[Review] Luxury Meets Versatility: Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless Hi-Fidelity Gaming Headset
When the Corsair Virtuoso Wireless Headset was released, it knocked the Corsair Void series off the flagship pedestal and replaced it as Corsair highest-end audio peripheral at nearly twice the price point.
However, with the leap in price also came a leap in terms of features and quality, making the Virtuoso a force to truly be reckoned with. There are 2 variants of the Virtuoso - the basic one features plastic earcups, while the SE version features a machined aluminium finish, micro-perforation RGB lighting, a higher-grade microphone, and an additional storage pouch.
Today, we will be taking a look at the basic Virtuoso, so without further ado, let's check out if the Virtuoso truly lives up to its name as a connoisseur of its field.
Ditching the conventional 'gamer aesthetic'
Although the Virtuoso is a gaming headset, it ditches all notion of looking like one. Gone are the sharp angles, chunky coloured accents and propensity for excessive RGB lighting. Instead, you'll a sleek, rounded exterior with fully metal joints and leatherette earcups; RGB lighting is limited only to the logo on each side, as well as a thin band at the tip of the microphone that lights up to indicate your connection status.
Of course, the RGB lighting is fully compatible with Corsair's iCue software, allowing you to sync your headset lighting with the rest of your Corsair peripherals.
The USB header and dongle have also received a stylish upgrade, which is a huge step up from the chunky plasticky ones of previous generations.
Both the cups swivel to lay flat for stowing away or wearing around your neck, while the microphone can be now detached when not in use. This is a design choice I wholeheartedly approve, as I prefer using a standalone desktop microphone; this makes for a cleaner aesthetic as compared to retractable microphones or flip-up types like the ones that the Void series headsets employ.
The headband can be extended by up to 3.5cm on each side, and has visual indicators for you to easily remember your preferred position. The sliding out motion is notched instead of smooth, and produces a satisfying 'click' when fully extended or retracted.
While the headband is pretty well padded, I still started to experience some discomfort after long hours of use, and the leatherette material turned out to be a humidity trap, leaving me with pretty slick roots after a couple of hours spent gaming; this was not an issue with the Void Pro's mesh and foam padding.
On the left earcup, you'll find the microphone port, a 3.5mm port, and a USB-C port; on the right earcup lies the volume dial and wireless mode toggle. The microphone mute button is placed on the base of the detachable mic.
Everything is well-placed and comfortably within reach of your thumbs, so you won't have to fumble around to find what you're looking for. The earcups are large and fit comfortably over the ears, while the clamping force felt just right to me, which is a step up from the Void series' loose fit which allows sound to leak.
Three ways to connect
Thanks to its variety of connections, the Virtuoso is compatible with nearly every type of device. There's a 3.5mm header for phones and handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch, a USB header for wired connections and charging purposes, as well as a wireless dongle that supports Corsair's low latency Slipstream technology.
The wireless range on this thing is nothing short of amazing - there was no signal drop when walking from one end of the house to another, and amazingly, the connection even persisted when I walked downstairs to grab a snack
This means you can get up to take a piss when you're waiting to respawn, and still keep up with whatever's going on in your Discord team chat (for the sake of everyone, do remember to mute the mic when you do this!) I can't vouch whether it actually reaches up to 60 feet or not, but unless you live in a mansion and take frequent walks with your headset in the middle of whatever you're doing, the wireless range on the Virtuoso is more than enough to serve your needs.
Sadly, the wireless dongle is not compatible with the Nintendo Switch in docked mode, which means you'll have to connect your headset via the 3.5mm jack or just use speakers. This could possibly be patched in a future firmware update, but as of now Corsair has not yet revealed any plans to do so.
In terms of battery life, the Virtuoso is also a winner. Boasting up to 20 hours of continuous usage, I found that Corsair has lived up to their claims, with the Virtuoso only needing a charge every few days or so with a couple hours of gaming each night.
Listen and speak with utmost clarity
Simply put, the audio quality on the Virtuoso is amazing. Vocals are clear, melodies are rich, and the bass is balanced just the way I prefer it. The swivel on the earcups helps to create a better seal around your ear, but depending on the size and shape of your head, there might be minor sound leakage - the biggest casualty of this would be the bass, but it wasn't prominent enough for it to be an issue for me.
Apart from music, the headset also performs outstandingly in gaming. Positional audio worked well enough that I didn't notice any issues (the way it should be), while sound effects and footsteps are crisp without being overbearing. If you enjoy customising your audio experience, you can do so within iCue, where you'll find pre-tuned audio profiles, custom equalizer settings, immersive 7.1 surround sound, and sidetone controls.
The microphone is also a gem. In fact, I can confidently say that this is one of the best microphones on a gaming headset I have ever used, wireless or otherwise. The audio quality is clear and static-free, and would rival certain standalone mics.
Buy or no buy?
At US$179.99 (~RM770), the Corsair Virtuoso Gaming Headset will certainly set you back a pretty penny. However, its top-notch build and audio quality certainly justifies its price point if you're looking for something that ticks all the boxes in terms of aesthetics, construction, and sound quality.
Its versatility is also a huge plus, allowing you to use the Virtuoso as your daily driver in every situation, from listening to music on your phone to gaming with your buddies at night. Corsair's Slipstream wireless technology also worked a treat, with no noticeable lag or signal degradation even when taking a stroll away from your PC.
The battery life is also impressive, allowing you to use the headset almost exclusively in wireless mode as it's unlikely you'll run out of battery within a single gaming session - simply plug it in to charge when you call it a night, and you won't have to worry about it the next day.
In fact, the only clear downside I can pinpoint is its comfort over long hours - the leatherette material used all around can become stifling over time, and when used during long gaming sessions, the headband was not as comfortable as I would like it to be. For short sessions however, neither of this was an issue.
Is it worth it? As always, value is subjective. If you have money to spare, it certainly is a well-built device with few downsides to it. However, if you're looking for something that isn't nearly as expensive. Corsair's Void series is still a good choice around the $100 (~RM428) price point.
The Corsair Virtuoso comes in two colours - Carbon and White. For more information, you can visit the official product page here.