Eight 5.1- And 7.1-Channel Gaming Headsets, Reviewed

Corsair Vengeance 1500

Corsair is probably best known for its PC memory, SSDs, and power supplies, but the company recently made a splash in the audio world with its excellent SP2500, previously reviewed in Bringing Home The Bass: 2.1-Channel Speaker Roundup. We also had a look at the company’s previous-generation HS1 headset in On The Bench: Corsair's HS1 USB Gaming Headset.

We were very impressed with both products. So, we're of course curious to see what else Corsair does in the audio space. Today we're testing its Vengeance 1500.

Despite a moderate £75 price tag, the Vengeance is probably the classiest-looking headset in the bunch thanks to tasteful brushed metal accents and a functional design. It’s certainly more attractive than the HS1 that came before, which is rather plain in comparison.

At 11.4 oz, the Vengeance 1500 is fairly light, and its memory foam pads are very comfortable. Again, though, they're a little tighter than we'd prefer, potentially cutting an all-night gaming session shorter.

The microphone boom can be rotated out of the way, as with most models in this round-up. When it comes to the mic's sound quality, the frequency spectrum's high-end is a little muted, though this does a fair job of minimizing background noise.

Virtual surround sound is enabled through Dolby Pro Logic IIx, which takes two-channel stereo and up-converts it to 6.1- or 7.1-channel sound. So, there's only one speaker per ear. Fortunately, it's a large 50 mm driver with a rated frequency response between 20 and 20 kHz, just like we saw from the HS1.

The controls are simultaneously simple and elegant, featuring plus and minus volume buttons and a microphone mute button. During normal operation, the controls are illuminated by blue LEDs. When the mic is muted, they're red. Our only real complaint about the inline remote is that there's no way to clip it on to your clothes.

Corsair's Vengeance is a USB-only model, so it can't be plugged into a sound card. Instead, you have to count on the headset's own audio processing capabilities.

The software is easy to navigate; a single screen presents the equalizer and surround controls. You don't have to deal with any gimmicky voice or environmental effects, although there is a virtual speaker shifter and settings to specify the desired environment size.

If you don't turn on Pro Logic IIx in this control panel, you don't get the up-convert functionality, and virtualized surround sound won't work in your games.

At its £75 price tag, Corsair only gives you a warranty paper and a link to the company's site where you can download the complementary software.

Create a new thread in the UK Article comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • Stupido
    Argh... No Roccat?
  • thisisaname
    Would be great if did this for Wireless headsets next
  • Tab54o
    Perfect timing on this. My current headset needs replacing.
  • lankystreak
    No Roccat... shame!!!

    Their headsets are fantastic. I Have the Roccat Kave 5.1, they are very well built & comfortable & sound quality is very good indeed.
  • Redsnake77
    Any known conflicts with soundcard drivers either Asus or Creative? I went for Creative for both to ensure this didn't happen, but would like to upgrade my Sound Blaster Arena headset.
  • Anonymous
    I wonder how these things compare to a proper (similary priced) stereo headset with virtual surround enabled through your soundcard drivers or stuff like THX TruStudio.
  • waxdart
    I had to do all this about 2 years ago. 5.1 headsets were not that great then and you didn’t have this much choice. I'm not an audiophile and got by with basic bits for years.

    Here is what I spent my limited budget on:
    First - I bought a Xonar 5.1 sound card with a few processing features. Creative had bad driver press at the time. Had no problems with the Xonar.
    The soundcard upgrade made a HUGE difference. Even with cheap headphones. I wouldn’t use motherboard based sound again. Look into upgrade this (any brand) before getting headphones.

    Second, I bought a decent pair of stereo headphones. You get more bang for your buck over 5.1s, especially around the £100 mark. I bought Grado 80i and will buy a more expensive pair if I break the current set.

    On holiday in Japan I tested out over 50 headphones sets in a huge shop. The range of comfort and ear heat was extreme. Sound fidelity tended matched price.
    5.1 wireless 2.4Ghz didn’t start to get good until the £300 mark. These were great
    Pioneer SE-DRS3000C Wireless. I’d have tested an older model. But you’ll love them!
    My soundcard can do all the 5.1 processing and no matter how much it isn’t like a speaker setup.
    I spent around £150 on sound card and Cans, which is a lot. But I do get really good sound for music and other non 5.1 things.

    My advice - You’ll be wearing these for 1000s of hours. Get a comfortable pair! :)
  • theconsolegamer
    this is a great article
  • Anonymous
    Arctic P531 won't disappoint I swear on my honor - I got both Logitech Wireless version and they don't render the sound as good as the Arctic Sound. All virtual headset I tried had unnatural sound coming out of them.

    If you are on the cheap, Google "Somic E95" (which is the Original model of the p531 sold by Arctic Sound and can be purchased around 40-50$ shipping included in some places). Enjoy!

    P.S Roccat (not listed here) are good too but are not resistant enough...