ASUS Strix 7.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review

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Subjective Listening: Music, Movies, and Games

Not everyone hears the same as each other. People’s ears are different and preferences dictate our style. The subjective listening tests in our reviews not only compare the product with other gaming headsets, but also audiophile-grade headphones. Those who don’t regularly listen with higher-end equipment may not notice the sound quality deficiencies we are able to notice.

Music

The Strix 7.1 headset fares poorly as a music headphone. Stereo mode leaves the front, side, and subwoofer drivers active to give the headset its widest frequency range. Unfortunately, details are moderate and if compared to headphones targeted for music, the Strix 7.1’s performance is wholly underwhelming. The sound character is lively with energetic trebles, but subdued bass, and well-endowed speech frequencies that carry more audio detail compared to the rest of the Strix 7.1’s sound range. Most music sounds okay as a result of the headset’s lively character, but poor instrument separation has the worst impact on orchestral works.

Since the audio control station has line outs, we were able to listen to the module’s capabilities as a DAC. Most of these listening tests were done with Grado SR80 headphones. Sound detail from the audio control station was good and very respectable, in ways about as capable as the ASUS Xonar DG sound card.foobar2000

Movies

The Strix 7.1 fairs well for movies, though not much appreciably better than what can be done with a set of good headphones and a sound card. Good stereo separation and rear channels with presence were some of the immediately noticeable features. However, movies aren’t as upfront with positional audio as some video games are and so the Strix 7.1 true surround sound capabilities do little to enhance immersion.

Games

The Strix 7.1 shows the fullest of its capabilities during gaming. Tighter control of the mid frequencies gives clarity to speech and environmental sounds such as footsteps. Warm trebles give gunfire the pop to stand out from other sounds. Unfortunately, this character doesn’t sound realistic and other frequencies, especially lower mids and upper bass produced far less audio detail. The 20mm side and rear channel drivers have a far different and distinct tinny sound character from the front and center channel drivers. Sometimes, sounds coming from the side and rear were realized because the sound source audibly changes across the driver from . So when hearing a tinny sound coming from only one earcup, that cues that an audio source is not coming from the front or center. The small earspace in headphones greatly limits accurate positional recreation unlike that of a living room surround sound setup, but being able to know that a sound is not coming from the front or center because it suddenly sounds different is an interesting solution.

Microphone

The microphone has good recording quality and is capable of capturing voice with little distortion. It’s more than sensitive enough that the boom doesn’t need to be positioned close to one’s mouth. In-fact, having it too close causes clipping in which the microphone fails to properly record the parts of speech that are too loud. The environmental noise canceling microphone integrated into the audio control station doesn’t work consistently. It can filter out the infrequent mechanical keyboard keypress, but fast typing is captured in the recording.

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