Corsair Vengeance 2000 Headset Review

Waco - 2012-05-27 07:15:42 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: Waco   
Reviewed on: June 19, 2012
Price: $149.99

Introduction:

When I hear the name Corsair, I think of high quality cases and peripherals. To me, Corsair has a reputation of releasing high quality products at reasonable price points. Specifically, Corsair's Vengeance line of products has focused completely on satisfying the needs of gamers serious about having the right tools for the job. Today, I'll be taking a look at its newest high-end wireless gaming headset, the Corsair Vengeance 2000. Being encumbered by a wired headset in the past hasn't bothered me too much, but I'm certainly game to see how the freedom of a wireless headset can affect my gaming sessions. I'm certainly looking forward to being able to get up from my computer without having to miss any in-game chatting or dialogue in movies when I need a beverage refill.

Now I'm going to be honest up front here; I'm very critical about sound quality and I've found most gaming headsets I've tried in the past to be somewhat lacking in the accuracy department (loud bass alone is not going to impress me). Corsair has designed this headset with sound quality as one key design point, so here's to hoping it's been done right!

Closer Look:

Taking a look at the packaging, it's quite clear that we're looking at a headset. There is a large window on the right side of the box that shows off the headset itself and also a small window towards the center of the front, showing off the wireless USB adapter. The front of the box boasts about a few of the features – namely its wireless capability, large 50 mm audio drivers, HRTF positional processing, and up to 10 hours of battery life. It also mentions that this is a 7.1 headset, though it's not entirely true, as we'll see in a bit. The rear of the box lists more features in a few languages. The left side of the box has a full specifications list in several languages as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top of the box is quite plain with only a single plastic hanger for retail display. The bottom of the box lists what you should get in the box itself (again, in a few additional languages)…so let's open this thing up!

 

 

Opening up the box reveals the headset itself, the wireless USB adapter, the 5-foot USB extension base for the wireless adapter, the charging cable, and the product manual and registration. There is no included driver disc, though if you are running an up-to-date copy of Windows Vista or Windows 7, you should have no issues simply plugging in the adapter and gaming away. Corsair, of course, suggests installing its own software to enhance your listening experience. You can grab this software from its website (it's a quick download).

 

 

The headset itself comes packed in a recycled black cardboard holder with the wireless USB adapter wedged in the middle. It's quite secure, so I doubt your local UPS or FedEx drivers will be able to damage anything in shipping. Move on to the next page to see the Corsair Vengeance 2000 in all its glory!

Closer Look:

Perhaps I'm a bit of a tease – these first few shots are not of the headset itself, but of the accessories included. The wireless USB adapter is actually a bit of a pain to pull out of the packaging, but there's absolutely no chance it will arrive at your door bouncing around inside the box. The USB extension has a stand on one end to make it easy to plug and unplug the wireless adapter. This should make it quite easy to disable the headset when you want to go back to using your speakers – all you have to do is unplug the wireless adapter and Windows Vista or Windows 7 will automatically switch back to your default audio output.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here it is – the Corsair Vengeance 2000. It lifts easily out of its packaging and while not heavy, the headset does have a bit of weight to it. This weight lends to a feeling of quality right off the bat and overall, it feels very sturdy. The headset also ships with protective film over the areas that come in contact with the packaging. Peeling this film away reveals the glossy finish on the cans and the silver color of the microphone. The earpieces are covered with a very soft cloth (microfiber as Corsair calls it), which covers a memory foam pad for each ear. The headband is either leather or faux-leather; it's hard to tell. Regardless, the headband is very well cushioned and shouldn't cause any discomfort, even for long wear sessions.

 

 

The earpieces are attached by a swivel that allows them to mold comfortably to your head. They swivel completely flat in one direction, which allows them to be placed face-down on your desk or case. This is nice touch, as it protects the earpieces and prevents them from gaining any flat spots when stored for long periods of time. Swinging the microphone down is effortless and stays in place wherever you position it. When in the up position, the microphone automatically mutes itself, which is nice should you decide to take a mid-game bathroom break without taking off the headset (though I would suggest not doing this).

 

 

The inside of each ear cup feature the same Corsair blue you see on the ends of the USB cables. There is also a thin ring of blue metallic plastic around the pad on each ear cup. The headband is quite wide and shouldn't cause you any pain. The microphone is adjustable in the up and down directions (obviously), but what isn't quite so obvious is that Corsair has built adjustability into the actual arm as well. The small bend in the arm is an adjustment point, so you can position the microphone just as close (or far) from your mouth as desired.

 

 

Looking at the headset from the side, you can see the chrome accents with the Corsair logo in black. This is just chromed plastic and I feel it adds a somewhat cheap feel to the headphones (though admittedly, I absolutely hate chrome in almost any form). The adjustment mechanism, on the other hand, feels incredibly sturdy. It adjusts from a very small position to one that should allow someone like the Hulk to wear the headset comfortably. I have a fairly large head and I found the headset comfortable when adjusted to only three clicks from the tightest position on each side. The headband has a maximum adjustment of 10 clicks looser on each side.

 

 

The backside of the headset mirrors the front…so nothing really surprising to see here if you looked at any of the prior pictures. You can really see how much padding there is on the headband from the second shot looking head-on at the back of the headset.

