I was missing a good microphone on my PC. And googling for that on the web, I actually found many headsets with a microphone. I have already 3 headphones at home... but none with support for high-fidelity, multi-channel Dolby audio. So, I did ask one to Santa Claus : the Corsair Vengeance 2100.
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I read a few serious reviews on that headset such as this one before concluding that it would fit my needs and expectations:
- A wireless headset.
- With a really good microphone with noise cancellation.
- Cheaper than 150€
- With enough positive (true/serious/motivated) reviews on the web
- With a simple and light configuration interface (not like Realtek stuff)
And I am very far from disappointed
- Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 105dB (+/-3dB)
- Drivers: 50mm
- USB power consumption: 500mA
- Connector: USB Type A
- Wireless range: up to 12m (I was not able to test more than 12m as my corridor is not long enough)
- Battery life: Up to 10 hours
- Type: Unidirectional noise-cancelling condenser with adjustable, rotating boom
- Impedance: 2.2k Ohms
- Frequency Response: 100Hz to 10kHz
- Sensitivity: -37dB (+/-3dB)
It took me a few hours, watching movies or playing games, to find the very best position on the head/ears as I am not used (anymore) to headphones. But with that adjustment, it's really comfortable although used for hours.
The main issue, as often with circumaural headphones, is that it is not designed to be used with glasses and especially not with 3D glasses which are thicker than standard glasses. It can even be bloody uncomfortable if like me you keep your standard glasses under the 3D glasses. The most valid option IMO would be to use the 3D glasses with a supra-oral headset, but I dislike those. Note that my nVidia 3D Vision 2 glasses have an increased flexibility to precisely ensure a better fit with gaming headphone (And I have to say that this is true as they are not uncomfortable with my good old Sennheiser HDR 65 - but this one is not a 7.1 headphone). But with the Corsair Vengeance, it's not great.
The quality of the microphone is really good. For testing purpose, you can ear yourself by ticking an option "Microphone check" in the configuration pane of the headset - this one must be downloaded from the corsair website and is really simple to use (There is no CD or user manual delivered with the headset):
If you listen to music while talking to a friend, he will not ear it although you push the volume quite high... And you will still ear your friend :D. The unidirectional noise-canceling seems to be very efficient based on the feedback I got about the quality.
The microphone may be bent in order to come closer to the user’s mouth as the boom is flexible.
There is no switch to mute the microphone, but it will turn off automatically once one swings it all the way upwards.
As far as I am concerned, I keep "Source Type" on 7.1 and click on the blue "power" button to enable the Dolby Surround (a virtual surround as there are actually only two speakers). Doing so, it displays "Now playing": "7.1 surround" and I can indeed really feel to 3D audio environment. From my own point of view, the audio performance is really impressive not only in games and movies, but also for stereo music. I am right now listening the Trance Top 1000 - 2013 and I really like the surround effect added on such kind of stereo sources. It makes the sound a bit "softer" (it's not my purpose to become deaf anyway) but you are immerse in the music. Otherwise (without the Dolby effect, the sound seems to come from the top-front of the headphone - but is powerful !) Anyway, about sound quality, you have better read reviews written by specialist as I am not the best person to talk about audio.
I noticed for the first time when trying this headset that music played within Chrome (E.g.: via my Synology Audio Station), is stopped if I change any settings related to the "playback device" currently used. I have to refresh the page to restart the music. It's not an issue for me as I keep usually always the same settings, but this can be quickly quite annoying. There is no such issue (sound switched off when changing playback device's settings) when playing music within IE (at least IE 11.0).
After a few more tests with IE vs Chrome, I noticed that IE was up-mixing the stereo sources to fill all the speakers (although the "Speaker Fill" option was not enabled on the headset). That's the reason why listening to stereo music sounds better within IE than within Chrome. But as a consequence, true 5.1 or 7.1 sources played within IE sounds like crap, the volume being over-boosted. This can fortunately be fixed by enabling the option "Speaker Fill" in the Enhancement tab of the Corsair's Speaker Properties (Right click the systray speaker icon > Playback Devices > select the Speakers Corsair Veangeance 2100 Headset > Properties > Enhancement). I really don't get it but IE seems to fill automatically all the virtual speakers of the headset even without that option enabled. And once the option is enabled, it does it better ?! I spent a few hours playing around with all accessible Speakers' properties and noticed a similar "up-mix" effect within IE when using my Realtek on-board sound card and its 6.1 speakers as a playback device . A behavior that I don't experience within Chrome although I keep the very same speaker's settings.
You can also enable a "Loudness Equalization" if you like such an enhancement. Notice that those enhancements are not available from within the custom Corsair configuration pane.
If you want to test a true 5.1 sources within Chrome, when "Source Audio" is set on 5.1 or 7.1 in the Corsair Configuration pane, try the samples from this site: HTML5 AAC Audio Playback Tests - Multichannel.
If you want the ear how crap is the sound over-boosted by IE, when "Source Audio" is set on 5.1 or 7.1 in the Corsair Configuration pane, watch the video from this site: Dolby Digital Plus demo.
The headset is linked with the PC via a USB dongle that has better be connected with the USB extension cable provided with the headset. Doing so, it can be placed on top of the desk and offers a better coverage (useful if, listening music, you move sometimes in the room).
The volume is very easy to change thanks to the big inline volume controller. That was really a pain with my old Sennheiser as the control were not easy to locate with the finger once the headset on the head...