Price: £149.99 (Amazon)
The market for gaming specific peripherals is obviously a densely populated one. Searching for the right headset shouldn’t be, but can be a daunting task to make sure your earnings aren’t wasted. Personally, I’ve been through so many headsets over the years since my first proper online experiences with the PlayStation 3; Initially using a nokia bluetooth earpiece to communicate with my buddies.
Nonetheless, worry no more, as industry veterans Corsair have gone all out to offer gamers and non-gamers alike a solid solution to their auditory needs.
Comfort and Construction
Enter the Virtuoso RGB Gaming Headset. With a minimalist design (that offers further appeal to those looking for a non-gaming look), the Virtuoso headset sports a weighty, sturdy construction. Whilst unboxing the Virtuoso, this was a refreshing first impression.
Surrounding your ears are generously padded cups, with memory foam inserts, to allow extended sessions of play to continue with ease. Now while there are variables like ear size / fabric preference and cup style, in my experience the Virtuoso seems to me like it would be fairly versatile for most people. I have been putting the headset to the test over the last few days, with unsurprisingly long sessions of Warzone. In this time, the comfort of the headset hasn’t been an issue in the slightest.
Sound and Features
The bread and butter of the product, the Virtuoso is a stunning competitor to its rivals in the Astro / Stealth / Razor brands. Declaring itself to offer high fidelity audio out of the box, I wasn’t disappointed. My first port of call was to enter the iCUE software (free from Corsair’s site), which enables users to delve into a personalised space to tweak their audio to a tee. This is something I’d strongly advise doing before heading into your first gaming foray, as the Virtuoso gives out a true flat response by default (as it should).
Like most Corsair products, the RGB feature remains and can be changed via the iCUE software to be aligned with your aesthetic preferences.
In other words, there isn’t a profile permanently pre-determined on your sound coming out of the box. The settings readily available in the software weren’t particularly to my taste, but after some research and tweaking, I found a profile that suited me. To aid this process, I got some no commentary gameplay of games I’ve been occupying on YouTube. There is trial and error in this method due to YouTube’s audio compression and if the uploader has tweaked it beforehand.
Boasting “50mm high-density neodymium speaker drivers”, the quality displayed is nothing short of excellent. Crisp, clear and with an added commanding presence now my profile was dialed in, the Virtuoso’s output is a clear standout at this price bracket. Sadly 7.1 surround sound support is lost on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch, but is achievable through PC gaming. Despite that minor setback, the experience in terms of pure quality delivered through and through.
Giving users a 20Hz-40,000Hz frequency range, Corsair offers double the amount of range from standard headsets, allowing the subtlelest of sounds to be heard. Recently I was revisiting Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune with the Virtuoso, gaining a level of immersion on top of Naughty Dog’s already cinematic presentation. From the faintest drop of water in forgotten caves, to the crunch of vines breaking amongst traversal, the versatility of the Virtuoso was on display.
On more extreme audio battlefields in Doom: Eternal, the supreme mixing prowess of Mick Gordon is filthy in the best way possible. The guns punch furiously as the slickest guitar riffs dominate the scene. Again, this is why the iCUE software is brilliant on your path to personalised audio heaven.
For PC gamers, the ability to have 24bit/96kHz audio via the USB wired connection is a welcome feature for that extra persistence in quality ( wireless or 3.5mm is 16bit/48kHz) .
The microphone itself is the feature that possibly gave me the biggest surprise. With the current UK Lockdown in continuation, gear like my sound equipment is locked away in the office. I’ve already used this microphone on the latest episode of JumpCast and was mighty impressed with the results. There is small compression on the microphone, which can cause clipping should you become louder in fits of laughter, so correct microphone placement and levels are to be considered when configuring your settings.
Diving back into the iCUE software, the option to set sidetone is a hugely welcome benefit. This means I can hear myself externally to a degree, meaning I won’t be shouting unintentionally.
Detaching the microphone is handy and welcome to get out of peripheral vision if needed. On other headsets I’ve used in the past, muting hasn’t always been the smoothest action. Thankfully, the Virtuoso deals with this problem by placing a discrete mute button underneath the rear of the microphone. Turning the LED from green to red, you can nip to the fridge for a drink without bustling on your party’s audio.
Should your fridge for whatever reason be 60ft away, the SLIPSTREAM wireless technology allows traversal around the household to be a blissful wander.
Corsair’s wireless dongle, like the headset, feels well made and assuring in regards to build confidence. A USB-C and a braided 3.5mm cable are provided also, both enabling sound through wired connection and charging via USB-C. The headset can last for up to 20 hours, which is hell of a lot of time to burn up. A full charge takes up to two hours.
You may have noticed a lack of faults over the course of this review and that isn’t a mistake. The Virtuoso headset is an outstanding piece of kit for the price, rivalling those at a higher price bracket and offering the chance for gamers looking for a more sophisticated upgrade, the chance to experience a high-end product worthy of the price tag. Comfortable, dynamic and dependable, Corsair have made a clear imprint on the headset market.
Xbox gamers will be disappointed as the Virtuoso doesn’t offer support . If you’re looking for this, the Corsair Void series caters towards Microsoft’s console. Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC gamers however can enjoy the Virtuoso via the connection methods aforementioned.
- Custom 50mm Neodymium, matched pairs
- Frequency Response – 20Hz – 40,000Hz
- Impedance – 32 ohms @ 2.5kHz
- Headphone Sensitivity – 109 dB (± 3 dB)
- Omnidirectional broadcast-grade microphone
- Microphone Capsule Size 4mm 9.5mm
- Microphone Sensitivity -40 dB (± 3 dB) –
- Microphone Impedance 2.0k ohms
- Microphone Frequency Response 100Hz – 10,000Hz
- Wireless Type 2.4GHz
- Wireless Connector USB Type A
- Wireless Range Up to 60 feet (18.3m)
Wireless Battery Life Up to 20 hours