Audeze Penrose X wi-fi gaming headset overview: Planar-magnetic energy

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Bass is necessary in relation to online game sound. You need to hear the low rumble of your laser rifle because it hums wave after wave of ache at your digital enemies. Once you lastly blow up that generator you needed to undergo all these aliens to get to, you actually need to really feel the explosion. Low-end offers the sport its oomph. Powered by Audeze’s planar-magnetic drivers, this wi-fi gaming headset doesn’t fuss an excessive amount of with spatial audio or super-convincing encompass. Nevertheless it does churn out ample quantity and rumble in a semi-luxurious bundle. The Audeze Penrose X gaming headset has oomph to spare.


What’s the Audeze Penrose wi-fi planar-magnetic headset?

Planar-magnetic headphones just like the Audeze Penrose X work in a different way than the standard over-the-ear ’telephones you’re most likely used to, which depend on cone-shaped drivers fabricated from paper, plastic, or steel. This setup can produce some really fantastic sounds but additionally expertise distortion when that cone doesn’t transfer in excellent concord. 

Audeze’s planar-magnetic headphones, nevertheless, make use of huge, flat, extraordinarily skinny diaphragms and highly effective magnet arrays that may transfer giant quantities of air with out malforming, which prevents the sound from breaking apart and sounding, properly, crappy. The flexibility to take care of a composed tone even throughout intense sonic exercises gained Audeze headphones a sizeable following amongst audiophiles. Now the know-how has trickled down.

Exterior of the earcups, the Penrose headset appears to be like and feels somewhat acquainted. It’s extraordinarily much like the HyperX Orbit headset I’ve used for gaming up to now. The Penrose retains all of its built-in controls on the underside of the left earcup. You may alter the mic quantity, the audio stage, and play/pause music with a single button. It’s a fairly commonplace setup.

Connecting the Audeze Penrose X

Audeze Penrose X wireless dongle
The wi-fi dongle gives a quick connection, nevertheless it’s giant. Stan Horacczek

Earlier than listening to the increase coming from these drivers, we should first join the Audeze Penrose X to an audio supply. I examined out the Xbox-specific mannequin of the Penrose, which works with Microsoft’s Xbox Collection X next-gen gaming console, in addition to a PC (there’s additionally a variant designed particularly for PlayStation, PC, and Mac). 

The primary connection comes from a dongle that creates a low-latency 2.4GHz connection between the machine and the headset. Within the gaming world, latency is universally dangerous. The sooner the headphones can speak to the console or pc, the much less delay there may be between the in-game motion and your eardrums. The dongle is sort of 2 inches lengthy and has a {hardware} swap to go between Xbox and PC mode. From a design standpoint, it feels a bit dated, however the connection is quick and dependable, so we’ll settle for operate over trend on this case. 

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You can even hook up with the Audeze Penrose X headset utilizing the included 3.5mm audio cable. Even with a direct connection, nevertheless, the headphones must be charged to pump out sound, not like some extra consumer-oriented headphones like the wonderful Sony WH-1000XM4.

The Audeze Penrose X headphones may join through Bluetooth, which appeared to work simply fantastic, however you’re paying for the velocity of the wi-fi connection, and these are too cumbersome to put on round on the road, so Bluetooth is finest as a backup. It could actually additionally come in useful if you wish to dual-pair the Penrose with a cellular system. Most gamers deal with this with a service like Discord working on the PC, however if you wish to save all that processing energy for gaming and streaming, you will get your smartphone into the combo. 

How does the Audeze Penrose X gaming headset sound?

Audeze Penrose X gaming headset
Right here’s a better take a look at the controls on the underside of the left earcup. Stan Horacczek

I spent the primary few days with the Penrose setup similar to it’s out of the field. There’s at all times the temptation to begin tweaking away instantly, however I believe it’s necessary to listen to the default settings since many gamers won’t ever change them. 

As anticipated, the bass booms. In-game explosions I prompted sounded completely satisfying due to these 100mm drivers (compared, dynamic headphone drivers common 30mm to 50mm). Explosions my opponents prompted have been appropriately infuriating. The identical was true when watching content material. I streamed the splendidly ridiculous Nicolas Cage traditional Con Air, and whereas the Penrose couldn’t do something about Cage’s perplexing accent, it did justice to the epic crash close to the movie’s finish. 

The mids sound nice, too. In-game dialog sounds crisp and clear for essentially the most half. Issues begin to get rather less flattering within the highs. Planar-magnetic drivers do all the things they will to handle distortion, however I discovered the highs harsh beneath the usual configuration. Listening to “Latin Grammys” by Motion Bronson, the “s” sounds and higher-pitched elements of the beat had a slight edge that my ear didn’t love. I seen an identical phenomenon whereas gaming. Alien screeching is meant to be disagreeable, nevertheless it bordered on bodily uncomfortable if I stored the quantity too excessive. 

Tweaking the settings

Audeze doesn’t count on everybody to love the inventory tuning, so the corporate constructed an app for cellular and PC to particularly to customise the general sound. I discovered the app properly designed and straightforward to navigate. In fact, dialing within the sound high quality you need requires some information or a minimum of appreciable endurance in relation to trial and error. I spent about 20 minutes messing round with the settings till I tamed the treble and acquired it dialed to what I preferred. 

