A good gaming headset can go a long way in deciding how you experience a particular game. It can be the single deciding factor of how immersive a game is. Your headset can make all the difference in how well you perceive the position of your enemies if you’re playing a competitive FPS. The point is, a good headset is worth a decent investment, as sound is a huge factor when it comes to video games.
ASUS was kind enough to send us the Strix Pro Gaming Headset, their top-of-the-line headphone aimed at gamers. Is this headset worth your money? Lets find out.
Unpacking the ASUS Strix Pro Gaming Headset
The way the Strix Pro is packaged, it is evident how much thought ASUS put on its presentation. And the box is extra large size too. One thing though, it was easy to remove the headphone from its shrink wrapped plastic (it always is), but getting them back in and shutting the package was a daunting task.
What you get in the box is the headphone itself, a 3.5 mm microphone which connects to the headphone, the Strix Pro USB control knob, Type A and B mobile adapters and a Quick start guide. The USB control knob also acts an input for the headphone and microphone cables.
Build Quality and Confort
Holding the Strix Pro for the first time, I was taken back by how heavy the headphones were. They weigh a massive 320 grams. The excessive weight is made up by good support and clamping force provided by the massive drivers and the headband. Speaking of the headband, they’re made of 2 parts, the inner elastic band and the outer fixed plastic band to maintain its shape. They fit really well. A continuous gaming session of 2 hours does take its toll though.
The Strix Pro has been designed in an over-the-top way, with transparent glossy plastic used to reveal the drivers. The driver cups themselves have aggressive styling, matching that of an owl’s orange eye. Both the cups swivel horizontally and vertically. The padding on the cups is made of leather, so gaming in hot climate will make your ears sweaty.
I really wished ASUS had gone for better plastic in the Strix Pro, like they do with their other products. There is no problem in the build quality particularly, but considering this is a premium product, there was no premium feeling to the product. It was actually pretty flimsy.
The detachable microphone is an exception. It is build with good material and is extremely flexible. It looks neat too, and you can position is exactly how you want to, without it interfering.
The Strix control box houses a meaty knob for volume control, a microphone mute switch and headphone’s Noise Cancellation microphone and switch. I really dig the volume knob, it rotates smoothly and feels heavy. Wonder why ASUS didn’t make the headphones with as good quality as the microphone and the control box. On a different note, having a control knob is a smart design choice since you don’t need to go all the way to the back of your computer to plug/unplug the headphones.
Judging the sound quality in speakers and headphones is a purely subjective matter, based on the opinions of the reviewer.
No matter how well or how bad a headset is built, it all comes down to how they sound. I connected the Strix Pro through the ASUS Xonar U5, an external DAC and headphone amplifier. The Strix Pro don’t need amplification by default, but having some extra power always helps.
The Strix Pro houses massive 60mm neodymium-magnet drivers. Having massive drivers means a ‘thumpier’ bass and bigger soundstage, both being specific requirements of gamers. I played Battlefield 4 and the sonic representation of the world was good, I could make out what’s in front of me and what’s behind me, and to some extent, even their distances.
Distant grenade explosions were handled well. Up close explosions were handled even better. The Strix Pro does present its bass very up front and with a ‘thump.’ It might not extend to the ultra-low frequencies, but overall the extension is still very much above average. This makes listening to music, especially where you have really deep bass or instruments like the tabla, a little disheartening. It’s the sheer volume and ‘size’ of the bass that excels.
Dubstep music goes well with the Strix Pro. The imaging and speed of the drivers is particularly good, they catch up with fast changing sound with ease and excessive instruments and sound effects don’t get lost between one another, so the separation is good.
I tested the Strix Pro with other games like Dota 2 and Far Cry 4. The experience was pleasing, no details were missed out, and they do get pretty immersive if you’re vested in the game, but then again, long gaming sessions make you feel the weight of the headphones. Also, the high clamping force can be an issue for some people.
The highs are on the upfront and harsh side, but are well defined and clear. The mids have a forward presentation too, but aren’t too high on fidelity. Summing up the sound, don’t be expecting an audiophile grade sound. The Strix Pro offers the upper echelon of mainstream sound quality, that should suffice for most gamers and casual music listeners.
The ASUS Strix Pro Gaming Headset is an over-the-top headset with aggressive styling that will appeal to teenage gamers, not so sure about traditionalists. Nevertheless, it is a headphone that is clearly designed with the needs of a gamer in mind: solid bass, good surround sound and a really impressive microphone.
These headphones are huge in size, and the quantity of plastic used for construction is a lot, which gives the Strix Pro a very flimsy and ‘plasticky’ feel. They creak when you move your head. The control knob and the detachable microphone are built well, on the contrary.
In terms of ease of use and comfort, the Strix Pro has most bullets checked. The plastic used on the top layer of the head band could have been less stiff, as it creaks occasionally. The headphones have a considerably high clamp force. This helps in better fitting but can get tiresome during long gaming sessions, as the Strix Pro weigh a humongous 320 grams . The headphone cups are made of leather and are comfortable, they fit over your ears with ease.
In terms of the sound, those big 60mm neodymium-magnet drivers ensure that you will be getting enough bass, and that too, good quality bass, not just bloated distorted sound. Music listening and movie watching are pleasant experiences, there is no distortion at high volumes, the clarity is good and so is the soundstage. What is headphones lack is the hi-fi mid and high sounds, but then again, this isn’t a hi-fi headphone.
At INR 5,990, the ASUS Strix Pro Gaming Headset is sure on the expensive side. The features offered are ample, you get a separate control knob for convenience, you get ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) which cancels out ambient noise when speaking on the microphone. In terms of sound quality, you can surely do much better at that price, but looking at the whole package being offered, the Strix Pro isn’t that much of a bad deal.
- Aggressive style, highly appealing to gamers
- THE BASS
- Soundstage and accurate imaging
- Convenient and well built control knob
- Excellent microphone. Is built well and works well.
- Comfortable fitting
- Non-audiophile grade sound
- Build quality could have been a lot better. Too much plastic
- High clamp force might tire you
- Creaky frame