Asus Strix Pro Headset Review
It’s been a while since we’ve seen an Asus headset here at pcG, but today I’ve got the chance to take a look at the new Asus Strix Pro (90YH00B1-M8UA00) gaming headset. The surprise here is that the Strix Pro headset seems to be from a new sub-brand of Asus, Gamer orientated but without the Republic of Gamers endorsement!? Is this the beginning of a new Gaming line, or a replacement maybe, only time will tell…
The word Strix comes from the ancient Greek word for Owl, and the Strix Pro is one of three new peripherals in the new Asus Strix range. The others are the Strix Claw (mouse) and the Strix Tactic Pro (keyboard).
The Strix Pro is a stereo, circumaural headset with massive 60mm neodymium-magnet Drivers (that’s the biggest we’ve seen in a headset to date), with a frequency response of 20Hz – 20,000Hz. The Strix Pro headset also features Environmental Noise Cancellation (ENC) by way of a microphone embedded within the in-line control box (ILCB). In addition to this the Strix Pro also features foldable ear-cups and has cross platform support (PC, MAC, PS4, tablets & smartphones).
The Asus Strix Pro came in a massive box (for a headset!), with a plastic covered section to the right allowing you to see the headset within. To the left of this we find a image representing the ear-cup (very owl like!) along with the four main features.
The back of the box goes on to highlight these four features, along with some basic specifications (see below for more information).
The headset was well packaged, although the outer box was a little flimsy, but the inner plastic tray was pretty sturdy. Within the box we find the headset itself along with another black box.
Within this box we find an in-line control box, detachable microphone, x2 phone adapters, a Warranty Notice and a Quick Start Guide.
At the time of review the Asus Strix Pro is retailing for approximately £90 on Amazon and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of Asus
First impressions are damn that’s a big headset! Closely followed by, wow it really does look like an owl! Hmmm. The hard plastic that has been used for the main body of the headset is some what cheap feeling, which is not in keeping with an Asus product. It may well be durable, but it certainly won’t give BitFenix’s SoftTouch a run for its money…
At this point first impressions are not so good, this doesn’t feel/seem like a regular Asus product to me, strange…
Looking at the left (owl like) ear-cup we can see that it swivels both horizontally and vertically thanks to its mounting mechanism, this of course should aide in comfort. What’s also apparent is the size, these ear-cups are huge and they have to be to house those massive 60mm Drivers. The left ear-cup also has the captive audio cable as well as the socket for the detachable microphone. Each ear-cup sports a side window allowing you to see the driver within, although I’m pretty sure that’s not the Driver, it’s just the owl’s orange eye!
The right ear-cup (unsurprisingly) is the same as the left but has no additional functionality.
The Strix pro headband is a two piece affair with an outer fixed (plastic) headband an an inner elasticated band.
This allows the inner headband to automatically adjust to your head size. This inner band sports a smart Strix logo and name and also features orange stitching along with some basic cushioning. The elastic headband seems a little to loose for my liking and allows the headset to drop a little. Not by much as the clamping force of the outer headband is very strong, maybe too strong…
Each ear-cup features leatherette covered cushions with around 10mm of padding, just enough to counter that high clamping force. The Driver itself is covered with a thin layer of orange material, protecting the ear from the hard plastic within.
The detachable unidirectional microphone boom is connected to the left ear-cup by way of a keyed 3.5mm plug. It’s also extremely flexible (one of the best that I’ve come across) and it even stays where you put it, always useful!
The in-line control box (found 1.2m from the headset and 1.5m from the connections) features a volume control knob, microphone mute switch (with LED indicator Green/Red) and a built in microphone for use with the Strix’s Environmental Noise Cancellation (EMC). The volume control knob is very cool with a nice with smooth rotation, similar to a high end home amplifiers.
The ENC is activated by a small switch on the base of the control box. This helps to prevent unwanted noise (keyboard clicks, speech etc) from the environment being picked up and transmitted to your friends via the headset’s microphone.
Overall at this point I’m in two minds about the Asus Strix Pro, the styling is quite aggressive (although to be fair, I quite like it) and the build quality is ok. But there’s also some obvious flaws; a poor choice of plastics, the weakly sprung headband, the very high clamping force and the massive overall size of the headset itself. Best see how it sounds…
The first step was to connect the in-line control box to the headset via the simple 3.5mm plug, the control box itself was then connected to a spare USB socket and the two audio cables (Headset & Mic) were connected to to the output of our test MSI Z87 G45 GAMING motherboard.
The Asus Strix Pro does not require any Drivers or Software for full operation therefore no rebuild of the Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (Service Pack 1) test rig was performed . NOTE: The USB connection provides nothing more than power to the ILCB.
GAMES/BENCHMARKS USED IN TESTING:
- BattleField 4
- Survarium (BETA)
- Metro Last Light (benchmark)
- Unigine Heaven (benchmark)
- Unigine Valley (benchmark)
The performance of a headset is predominately based upon what it sounds like, therefore what we have here is my opinion on what I think about the audio performance of the Asus Strix Pro headset; of course this is somewhat subjective…
I was expecting great things from the Strix Pro’s 60mm Drivers being the biggest Drivers that we have tested to date! But bigger, as we all know is not always better and in the case of the Strix Pro I feel this holds true. The sound reproduced by the 60mm neodymium-magnet Drivers is good, but it’s not excellent. What I was expecting was some impressive bass and while the bass is good, it’s not as good as I would have expected. I’m not talking about massive Hip Hop style thundering bass here either, the bass is just well pretty normal and maybe that’s no bad thing. But it just seems that the Drivers have been chosen maybe for their size more than their audio reproduction qualities.
The end result is a good all round sound, with a rather unusual sound signature. Now you may ask what that really means, and that would be a fair question, though difficult to put into words. The three main sound ranges are all well reproduced, with bass and mid-range being good, the treble seems to suffer a little though with the gunfire and ricochets within the Metro Last Light benchmark lacking that shrill, spine tingling sparkle. In fact that’s a good word (Sparkle!), this is something that the Strix Pro really seems to lack. The overall signature seems to suffer a little (I guess due to the large Drivers) with everything having a very neutral (slightly dull) sound. One things for sure it won’t give the likes of a HyperX Cloud a run for its money…
Overall the Asus Strix Pro Gaming Headset is a good sounding headset, with a rather unique sound signature, perfect for Owls maybe, but not for me…
Despite the massive size, weight (320g), high clamping force and lightly sprung inner headband comfort levels were actually quite good, impressive for a headset of this size. Although there’s no doubt that you’ll be shocked the first time you try and pull those ear-cups apart; if you’re thinking of buying, a week or two at the Gym maybe be in order! One benefit of the larger 60mm Drivers is that your ear will fit within the ear-cup with ease.
- Microphone & Environmental Noise Cancellation (ENC)
With ENC off (tiny switch on the base of the ILCB), the Asus Strix Pro microphone worked really well, with no issues in voice pickup and good clarity. This is no doubt helped by the impressively bendy microphone boom, that stays exactly where you put it (unlike some!).
With ENC on (a function that’s supposed to filter out background noise), I was accused of sounding like I was speaking through a loo roll! So even though it does indeed filter out background noise, I think ENC best left off!
The Asus Strix Pro headset is a curious beast (or is that owl), it’s a Gaming headset from Asus, but it’s not from the Republic of Gamers stable. It’s not got the normal Asus high build quality and has an unusual sound signature, thanks to those massive 60mm Drivers…
It all starts off rather well with decent packaging and presentation, of course you need to get past the fact that this headset is Designed to look like the face of an owl! Once in the hand the first shock is the hard plastic used for the main body of the Strix Pro, no soft touch plastics here I’m afraid. It scratches easily too, just look at the images that were taken before the headset was even used.
Somewhat obviously (with those huge 60mm Drivers) the headset itself is massive, easily swallowing the biggest of ears, no bad thing if you’ve got large ears. But it’s almost too big, and due to the design (low force inner band and high clamp force outer band) it has a tendency to slip over time, mainly because the inner ear-cups are so cavernous. That said it’s still relatively comfortable, even over long periods of time, which is impressive for such a large, heavy (320g) headset.
As I’ve mentioned previously in the review (you have been reading right) I was expecting great things from those 60mm neodymium-magnet Drivers, and while the Strix Pro sounds good, it’s not what I was expecting and it’s not as good as some of the competition in this price range. The overall sound quality is just a little bland for my liking, there’s no real life here, some may consider the sound to be neutral, but for me it just lacked that crispness that others deliver. I think it’s a result of the larger than normal 60mm Driver, but then I could be wrong…
Overall the Asus Strix Pro is a mixed bag, it’s a striking headset and a bold design, but it’s not going to appeal to all (although I actually quite like it!), it’s not got the best comfort levels and it’s not got the best sound, even the ENC is a bit of a let down. Therefore the real issue is the price, at close to £90 (at the time of review) the Asus Strix Pro starts to look extremely expensive when so many others (QPAD QH-90& HyperX Cloud) do more for less.
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