Asus Echelon (Camo Edition) Review
Today I will be taking a look at the new Asus Echelon (Camo Edition) Gaming headset. This headset is the latest in what is becoming a large range of headsets from Asus and the Republic of Gamers. This particular Asus set is a non ROG branded headset and is what could be considered Asus’s entry model along with the ROG Orion headset. The Echelon is a stereo headset featuring large 50mm Drivers, a bi-directional, retractable microphone and passive noise cancellation.
The Asus Echelon (Camo Edition) comes well packaged in a sturdy, smart camouflaged box, with a window at the front and right side. This allows you to take a look at the Echelon headset within. This is, somewhat obviously the Camo Edition although there appears to be no other Editions at the time of writing. The front of the box highlights the following:
- True to life in-game audio detail
- Full battlefield focus
- For prolonged gaming sessions
Big 50mm neodymium magnet drivers
Effective 30db noise isolation
Full size 100mm over-ear cushions with perfect snug fit
The back of the box shows a large image of the Echelon headset with further images highlighting the Retractable microphone, In-line volume control and Braided cable. In addition to this the details found above are also reiterated giving a little more detail.
Once inside the box we can see that the headset and its contents are protected by a large plastic tray, with the headset itself held in place by way of a couple of twist ties. A small strip of thin foam padding was also wrapped around the headband, although I’m not sure why?!
In addition to the Echelon headset the box also contains a VIP Member Warranty Notice and an Asus Echelon User’s Guide.
At the time of writing the Asus Echelon (Camo Edition) headset is retailing for approximately £65 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of ASUS
|Driver||Driver Diameter : 50 mm
Driver Material : Neodymium magnet
|Sensitivity||Headphone Sensitivity : 100 dB
Microphone Sensitivity : -30 dB
|Maximum Input||50 mW|
|Frequency Response||Headphone : 20 ~ 20000 Hz|
|Impedance||32 Ohm ± 3 %|
|Cable Length||2.5 meter|
|Noise Cancelling Performance||Passive (noise isolation) :
Maximum > 30 dB
First impressions are very good, I’m surprised to find myself liking the Camo design too, it’s actually quite cool! The overall design of the headset appears to have been developed to appeal to Gamers, what with the camouflage and the somewhat aggressive design on the ear-cups. Just noticed that they have plastic covers on them too, with those removed it looks even better!.
The left ear-cup features a retractable noise-filtering microphone, as can be seen in the image below left. This microphone can be pulled out from the ear-cup and is extremely flexible, somewhat like a ‘pipe cleaner’ allowing the microphone itself to be positioned practically anywhere. In addition to this we also find the headset’s 2.5 metre braided cord attached here, this cannot be disconnected.
The right ear-cup is identical to the design of the left ear-cup and features no additional functionality.
The ear-cups feature 100mm over-ear cushions for maximum comfort, this also provides some passive noise-isolation (30db effective). The cushions appear to be of the faux leather variety.
The camo design headband of the Asus Echelon has a plastic outer band with what appears to be a metal core. The way that the ear-cups are attached to the headband only allows the ear-cup to swivel up and down and not left and right, this may make them a little more uncomfortable than other headsets that support this feature.
The headband is adjustable by approximately 40mm per side allowing the Echelon headset to cope with varying head sizes. The inner part of the headband features a large section (almost 200mm) of foam for maximum comfort, although this foam does not appear to be ‘memory foam’.
The left ear-cup hides the noise-filtering mic that can be tucked up into the ear-cup when not in use (see below). This style of retractable microphone is one that I’m a big fan of as it’s so convenient and there’s no plug and socket wear.
The microphone can be extended from the ear-cup approximately 100mm, due to the flexibility of the microphone boom the microphone can be positioned almost anywhere (which is great if your mouth happens to be in an unusual place!).
Approximately 700mm from the headset we find the Echelon’s in-line controls. This small control box features a volume wheel and a mic mute switch. On the back of the control-box is a clip should you wish to clip this to an item of clothing or such like. It also looks suspiciously like the in-line control box from the Asus Vulcan Pro headset reviewed recently (no bad thing that though!).
The headset was tested using a SoundBlaster X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty Pro dedicated sound card.
The SoundBlaster Audio Control Panel’s mode was set to ‘Game Mode’ and the Speakers to Headphones. The FlexiJack was set to Microphone and all other settings were left at their defaults.
Installation of the Asus Echelon headset is a simple case of plugging into the speaker-out and microphone ports of your chosen soundcard.
