This time, we tried a pair of headphones / “gamer” headset, the ASUS Vulcan PRO model. What’s new? As the company says, it’s an innovative integration of a noise cancellation system so the most enthusiastic gamers can play free from outside noise and be absorbed by the game.
The Vulcan PRO headphones come in a red box, very characteristic of Asus and the ROG line. On the precisely done front cover, the name “Vulcan Pro” and its prime feature, active noise cancellation (ANC), are indicated. On the back cover, we find a sketch of the headset and a review of Asus; opening the lid exposes the inevitable hard case Badge “Republic of Gamer”.
Opening the box, we find the hard case, inside is the headset and all its accessories.
The headphones are foldable so that they fit perfectly in the case, the accessories included are:
• black hard case
• Detachable Braided Cable
• Detachable Microphone
• ROG Cable Organizer
• ROG SPITFIRE
• flight adapter
We will see everything included in detail, starting with the most important: the headset itself.
The first impression is that it has the cable or the microphone attached, as they are removable for easier transport. Picking up the headset gives a feeling of robustness and quality.
The headphones and pads are black overall, part of the headset has red coloring as the internal mesh that protects the driver. The pads and padded headband are leathery.
On the outside of the hinged sections, the ASUS logo is in bright aluminum color, for the inside, we find R / L inscribed. Note that the hinges are of a metallic material which indicates strength in this component.
On both sides of the headset we find the logo of Republic of Gamer with a metallic design.
On the left side there are 3 elements, from left to right, the female plug for the microphone, plug socket for the detachable cable and a switch to activate / deactivate the ANC or active noise canceling.
On the right side there is a button which opens the battery compartment which is necessary for the function of the hearing aid ANC. Requires one AAA battery (not included).
The stranded cable is really tough, although this may bother some people because of its thickness and weight. The 2.5 meter length can be very comfortable for some (without the extension that includes SplitFire ROG).
On one end is a 4-pin plug that connects the microphone, then at 70 cm we find volume control (the ROG logo can also be seen here) including a switch to enable / disable the microphone and clip for attachment to clothing. It is easy to find the best position for quick access to the volume control; in my case, I fixed the clip to my left arm which gave me quick access to handling volume with my right hand. At the other end we find two plugs: audio (green) and mic (red).
For ease of transport and storage, both the cable and microphone are removable. The microphone has an adequate length to comfortably talk and is of a flexible material which can accommodate the taste you want. It’s black at the center and both red plug bases are visible on the outside of the microphone.
Here we find one of the “strong” components in this product on the headphones, it is a DSP (digital audio processor) that can connect to computers via USB. Use is optional and you can use the headphones directly with our audio source or use with the ROG SPITFIRE.
It is black with a red stripe and the ROG logo in silver on the back and the registered ASUS logo. It has two female plug-ins to connect our headsets and microphone, has 3 buttons (FPS, SURROUND AMP) each with functions as explained later. The USB cable that connects to the computer has a length of one meter.
The case as we mentioned above, has the ROG logo in a metallic shield on the front. The case is black in color with a somewhat “rubbery” but rigid texture. The interior is lined with soft material and also has a compartment to store the accessories. The closure is good quality.
It also comes with an accessory to order the cable with ROG logo in red and flight adapter.
|Driver||Driver diameter: 40 mm
Construction of Driver: Neodymium
|Microphone Sensitivity||-42 dB|
|Frequency response of the headphones||20 ~ 20000 Hz|
|Length of Cable||2.5 meters|
|Distortion (T.H.D)||≦ 0.01%|
|Performance Noise Cancellation||Active:
Maximum> 15 dB
85% ambient noise cancellation
Maximum> 30 dB
|Dimensions||21 x 18 x 7 cm|
|DSP ROG Spitfire||Modes Spitfire ROG USB audio processor:
• Audio Amplifier
• Virtual Surround 7.1
• Equalization FPS
Everything about the sound section, clearly the most important in the review of this product. There are detailed test platforms, software and such that was used for the purpose of conducting this review. Note that the process was running in excess of 50 hours.
- Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit
- Driver Audio: Integrated Audio Card, Realtek ALC269 @ Controller High Definition Audio
- Games: Battlefield 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Assassins Creed 3, Sound optimum configurations
- Communication: TeamSpeak 3, Skype
- Other: Test 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, THX Test. Dolby True HD 7.1
- DAC: AMP / DAC FiiO E17
- ANC Active Noise Canceller
First we should mention that the circumaural headphones have good external noise isolation, with passive isolation up to 30dB depending indicate product characteristics.
As we mentioned, the ASUS Vulcan PRO has active noise cancellation or ANC, to activate this function, we must move the ANC switch, located on the right side of the headset, a LED will turn red on one side the switch when activated. Remember that this function is powered via AAA battery in the right compartment of the instrument.
When activated, an immediate sense of emptiness was felt and a sound similar to white noise or a faint hissing was percieved.
It is important to note that this system of active noise cancellation works best for soft, constant sounds, for example the TV at a moderate volume nearby or, as indicated by ASUS, this feature is designed primarily to reduce the annoying noise of the fans that we have on our computers.
We performed a hearing test from 200hz to 18khz it, with an external audio source, and while it is somewhat subjective, we found the cancellation of frequencies between 800Hz and 1.4khz to better function.
As for music, the sound is diminished by activating the ANC, we noticed a loss in the soundstage, there is a reduction in the extent of the low end and a significant loss of definition. In movies, dialogue goes into the background with the ANC. Still, use while gaming does not show these shortcomings and despite the ANC delivering a tighter sound, positioning is not as affected as note-testing appreciated, just the same “point” somewhat closer to the ANC activated, which with less habituation should not be any problem.
Advantages: Discernible reduction in external noise
Cons: Loss in definition and sound extension, filtering outside frequencies also affected the headset.
Conclusion on ANC: If you are in noisy areas, a noise canceller seems to be a great alternative. Despite this, the sound is affected negatively by activating the ANC, but it’s really only noticeable in the reproduction of music and movies or videos, not in games. This shows that the ANC function was designed especially for “gamers,” as ASUS tells us.
As indicated above, the Asus Vulcan PRO includes a DSP or USB audio processor, which consists of three default modes: FPS, SURROUND AND AMP, each delivering a different preset and which can be combined between them on or turning off any of them.
Notably, the Spitfire ROG improved delivery across every aspect of the sound source composed of at least one of a plate medium. Also, an improvement in the output power being supplied 5V USB is reflected in the output power. Even so, all processing is virtual.
The following details each ROG Spitfire modes available.
This mode was optimized specifically for shooting games: “first-person shooter”. Therefore, testing the games in that genre made sense. The game chosen was Battlefield 3, on par with most current titles like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty Warfighter BO2 in sound.
While activated, we noticed better FPS boost the low end and sharpness, adding a touch of fun to the game, but not the middle range where the voices were displaced to the background sounding somewhat distant, this can be bad if played online with friends or in competitions with communication programs such as TeamSpeak, Skype, Ventrilo or others, because sometimes you tend to lose the voices if the game is in hectic battle.
FPS mode gives the sound of firing guns more alive, as with explosions, so that when disabling FPS mode, these sounds seem a little “off”.
This positioning is enhanced at a small fee; the sound of the footsteps of the players stand out a little better.
In short, this mode gives you a more vivid shade of the low and high ranges, but not the area of the voices you see in the background. If it could be defined in simplest terms, it enhanced in part what is the signature sound with headphones.
This DSP emulates a virtual 7.1 sound; it was not built primarily for FPS gaming experience but still gives us a new alternative.
Within the game, the first impression made upon enabling this feature was ambient noise, at one time became totally present and surround. A clear example is a scenario with rain, specifically on the map Grand Bazaar in Battlefield 3, which is normally almost inaudible but clearly appeared with this mode. Similarly with Assassins Creed 3, the details sounds of the world (environmental sounds) become more present.
The 7.1 adds a more immersive quality, but more doesn’t mean better. In our experience, shooting games were affected in part by positioning. In tests with activated position, thereby “hearing”, it shows somewhat more diffuse Mental positioning, this may affect the actual positioning because the mode is to emulate a surround sound. In contrast, disabling this option, the same “hearing” is much more accurate and therefore our tour of this sound will be more accurate.
In short, this mode does not fully comply clearly where fps game enthusiasts are concerned, in part due to affected positioning. However, the experience in video and film, in contrast to the above, is pretty good.
This mode amplifies the sound, it is estimated between 20% -25%. No change in the characteristic sound of the delivery.
As mentioned at the beginning of this section, the DSP provides a clear improvement from connecting to the integrated sound card, even without activating any form or preset.
For this section, we will move away a bit from gaming to better determine its characteristics. Test platform: Foobar 2000 player (WASAPI (event); Advance Limiter; Resampler (PPHS) Ultra Mode)
There is some extended low and slow, with a punch that would be neutral. There is a “punch” but you don’t feel a soft punch. There is a noticeable separation between subbass and midbass, so in this area you can hear a little congestion and little detail.
All this means, they lack clarity and detail, this is because of the low overhead discussed above. At times the voices lost dialogs resulting in an unreadable presence.
Also, the high frequency is not as widespread, having dropped sharply from 7 khz. They are one treble a bit aggressive and cold.
Derived genres of electronic music are better suited to these headphones, not rock or jazz as much. Guitars and indistinct voices.
It was suggested to test the headset with a Fiio E17 DAC, instead of our DSP. After this, and having connected the headset, direct microphone, integrated sound card, and headset at DAC there was heard a constant and annoying noise, otherwise it appears that there is interference by having two plugs connected from different sources. Yet the headphones were tested only with the DAC.
This earned a remarkable improvement in the soundstage, much longer without DAC, and only the sound card is seen off and every sound congested on a central point. It also improves the power, as the maximum volume level in Windows didn’t provide sufficiently. Other improvements, to a lesser extent, were in the detail and clarity of sound, so you could say that the only major change was in the soundstage.
In short, the full potential can be achieved by the ROG SplitFire DSP, and that can be used together with the microphone without producing the noise that was generated by connecting the two plugs from different sources.
The sound transmitted through the microphone, in simple words, is clean and crisp. As may be noted, it’s a remarkable and strong point within the Vulcan PRO pack. Beyond this there is not much to say but it is a very good microphone.
Another fact is that despite being detachable, it cannot directly connect to the integrated card system because of plug incompatibility.
Based on looks, you might think they are uncomfortable, but these headphones are not as heavy as others. The pads are circumaural (ear pads are within), for hot climates this soon becomes uncomfortably warm. By adjusting the headset to a precise fit, they do not pinch, nor are very loose, yet we cannot ensure that these conditions are maintained over time. Overall, these feel nice when used.
First focus that this product is mainly focused on isolation from external noise for “gamers” playing a game requiring no external disturbances. With its complement, the ROG Splitfire, experience within the game is quite entertaining to enjoy hours and hours using this headset. Music playback clearly leaves much to be desired. Ultimately, as a gaming headset with noise canceling function, it does just fine.
- An interesting and effective option for the insulation of annoying external noise
- Excellent build quality.
- ROG Sliptfire, an interesting element to enhance the Asus Vulcan PRO.
- Cables and accessories removable for easy portability.
- Clean sound delivered by the headphones in VoIP communication
- Poor definition / detail to discerning ears.
- The cable in conjunction with ROG Splitfire can annoy a user with its length and “robustness”.
- Inability to use the detachable microphone on other devices because it does not use a traditional adapter.