Conclusion, Pricing, and Final Thoughts
This page details my final verdicts for each of the Corsair Vengeance headsets as well as giving you some information on how much they will cost should you decide to pick them up for yourself. Let’s jump right into the conclusion.
For me, the most important question that I had coming into this review is whether or not these two headsets were worth buying. This page is the culmination of my search for the answer to that question. While this review has been a long time coming, I finally have a definitive answer for you. For those jumping to the conclusion page for the short answer, it is “yes” but if you want to know the “why” and “for who” behind that yes, read the specific verdicts below.
As my first hardware review for PC Perspective, it took me a lot longer than I ever expected it to, but I have to say that I’ve learned a lot from the process. When I set out to research my own pair of headphones, I found reviews that were all over the spectrum. Some mostly focused on aesthetics, some got really technical on the sound performance and audiophile analysis, and a fewer number of reviews were “just right” there in the middle with just the right mix of details. At least for me, a headset is ideally a long-haul purchase and something that is supposed to last through at least a couple computer upgrade cycles (darn college student budget!). I wanted to be sure that I could stand behind my recommendation and provide you with the kind of details and observations that would most help you to decide for yourself if the hardware is worth looking into. I know that I’ve left a lot of room for improvement, but I hope that I’ve done an acceptable job in informing you on what the Vengeance headsets are all about. If you have further questions that were not addressed in the review, please submit them in the comments section below and I’d be happy to try and answer them for you!
Update: One of my issues with the headsets involved having to choose between microfiber with the 1500 or leather padding with the 1300. However, it is possible to switch the padding out, though the replacement pads are a bit pricey. Please note that I did not consider the replacements in the conclusions because they were not included in the package, and I can only judge them for what they come with. Even weighing them in, the results – in my opinion – stay the same as far as awards because the greater choice is balanced out by the cost of the replacements. It is nice to see that Corsair is offering the option though, and something I felt worth noting for those that prefer the alternate padding material. You can find more information about this on the (last) resources page.
Conclusion: Vengeance 1300 Gaming Headset
What it is
The Vengeance 1300 is the latest analog PC gaming headset from Corsair. Constructed of matte black plastic with blue (and glossy black) accents, it combines a pair of headphones and an integrated boom microphone. The headset employs 50mm drivers and a noise canceling boom microphone to deliver good gaming and voice communication performance.
The headset is available for purchase now with an MSRP of $79.99. At time of writing, online prices vary between $60 and $80 USD.
What I love
I love the design and build quality of the Vengeance 1300 headset. They provide plenty of braided cable and a lightweight control pod which makes it easy to hook it up to any sound card and still have room to move around. Sound quality in general was good, especially in games.
What I'd like to see improved
While I generally like the headset, there are a few issues I have with it that I think hold it back from reaching its potential. On a hardware standpoint, the leather ear cups look nice, are easier to keep clean, and do well at isolating the user from outside noise, but over long periods of time they become rather uncomfortable (thanks to the “ear sweat” phenomenon).I think that having an option of microfiber cloth would make the analog headset a lot more desirable.
I also ran into issues on certain sound tests where the sound appeared to be muffled. It did not happen on all the tests so it may not be the headset’s fault – I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt on this one. The only other changes or improvements I would like to see included is a detachable cable like the SteelSeries Siberia that I use as my personal headset. Having all the cable is great for desktop use but it becomes a pain to manage when using with mobile devices or even a laptop. Not really a gripe/problem considering that that use case is not Corsair's primary focus with this headset, but something that I think would make the company’s headsets better.
It may also be worth mentioning that I did not care for the CMSS3D support. It simply was not as believable as the Dolby Headphone and virtual 7.1 surround sound modes that the Vengeance 1500 supports. To my ears, it just did not sound very good, though your results may vary here. I think this may be more of a personal preference thing, and in the end I judged it based on stereo performance (its primary focus) but may still be worth noting if you are considering this headset for that specific feature.
