ASUS STRIX Pro gaming headset review



ASUS are the largest motherboard manufacturer on the planet. Within their portfolio they also produce graphics cards, chassis, laptops and a wide range of peripherals. Many of these peripherals are grouped together under their Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand – but not the one we are looking at today. Breaking new ground and starting its own collective of gaming peripherals is the STRIX Pro headset. This is the first time we have looked at a STRIX product – a sub brand of the parent company … designed to sell alongside and compliment the existing ROG range of products.




Features

Thunderous 60mm drivers-Precise positioning and immersive game audio.
Environmental noise cancellation- Clear in-game communication.
Cross-platform flexibility-PC, Macs, PS4, smartphones and tablets compatible.
Foldable ear cups-Travel friendly design.

Specifications
Drivers: 60nm.
Impedance: 32 Ohm.
Frequ3ency response: 20-20,000 Hz.
Sensitivity: 98db.
Cable length: 2.7m maximum.
Weight: 320g.


The packaging for the ASUS STRIX Pro is elaborate. Unfortunately it suffered some minor damage on the way here, but that is partly down to the fact that it has a clear plastic section, which gives you a great view of the product itself.


The back and the front both feature plenty of information on the headset, detailing features such as the high quality, neodymium 60mm drivers and the fact that the ear cups fold flat.

Along with the headset itself there is a quick-start guide, along with a detachable boom mic and additional smartphone adapter cable.

Asus also bundle a separate PC attachment kit, which includes a USB power cable, twin 3.5mm headers for audio input and microphone output. These are attached to a very well built volume control.

The control has a lovely, reflective turn wheel, along with a slider on the side to handle mic muting. I was initially a little concerned by how heavy and potentially uncomfortable it could be if it was dangling by your side all the time. Thankfully the volume knob actually comes with a sticky underside, letting you pin it your desk, thereby acting as a cable tidy as well as a convenient place to put it.

Since the headset plugs in to this volume control, it also makes it really easy to walk away from it and use the headset on your phone since you don’t need to route around behind the PC to unplug any cables.




The STRIX Pro is a very eye catching headset. The main body is finished in matt black, giving it a subdued appearance – despite the bright orange secondary colour. The plastic used has a very slight texture, making it quite grippy, but not rough.

As much as the plastic is a nice touch and contrasts well with the orange, there is a hell of a lot of it. The headset almost seems too big on the earphones and this is only amplified when you’re actually wearing it.

The earcups are able to tilt towards and away from the head while rotating fully around so that the “eyes” on the side of the earcups face away from you. There is a little flex in the other direction which bodes well for the life of the headset, especially if you are rough with handling. Unfortunately this flex means that the STRIX PRO can make some creaking sounds when moved around.

The earphone padding is leather, and like all leather ear pads, they can get warm. Must admit, I do like the bright orange though.

The earcups do fold completely flat, which makes for much easier packing if you want to take this set somewhere with you. However, the sheer size of the earcups means you can’t do the same thing to wear them on your chest/shoulders when they’re not being used. They are just too big.



The headband is a nice mix of black leather and orange stitching, which gives it a real quality look and feel. The fact that the headband and plastic frame are separate is testament to its ability to take some damage – as it keeps everything as flexible as possible.



Taking the executive decision to choose the side the mic goes, Asus has placed it on the left hand side – though it is detachable. You won’t plug anything else in either, as it’s a very unique connector. It is 3.5mm secretly, but there’s a big plastic housing for some reason.



All the connectors are gold leafed, so should be a little more durable than the average connector.

The STRIX Pro is a stunning looking headset but how does it perform?

As usual, the testing procedure when it comes to headsets involves me wearing it for just over a week, using it for daily activities and specific tests. To make sure it’s up to scratch, I play a variety of games on it, listen to many genre’s of music and different types of audio and watch a couple of movies.

This should give a pretty accurate representation of how good the headset is.

Overall I have to say I am impressed with not only the headset’s performance, but some of the little touches that ASUS has made, really helping the STRIX PRO stand out from the more traditional ROG offerings.


