ASUS ROG Orion Pro Gaming Headset Review

BluePanda - 2013-05-12 20:57:10 in Speakers/Headphones
Category: Speakers/Headphones
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: May 16, 2013
Price: $109.99

Introduction:

ASUS's Republic of Gamers (ROG) series has some of the highest quality, top-end peripherals on the market for gamers. Today, we'll take a look at the newest member of headset crew, the ROG Orion Pro Gaming Headset. The Orion Pro has 50mm drivers on a standard 3.5mm jack with a 2.5m braided cable. Unlike other headsets on the market with a USB sound card, the Orion Pro comes with a driverless sound card via USB that requires no setup whatsoever; the literal meaning of Plug-N-Play. The ear cups are over-the-ear circumaural and fully round (non-oblong) with soft pleather padding and red-accented cone covers. The band that rests on the top of your head comes with the same padding as the ear cups, and appear to have some potentially great comfort overall. In general, the Orion Pro has the appearance of some serious greatness in both features and physical appeal – however, no matter what the specs say, it's how they really sound that determines their true "goodness".

 

Closer Look:

In the box, the Orion Pro gaming headset takes on the nice red ROG theme. The front of the box has a nice peek-through window that gives you a glance at the headset itself and perhaps a little more if you're willing to flop the box around. The main feature listed on the box is inset on the window as "Powered by ROG Spitfire USB Audio Processor" which is the ASUS driver-less USB sound card that providing 7.1 virtual sound and FPS EQ modes. Although there is no active noise canceling, there is an effective 30dB noise isolation for "full battlefield focus".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the back of the box, there is a full sleek picture of the headset itself. The ROG Spitfire is explained a little more in detail, again referencing the lack of need for drivers. Here, we also find details on the retractable microphone (awesome for travel), the in-line volume controller, and an included cable organizer accessory. The specifications are listed along with a few pictures. Pretty simple, yet rather detailed for a box.

 

 

Closer Look:

Pulling things from the box, we start to get a full image of what the ROG Orion Pro headset looks like. Packaged nicely in a form-fitting plastic casing, the headset is sure to travel nicely from the manufacturer to your doorstep. A VIP Membership Warranty info pamphlet, user guide, and cable organizer are neatly packed behind the headset. Pulling it all from the packaging and removing the plastic covering on the glossy ROG logos of the ear cups, the Orion Pro comes to life. The USB sound card dongle presents itself nicely with a simple connection between the mic/headphone jacks to USB. This seems awesome – I will be able to use these during travel (with the retractable mic) even with the lack of USB on my iPad. Just a nice versatile feature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the mic tucked away neatly, the Orion Pro looks like an ordinary pair of headphones. They have quite the secret weapon of a mic hidden to badmouth those who aren't up to par in whatever game you may be playing, while having the ability to sit discretely on an airplane or in public as just headphones for your musical needs.

In the typical gaming scheme of red and black, the ROG Orion Pro really fit in. Although I'd personally prefer another color option, I won't really care as long as they sound good. Ultimately, they are pretty sexy as a headset. They have upper class appearance and almost scream a high price tag; fortunately the headset comes in at a very affordable ~$110 on Amazon (ATM) which fits needs for gaming and jamming.

 

 

 

The mic is probably one of the most entertaining components of this headset. The fact that it retracts neatly away into the headset is the most valuable feature in my opinion. To be able to use them as just headphones without looking like a gaming nerd is awesome. But when you do pull the mic out, it's a bendy magical wand, in less scientific words. It bends to almost any position you want to put it in, practical or not. The mic is actually pretty neat and looks awesome in pictures. It's got a little bit cut open for bringing in the sound in the red bits. You can really see the almost-infinite bend in the mic underneath the rubber coating. Surprisingly with the mic all the way in, you can actually still fuctionally use it. The mute button for the mic is located on the in-line switch (shown next) and does NOT mute when you push the mic in. Audibly you can still be heard, it just might sound a little hollow with sound bouncing off the walls. All in all…the Orion Pro mic can be spoken for.

 

 

 

Shown first below is the in-line control for the headset. The red indicator on the front switch shows that the mic is muted. This allows you to take a phone call while in-game or talk to someone else in the room. You can really use it for whatever, but the main point is that it turns off mic input. The USB driver-less sound card plugs into your USB port and connects to the headset's 3.5mm mic and headset ports. It's pretty simple and not having to download or install anything is a major plus.

 

 

The mic and headphone jacks plug in nicely to the Spitfire USB audio processor, and if you're not feeling like talking, you don't even have to plug in your mic. The cable on the headset has an in-line cap into which to plug your mic when not in use. This means when you are on travel, you can plug away the mic to avoid static bombing your headset…pretty neat and keeps the extra cable line out of the way. Zooming in on the USB controls, you can see there are three optional settings: FPS, Surround, and AMP. The AMP button does exactly what you'd expect – it amplifies whatever it is you are listening to. The Surround provides even more depth through 7.1 sound (though quality is still incredible without the dongle altogether). The FPS button adds the volume compensation Windows provides. It allows quiet sounds to be louder, louder sounds to be quieter, and an overall leveled sound. I wouldn't use it for music for obvious reasons, but movies and such could benefit from the reduced dynamic range.