I have covered a lot about this gaming headset with this review, but in the end it all comes down to whether or not I can recommend it. There is a lot to like about the Vengeance 1300 despite some faults which had me going back and forth on this versus other headsets. When I took price into consideration – where you can find it for around $60 if you do some searching around the Internet – it becomes a lot easier to recommend. Because, for sixty bucks, you are going to get a good gaming headset that I think you will enjoy. It will perform well with game sound and voice communication, and it won’t hold you back too much in other tasks. If you are primarily going to be gaming and need an analog headset, check the Vengeance 1300 out.
I’m giving it the PC Per silver award because it does deliver on its promises of a quality sub-$100 gaming headset. At the same time, I see room for Corsair to improve the Vengeance headset even further (to make it even better!).
Conclusion: Vengeance 1500 Gaming Headset
What it is
The latest wired USB gaming headset from Corsair, the Vengeance 1500, takes a noise canceling microphone, 50mm drivers, and a virtual surround sound capable sound card and wraps it all up in a stylish black headset with brushed aluminum and blue accents. Being USB based, it is compatible with Dolby Headphone and (albeit virtual) 7.1 surround sound sources in addition to standard stereo operation. The Dolby technology worked much better than the CMSS3D technology in the Vengeance 1300 and in many cases delivered believable directional sound.
The Vengeance 1500 headset is on sale now with an MSRP of $99.99. With that said, it can be found online for as low as $70 and as much as $110 USD online.
What I love
I really like the sound quality and design of the Vengeance 1500. The surround sound wasn’t perfect but when it worked, it worked really well. Being able to easily switch between stereo, Dolby headphone (up-mixed stereo content to surround sound), and the virtual 7.1 mode using the software control panel was neat. The microphone was decent and Corsair did provide plenty of attached cable. The control pod has held up to heavy usage well, and the buttons are still as "clicky" as ever. I also like that only one USB cable is required to power the headset and deliver audio input and output.
What I'd like to see improved
On the audio side of things, it was generally good, but I'd like to see some further tweaks to the algorithms used in the virtual surround sound modes to make them even better. As I mentioned above for the Vengeance 1300, I would love to see a detachable control pod such that the longer cable is optional. While the extra braided cable is appreciated, there are times when managing all the excess can be a pain. In keeping with the control pod, I would also like the ability to turn off the LEDs or at least turn down the brightness. I imagine that this is something that could be tweaked in the software control panel to allow the option. During the day it is not a problem, but at night the LEDs (especially when the mic is live and they are emitting blue light) are rather bright. The red color is no so bad but at night the blue color can be intense and distracting at times (thanks for that, glass topped desk!).
The only other issue (for lack of a better word) involves the hardware itself. The headset is noticeably heavier than my personal headset and even the Vengeance 1300 – likely because of the brushed aluminum accents and slightly beefier build. It is not really a problem, but it is something that takes getting used to (see ergonomics section for more details there). The Vengeance 1300 feels to be the ideal weight of the three headsets I tested, it feels sturdily built but still very lightweight. I think I would even give up the brushed aluminum if it meant shaving a few grams off of the 1500 series as I otherwise like the fit and materials used (the microfiber ear cups in particular are more comfortable than the 1300's ear cup material). Again, personal preference but I think this would all result in an improved headset.
The Vengeance 1500 adds a sturdily built, comfortable, and good sounding headset to the company’s portfolio. While it is not perfect, I really like it in spite of the faults. It is comfortable over long gaming sessions, looks good, and has believable virtual surround sound. If you have a hard budget of $100 or less and are in the market for a good headset – provided you are not already heavily invested in a high-end sound card – the Vengeance 1500 is a really good place to start your research and is worth looking into. Personally, I think it’s worth buying for the price, especially if you can find it on sale (speaking of that, it’s on my wish list for myself heh).
I am awarding this headset the PC Perspective Editor’s Choice award because the design really appeals to me (what can I say, I love brushed aluminum and blue accents), it is comfortable over long gaming sessions, and it delivered a good experience in gaming and movies. I came away impressed with the virtual surround sound – I had my doubts when coming into the review, but was pleasantly surprised. Overall this is something that I liked and could recommend to friends. It’s worth buying and because of those qualities, I think it deserves the award.
And here is a video of the conclusion, which essentially goes over the same points as above, but in video form. I'll forewarn you that it is not heavily edited for length ;).