Corsair Vengeance 1500 Dolby 7.1 USB Headset ReviewIndybird -
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To test the Vengeance 1500 I’m going to be primarily gaming since that is its target purpose, but I'll also be throwing in a little bit of music for good measure.
- CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965
- Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE
- Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3
- Memory: Mushkin Redline 997013 4 GB DDR3-1600 MHz
- Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6970
- Power Supply: NZXT Hale90 750 W
- HDD: Seagate 7200.11 750 GB SATA w/ 32 MB Cache
- Case: Corsair Graphite Series 600T
- Optical Drive: Lite-On DVD-R/W
- OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
For Gaming testing I have a large suite of 7.1 compatible games that covers most of the gaming audio bases. The suite includes Battlefield 3 for fast paced highly directional sound, Skyrim for detailed environmental sounds, and Race Driver: GRID for a wide range of sounds from cars and tracks. For all three games I have the headset set to 7.1 in the windows control panel and 7.1 Speaker Shift in the Corsair control panel.
To start off I played some Battlefield 3 campaign and online. I immediately noticed how clear the headset was. Foreground sounds such as explosions and voices were very well rounded and generally realistic sounding, while background noises such as people in the distant and environment sounds were properly subtly rendered. Unfortunately, the surround sound really didn't come through for me. Although the left and right were very well defined, the front and back kind of melded together either into left or right or "the middle". This of course affected multiplayer much more than single player as surround sound adds immersion in single player but is a tactical advantage in multiplayer. The quality of the sound in multiplayer was still very full, but the surround sound just wasn't there.
The next game was Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Out of the gates, this too played well on the Vengeance 1500. Voices were notably clear, while clanking shields, swinging swords, and magic explosions were very well defined. Perhaps due to the larger drivers in each ear or the noise cancelling ear cup design, I found myself well-immersed in the audio of Skyrim. All of the subtle sounds in deep dungeons, wet caves, wide open fields, and mountain peaks came through quite clearly. Though Skyrim is a little less reliant on the quality of the surround sound, I still found the surround sound features of the headset to be very lacking. I found the same problem here; front and rear sounds were very poorly distinguished.
Though primarily touted as a gaming headset, good music performance is still important to many users; be it if they have their own music playing in the background or if they just really appreciate the in-game score. To test the music capabilities of the Vengeance 1500 I used my usual lineup of music genres: classical, 70's rock, and modern electronic. Starting off with Camille Saint-Saëns’ 'Samson and Delila' I was not quite as immediately impressed as I was with the games. I found the headset to be quite strong in the high mid range of sound, but very well defined in the rest of the range of audio. A quick bit of equalizer work and I was able to balance it out to my liking. Next I played "Us and Them" by Pink Floyd. With the equalizer settings from the classical piece I found this song to be pretty balanced all around; vocals, effects, guitar, bass and drums were all there and decently clear. Lastly I threw on "Propane Nightmares" by Pendulum to really push the limits of the headset. Here I found the the deep bass to be a little lacking, but the song sounded otherwise good. Even with the equalizer maxed in the bass, I was not able to sufficiently recover the lows.
I tested the quality of the mic during online gaming in Battlefield 3. With the help of my friends playing with me, I was told that my voice was overall clear and full; they had no trouble hearing me clearly. There were no complaints of echoing so the mic loopback feature definitely does its job. Using Windows Sound recorder I recorded myself to listen first-hand to the quality. While listening, I could definitely confirm their statements; my voice was very clear and well defined.
During the course of the testing the headphones were relatively comfortable. The headband kept the relatively low weight of the headset completely off my ears, but the headset clamps to your head pretty hard and I found that to be slightly uncomfortable after prolonged use. This would've been much worse if the ear pads weren't so comfortable themselves.