Sound and Tonal Properties
Sound and Tonal Properties
For this round of testing, we used a combination of lossless FLAC, 320kb/s mp3, and even some lower quality recordings, for a total of over 24 hours of audio tracks. A wide variety of genres was used in order to ensure that we encompassed most people’s listening choices.
Let us preface this by saying that subjectively speaking, the Vengeance 2000 sounds very similar to the 1500. This means it is a fairly neutral-sounding headset that puts only a mild emphasis on mid tones. If you are so inclined, the music’s slight coloration is easily removed via the software equalizer.
To be perfectly candid, however, this headset is not designed with the audiophile community in mind. It is first and foremost a gaming headset, and gaming headsets almost invariably place more emphasis on virtual surround sound abilities rather than on sound fidelity. The Vengeance 2000 is no exception this rule.
As with the Vengeance 1500 before it, we found the 2000 to have somewhat veiled tonal properties, and its soundstage tends to be much smaller than that of many analog headsets. Unfortunately, the 2000 is slightly worse than the 1500 in this regard. To make an analogy, the Vengeance 1500 sounds a lot like the Vengeance 1300 connected to good onboard audio, whereas the Vengeance 2000 sounds a lot like the Vengeance 1300 connected to bad onboard audio. The highs are even less precise than the 1500’s, the lows are downright “muddy and thuddy,” and even the mids are not all that crisp. The one saving grace is that the mid tones are slightly more forward, and while not exactly crisp they are more noticeable, especially when listening to spoken word and jazz.
This difference is not the fault of the headset itself, or even the second-rate USB DAC Corsair has once again opted for. This reduction in quality is actually a result of the headset’s wireless nature. As with every other wireless USB unit we have used, in order to beam the signal to the headset, a certain amount of additional compression is required. Although this compression is all but unnoticeable on lower quality 128kb/s mp3 recordings, it does become apparent on lossless FLAC material.
On the positive side, the audio performance is still more than adequate for most consumers, and unless you are an audiophile you may never notice the reduction in quality. In our opinion, the moderate additional loss in sound fidelity is more than made up for in the freedom of movement Corsair’s Vengeance 2000 affords the end user.
When compared against the 1500, the Vengeance 2000 really is the better overall option between two somewhat deficient devices. Many will take offence at Corsair’s temerity in labeling four of the pre-configured equalizer options as “audiophile,” but the enhanced pre-configured equalizer options mask most of the issues with sound quality fairly well. If you prefer a bass-heavy sound, the “Audiophile +1” will be perfect as it cranks the bass to 11 and brings it to the forefront. It is unfortunate that doing so creates a fatiguing sound profile, but you will no longer notice the overly compressed nature of the sound emanating from the speakers.
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