 

 

The left ear cup also has a few controls on it: the aluminum volume roller and the power on/off button. The volume roller feels quite nice with its knurled aluminum finish and rolls smoothly between volume settings with a bit of feedback and "ticks" while you adjust it. This feedback isn't audible when wearing the headset, but it's quite easy to feel through your fingertips. The on/off button essentially covers the entire side of the ear cup (it's the silver plate in the middle of the ear cup) and switches the headphones on and off with a sustained press of a few seconds. On the bottom edge of the on/off switch, you can see a clear piece of plastic – this flashes the signature Corsair blue whenever the headphones are turned on. At the bottom of the ear cup, you can see the micro-USB charging port.

 

 

Finally, we make it to the one reserve I have about wireless headphones – the batteries and charging! Thankfully, Corsair has made this process quite simple. When plugged in but not charging, the cable looks like just that…a cable. When charging, the end of the cable lights up with bright orange flashes to let you know your headset is getting ready to game. At full charge, the cable will stay lit up with a steady green glow (unfortunately I didn't manage to catch this with a picture). Whenever the headset is turned on, the LED panel below the on/off button flashes every few seconds with a bright flash of blue.

 

Configuration:

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.

Specifications:

Headphone Specifications :

Frequency Range:
20 Hz to 20,000 Hz
Impedance:
32 Ω @ 1 KHz
Sensitivity:
105 dB (+/- 3 dB)
Drivers:
50 mm
USB Power Consumption:
100 mA (USB Adapter) plus 500 mA while charging
Connectors:
Standard Type A USB on adapter and micro AB USB on headset
Wireless Range:
40 feet
Battery Life:
Up to 10 hours

 

Microphone Specifications :

Type:
Unidirectional noise-cancelling condenser with adjustable rotating boom
Impedance:
2.2 KΩ
Frequency Response:
100 Hz to 10,000 Hz
Sensitivity:
-37 dB (+/- 3 dB)

 

Features:

 

 

 

All information is curtsey of: http://www.corsair.com/vengeance-2000-wireless-7-1-gaming-headset.html

Testing:

Testing the Corsair Vengeance 2000 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:

Corsair hit the mark here. With the "Reference EQ" setting enabled and the additional HRTF processing disabled, this headset is just awesome for gaming. I tested them playing Skyrim, Left 4 Dead 2, and Warhammer 40K: Retribution. The bass response is crisp and authoritative. The midrange output is clear and precise. The treble is a bit more "shimmery" than I'm used to, but definitely has no real drawbacks. Even at maximum volume, which is LOUD, there is no detectable distortion at any frequency; explosions sound like explosions, footsteps behind you are easy to place, and gunshots ringing off corridor walls are nearly deafening. Locational awareness was on-par with pretty much any other headset and far superior to any speaker setup I've heard. The microphone performed admirably and the people I was playing with, when asked, described the sound of my voice as "very natural with no distortion or feedback". Sounds like a winner to me!

 

Movies:

Corsair didn't design these headphones to be ideal for movies; however, they perform this duty admirably. The lack of wires along with the very long range allowed for comfortable listening even if you have your computer (or HTPC) in another room. I tested these headphones with a few of my favorite scenes such as The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, and Gone in 60 Seconds. Because they never introduce a hint of distortion, even on very low bass drops and explosions, movie watching was very enjoyable and fatigue-free. Dialog was easy to understand; there was no detectible hiss or noise floor during quiet sections and they could certainly go loud enough to kill your hearing by the time you're 40.

 

Music:

Music is life; at least, it is to me. I've had many gaming headsets that claimed to have "superior sound quality", but couldn't deliver on that promise when doing any sort of critical listening. Corsair, on the other hand, has produced something special. I tested out this headset with quite a variety of music ranging from Skrillex (I know, shut up), to Beethoven, to Amon Amarth, to Adele (yeah, Adele). Not only are these headphones wireless with absolutely ZERO background noise or hiss, they sound absolutely awesome at the same time. With the "Reference EQ" setting enabled, these headphones outperform any gaming headset I've heard to date; wired or wireless. The response is almost perfectly flat (I found the low bass to be slightly muted) and try as I might, I could not get them to distort even when pushed to the absolute limit. Corsair is true to the claim of being oriented towards sound quality.

Conclusion:

Overall, I'm very impressed with the Corsair Vengeance 2000 gaming headset. True to the Corsair name, they are solidly built, well thought out, and sound incredible. The fact that they are wireless only adds to the ability to enjoy them, since you will no longer have to miss out on in-game chat or movie dialog as you leave your computer to refill on gaming/movie refreshments. Although they are not intended to be used solely for listening to music, I cannot imagine anyone to be disappointed by the sound quality unless you have golden ears and are incredibly picky about your headphones. The compensation circuits to avoid distortion are never overbearing (or even noticeable for that matter) and if you want even more volume, you can always plug them in while listening. When plugged in, they take the maximum volume level and pump it up a notch…they will literally shake your head on deep bass notes.

I honestly struggled to come up with things I don't like about this headset. I thought, at first, that the wireless aspect would cause issues. It doesn't. I thought that the battery life would be annoying. It wasn't. I thought that they'd be limited in output since they are battery powered. They aren't. The only real con I can come up with is if you don't care about them being wireless, you can probably find a wired headset for slightly cheaper than the $149.99 asking price. In the realm of wireless headsets, though, the Corsair Vengeance 2000 is unmatched at its game.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: