ASUS ROG Vulcan ANC Headset ReviewBluePanda - May 14, 2013
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ASUS ROG Vulcan ANC Conclusion:
In the end it didn't end up being the headphones I disliked so much, it was the headphone's main feature: the active noise canceling. The uncanny, brain exploding feel when turning on the ANC switch was something that just didn't go away, nor was it something I could just "get used to." Every time it was on, I felt like either my head was in a vice or that I was going up in elevation and couldn't get my ears to pop. That wasn't the only issue with the ANC being on either. The quality of sound was also significantly reduced when the ANC was on. Music lost its bass, sounding tin can-ish, and games actually were a bit harder to hear what was happening around you – I just kept getting snuck up on and killed. I'm not exactly sure why anyone would ever want to use the ANC feature. With the sound quality in the bucket the switch will never be on. Get rid of the ANC altogether and this headset isn't too bad (except for the cost). It's a nice thought, but I'd rather have sound quality over canceling out my case fans.
To give them another chance, I decided to use a few independent testers to validate or contradict my thoughts on this review. I grabbed a couple people not associated with OCC or any other affiliation and had them listen to some music and a couple movie scenes (mind you they aren't idiots or oblivious to the gaming world – one is quite a WoW lover). I didn't tell them anything about what I thought of the headset and let them play with them a bit. I told them what the switch was for (the ANC switch) and had them listen to things again. Both people I had try them out had the same opinion; they just sound "empty" or like "something was taken away" with the ANC turned on. They did both say that they couldn't hear me talking to them with the ANC on, nor did they have the same discomforting pressures I had felt (must be a girl thing).
With the ANC off things sounded quite a bit better. I felt like I could hear again and that my ears were unplugged. I know the point of noise cancelling is to play a set of frequencies to cancel out the low level noises from case fans, etc., but it shouldn't hinder the way things sound nor cause discomfort in use. Again, like I said, with it turned off the sound quality wasn't bad (though everything after having it on sounded so superior it's hard to say I didn’t have a bias at the time). I compared it again to the other sets of headsets I have around and it really doesn't sound that superior to some of the cheaper models. I think the $120 is really paying for the ANC, and the ANC is exactly why I can't and won't be using these headphones. It's a first stab at ANC for gamers, but I can't say I'd recommend these to even non-gamers, unless it was someone I disliked greatly. Bottom line – save yourself the coin and buy a headset without the ANC and learn to ignore the fans or turn up the volume a notch.
- Easy to store and take with you
- Rather comfortable even after wearing them a long time
- ANC was more a punishment than a feature
- Cost is high for a headset – especially one with poor ANC
- Dead battery with ANC on leads to no sound