Corsair Vengeance 1500 Review

7 December 2011
Comments: 29
Author: R. Scott Clark
7 December 2011, Comments: 29

While not without some minor hardware and software flaws, the Vengeance 1500 is by far the greatest USB headset I’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing. 

R. Scott Clark

Headset Design

Glancing at the spec sheets for the Vengeance 1500 and the HS1 that came before it last year, you’d be hard-pressed to find any differences apart from the slightly-improved dynamic range. Probably because there aren’t any. No, the key differences between the two headsets would appear to be limited to design, the most obvious difference being that the Vengeance 1500 actually looks like a gaming headset.

You know, flashy with a splash of blue. Thankfully the application of a faux brushed alumimum exterior, blue earcup rings and light blue stitching was a tasteful one, far from what I’d consider gaudy. It may not seem all that important, but this minor tweak marks the difference from seeing yet another black headset at a LAN party to seeing a Corsair headset – something that Corsair’s brand image desperately needed.

The Vengeance 1500 excels in both comfort and durability. None of the moving parts squeak as they do on Logitech’s G35, the plastic seems thick and flex-resistant, and yet the headset remains light enough to wear for hours on end whilst I get carried away in Skyrim. The oversized circumaural earcups combined with memory foam padding and an overstuffed headband make this one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve ever worn, second only to Razer’s Megalodon. The Vengeance maintains a tighter seal than the Megalodon does, however, making it much better for immersion or tournaments at the expense of not being able to hear LAN buddies across a table without Ventrilo. My roommate frequently has to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention anymore if I have the music turned up.

That said, pinching just below the ears above the jawbone can pose a problem if the headset is not properly adjusted. It took a good two weeks of using these cans before I found the right sweet spot that I didn’t have to take them off for a short duration after a couple hours of use. My trick is to keep the headband length shorter than usual. The cloth-wrapped earcups are nice and breathable, so I didn’t have any trouble with my ears overheating.

Another change for the Vengeance over the HS1 is that the microphone is now attached directly to the earcup as opposed to the headband, allowing it to get slightly closer to the mouth. Like any good headset, the Vengeance allows the mic to swivel down to chin level or placed up alongside the headband way when not in use, though for better or worse it cannot be detached. The mic has a degree of flexibility similar to the Megalodon in that you can position it closer to or away from your face as desired, but the design is rigid enough that it won’t flap around like Creative’s Sound Blaster Arena did.

The 3-meter cable is covered in braided fabric and is as flexible as a shoestring, but this has the added danger of attracting my cat’s jaws more than any other headset I’ve used in the past. About half of a meter down the cable is a digital control pod that looks to be the same as the HS1′s pod, featuring two large buttons for volume adjustment and a microphone mute button. Rings surrounding the volume buttons will light up blue whenever the headset is plugged in, and will change to red if the microphone is muted. A way to quickly mute the headset is unfortunately missing, as is a clip to attach the control pod to clothing.

As far as LAN party travel is concerned, the only nod that we get from Corsair is a permanently-affixed Velcro cable wrap midway down the cable. The earcups will fold flat, but no longer fold inwards as they did with the HS1. Though this certainly isn’t a deal killer, it’d still be nice if Corsair were to include a cloth carrying bag or hardshell case as some other headset manufacturers do. Oh well, at least the original box seems durable enough and easy to package.

Re-Skinned Drivers

Tying into the introduction of Corsair’s Vengeance product line is a revamp of the software drivers that came with the HS1 headset. Currently at version 1.1, Corsair’s new drivers power the same C-Media CM6302 audio chip, but reskin the interface to give a unique, minimalist look that fits everything into a single page. Sadly this reskin comes at a loss of C-Media’s Karaoke and voice changing effects that hardly anyone uses, along with the standard EAX 2.0 effects that make music sound like it’s from the inside of a concert hall or shower stall. The drivers do offer a nice 10-band equalizer to play with though, along with a list of five presets that take into account the physical drivers’ own characteristics as explained by Corsair. The default EQs stand up well enough on their own, but there’s always the option to tweak or create your own.

