
An airplane adapter thrown in with the package
I’ve tested this headset over the course of a few days playing different games such as DOTA 2, Battlefield 3, Deadspace 3 and so on, including watching videos from the net and BluRay movies.
This headset is very capable, giving really good sound isolation as well as deepening the in-game immersion. Explosions and gun fire from battlefield 3 to the quiet bumps and foot steps in Dead Space all sound fantastic. All this without even using the ANC feature.
Watching movies and videos were good but nothing spectacular. Maybe due to the fact that games have a wider range of exaggerated sounds to hear from.
The next part is the ANC feature. This for me was a mixed bag of good and bad. When turning it on for the first time it felt like everything was quieter. I tested this in a enclosed room with the door, windows open and a fan behind me operating. Most of the background noise you hear such as cars passing or the fan spinning is severely dampened. I could still hear the fan but it was about half as noisy as before.
Right after you pull yourself into the noise cancelling realm, you notice that your audio from games (especially movies/videos) start to sound a little “muffled”. The problem doesn’t really exist for games where it is loud and have constant action going on. Movies on the other hand sounded noticeably worse and I had to turn ANC off to make watching it more comfortable. Not to mention that the placement of the ANC switch makes it hard to get used to turning it off or on.
Turning it on also left me with a very slight headache. This may vary from person to person, given how ANC technology works. It does so by playing back the inverted sound from external microphones around the headset so the background noise cancels out. I highly suggest trying out a ANC headset (any will do) to see if you have similar experience as I have before buying this kind of tech.
From a consumer view point, where the majority of them will be in a quiet environment where ANC is not practical at all, at the risk of audio actually sounding worse when turned on in a quiet place. Especially where there are cheaper alternatives such as IEMs (In-Ear Monitors) that isolate sound just as good while providing no compromise on sound quality.
“Amazing sound for gaming,
ANC feature falls short of good”
Covering the large 40mm sound drivers is a layer of red fabric and surrounding the perimeter is memory foam cushion with a leather-like skin. When I first put it on, it was pretty comfortable and the grip around my head was a little tight but not that much of a concern.
After about an hour of gaming, it all changed. I find myself constantly taking off the headset and massaging my ears which were rather sore about after an hour of use. This cycle repeated for a few days and concluded that I will not be able to use this in the long term due to its pain. Bear in mind I wear rather thick framed spectacles which may be the cause of this.
I tried removing my spectacles and it was a much better experience, where my ears weren’t becoming sore extremely fast. Therefore I cannot say it will be comfortable for those who wear spectacles as my personal experience left me with the impression that it isn’t. Unless you have gotten used to a headset that has a similar leather like padding with a rather tight grip on your head.
“Spectacle users beware“
“Other users, decent comfort await you“
ASUS has opted for a slightly different design compared to its competitors. Instead of the standard “flip down” mic or the “pull out” microphone. This is a whole microphone unit that you plug in and out whether you want to use it or not. Personally, the look and design is spectacular and it wouldn’t have been possible to make the mic look and feel so sturdy while opting for either of the 2 other design choices.
The microphone quality is actually really good with clear VOIP, minimal background or “wind” noise that plagues lower end microphones. It is very surprising that such a small feature would turn out to be one of this headset’s strongest traits.
“Amazing piece of hardware
while looking extremely dashing”
From un-boxing this product to using it, the process of reviewing this hardware has conflicting emotions. The beautiful looks and build drew me into the experience while the sound quality enhanced my satisfaction, only to have me dropped from a cliff in the ANC and Comfort department.
Amazing looks and build Sound quality is top notch Microphone design and sound is great
ANC feature might have audio sounding worse than usual
Comfort is subjective, negative for spectacle users like myself
“I can only recommend this product for the individuals who see themselves benefiting from the ANC technology, be it loud LAN parties or Tournaments. Majority of the consumers including myself will have to give this a pass as there is no point paying a price premium for a feature that we are not going to use”