ASUS Orion Pro Gaming Headset Review

Author: AkG
Date: January 13, 2013
Product Name: Orion Pro
Part Number: 90-YAH1910-UA00
Warranty: 2 Years
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Sound and Tonal Properties

For this round of testing we used a combination lossless flac, 320kb/s mp3 and even some lower quality recordings in a variety of genres 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.

AUS’ Orion Pro includes both analog and USB options and the performance of each is quite ditterent. From a music perspective, the USB output results in audio which is noticeably veiled, less crisp and ever so slightly muddy. In gaming scenarios the difference is all but unnoticeable, but when it comes to high quality music tracks, this issue does make itself known almost instantly. The “amp” option may help power high Ohm headsets but the only real difference between having this option enabled or not seems to be an increase in volume levels. The other two options are equally less than optimal for music scenarios.

On the positive side, the difference between the analog and USB options is actually quite minor and will simply be ignored by most non-audiophiles. If you are unable – or at least unwilling – to invest in quality soundcards for every system you intended to use the Orion Pro on, the Spitfire accessory will offer you an enjoyable and consistent listening experience in every case.

As for the overall sonic signature of the Orion Pro, expect a soundstage that is quite warm with fairly accurate frequency response and pleasant mid tones. Most gamers and everyday users will gravitate towards this emphasis on mid frequency tonal properties with rich overlays. However, an expanded, slightly more accurate soundstage will require some minor tweaking via third party software equalizers.

While overly warm, the largest disappointment was the bass. The Orion Pro uses large 50mm drivers so the potential for accurate low frequency response is certainly there but the bass is overly aggressive with very little accuracy. Considering the acoustical properties of most action movies and music genres, this by itself wouldn’t be an issue but the over-emphasis causes some tracks to lose accuracy and become muddy at times.

If your listening tastes run towards classical or other rich and multi-layered music, the Orion Pro may disappoint you in its default configuration. This is a very common issue with “gaming” headsets but we nevertheless were a touch disappointed. On the positive side, by scaling back the bass via our music player’s built in equalizer we did walk away more than satisfied. The Orion Pro’s bass may still lack clarity and detail but it will no longer over-power the mids and highs.

Higher frequencies are one of the Orion Pro’s highlights, provided the bass doesn’t walk all over them. This headset –even in Analog mode – certainly won’t be considered audiophile grade but for a sub-$120 product, it was impressive. There were times when multiple high register instruments were playing at the same time – such as during classical music – that the individual instruments did have a tendency to blur together, but the Orion Pro’s response was still well above average for a gaming headset.

This brings us to this headset’s main priority: play up the mid tones and emphasize vocals. ASUS put a lot of time and effort into this all-important area for gamers and it really does pay dividends. Vocals are very crisp and clear. If your music tastes run toward spoken word or high intensity gaming, the Orion will likely be pure nirvana. Similarly, choir music or any musical allow this headset to really stretch its legs.

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