Today we have tested a gaming headset for you, the CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE is one of the most expensive models on the market. But is it worth the purchase? We will discuss that today.
Why a wireless headset?
Before we start, we will briefly discuss the difference between wired headsets, Bluetooth headphones and wireless headsets. So let’s first ask ourselves the question why you can’t just use a Bluetooth headset or Bluetooth headphones for gaming. The problem has a name: Latency. Latency is the delay it takes for sound to travel from the computer to your ear. In cables, the frequency of the sound travels through the line at almost the speed of light, so without any further processing, the sound is reproduced by the headphones exactly in the millisecond in which the computer generated the sound. Radio is basically just as fast in terms of physics, but the protocols with which Bluetooth, for example, works are not designed to bring data to its destination as quickly as possible, but correctly. It is partly due to these security mechanisms, but also to the encryption of the signal, that there is a quite audible delay with Bluetooth. Although a lot depends on the headphones, Apple’s AirPods for example have a very low latency in relation to each other, in gaming it depends on milliseconds.
Well, there is still a certain latency with many gaming headsets when they are operated wirelessly. But Corsair has managed to limit this to an absolute minimum. Corsair specifies the latency of their wireless system “Slipstream” at 867 microseconds. This corresponds to 0.00087 seconds, so it is not audible.
The CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE also has a range of about 18 meters, which allows you to move freely in a room, but the system usually cannot penetrate a wall.
The functions of the CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE
The CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE is the spearhead of Corsair’s headset range and accordingly has a wide range of functions. There are also a lot of accessories included, so let’s just start with that.
The scope of delivery includes, besides the headset, also the lapel microphone, then of course the receiver/transmitter, which is compact and looks very high quality. In addition, a USB-A to USB-C cable, also very chic, and a jack cable, also this one made of nylon and with chic plugs. Additionally there is a transport bag – Corsair didn’t ask for this, but included a lot of really good accessories.
As you can already see from the list of accessories, the headset can be used in three different ways. Via radio, via USB-C cable and via jack plug, no wish remains unfulfilled. Of course, this also means that there is basically no scenario in which the headset cannot be used.
As you can also see in the accessories list, the microphone can be removed. This is a very practical feature, as it quickly turns the headset into simple headphones. The microphone can be muted via a button on the bottom of the microphone arm. unfortunately, it is not possible to fold up the microphone.
The volume is controlled by a rotary wheel below the right auricle, this is made of metal and feels very good. The volume is also linked to the Windows system. This is also a very practical and well thought-out function.
processing and materials
Like the accessories, the headset itself is also extremely well manufactured. It’s far superior to many other expensive headphones. The headphones are made of milled aluminium, which makes them very robust and looks very, very good. The design on the sides has its pitfalls, though. Firstly, the light from the LED lighting is very directional, meaning that the light is only really bright when you’re looking at it. As soon as you look at it from the side, the light becomes much darker; and of course the material is relatively hard, so dirt is very difficult to remove, as most cloths rub themselves against the material.
The comfort is very good according to the materials.
Control via Corsair iCue
We have already introduced you to Corsair’s iCue software, in the case of the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless SE, the complete control is also done by iCue. Besides the RGB control, the microphone volume and an equalizer can be adjusted here. Furthermore there is the possibility to play a secondary tone. The volume can also be adjusted here. The secondary tone reproduces the sound of the microphone on the headphones. This is especially useful if you listen to loud music on the headphones while playing, but still want to talk at the same time.
The RGB lighting is more or less complex for headphones. There are a few less functions available than with other devices. In addition, it is not possible to distinguish between the two sides, so the Corsair logo on the left and right side always has the same colour.
The equalizer comes with five default settings. Normally, a neutral “pure direct” setting is used here. How good the equalizer is, we’ll get to the sound in part. The sound of the microphone cannot be adjusted in iCue, except for the volume.
Another feature can be enabled and disabled in iCue, which is virtual surround sound. We already know this from the Corsair headset holder ST100.
