The ASUS Orion Pro gaming headset is designed to provide you with a larger than life experience. Firstly it has 50mm neodymium drivers, one of largest in this segment of headphones, with even larger 100mm earcups.
The main headline in the Orion Pro headset is the Republic of Gamers Spitfire USB amplifier that provides 7.1 surround sound as well as an enhanced audio mode specifically for FPS games. The Orion Pro is a direct plug & play device, not requiring any drivers to function properly.
The ASUS Orion Pro comes with three modes, AMP, Surround and FPS, each giving a distinctive sound experience. All of these can be activated at the push of a button and can be run in various combinations as each mode is independent of the other.
Overall the ASUS Orion Pro has a nice solid feel, with thick plastic for basic constructions and both the head restraint and ear cushions come in leatherette. The braided cord with in-line volume controls has a clip too, for easy wearing. So let’s see if the ASUS Orion Pro sound as good as they look.
AMP – Boost the general audio levels, heightening bass and vocals and general mid-range audio. This mode is generally great for both movies and high bitrate music.
Surround – The 7.1 mode actually just makes everything sound hollow, making it difficult to discern the direction from which the sound is coming. It’s decent in movies, but only just. In games this will actually make things harder as background sound of environment and general audio cues is increased too much.
FPS – Any semblance of surround sound is eliminated as the player gets a more personalized feel of what’s going on screen. To help this feeling of isolation, treble is boosted while vocals feel a bit subdued, and mid-range is reduced as well. The end result is a very crisp experience where you can easily detect enemy movements, but at the cost of not getting a more fulfilling experience due to lack of ambient sound and music. While this mode is abysmal for movies and general music, trance tracks did sound good.
Without Spitfire USB – The audio clarity on the Orion Pro headset is surprisingly good with a direct analog connection to your PC’s soundcard. So good in fact, that when I plugged in the USB amplifier, the normal audio (without any mode turned on) sounded a bit muddy. The 50mm drivers come into their own when directly connected, giving you a more realistic sound experience that was great in movies and especially music.
In all honesty I actually enjoyed the ASUS Orion Pro without the Spitfire USB amplifier, even in games. Sure, the AMP mode gives a nice boost to the audio, but at the cost of clarity. The Surround mode is average at best, while the FPS mode admittedly does give an advantage in competitive games.
That said, you’re paying a premium mostly for the USB amplifier, otherwise the regular (non Pro) Orion headset is an awesome headset. The 50mm drivers with large earcups are make a powerful package, and should be considered by any PC gaming enthusiast.