Sound Advice: Five Gaming Headphones Tested

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Corsair's Vengeance 2000 Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset is one of two in this roundup that offers wire-free operation, the other being Creative's entry. The transition to wireless carries a $50 premium over the Vengeance 1500 reviewed on the previous page, and is a good value at $150. We actually spotted it selling online for $100 shipped from a couple of reliable vendors (Amazon and Newegg), and if it stays that way, you're only looking at a street price difference of $20.
Corsair Vengeance 2000 Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset
Specifications & Features
Headphones
Frequency Response
20Hz - 20kHz
Impedance 32 Ohms @ 1kHz
Drivers
50mm
USB power consumption
500mW
Connection
USB Type A
Wireless range 40 ft (12 m)
Battery life Up to 10 hours
Microphone
Type Unidirectional noise-cancelling condenser with adjustable, rotating boom
Impedance
2.2k Ohms
Frequency Response 100Hz - 10kHz
Sensitivity
-37db (+/-3dB)
MISC
Price
$150 MSRP (~$100 street)
Warranty
2 years

Design and Comfort



As the next step up in Corsair's Vengeance series of headsets, it makes sense that the 2000 is similar in form to the 1500, though it's not an exact replica with an amputated cord. It's hard to see at a glance, but the 2000 offers a slightly tighter fit than the 1500 with the arms fully retracted. On this editor's head, the 1500 covered the ears and needed no adjustment from the default position, whereas the 2000 needed the arms extended a couple of notches for the same fit. Gamers will smaller craniums will appreciate this.

Like its wired brother, the 2000 features a padded headband and sizable ear cups. It has a similar aggressive aesthetic with angled arms made of sturdy plastic and layered with a brushed aluminum-looking finish



The padded headband on the 2000 is a little wider than on the 1500, though we're not sure why other than to further differentiate the two products. Both are comfortable, and though the 2000 is toting an internal battery, it's only about 0.16 pounds heavier, not enough to make a noticeable difference.



Inside these foam padded ear cups are the same 50mm drivers found on the 1500. They wrap comfortably around your ears to mitigate outside noise and apply enough pressure to ensure a snug fit without feeling like you've stuck your head in a vice. And, because it's there, we'll point out the blue fabric on the inside of each ear cup, another differentiating characteristic over the 1500.

On the left is a pliable microphone that ratchets up and down, and bends left and right dependent on how far or close you want it in front of your mouth.


The left ear cup is also the control center. There's a large plastic button to turn the headset on and off, and below that sits a metal volume roller wheel with a textured finish. It clicks into place as you adjust the volume up or down.

Over to the right is a mini-USB charging port. By going this route instead of using, say, AA batteries, Corsair is able to keep the weight down, though it also means keeping track of the USB cable. A status LED lets you know if its fully charged (green), is charging (amber -- slow pulse), is low (red -- fast blinking), or is off/dead (no light). One thing we found annoying is when the battery gets low, the headset beeps every 60 seconds to let you know. That's fine if it only did it once or twice, but it continues and doesn't offer a way to turn it off.
 

Sound Quality

Curiously, the software panel for the 150 looks slightly different than for the 2000, though both function similarly and give you a bit of fine grain control over how the headset sounds.

The equalizer for the 2000 came with a few additional presets, including four "Audiophile" settings. Two of them emphasize high notes while the other two focus more on mids and lows, which is where this headset performs best. When listening to music, the 2000 is most comfortable getting down and dirty with bass heavy beats. It's not going to shatter your retinas, but there's enough bump and grind to satisfy rap and grunge fans.

Over on the highs, the 2000s try their best to turn in audiophile-like performances, but falls short of delivering the kind of crisp notes that a true audio purist will want to hear. That's to be expected of a gaming headset, and one that streets for a Benjamin, but it's something to be aware of if your main goal is to strut around your wine cellar listening to Mozart.

 

Gaming performance, once again, was an area Corsair earned high grades in. This is essentially a repeat of the 1500, but if you skipped over that review (boo!), the 2000 delivers satisfying booms and deep sound effects when necessitated. This is of course dependent on the source they're coming from, but if a title is known for great sound effects, the 2000 will reproduce them with satisfying results.

As for the wireless functionality, we never lost a signal roaming upstairs or downstairs in the basement, with the dongle plugged into a PC on the main floor. However, things quickly went downhill when stepping outside into the backyard. Corsair rates the wireless functionality at up to 40 feet, but you're not likely to see that kind of distance through obstructions like walls and doors. So, for wandering about from room to room, the 2000 is totally up to the task. But if you're hoping to lounge out by the pool, performance is going to depend on what's between your headset and the dongle.

 

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