Gaming headphones used to be a niche catered by primary gaming peripheral manufacturers such as Razer and SteelSeries. Of late, larger entities such as Sennheiser, Asus and Corsair too have jumped headlong into the gaming headset segment. To be honest, the sudden rise of manufacturer interest in this unlikely niche is no secret. Gamers have increasingly embraced headsets because obtaining accurate positional audio through speakers in a desktop or laptop gaming setup is quite expensive and, most importantly, rather inconvenient as well.
With elaborate multichannel speaker arrangements out of the question, hardcore PC gamers are willing to spend big bucks on headsets fine-tuned to deliver positional accuracy. Their deep desire to gain an edge in competitive multiplayer FPS games and even deeper pockets have quickly turned this niche into a hotly contested battle between scores of gaming headsets from various manufacturers.
The Gamer's Dilemma
A major chunk of the gaming headset sales can also be attributed to those who aren't as hardcore, but still need a headset outfitted with a microphone for in-game communication in multiplayer games. This demographic, however, doesn't exclusively seek great positional sound from such headsets. These gamers want their gaming headsets to perform just as well with music and movies. Unfortunately, the very act of attaching a mic to any headphone seems to give manufacturers an unspoken licence to deliver pathetic audio fidelity. For a long time, gamers had to choose either between great sound quality of regular headphones and the inbuilt microphones found in gaming headsets.
The circumaural headset is quite comfortable despite its heft
Looks Like a Supercar, Built Like a Tank
Cosmetically, the Vulcan Pro looks exactly the same as its predecessor. It's essentially the exact same chassis, albeit with the unsightly faux carbon fibre accents on the earcup housings replaced with those bearing a brushed gunmetal finish. This lack of change is a good thing, because the Vulcan Pro looks gorgeous with its all-black finish and an earcup fashioned out of shiny, blood-red plastic. This isn't a case of all form and no function either. Despite its 375-odd gramme weight, it is one of the most comfortable headsets this side of the blissfully gentle Audio Technical ATH-AD700 headphones.
The carrying case is classy and quite convenient for LAN parties
The headset incorporates an active noise cancellation (ANC) circuitry that's powered by a single AAA battery. It's pretty effective at significantly attenuating low-frequency hum emanating from system and ceiling fans. Just don't expect it to completely drown out dynamic noise such as someone speaking loudly on a cellphone in the vicinity. Having said that, like all ANC implementations, Vulcan's the noise cancellation system tends to adversely affect sound quality and subjects your eardrums to unnecessarily high sound pressure levels. Use it only when absolutely necessary, as the cushions themselves provide decent isolation.
Updated 24 May, 2013, 1:56 pm IST
Review: Asus ROG Vulcan Pro Gaming Headset
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