On the right-hand side of the driver window are three DSP modes for the headphones: Bypass, Dolby Headphone for 7.1 surround, and the Xear3D 7.1 Virtual Speaker Shifter that’s ubiquitous on all C-Media and Asus Xonar sound cards. The space underneath these buttons changes depending on the active mode; Dolby Headphone allows for changing the virtual room size, while Virtual Speaker Shifter enables custom speaker placement to increase or decrease volume of the individual channels – handy for tweaking the center dialogue channel, or raising the volume on the rear speakers.

Driver Bugs

Given that this is Corsair’s first attempt at reskinning the standard C-Media driver package, it should come as no surprise that there are a couple of small bugs to be encountered. In a standard C-Media driver installation, the Dolby Headphone and Virtual Speaker Shifter DSP effects could be combined. In fact on my Asus sound card, you can’t select enable Virtual Speaker Shifter without enabling Dolby first. In Corsair’s instance, however, it’s an either/or situation, and enabling Speaker Shifter on its own only makes for an awkward implementation of Stereo. When Corsair fixes this oversight and allows for combination of the DSPs I’m sure it’ll be incredibly handy, but until then the Speaker Shifter is dead weight.

The other flaw I noticed with the current v1.1 drivers is with the implementation of Pro Logic IIx, a Dolby technology that upmixes stereo, quadraphonic or 5.1 sources into 7.1 surround. Logitech’s G35 manages to do this automatically whenever the Dolby switch is turned on, whereas C-Media products including Corsair headsets require manually setting the number of “input channels”. Stereo content will sound soft and weak in Dolby mode unless the input channels are configured accordingly.

There used to be a function to do set the input channels in older drivers for Corsair’s HS1 headset, but this has been removed in the v1.1 drivers. Fret not, you can still set the input channels in the Windows Sound control panel. Select the Vengeance 1500 and hit the configure button, then pick the desired channels and click next a bunch of times. After this is done, the Pro Logic IIx logo will light up in the Corsair driver panel. Be warned, however, that switching to Bypass or 7.1 Virtual Speaker Shifter mode and then back to Dolby Headphone will reset the speaker configuration to 7.1 mode.

I’ve emailed Corsair about these two flaws and they’ve acknowledged that the Engineers are aware of the problems and busily cracking away on an updated driver. That said, no timetable for release was provided nor were any indications of what fixes would be implemented. Personally, I’m willing to write these off for now as a minor inconveniences, forgivable mostly because the headset sounds so damn nice. But they do need fixed.

Stereo Sound Quality

With the headset in Bypass mode and the equalizer set to Corsair’s “Music Reference” profile, I was blown away by how clear the Vengeance 1500s sounded. Bass, while not all that deep, was exceptionally clean and blended well with the clear highs and prominent mids as I took yet another journey through Tool’s 10,000 Days, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile. It’s incredible just how many subtleties the 50mm drivers in these headphones allow you to pick out in these nuanced albums.

The quirky chiptunes and sharp guitar solos that I love so dearly also benefited from the Vengeance 1500′s relatively flat profile, though I found myself switching to the “Music + Bass” profile to bring out some extra oomph for listening to my Demoscene and Trance collections. Tweaking the 30 and 60Hz bands a few notches higher brings out even more oomph to the point where I could physically feel the bass kick, but amazingly the bass-heavy Dr Greenthumb track from Cypress Hill managed to retain its clarity. To put it simply, the sound reproduction on the Vengeance 1500 is the best I’ve seen on any USB headset that I’ve reviewed to date.

Surround Sound Quality

The debate rages between gamers about whether pure surround sound or virtual surround sound is better. (Debating gets much more intelligible once the virtual surround critics count their own ears.) As I see it, true surround can offer a somewhat better sense of spatial awareness since the placement of the physical drivers still relies on the positional cues that your ears have naturally adapted to since infancy. Virtual surround on the other hand uses an HRTF for a generic ear that most but not everyone can process, requiring a smallish learning curve before sound location becomes second nature.

The main advantage to virtual surround is that since all sounds are produced from the same large physical drivers, the sound is much more even. In-game characters behind your person don’t sound like they’ve suddenly gone through reverse puberty like they would on a “true” surround headset’s 20 or 30mm drivers. Virtual surround also has the added benefit of fewer electronics in each earcup, helping to reduce weight and keep potential points of failure to a minimum.

The Vengeance 1500 makes use of Dolby Headphone to produce virtual surround, and it does a tremendous job of spatialization - a good deal better than the Megalodon and on-par in excellence with the G35. Separation and crossovers are top notch, and can be somewhat tweaked to preference by increasing or decreasing the room size. I personally preferred the middle “Cinema” setting.

