Asus has its own line of gaming gear sold under the brand ROG (Republic Of Gamers). Among the products on offer is this rather surprising Vulcan PRO USB headset with active noise cancellation—a feature you don't see every day in this kind of product. Time to take a closer look.
DESIGN & BUILD
Even though external peripherals may not be territory in which you'd expect to find Asus, the firm hasn't scrimped with the Vulcan PRO. This headset has a good build and finish, and is made with quality materials.
The headset is mostly made from black bulk-dyed plastic. This may not feel overly luxurious but it certainly doesn't feel cheap. The same can be said of the red lacquered details too—this kind of finish often looks better in photos than in real life, but there's nothing to worry about here.
In spite of its articulated, folding design, the Vulcan PRO feels sturdy and robust. It doesn't feel like it'll fall apart any time soon, even at the hands of the most boisterous gamers. We found no particular problems with comfort either. The headset is clearly quite heavily built, but it's well padded. Ultimately, it's pleasant to wear and stays in place nicely.
As for accessories, the Vulcan PRO comes with a semi-rigid case and a cable-winder. Both the mic and the cable are detachable.
Active Noise Cancellation
One pretty amazing thing about this headset is its active noise cancellation function. This really isn't something you see every day in a headset, let alone one with a reasonable price tag. And the best news is that it actually works! And it works pretty well too!
Frequency response from the Vulcan PRO (bass at left, high frequencies at right)
You wouldn't buy the Vulcan PRO for its neutrality. It's way too heavy on bass and mid-frequencies are lacking. That's a shame, as this impacts comprehension to a certain extent when deciphering voices in games and conversations. So although the low end of the spectrum will seriously shake your eardrums, it does nothing for the precision of the overall output. At least your game will sound lively ...
Left: THD+N in % / Right: pure harmonic distortion in dB
All in all, audio precision isn't too bad, but due to the strong volume of bass frequencies (see frequency response graph, above), the transducer loses some of its control and distorts the sound rather too much. The rest of the spectrum is cleaner ... until you switch on the active noise cancelling. Although this does a pretty good job of isolating you from a noisy environment, it does create a background sound that can sometimes be distracting.
Basically, you have to choose between cutting yourself of from surrounding noise (like when LAN gaming, gaming with the windows open, etc.) or improving precision and spatial positioning.
Beware of the Surround Sound mode too—this degrades output quality more than anything else.
In the end, while the Vulcan PRO is no match for a real pair of active noise cancelling headphones, it does allow you to get on with gaming in the best possible conditions in noisy environments. Plus it's not overpriced.