You need to create your individual presets by adjusting particular person channels until you need to obtain presets from the Audeze website. Some presets handle particular forms of music, whereas others present sound tweaked to work with particular person video video games. So, if you would like the perfect Rocket League or Name of Obligation: Warzone combine, you may obtain it. I attempted it with Name of Obligation: Warzone (a sport at which I’m really horrible) and didn’t discover a profound distinction in efficiency. However, the distinction could also be extra pronounced for those who spend each waking hour within the sport.

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To be clear, the sound high quality was completely fantastic—and even glorious within the low-end—earlier than the tweaking. However for those who spend $300 on a headset, it’s price the additional effort to get it good. 

What about this “spatial audio” factor?

In case you observe high-end gaming gear, you might be accustomed to Penrose’s larger sibling, the Audeze Mobius. That $400 headset (!) instructions an much more premium value due to its superior chops concerning spatial audio. The Mobius has built-in head monitoring and is aware of once you transfer your noggin, adjusting the soundstage to match. (You may learn our full ideas on that headset right here.)

The Audeze Penrose X, then again, doesn’t help any of that superior spatial stuff. Audeze clearly states that the Penrose was designed as a two-channel system for max high quality in a stereo association. The console can nonetheless pump out “3D sound” through platforms like Dolby Atmos, however its impact is considerably restricted. It could sound like a strict downgrade, however some individuals (like me) favor this setup. I typically discover the hardcore spatial stuff a little bit too immersive; you already know what I imply for those who’ve ever performed a horror sport in an costly pair of head-tracking headphones. In case you haven’t and also you’re fascinated by attempting it, be sure you don’t have a full cup of espresso in your desk since you’ll spill it in your favourite pair of Vans slip-ons and destroy them. It occurred to me. 

The beforehand talked about HyperX Orbit headset goes arduous on head monitoring, and it’s cool throughout playtime. Nonetheless, it will typically kick in after I was simply casually listening to music and even speaking on video chats, which was distracting. Nonetheless, if you would like that full-fledged immersion, the Penrose may not be your finest wager. 

Consolation and comms

Audeze Penrose X gaming headset
There’s loads of padding. Stan Horacczek

Like many different high-end gaming headsets, the Penrose looks like strapping a pleather couch to your head. The headset weighs greater than 11 ounces, and thick padding covers nearly each floor that might contact your head. 

The ear cups are comfy, however I really discovered them a contact small. I needed to maneuver them a little bit to get my whole ear encased within the cup as a substitute of simply plopping them on my head. As soon as they’re in place, the reminiscence foam pads maintain them a lot comfy. 

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The closed-back design helps with sound, nevertheless it additionally makes the Penrose run a little bit heat after a protracted bout of sporting it. The clamping drive isn’t extreme, although, and the huge pad throughout the highest of the pinnacle prevented it from digging into my scalp, which is a plus. 

In the end, the Audeze Penrose X is a cushty gaming headset, however you’re not going to overlook you’re sporting it. And neither will anybody watching you on-stream because it’s a reasonably large chunk of drugs.

Constructed-in microphone

Like different high-end gaming headsets, the Audeze Penrose X features a removable “Blonde Ambition”-era Madonna-style headset mic that curls out from the left earcup and sits in entrance of your mouth. Audeze calls it “broadcast high quality,” which appears a little bit outdated when so many streamers and even frequent Zoom assembly attendees have upgraded to devoted PC microphones. 

General, I discovered the Penrose mic strong however not mind-blowing. Nobody in my sport squads or Zoom calls had any situation in any respect with the audio. At one level, I let my son attempt it along with his Xbox, and he’s the type of gamer that yells when issues don’t go his means. In that state of affairs, I used to be really impressed that the mic might deal with his loud exclamations with out cracking up. I’d nonetheless favor he study to not yell whereas gaming, however a minimum of he gained’t blow out everybody’s eardrums with distortion this manner. 

So, who can purchase the Audeze Penrose X?

Even with all these phrases behind us, I might nonetheless say constructive issues concerning the Audeze Penrose X gaming headset. The 13-hour battery life is strong and dependable. Plus, it has an extra-long USB-C charging cable to maintain it plugged in as you sport, even for those who’re out of juice. 

For $299, there are numerous glorious choices in direct competitors. In case you’re particularly in search of an Xbox Collection X headset, Microsoft’s first-party providing gives surprisingly glorious efficiency for simply $99. It doesn’t compete with the Penrose on energy and general high quality, however that’s a giant value distinction. 

Whereas I haven’t tried the $400 Mobius, I’ve used comparable headsets that supply deep spatial audio options. Frankly, I nonetheless just like the stereo setup higher, however I’m additionally a hybrid consumer. In case you spend your nights taking part in video games and your days discussing varied Excel spreadsheets, I believe the Audeze Penrose X is a greater possibility in wi-fi gaming headphones. Simply be certain to plug the transmitter into the again of your pc so that you don’t nearly kick it and break it. I realized that the arduous means as properly.