In addition, iCue allows you to check the battery status of the headphones, but unfortunately not as a percentage, but only with charged, moderate and critical. Unfortunately, this only allows a very rough estimate of how long the headphones will continue to work
The CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE
As always, the assessment of the sound image is subjective. In our opinion, the sound of the headphones is definitely not bad, but it is far from good enough for real headphones. Unfortunately, we can’t confirm this, officially the headphones are supposed to offer a frequency response of 20 Hertz to 40 Kilohertz this is an extremely wide range only unfortunately the headphones don’t sound like they really support this. Especially in the bass range you quickly get the feeling that the headphones don’t support a particularly strong volume.
Even if you intervene here with the equalizer, this will bring only little improvement. In addition, a very clear compressor is used here, which again does not improve the sound. So here you have to pay attention how much you change the equalizer.
The mids and highs are definitely enough and sound good, but we would have wished for a much more voluminous and better sounding bass range Of course it’s quite difficult to make a comparison with normal headphones. If you take for example the Studio Beats Wireless, which cost a good 150 € more, you get a much better sound picture. The same applies to comparable Bose and Sony headphones; but headphones in the same price range also offer a better sound. But of course you shouldn’t forget that we’re talking about a headset here, not headphones.
7.1 Sorround Sound
We just mentioned it, this headset also supports Corsair’s virtual surround sound. This surround sound system is supposed to represent 7.1, and offers corresponding channels. Just like other Corsair products with this technology, these 7.1 channels can be addressed by the Windows system. This means that at least the software has more sound available than with pure stereo sound.
As with all virtual surround sound systems, the sound is artificially shifted in another direction by phase shifting. This works sometimes more, sometimes less well. In our opinion, the whole thing is not very well suited for music and movies. Here it often happens that some phases cancel each other out, which makes the sound quickly sound very compressed. In games, on the other hand, this process can be quite an advantage; it’s very cool to be able to hear what’s happening behind and around you.
Sound of the microphone
Come to the sound of the microphone. The microphone is of course the crucial difference between a headset and normal headphones. Here, unfortunately, one must first say that wireless microphones on headsets are usually not as good as one would wish. Often they sound extremely like a telephone. With the CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE this is almost not the case, the microphone sounds extremely good for a headset, and it looks quite good. Of course it still doesn’t offer the quality of a wired microphone, the Rode Smartlav for example, which we use for our videos, offers a much better sound. However, this is of course wired and a wireless link would cost a lot of money here The sound of the microphone also improves when you use the cable, but fortunately not so much that you would do this all the time.
In summary, the microphone is one of the best you can get, especially in audio chats, phone calls and team meetings. For live streams or recordings, however, the quality is not sufficient here you can’t get around an additional microphone.
What else you need to know..
The CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE is equipped with a rechargeable battery. This battery lasts for 20 hours according to the manufacturer’s specifications, and as already described, the battery status is displayed relatively inaccurately in the iCue software. Anyway, the battery status can also be displayed in the Windows status bar.
However, there is a tendency that the battery discharges itself relatively fast, a major part of the time the system reports that the battery status is critical. Despite this message, the system continues to operate wirelessly for hours without any problems The exact battery level and how long the headphones will actually continue to work cannot be determined To save battery power, the headphones have an automatic standby mode. The headphones automatically deactivate after a set time, as soon as you move the headphones again, they immediately reconnect to the computer. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to estimate how much power this mode consumes. Alternatively, you can deactivate the headphones with the selection lever on the headphones (from wireless to wired).
And a little something that probably won’t bother anybody else: The microphone lights up green when it is active and red when it is muted. For me this lighting is exactly the wrong way round. Red usually stands for “Recording” and green for “Ready to record”. This irritates me and unfortunately cannot be changed.
Unfortunately, the CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE do not offer hi-fi sound from our point of view. But the microphone for wireless headsets is one of the best you can get on the market. The workmanship is very high quality, even the accessories make an extremely good impression. Unfortunately, neither of these things can be taken for granted nowadays. The headset can also be worn very well over a longer period of time, the many connection options also allow for very flexible use.
At the same time, the CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE but also one of the most expensive headsets on the market. With 209 € RRP this is already a real investment. Whether the headset is worth this price is something everyone has to decide for themselves. This depends in particular on the intended use. The voice quality when telephoning etc. is in any case very good.