Corsair Vengeance 2000 Headset ReviewWaco -
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Although you can use the Corsair Vengeance 2000 headset without any additional software, Corsair recommends installing its software for the best possible experience. After downloading the ~30 MB driver package and installing it, I was asked to reboot. After doing so, I noticed a small Corsair logo on my taskbar. Double-clicking on it brought up a window similar to this one (I say similar because I already chose an equalizer pre-set and disabled the HRTF processing).
The big "Bypass" button you see at the top left of the window is greyed out by default (Bypass disabled). By default, the driver package enables the Xear Headphone Surround processing that is intended to provide a more complete 3D audio experience. I tested this out with the various settings available (Studio, Cinema, and Hall) and was not very impressed. It does take stereo tracks in movies and games and "space them out" a bit, but the effect didn't really improve the locality of sounds beyond the processing already present in a stereo signal. It did perform better when playing back 5.1 sources like movies, though I didn't find the effect all that useful, since stereo headsets can already reproduce sound locality very well when simply down-mixing 5.1 audio into stereo. It did introduce an echo effect in music that I definitely hated, but it wasn't terribly distracting in games or movies. I did most of my testing with the Bypass feature enabled, to disable the Xear HRTF audio processing – I felt it just added an extra unneeded layer, as modern games do their own positional audio processing already.
This last screenshot displays the options for the built-in equalizer. Normally, I wouldn't even bother playing with something like this (since equalizers almost always modify the frequency response to something FAR from flat), but what caught my eye were the various "Audiophile" settings along with the "Reference EQ" setting at the bottom of the list. Apparently, Corsair took to heart its promise of sound quality. That last setting, "Reference EQ", is calibrated to give a nearly-flat response curve from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. I did find the headset quite bright in my initial listening tests and this setting instantly attenuated that peaky response into something surprisingly smooth. However, I didn't find the "FPS" or "MMO Gaming" settings very attractive, since they tended to over-boost the bass and treble response.
If there's one real complaint with the software, it's that there is no indicator of battery life on the headset at all. The headset could be at 5% or 100%...you won't know the difference. This isn't all that important though, as I found in my battery life testing. After charging them completely, I cranked up a playlist of absolutely punishing music (mostly dubstep) and started timing how long they'd run at maximum volume before dying. Corsair quotes 10 hours of use, citing that figure for normal use. In my testing, even when absolutely maxed out with bass-heavy music, the Vengeance 2000 headset lasted 10 hours and 15 minutes before calling it quits. There's no way you could listen to them in this fashion, though, for that long, without hearing damage. In normal use, I'd imagine they could easily run for 12-15 hours of constant use. You sure won't be cutting your WoW raid short because of a dying headset.
If you do find yourself in the situation where the batteries are starting to die (which was signified by a loud warning beep every minute or so), you can simply plug the headset in and keep on gaming. The warning beep started about an hour before they died when running maximum volume. As time ran on in this "low battery" hour, the sound would occasionally become distorted quite badly. The headset would then lower the maximum volume after about 30 seconds or so and playback would continue as if nothing had happened. Clearly a lot of thought went into maintaining sound quality even when battery power is waning.