Due to how big this headset is, I do feel like a bit of an idiot wearing it. Even with the tinted plastic covering the orange, eye like interiors (which looks great), this headset just doesn’t need to be as big or as plasticy as it is. It takes away from the overall design in my opinion. That said, I think younger gamers will love this ‘over the top’ style.

In terms of sound quality, the STRIX Pro is a very good all-round headset. The audio signature is actually well balanced without a particular focus on a single frequency range. At the bottom end the bass rumbles away and thumps your head as you raise it up. The mid range is a little recessed, but not to the point that it really detracts from the experience. High frequencies were pretty crisp throughout testing.

This is no audiophile headset, but for gamers it is going to meet the grade, with flying colours.

Gaming is where this headset shines and for only a single pair of drivers it does a fantastic job of situating different audio sources so you will know if someone is to your left or right. This is no 5.1 set, so don’t expect much in terms of 3D sound, but stereo panning is more than doable. Explosions sound great and dialogue doesn’t get messed up in the mix – as you often get with cheaper headsets.

If I was going to criticise anything it is that the sound signature was a little ‘flat’ out of the box. In some ways this is positive because you aren’t dealing with inflated bass response or harsh treble frequencies … which can be fatiguing. A few tweaks with the equaliser curve can inject a little more life into the audio.

In regards to comfort I was pretty impressed, not because I didn’t think this headset would be comfortable, but because I thought that with the leather earcups it would get very hot and sweaty. It does, but it’s far from horrendous and it’s been pretty hot here recently. I happily wore the Strix Pro headset for hours without issue. This is one you can game for an age in and never have to worry about taking it off.

You don’t even technically need to take it off if you have a toilet break, thanks to this little guy:


The volume control’s turn dial is silky smooth too

The volume control is actually one of my favourite additions – for the simple fact that it has a little sticky pad on the bottom. This means you can stick the volume control to your desk wherever you want and it stays there, rock solid. You then plug in the headset’s 3.5mm cable (which is only about two feet long) and you are good to go. If you want to leave and take the headset with you, instead of reaching under the desk and taking it apart that way, you just unplug it from the volume control.

The underside of the volume control also hides the ENC switch, which controls Asus’ “90 per cent” noise reduction technology. With the ENC turned on and the mic turned up to its maximum in the sound card settings, you can’t hear typing on my mechanical keyboard (Cherry Black switches). Likewise noise in the rest of the room is almost non existent. Even when I clicked my fingers right behind the microphone it is barely audible. Full marks for ASUS for this feature.

The downside to noise cancelling is that unless you have the mic jammed right next to your mouth and speak clearly, you can sound quite far away and robotic. It’s something you can work around and is perhaps why the mic is quite rigid, so once you have found the best place for it it stays there. Just don’t expect to be using it at a distance, like you can with some headsets.

Ultimately then, ASUS should be proud of the new range debut and the release of the STRIX Pro headset. It sounds good, has some practical innovative tricks that I think more developers should adopt and while the appearance will certainly be a ‘love or hate it’ deal – you can’t deny it certainly stands out within a crowded marketplace.

That is perhaps the biggest take home with the STRIX. In a market that is dominated by red and black plastic, the Strix does things a little differently. It is big and bold and eye catching, it has a volume controller that I have just fallen in love with and some innovative mic technologies that make me want to buy one for all my heavy breathing friends.

While the STRIX Pro won’t be available for purchase until next month, the recommended price from retailers will be around £79.99. This makes it far from a budget offering, but considering the extensive feature set and overall sound quality, it is worth it.

Pros
Sounds good across the frequency range.
Volume control is smooth, can be stuck to desk.
ENC does a surprisingly good job of blocking background noise.
Very eye catching styling.
Comfortable over long periods.

Cons
ENC makes your voice weird unless the mic is right next to your mouth.
Looks and feels too big for a simple headset.
Needs a little EQ tweak to bring out the best sound.
Frame creaks a lot when moving.
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About Yomal Malinda

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