Headsets hold a special place in our hearts on Computer Ed Radio. As radio show hosts we use headphones a lot for working with the show and various other aspects of radio. In addition as we are both avid gamers we use headphones for our recreation as well. To give you an idea of how big a deal headphones are to us, I figured out that I wear a headset roughly 45 hours a week. That’s a lot of time to be in a headset so not only does it need to sound good, it needs to be comfortable as well. We spoke with the folks at Corsair about our passion for headsets and so they decided to step up and asked us to take a look at the Vengeance 1500.
The Vengeance line is Corsairs line of high end, professional, gaming gear and the 1500 is their premier headset. The 1500 uses a USB connection to give you 7.1 surround sound as well as Dolby Pro Logic. The 7.1 sound is simulated and not multiple speakers per cup.
Four our sound testing we picked some of our usually music choices, specifically two songs I now use all the time, Unskinny Bop and The Race is On. Both songs have strong base range and this is something I look for in a headset. For movies I chose I use Ironman, a great movie BTW and then for gaming I chose some games I am active in right now, Skyrim, Reckoning and Arkham City.
Opening the box I was amazed with how littler there was in the package. The only think in the package was literally a couple of pieces of paper for registration information and the headset, that was it. I expected a driver CD but the enclosed papers told me to download the drivers from the Corsair website. This is actually a good idea as this allows Corsair to make sure a new customer is always getting the latest driver with their purchase.
The 1500 comes with a nice long USB connection that has a volume control in line. Instead of a scrolling wheel as so many headsets use, Corsair has opted for a volume up and down button along with a mute button. When the headset is in use the volume buttons are surrounded by an LED that is blue when the mike is on and red when it is muted.
The headset itself uses a clamp style band that is very stylish with a nice soft, padded top and the sides are brushed aluminum to match the rest of the Vengeance peripheral lineup. The ear cups each hold a 50mm driver for great sound quality and is padded with a fabric material with memory foam. The mike is a stiff arm design that lifts out of the way when not in use and the ear cups can rotate 90 degrees for easy storage. The cups themselves are larger and deeper than most headsets meaning it should fit nicely over anyone’s ears.
My wife can be seen modeling the headset for us to show you the nice aluminum side and the mike extended for use. The styling is really nice with a light hint of blue trim and the black and aluminum giving this a very classy look. The cabling is very high quality with a nice heavy braid. The construction is very solid and Corsair is backing it with a 2 year warranty, very nice for a headset.
The software, as we mentioned needs to be downloaded for the headset to be used. The software is outstanding in it’s simplicity and ease of use. The software allows you to choose between three base settings;
- Bypass which is the basic headphone settings.
- Dolby which lets you adjust environmental size and type
- 7.1 which simulates surround sound and adjust the parameters to give you the experience you will most enjoy.
All three settings also allow you to use the software’s EQ which comes with a great collection of created profiles; Default, Music+Bass, Music Reference, Movie Mod +, FPS Gaming and MMO Gaming. Each of these has been created by Corsair to work with the sound dynamics of the headset and try to optimize for the use intended. You have to be a real sound buff to tell the difference but this is still a nice feature to offer. You can of course also create custom profiles.
Okay so the 1500 looks good, is well built and has cool software but how does it sound? For music the bass sound reproduction was outstanding. The sound quality was really spot on and just great to listen to. What was really surprising was that this USB headset actually sounded BETTER than a good analog headset on a stock setting X-Fi sound card. Now with some tweaking the X-Fi was able to regain a small lead but the USB sound system created by Corsair really delivered the goods.
Movies delivered the same great base, you feel the sound as much as hear it and the reproduction was well done. Also I was really impressed with the 7.1 sound these recreated. I understand logically that this was not true 7.1 but just a simulation with 2 drivers but the simulation is so well done that the difference was to small to matter.
For gaming the combination of the 7.1 sound with the nice base made gaming a really great experience, the sound was very immersive and makes me glad I game in a headset. Speakers are okay but I still believe that nothing beats the immersion of a good headset, I can say the 1500 really shows that immersion at it’s finest.
Finally we turn to the microphone, something we are really picky about here. Microphones often seem like an afterthought with many gaming headsets. Now that is not to say they are generally bad but it seems like they are never at the same quality as the sound components. Like I said I am really picky about my mikes so I was not expecting a lot from the Vengeance, however that did not stop it from delivering. The Vengeance 1500 had the BEST mike I have found yet in a gaming headset. The input was very clean, excellent noise cancelling and was noticeably clearing than any other mike we have put through the ringer.
While we loved using the 1500 all was not perfect. The cloth ear padding cover made my ears warm up under extended use a great deal more than a leatherette design. The material was also a little coarse for my taste. The clamp style headband lived up to it’s clamp name, there was more pressure on me head than was comfortable for long use. After about an hour or so I actually was a bit uncomfortable and could not imagine wearing these for a long gaming session. Finally I encountered a few glitches with the software, basically when a game would turn of it’s sound while sitting idle, like when I stepped away from the game for a bit, the headset would not pick up the sound again when I returned unless I restarted the game.
The issues however I have mentioned are very much personal choice in the case of comfort and the software glitch is actually minor, only happened in two games, and only under very specific circumstances. In actual active game play, listening to music or movies the headset performed flawlessly. Priced on Newegg at around $85 the Vengeance 1500 is priced as you would expect a high end gaming headset. Corsair has shown that when they making a gaming component they take it to the next level and the 1500 has done that. The sound quality is outstanding and the mike is the best I have seen on any gaming headset. The software makes this headset easy to tweak to suite your particular audio tastes. It is a definitely a headset worth of the Corsair name and should be on your short list if looking for a great gaming headset.
Corsair Vengeance 1500 USB Headset Reviewed Live 24 March 2012