I am a bit ashamed to say that I have never found myself on the cutting edge of audio technology. When it comes to speakers, sound bars, or headsets, I have just never taken the time to really set myself up for the most brain melting of sound experiences. In my day to day life, I find myself frequently listening to the noises produced by cheap ear buds. Well, the fine folks over at Audeze seem to want to disabuse me of my aural inadequacies.
Not to be confused with the more concise Audeze Penrose, which will work with Sony consoles, the Nintendo Switch, PCs and Macs, the Audeze Penrose X is geared toward Microsoft consoles and Windows PCs. Appropriately, the Audeze Penrose X sports a brand identifiable coloured stripe along the ear cuffs so you know what to use it with. These headsets even support both Android and iOS operating systems so you can flex on friends and family during innocuous phone calls, if you so desire.
Looking to the build quality here, this headset is lovely. The subdued black and green design looks classy and doesn’t obnoxiously demand attention. The plastic components are smooth and somewhat soft to the touch while still feeling durable and solidly built. The ear cuffs are comfortable memory foam with an artificial leather cover. The unit does have a bit of weight to it, but still remained comfortable after hours of use. While the right can lacks any sort of buttons or ports, the left has all you would ever need. Here we have a charging port (USB-C) and aux jack, a mute switch, the multi-use power button, another multi-use button for mode selection, and a slider from mic volume and audio volume, both of which can be pressed for additional functions. With all these handy controls you can do all the normal pairing and audio adjustments you like, plus adjust volume on in-game chat mixes, and switch between wireless connectivity, Bluetooth, and the hard audio jack.
Now, this isn’t just a pretty set of speakers; there is some impressive tech in this headset. Audeze touts it’s planar magnetic driver technology as the new standard for clarity and detail as well as high powered Fluxor magnet arrays and Uniforce voice coils to reduce any sort of sound distortion. The attachable microphone is noted as “Broadcast quality,” and the internal batteries should give you about 15 hours of juice after a 3 hour charging period. Additionally, an included dongle allows these little monsters to connect wirelessly via a 2.4 low-latency connection.
Now, all of that sounds impressive, but anyone can throw a string of fancy and often made up words around to sound nice. Luckily, this headset truly delivers. The sound quality for music and in-game audio is just immaculate. Between the lovely sounds and noise isolation, likely from the memory foam cuffs as I am unaware of any sound canceling endevours here, I was able to work as effectively as I normally do (So, somewhat) right next to my partner watching violent crime dramas without missing a beat. For gaming and musical adventures, it is a fantastic experience, though probably a little overkill for phone calls, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.
The microphone, however, is not always as phenomenal. So, it attaches easily and intuitively as one would hope, however I found myself needing to do a great deal of fiddling with its position and volume settings to really get the sort of quality I was hoping for. Small changes can make big differences as far as quality and volume here. You certainly can get some high quality recording out of it, but it will take some patience, some practice, and a whole lot of fiddling.
I don’t really have a lot of complaints about the Audeze Penrose X. The price is on the high side for a gaming headset, but the overall quality is certainly worth the investment. I’ve seen devout audiophiles pay over double this price for their discerning tastes, so I can only place this in the entry level of audio snobbery. This headset can maintain multiple simultaneous connects, but switching between them is often buggy, leading to calls on your phone distracting you with the sounds from the game you were just playing, but that feels like something that will only be experienced in edge cases and could be fixed via firmware update.
Overall, if you can foot the price and you want to treat your ears to a truly fantastic phonic experience during gaming sessions, the Audeze Penrose X is a great place to start.