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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The Orion Pro may not be Asusí first foray into the headset arena but it is easily their best effort to date. With it, they have let gaming enthusiasts know the Vulcan wasnít just a onetime deal and thereís a new long-term player in the wearable audio market. Just as importantly, it may be part of the elite Republic of Gamers brand but the highly affordable Orion takes aim at pretty much everyone from the average PC enthusiast to hardcore gamers.

Make no mistake about it, this is a product meant primarily for serious PC gaming, but it can handle nearly any task or scenario a typical user will encounter with deftness and excellence. Gamers and everyday users alike will also appreciate the convertible USB and analog options since they both offer a unique blend of strengths and weaknesses.

Usually virtual surround sound headsets fall into one of two extremes. Most are great for surround sound environments but less than optimal for everything else, while others try to provide everything to everyone and end up just being mediocre at everything. The Orion Pro falls into neither extreme; it combines the positional audio abilities of USB virtual 7.1 headsets with the audio abilities of an analog only stereo headset designs.

Regardless of your needs or your current soundcard the Orion Pro should have you covered. Sure the bass is a touch too forward and the highs are a bit too reserved, but anyone this side of an audiophile will find its stereo abilities very pleasing. Combine this with a comfortable design that is neither too heavy, nor too flimsy and the end result is one enticing package. The freedom to instantly transition from analog stereo to USB virtual surround sound without worrying about drivers or software installation issues is just icing on the cake.

There however a few issues with the Orion Pro which are actually byproduct of its extremely easy to use, highly configurable design. In Analog mode the Orion Pro can provide crystal clear sound but it doesnít allow for any virtual surround sound options. To ensure a truly enveloping experience vial positional audio, a gamer will have to resort to the USB connection.

In USB mode the Orion Pro can provide a virtual 7.1 environment via the Spitfire, but this included accessory is extremely basic and doesnít offer any Ďspeakerí configuration abilities. Sound reproduction and clarity can suffer when using the USB connection as well but thatís to be expected. However, when compared against true surround capable headsets such as the premier Cooler Master Storm Sirius, the Orion Proís virtual sound stage is noticeably inferior. This too is a direct result of a lightweight, easy to use design philosophy and donít forget, ASUSí option is a good $40 cheaper than Cooler Masterís alternative. Money talks and in this case, it looks like the Orion Pro is a great deal for a headset boasting a wide range of capabilities.

With the Orion Pro, ASUS has proven that you donít have to spend a fortune to get adaptability, surround sound capabilities and high quality sound fidelity via an analog connection. It is tailor made for consumers who need a simple, easy to use headset which can be used on a wide array of computer systems. If you can afford the $110 asking price, this Ďeverything but the kitchen sinkí headset will provide years of music and gaming enjoyment.


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