The Asus Echelon headset was tested using my rig as a platform; running Windows 7 64bit (service pack 1) with all necessary Drivers installed. As no software is supplied or required for full functionality of the Echelon headset no fresh install of Windows was performed.
The following games were used during testing:
- Blacklight Retribution
- Call of Duty Black Ops II
- Far Cry 3
- Metro 2033 (benchmark)
- Unigine Heaven (benchmark)
Evaluating the audio performance of a headset is a rather subjective affair, but all I can do hear (haha!) is give you my opinion of the Asus Echelon headset, with the knowledge that I have tested various other headsets (wired, wireless, True 5.1, True 7.1, 5.1 Virtual & 7.1 Virtual) in the past…
So what does the Asus Echelon headset sound like, how good are those 50mm neodymium magnet drivers? The answer is a simple, very good! But how good is more difficult to describe; the bass and treble are both excellent, although this has the effect of fading the mid-range a little into the background. Gunfire in Blacklight Retribution was particularly shrill sounding giving an extra feeling of immersion. The close-back (circumaural) ear-cups also meant that most of the sound was kept within the ear-cups meaning that you’re unlikely to bother your neighbours.
Overall the Asus Echelon is a good sounding headset, but one thing that’s not supported though is a Virtual Surround Sound mode, this may hold the Echelon back as many other headsets in this price range do feature a Surround Sound mode of some nature.
The Asus Echelon headset has proved to be extremely comfortable during the time I have spent with it, even during long gaming sessions lasting in excess of 4 hours. This is helped not only by the large (100mm) full coverage ear-cups but also by the extremely low weight of the headset, weighing in at only 270 grams. The large foam filled headband is of a good size too, ensuring that the top of your head doesn’t get sore during those longer Gaming sessions. I did find the headset could get a little sweaty (within the ear-cups) during prolonged use, probably down to the material (faux leather) used for the cushions. Overall though, an extremely comfortable headset.
I must confess to really rather liking the Asus’s style of retractable microphone, although of course this has been seen on other headsets in the past. The simplicity of how the microphone just tucks up into the ear-cup makes it a joy to use. The microphone is plenty long enough to get it positioned next to your mouth, and the pipe cleaner style boom means that the microphone also stays in the desired position.
The pick up of the noise-filtering microphone is also excellent, in fact it’s one of the more sensitive microphones that I have used recently. This meant that I needed to turn down the sensitivity in our VOIP software (Ventrilo), but once up and running with the right settings dialed in I had no complaints from my online friends.
I have really enjoyed my time with the Asus Echelon (Camo Edition) headset, I actually like the look of this ‘Camo Edition’ too. The headset came well packaged in a smart windowed box, allowing you to see the camouflaged headset within. The headset is extremely light (one of the lightest at 270 grams that we have tested!), this helps the Echelon to also be of the comfiest headset’s that I have tested. The 100mm foam cushions, ensure that your ears fit well within the ear-cups and ensure that the sound doesn’t get out, providing some degree of passive noise cancellation too.
I really like the retractable noise-filtering microphone that can be tucked away inside the left ear-cup when not in use. When in-use the Echelon’s microphone was super sensitive allowing you to place the mic anywhere you wanted and still have your voice easily picked-up.
From a ‘what does it sound like?’ point of view the Asus Echelon headset’s 50mm drivers sound very good, they actually sound better than I thought they would as the Echelon is Asus’s cheapest headset to date. The sound offered by the Echelon is strong with great highs (Treble) and lows (Bass), maybe the mid-range suffers a little but it’s difficult to really say and of course this is somewhat subjective also. Overall the sound quality and the overall quality of the product are of a very high standard, something we have come to expect from Asus.
The Asus Echelon headset is a very good sounding high quality product then, there are really only a couple of stumbling blocks but they are to do with what the Echelon does not have. Surround Sound, the Echelon doesn’t support any form of Virtual Surround Sound and unfortunately at around £65 a lot of the competition does, although this doesn’t bother me personally too much as I’m not a huge fan of Virtual Surround Sound anyway! And it’s the fact that it doesn’t have this that brings the price into question, £65 is a lot of money for a pure stereo headset with few bells and whistles. The competition at this price range is fierce and there are a lot of headsets to choose from, some of them even with True 5.1 Surround Sound!
But there’s still no denying that Asus have another fine headset on their hands with the Echelon, if you want a great sounding, well built headset and especially if you like the ‘Camo’ design (and I did!) then you wont go far wrong with the Asus Echelon…