For these games we use the Sennheiser 595 and Cooler Master Storm Sirus headsets for comparison purposes along with the ASUS Orion Pro headset.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
BioShock 1 & 2
Borderlands 1 & 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1, 2 & 3
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Just Cause 2
Left 4 Dead 1 & 2
Saints Row 3
A Quick Note bout Comfort
For long term comfort during marathon gaming sessions Sennheiserís excellent 595s are hard to beat but the new Orion Pro is still very comfortable. The large, all-encompassing cups wonít pinch your ears and the lightweight design seriously enhances long term comfort.
Unfortunately, Orionís cushions are about half an inch too thin which can cause the inner ear to press up against each cupís inner chamber. The pressure isnít all that great and wonít be painful but it will become an annoyance for some. However, unlike most headset which use faux leather wrapped padding for the ear pieces, the Orion Pro actually seems to breathe, causing much less sweat buildup than similarly constructed products.
With gamers being the primary market for ASUSí Republic of Gamers brand, the Orion Pro certainly has some big shoes to fill and thatís exactly what it does. This headset offers a depth of clarity which is truly impressive and doesnít require ear-splitting volume levels to hear nearly every single in-game sound.
If you do like to have the volume set high, the Orion Pro is more than game and doesnít start to bloom until the volume is cranked all the way to its maximum level. This really is one of the first gaming headsets weíve reviewed which boasts an ability to remain neutral and well behaved through every volume setting. The closed earpiece design also enhances this perception by effectively blocking a lot of outside noise and restricting sound from disturbing those around you.
The mic is also above average in its abilities. As long as its gain isnít set overly high, it wonít allow much Ė if any Ė ambient noise to leak through onto a channel. The fully retractable nature of the mic also allows it to be stored safely away during those non-sociable moments and the flexible boom is exceedingly well designed.
Overall, when it comes to gaming in analog mode there is no area the Orion Pro really needs to be improved upon. It may not provide a virtual surround soundstage without the Spirfire plugged in, but the clarity it affords users will more than make up for this. If anything, ASUS deserves some credit for designing headphones that offer the stereo sound fidelity which gamers want without sacrificing the possibility of 7.1 playback should someone require it.
USB Results w/ Spitfire
The USB gaming abilities of ASUSí Orion Pro may not have come off as well rounded as the analog aspects but there are some redeeming qualities. On the one hand these headphones are perfectly capable of providing a reasonably good virtual soundstage with gaming-centric capabilities. The crack of guns or the blast of an exploding grenade or other positional aspects have been given a good amount of directionality despite the fact that thereís only a single driver for each ear. However, these abilities are usually no better than what most inexpensive USB headsets are capable of offering. As mentioned in the music section, using the included USB Spitfire attachment does tend to result in a slightly more veiled soundstage and some sound fidelity can be lost. Unfortunately, thatís just the nature of the somewhat limited USB interface subbing in as a high bandwidth audio processing medium.
Losing the capability to tweak the virtual soundstage for personalized configuration can be quite limiting when compared against other headsets which allow nearly limitless customization. No two people are alike in how they hear virtual surround from stereo speakers, but the Orion Proís strict reliance upon its default configuration sans software does handicap it compared to similar options from manufactures such as Cooler Master and Corsair. The Cooler Masterís Storm Sirius also offers dual Analog/USB abilities but incorporates a much more advanced USB controller with easy to use fine-tuning abilities, albeit at a slightly higher price. Thankfully, the Orion Proís out of box configuration presets are very good, quite adaptable and the loss of tweaking options should not be noticed very often.
Helping to make up for these deficiencies is the simplicity this headset offers. Not having to worry about any software installation Ė besides the automatic standard Windows OS driver installation Ė makes for a great plug and play experience. No matter what system you use the Orion Pro on you can be assured it will work and provide the exact same user experience. This can come in handy for hot-seat LAN events, when visiting a friend or simply when switching from one computer to another.
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