Watching epic movies like Return of the King with these headphones is an absolute treat, but for DVDs it’s necessary to set the Windows speaker configuration to 5.1 beforehand. There’s still a sense of surround in 7.1 mode, but the application of Dolby Pro Logic IIx delivers a much more enveloping effect by placing the rear surround channels further behind the listener. This was especially evident when listening to the THX Jungle Sounds demo, where the helicopter and fly seemed to never cross behind my head without Pro Logic IIx enabled.

Music in Dolby Headphone mode was fairly appreciable, helping to reduce ear fatigue over extended listening sessions and generally keeping the original tone of the song intact. The surround effect gets even better when listening to live albums. Of course, this is dependent that the Windows speaker count is set to Stereo lest it sound awful. There’s a few cases where the overall feel is degraded by Dolby Headphone such as Machinae Supremacy’s Winterstorm where the already echo-y melody is made to sound hollow, but these are few in number and don’t sound half as bad as how Creative’s CMSS-3D mangles stereo. I personally found little fault when listening to Nectarine Radio with Dolby Headphone enabled all night, but I imagine this will mostly come down to personal preference.

Surround Sound Gaming

If there’s one thing that surround gaming headsets have in common, it’s that they all have completely different levels of game compatibility. Some games have working surround sound, others don’t, and a few are even known to rotate the soundfield 90 degrees so Front becomes Left. It’s crazy, and unfortunately not everyone is aware of these problems, sometimes not even the manufacturers. A couple years back I found myself pointing out to a vendor at Quakecon that their flagship headset couldn’t support surround in the Quake 4 demo they had running. Yes, for two days everyone who came to their booth to experience surround sound was listening to a placebo effect. And honestly with the way that games handle Stereo anymore, I can’t really blame them for believing it in such a noisy environment.

This is why I place such a strong emphasis on testing compatibility with as many games as possible, even the popular but oh-so-trashy ones like Modern Warfare 2. I do this by standing next to a static noise source like an open flame or a talking NPC, and rotating my in-game character to hear the HRTF. Tossing grenades or breaking glass and quickly turning are other techniques I’ll use, and sometimes I’ll even do quintuple-blind tests just to make sure I’m not falling for a placebo effect myself. So without further adieu, here are the compatibility results for Corsair’s Vengeance 1500 headset in a record 36 tests under Windows 7 x64.

Game Compatibility (Windows 7 x64)

All these tests done on the Vengeance 1500 were carried out on a Windows 7 x64 PC.

Game
Result
Remark
GameResultRemark
Battlefield 2FailAll combinations of settings result in stereo sound.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2PassSurround works okay.
Battlefield 3PassSurround works great! Ensure that Enhanced Stereo is disabled.
Call of Duty 4: Modern WarfarePass5.1 works great with surround coming out of rear channels!
Call of Duty 5: World at WarPass5.1 works okay if selected in Windows Sound control panel. 7.1 can be selected but front and back are indiscernible, unlike the Razer Megalodon which can do 7.1 just fine.
Call of Duty 6: Modern Warfail 2Pass5.1 works great with surround coming out of rear channels.
Call of Duty 8: Modern Warfare 3Pass5.1 works okay with surround coming out of rear channels.
Counter-Strike: SourcePass7.1 works great!
Crysis WarheadPassSurround works great!
DarksidersPassSurround works okay.
Dead SpacePass5.1 works great with surround coming out of rear channels!
Dead Space 2Pass5.1 works great with surround coming out of rear channels!
Deus Ex: Human RevolutionPassSurround works great!
Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimPassSurround works great!
Enemy Territory: Quake WarsPassSurround works great!
Fallout 3PassSurround works great!
Fallout: New VegasPassSurround works great!
Grand Theft Auto IVPass5.1 works great with surround coming out of rear channels!
Half-Life 2 (no episodes)Pass7.1 works great!
Killing FloorFailAll combinations of settings result in stereo sound, even after redirecting OpenAL by removing DefOpenAL32.dll and disabling "System Driver".
Left 4 Dead 2Pass7.1 works great!
Mirror's EdgePassSurround works great!
PortalPass7.1 works great!
Portal 2Pass5.1 works great with surround coming out of rear channels!
PreyPass5.1 works great if selected in Windows Sound control panel. Surround sound will not start otherwise, a known limitation of the game.
Quake 4PassSurround works great!
RageBarely passedThere is some level of distinction between front and back judging by the ambient noises in Subway Town, but it is not always intuitive.
Red Orchestra 2PassSurround works great!
Serious Sam HD: The First EncounterPass7.1 is especially great against Kamikazes!
Team Fortress 2Pass7.1 works great!
Unreal Tournament 2004FailAll combinations of settings result in stereo sound, even after redirecting OpenAL by removing DefOpenAL32.dll and disabling "System Driver".
Unreal Tournament 3FailAll combinations of settings result in stereo sound, even using the System32 copy of OpenAL32.dll.
The WitcherPassSurround works okay.

*Sheds tear* It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Corsair managed to keep up in an astonishing 32 of 36 tests, just under 90% compatibility. This is very good considering other headsets usually only reach around 75% or so. The only titles it couldn’t handle are Battlefield 2, Unreal Tournament 2004, Unreal Tournament 3, and Killing Floor (a commercial mod for UT2004). I’m a bit saddened that the Unreal series didn’t make the cut, but at least some other Unreal Engine games including Mirror’s Edge and Red Orchestra 2 turned out great. If anything, I consider it strange since Corsair’s older HS1 headset based on the same CM6302 chip reportedly worked in UT2004, though I’m unable to verify this for myself. Battlefield 2 is another beast altogether; I’ve yet to find a USB headset that plays nicely with that game.

One vital difference between the Vengeance 1500 and other popular headsets that played a huge role with compatibility is the ability to manually set the speaker count in Windows to 5.1. You see, many games are written only for 5.1, and there’s a handful like Quake 4 and Prey that will only initialize surround if the speakers are set to 5.1 in Windows. Having Windows set to 7.1 is a complete no-go for those titles, the very same reason that Logitech and Razer’s offerings can’t support them. So kudos to C-Media and Corsair for keeping things configurable, even if it does mean a little extra work before watching a movie.

The quality of surround in-game was largely dependent on the title. In Skyrim, it’s amazing. I get chills from the ambient noise of dungeon crawling, and have come to rely heavily on the surround for hearing footsteps of bandits about to be slaughtered. Bad Company 2, ehh, not so much. Though that game does have working surround it tends to blend the channels together, making it a challenge to distinguish front from back. But that’s a fault with the game, not the headset. What you should take away from all this is that the truly masterful works of sound – Skyrim, Dead Space 2, Battlefield 3, Left 4 Dead 2 – sound absolutely stunning on the Vengeance and make this comfortable headset a keeper. Indeed, the Vengeance 1500 has replaced the Megalodon as my daily driver.

Microphone Quality

The Vengeance 1500′s microphone is somewhat disappointing in that it’s only of average quality. Speech is very clear and easy to understand regardless of what the Microphone’s recording level is set to, though the noise-cancelling properties of unidirectional microphone are minimal at best. Nasal breathing is soft but always picked up regardless of the mic level, as are my mouse clicks, keystrokes and ever-meowing cat. There’s also a soft but constant noise floor that makes the microphone unsuitable for any professional recordings, though VoIP calls and in-game chat don’t really suffer from it.

Another problem I noticed with the microphone is that any time an application actively engages the microphone, be it the Windows Sound control panel, Skype or Audacity, a somewhat-noticeable high pitched sound emanates from both earcups. Thankfully, the whine is quickly drowned out by any conversation or game that’s playing. Mimicking the G35 headset that had the same issue only worse for several hardware revisions, the whine is greatly amplified whenever the microphone is muted by the control pod. As such, I’d recommend muting through software or using push to talk as alternatives to the hardware mute. I have fairly sensitive ears and don’t consider this a deal breaker, but some might.

Recap

Corsair’s Vengeance 1500 is far from perfect, suffering from a middling microphone for the price point and first release software drivers that need some work. Even so, I cannot emphasize enough just how impressive this headset sounds. The 50mm drivers and flat profile do wonders for dynamic range with clean sounding bass, prominent mids, and sharp highs – all without cracking at volume. Coupled with the Dolby Headphone and Pro Logic IIx technology that sound as good as ever, the Vengance 1500 does wonders for surround sound gaming and movie watching. Best of all, the deep circumaural earcups with memory foam padding and an oversized headband make it the Vengeance 1500 extremely comfortable and well suited for blocking out unwanted sound. Highly recommended for only $100.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=544621827 Jason Robertson

    No zombie picture Scott. Instant thumbs down :P

    • http://www.facebook.com/Androktasie R. Scott Clark

      Hah!  That’s where you’re WRONG!

      http://imageshack.us/f/33/zombieshrink.jpg/ 

      • JabbatheJaat

        Scott which mode were you using while gaming or which one do you prefer

        windows setup to 5.1 and corsair panel set to dolby prologicIIxor
        windows 7.1 and corsair 7.1 virtual speaker shifter..

        btw very good review.. didnt come across any other interviews which pointed out the driver faults which you did..

        • http://www.facebook.com/Androktasie R. Scott Clark

          Hello Kurt,

          Glad you liked the review!  ^_^

          For gaming, I’ve been using it in Dolby Headphone mode with Windows set to the default at 7.1.  For games that only have 5 channels, I still left it at 7.1 since I was still able to feel the encompassing surround effect.  Unless of course the game wouldn’t start (Prey, Quake IV), in which case I set it to 5.1.  Majority of my gaming lately is Skyrim and TF2 lately so I haven’t found any other major nuances outside of my testing period.

          For DVDs, Dolby Headphone with Windows set to 5.1 (Pro Logic IIx).  Otherwise I don’t feel as if I’m being enveloped by the sound; that it’s too much in front of me.  I don’t have any Blu-Rays with 7.1 to test with.  Call me a luddite.

          For Skype, bypass mode.

          For music, either Bypass or Dolby Headphone with Stereo in Windows (Pro Logic IIx).  Depends on the time of day in all honesty >_>

          Speaker shifter is completely broken and non-functional, so I never use it.  Other C-Media products require it to be used in conjunction with Dolby Headphone, and the Corsair v1.1 drivers don’t allow for that so it just comes out as stereo, albeit you can swap the channels.  Based on my experiences with my Asus Xonar DX, this will be a handy feature whenever Corsair fixes their drivers.  But right now don’t count on it as a selling point.

          Hope that helps!

          Cheers!

          • http://www.facebook.com/akin.paksoy Akın Paksoy

            Hey, I’ve been listening to some tests in 7.1 or dolby, and rear left sounds weak. I tried reinstalling the driver but nothing happened. why would that be?

  • http://www.facebook.com/www.paul.mccollum Paul McCollum

    lol. writer++, model–

    • http://www.facebook.com/Androktasie R. Scott Clark

      First attempt at beard since I’ve exited the military.  :P

  • DeadlyDad

    Good review for what looks to be a good product, but why the **** do designers continue to make headsets that don’t put the controls on the headset itself and use a micro USB jack with a hold-down?  I for one am sick and tired of having to rebuild my headsets whenever a wire in the cable breaks.

  • J B

    This is perhaps the most in depth review of this headset yet! I greatly appreciate it.

    I have some quirks with it, sound quality is great like my HS1 which I bought and will send to RMA because the mic keeps producing static randomly. However, the Vengeance really does squeeze me head, I’m still trying to find that sweet spot.

    I have some questions for you though: do you have any preferred equalizer settings for various scenarios like movies, music, gaming? I’m a complete noob to sounds, and I want to  get the best out of the headset.

    Also, while the microfiber cloth pads on the earcups are great, lint and dust are attracted to them like magnets. Do you have any idea on how to clean them? My HS1′s are nearly covered with lint.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Androktasie R. Scott Clark

      I usually stick to music or music+bass.  Corsair explains on their blog
      that these presets are custom-tailored to the way the 1500′s physical
      drivers behave for a good flat-sounding profile.  Tweak from there to
      your heart’s content.

      Lint and dust are best cleaned with scotch tape and air duster.

  • CigaretteBum

    Have you experience any problems with the driver softwares, like bluescreens, memory leaks. Because I’m just a bit worried since I got bluescreens by the g35 drivers and they haven’t done anything about it for years even though it’s they’re most sold headset.

    • R. Scott Clark

      o_O I have never experienced any bluescreens stemming from my G35 headset.   What game are you playing when this happens?  What OS?  Are you running the newer Logitech Gaming Software drivers instead of the G35-only drivers?

      As for the Corsair headset, no problems other than the user interface ones I already mentioned in the review.  If you look at the Corsair forums there’s some talk of HS1 owners having problems alt-tabbing from games when using the v1.1 drivers.  (The HS1 and Vengeance 1500 use the same C-Media chipset and v1.1 drivers).  Again, I’ve yet to encounter any problems with this and have been rocking the Vengeance cans for about three months now.  If you’re worried, buy from a retailer with a good return policy like Micro Center or Amazon.

  • derek cheung

    if my motherboard does not have 7.1 sound, will these headset still work?
    but i read online that it has a built in sound card?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Androktasie R. Scott Clark

      Any, and I repeat *any* USB audio device will act as its own separate audio output device.  This means they will completely bypass your existing PCI/PCIe/onboard soundcards.  An unfortunate side-effect is that you cannot simply plug in a second headset to have a buddy listen to what you’re listening to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Houssam-Jazairli/789990290 Houssam Jazairli

    hi there, thanks for this excellent review

    but mi really really tired of trying to choose between vengeance-1500 or G35 …
    would you please make a short comparison and maybe recommend one over the other ?
    again thanks alot for this great review

    • http://www.facebook.com/Androktasie R. Scott Clark

      Corsair 1500 – Better sound, more comfortable IMO, compatible with more games.

      Logitech G35 – Easier to switch between surround/stereo, better microphone, voice changing effects, macro buttons as programmable as G-series keyboards if you use the latest drivers.  Make sure you get a unit with a PID of 943 or above, which is printed on the inside of the headband just above the earcups IIRC.  Those later units dampened the high-pitch whine tied to the microphone.

      Both: excellent customer service and RMA teams.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Houssam-Jazairli/789990290 Houssam Jazairli

         thank you very much
        very helpful indeed :)
        so i guess im going to get that sweet corsair :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/nokoff Linden Burger

     Hi there, great review, read the whole thing!

    Very seriously looking at this headset, but I’d like to get your opinion on the Corsair 1500 vs. the CM Sirus headset you reviewed a little while ago. Virtual or True surround? Which is louder? Which has the better clarity? What’s better for music? Would love to know your thoughts on the matter.

    • R. Scott Clark

       Hi Linden,

      Apologies, but we actually have yet to review any Cooler Master headsets.  A damn shame, I might add, because they look rather interesting from a technical standpoint.  The Sirius Storm is classified as a “true” surround headset, meaning it has multiple discrete drivers in each earcup to create the surround effect.

      I’m personally preferable to virtual surround; there’s less weight, less things that can break, and the sound is more even in the sense that everything is coming through the same size drivers instead of larger, deeper drivers for the front and smaller tinny drivers for the rear, at least in the USB headsets that I’ve tried.  The Sirius Storm, however, bucks this trend since front/rear/center channels all come through 30mm drivers, so the sound is at least even in theory.

      Contrast this to the virtual surround Vengeance 1500, which uses a single 50mm driver to produce all sounds and is all the richer for it.  The Logitech G35 and Megalodon are also virtual surround, and use 40mm drivers.  Those larger drivers typically make a noticeable difference when it comes to music.

  • erenaybirdi

    Hey Scott,
    Which one would you prefer;
    Corsair Vengeance 1500 or Razer Carcharias(or any other stereo headset)+a decent sound card?
    Ps. If I go with analog headset+soundcard combo, I probably will not buy something like Xonar Essence STX. Something around 30-40 dollars would be great. Any suggestions?

  • Hein Smit

    First things first, excellent review :D  I am in quite a dilemma as whether to get this Corsair or the CM Storm Sirius.  The price here in South Africa is R774 vs, R1125 (approx.).  
    I really like the look of the CM Storm pair, but this review has got me excited about the Corsair.  The CM does come with a bit more features and extra cables and stuff, but apparently it sounds hollow in some situations. 
    I really do hope for an in-depth review of the CM Storm Sirius, just to see how these would compare.  But ooooh man, this your review has brought the Corsair right to the top of my list of contenders. Please please please review the CM Storm Sirius :D

    • R. Scott Clark

       I’ve requested this from the boss a number of times; last I heard we were waiting for Cooler Master to get back to us.  :(

      Maybe I can snag a pair if they show up to Quakecon again this year ^_^

      • Hein Smit

        Woohoo, just received my CM Storm Sirus 2 days ago and must say that I am loving them.  They are quite comfortable and the surround sound is really nice.  Music wise, using windows media player, music sounds great!  However in iTunes music sounds, blegh, not sure what to tweak there.  But overall the comfort and sound quality is really satisfying.  Just sitting here, wearing them, with nothing to listen :P

  • Les Danks

    an idiot’s question.. I’m a wee bit confused on how best to configure drivers with relation to in-game setting to get surround sound – so, in BF3 for example, do you say use ‘war tapes’ in-game and in the 1500 driver set to dolby or bypass or virtual sound;  or do you leave the setting as headphones in bf3 and let the 1500 driver add the virtual sound?   Make sense?

    • R. Scott Clark

      In BF3, the sound modes are more to do with things like sound quality and reverb effects than they are multi-channel processing, unlike BFBC2 where you *need* to use Home Cinema or War Tapes.  You should be using either War Tapes or Home Cinema though if you want the best sounding experience.  Be sure that Enhance for Stereo is disabled!

      I’ll try to simplify the audio modes though really quick:

      Bypass = Stereo only, no extra processing.

      Dolby headphone = multi-channel, some echo based on room size.

      Dolby Pro Logic = Part of Dolby Headphone.  Takes anywhere from 2-6 channels and upmixes them to 8 channels.  Vital for listening to music or DVDs in surround.  Configure the speakers accordingly in the Windows Sound control panel.

      Virtual 7.1 Speaker Shifter = broken in v1.1 drivers, so stereo only.  If and when Corsair ever gets around to fixing this, you’ll be able to “reposition” the speakers around your head to make them louder or softer.  Useful for turning up the volume of the center channel or tweaking the rear channels.

      In a nutshell, for any games that support surround sound, stick to Dolby Headphone.  For some games you may also need to configure Windows to 5.1 so Pro Logic kicks in for a better surround effect (CoD5:WAW), or for multi-channel to even work (Quake IV).  For stereo-only games (Amnesia, Freespace 2 SCP), stick to either Bypass or Dolby Headphone with Pro Logic enabled at 2 channels.

  • peruka

    Hey there, amazing review!

    When you said:” Dolby Pro Logic = Part of Dolby Headphone.  Takes anywhere from 2-6 channels and upmixes them to 8 channels.  Vital for listening to music or DVDs in surround.  Configure the speakers accordingly in the Windows Sound control panel.”

    The Dolby Pro Logic only “lights up” when Windows is set to 5.1 speakers, if I set it to 7.1 it turns off. Is that ok or did I do something wrong?

    Thanks

    • R. Scott Clark

      Yes, that’s fine; you can still listen to surround without Dolby Pro Logic.

      Pro Logic is implemented as a subset of Dolby Headphone, and only helps up-mix 2-6 channel content to 8 channels.  If you’re listening to a 7.1 (8ch) source such as a Blu-Ray movie or certain video games, and have the Windows Sound control panel configured accordingly, then there’s no need for Pro Logic to be turned on since there’s nothing to upmix.

      Now if you’re listening to MP3s (2ch) or DVDs (6ch) in surround sound, I strongly encourage you to make use of Pro Logic.

  • http://twitter.com/harvord27 Зиньковский Алексей

    Hi, how are these compared to Logitech G35 and G930 in terms of soundmic and overall quality? I heard Corsair sounds better, is it true? Also what headphones do you recommend or which ones do you prefer (with 7.1 usb or others)? What should I buy if I want good sound quality for all applications and music (virtual surround is also welcomed for gaming, but sound quality is #1 priority =) )

  • Ryan

    These headsets destroy themselves due to the volume control getting too hot from the led lights inside. I have owned 4 pairs and can say every single head set has this problem. Most pairs will degrade in about 2 months then you will start seeing a lot of problems. Corsair fools you on initial quality, Tell me how your head set is in 6 months of use.

    *Hot volume control
    *Headset gets severe static in a warm room and becomes unusable
    *Disconnects itself from windows sometimes
    *Bad software
    *Speakers are prone to failure
    *Mute button never works
    *Problems with Bf3 and channels reversing or dropping audio

    They will get you on initial quality THESE HEADSETS SUCK BAD