 

 

The cable management rubber included in the box provides an easy way to roll up some of the cable. The in-line volume control doesn't really curl up well with this, but it does help to get a good bunch of the cable bundled and out of the way. It turns out that 2.5m of cable is quite long when whatever it is (including your computer) isn't that far away from you. The accessory is a neat little addition, but I can't say I'd really keep it around.

 

You overly-large-headed friends out there will really appreciate this; the ROG Orion Pro really extends far for giant heads. All the way out, these headphones are ginormous. Yes, I have a small head being female and all, but I easily wear these about all the way in on both sides (slight adjustment out). They do adjust in rather small increments and seem almost continuous compared to most discrete positioning headphone positions.

 

 

Overall these headphones are pretty awesome, and skipping ahead in the review a bit, they actually sound pretty awesome too. They are really comfortable easy to wear for hours on end. The sound is remarkable for the price and they seem to have the durability to last quite some time (a few upcoming business trips shall help prove this). The Orion Pro gaming headset is more than just a gaming headset, but an ultimate pair of headphones that double as a way to talk to friends during game play or Skype. These things are beasts.

ASUS ROG Orion Pro Specifications:

Connector:
3.5 mm (1/8") jack
Driver:
Driver Diameter: 50 mm
Driver Material: Neodymium magnet
Sensitivity:
Headphone Sensitivity: 100 dB
Microphone Sensitivity: -30 dB
Maximum Input:
50 mW
Frequency Response:
Headphone: 20 ~ 20000 Hz
Impedance:
32 Ohm + 3%
Cable Length:
2.5 meter
Cable:
Braided Cable
Noise Canceling Performance:
Passive (noise isolation):
Maximum > 30dB
Weight:
268 g
Accessories:
User guide

 

 

ASUS ROG Orion Pro Features:

 

 

All information is courtesy of: http://rog.asus.com/audio/headsets/orion-pro/

Testing:

Testing the ROG ASUS Vulcan ANC headset required some serious music listening sessions, a movie or two, and some intense gaming sessions. Granted, there's no easy way to measure sound quality, but I will do my best to describe any flaws or drawbacks in the sound reproduction that these sound-quality oriented headphones can deliver.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Headsets:

 

Games:

When gaming, there are two critical points of sound for me. First is being able to hear that jerk sneaking up behind me and second, to hear and understand those I'm playing with. With that, the second comes with the additional need for those to hear what I have to say. If I think you're terrible, or perhaps you're awesome, I want you to hear it clearly. The Orion Pro were perfect for all of these needs. With FPS mode set on the USB controller, the nice flat sound made it easy to hear sneaky enemies and one-shot them. It also kept the usual overly loud explosions down so that I could hear what else was going on. Without the USB dongle, the sound was still great. The mic worked well in-game and I was able to communicate more than I'm used to – it may have pissed off a few unknown people…but it was great.

 

Movies:

As I may have hinted at earlier, the idea of FPS mode on the USB control provides awesome flat-line sound akin to Windows volume compensation. It makes the quiet loud and the louds quiet. It's perfect for movies like the Matrix and sappy movies like the Notebook that have both highs and lows. It allows you to avoid turning up and down the volume all night long. Even without the USB dongle, the sound was still incredible. The bass is right there where it should be and can make explosions seem as if they were right there in the room with you. Honestly, movies like The Matrix won't punch you in the chest like a good home theater set up would, but you can still get a nice surround feel from both the headset on its own and more so with surround mode enabled on the sound card. This headset seems to be making quite a nice impression in the multi-purpose field so far.

 

Music:

Music was more than I expected with and without the USB dongle. Songs had a greater depth than most headphones can/do provide. I was able to hear things I'm only used to hearing with our very nice home theater setup. The deep, low bass wasn't quite there, but it was surprising how low the Orion Pro was able to play. It was a nice sweep range that fit just about any genre of music: classical, rap, pop, you name it – all but country (because who listens to that) was worthy on this headset.

Conclusion:

Having completely despised the Vulcan ANC headset from ASUS, I honestly expected – and was ready to – hate this headset as well. However, I was completely blown away by the ROG Orion Pro headset. It was beyond my expectations in sound, depth, and overall performance/ease of use. I wanted to hate them after the Vulcan ANC headset had disappointed me so much, but I just couldn't. The sound quality and depth of songs just left me in awe with the Orion Pro headset. These little guys will be travelling with me next week for work and have a nice little home here at my gaming computer for late night battles with my friends. I honestly can't put too many words with this headset; the sound is just remarkable for the price and comfort. They just seem surreal.

 

 

Pros:

 

Cons: