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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 $85 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 $100 price tag, Corsair only gives you a warranty paper and a link to the company's site where you can download the complementary software.

  • xtreme5
    amazing stff.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    xtreme5amazing stff.
    Wassat stand for... "Space, The Final Frontier"? :)
    Reply
  • spookie
    great read! Never thought virtual surround sound was that good
    Reply
  • cleeve
    spookiegreat read! Never thought virtual surround sound was that good
    Yeah, me neither. Surprised the hell out of me.
    Reply
  • Thanks Toms for doing a review on 5.1 headsets. I been researching one for the past two weeks on other review websites, and online stores, but didn't feel satisfied. Could you guys do a review comparing these headsets you reviewed already to a dedicated audio card like the Asus Xonar Essence STX (with a pre amp) with a Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (or HD 800)? I want to know if it is like night and day compared to these 5.1 headsets (also make readers see what they are missing from using onboard audio). I know its a few hundred dollars more, but i found out that i was more happy gaming with a $70 audio card than seeing 8x AA (using Nvidia Inspector) with a $500 GPU.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    bunnywannyCould you guys do a review comparing these headsets you reviewed already to a dedicated audio card like the Asus Xonar Essence STX (with a pre amp) with a Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (or HD 800)? I want to know if it is like night and day compared to these 5.1 headsets (also make readers see what they are missing from using onboard audio).
    I like the idea, but it'll probably take a while to make it happen.

    Next up on the audio to-do list is a full-sized 5.1/7.1 surround system comparo. :)
    Reply
  • killeeeeer
    It would of been great if you tested the Roccat Kave but other than that great review. Been searching for headset for long time , now ill go with the Corsair Vengeance 1500 for sure .
    Reply
  • crysex
    Thanks Toms so much for doing this review. I have been searching one for a long time. Ready to buy a good quality sound card + headset after my next paycheck!
    Reply
  • iamtheking123
    I'll stick to my $100 stereo headphones instead of $20 headphones + $80 spent on fake surround sound and marketing. We've all tried virtual surround sound in PowerDVD or WinDVD and it sucks. Makes everything sound underwater and no where close to having 5 actual speakers set up throughout a room.
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    I am still sticking with more expensive traditional speakers, simply due to my ear need some air to breath. These headphone arent comfortable especially during summer.
    Reply