Anyone that has followed us knows that we love gaming headsets. We’ve tested some truly remarkable headsets over the years; we’ve had the streamers’ favourite Astro A40 with Mixamp Pro, and the technological powerhouse that is the Audeze Mobius, to the excellent multi-use capabilities of the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero, and the truly outstanding quality of the Audeze LCD-GX audiophile headset. Now, with the ASUS ROG Centurion, there is another contender in the mix.
Obviously, ‘Best’ is a very subjective term. In this case, we are factoring in overall performance, the number of features, and importantly, the price. The ROG Centurion can be picked up for as low as £160 or even less if you trust second-hand sources on auction sites. For that price, we’d argue there’s not a lot out there that offers as much bang for the buck.
One of the most exciting gaming headsets I have seen, the ROG Centurion’s spec list reads like a checklist of all of the most desirable features you would want from a gaming headset. Somehow we missed this one when it first released, but even now it holds up against some stiff competition.
Offering true 7,1ch surround sound, with a whopping 10 individual drivers enclosed within its frame, the ROG Centurion promises a level of fidelity and clarity that is hard to match. Whether this can equal the amazing Audeze Mobius with its Waves NX virtual surround sound processing remains to be seen, but on paper, it sounds tremendous.
The quality audio doesn’t just stop with the headphones either. If you were to read the specs for the microphone, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the specs for the headphones themselves. With a frequency response of 100-12000Hz, this headset can pick up every nuance of spoken audio up to the highest-pitched squeal of delight. To put it into context, many mid-range headsets can only reproduce from 100-10,000Hz audio, so for a microphone to carry this level of fidelity is amazing.
(At 40 years of age, I can easily pick up on the lower frequencies down to 50Hz, while I can still hear frequencies up to 14,500Hz. If you want to check your own upper-frequency hearing limit, make sure your headphones can produce up to 20,000Hz audio, and search YouTube for Headphone sound test)
Not content with just offering an excellent set of cans to put on your ears, the ROG Centurion 7.1 comes with a hi-fi grade ESS amplifier to further improve the audio. No longer do you need an expensive sound card, the Centurion’s integrated amplifier ensures you will get the best quality audio for your headset.
In addition to the amplifier, you also have access to ASUS Sonic Studio, which affords you full customisation over the EQ and 7.1 speaker balance, so you can fine-tune the Centurion to your exacting standards. What could they do to make this even better, you may ask? ASUS also offers Sonic Radar Pro, which detects in-game sounds, such as gunshots and footsteps, from their frequency. These audio cues are translated into an on-screen visual cue, which will let you know exactly where the sound source is coming from. Is it cheating? No. Will it give you an advantage? Definitely!
Ear cups are interchangeable between the included fabric ear cups and the protein leather options. If you aren’t sure what the difference is, the fabric coverings offer enhanced breathability and comfort, at the expense of creating a solid seal around your ears that the leather provides. Personally, I prefer the improved audio fidelity and noise-cancelling effects of leather, but if you are playing in a warm environment or prefer the softer fabric covering, both are included as standard.
The ace in the hat for the ROG Centurion is the Plug-and-Play audio station, which features a USB sound card, in-game audio profiles and a headphone amplifier. An excellent feature we noticed from the specs is a switch to transfer audio from the headphones to an external audio source. We run our computer through headphones for evening or multiplayer gaming and through an external surround sound system for single-player gaming. The ease with which the signal can be switched is a definite boon for the ROG Centurion.
The audio station also enables you to adjust the volume for each surround sound channel. This feature is admittedly becoming more common, as Logitech also features this in their excellent G635 headset, however, it’s still a noteworthy feature that is not only useful, but also great fun playing around with the settings (admittedly, we are audio geeks, and any opportunity to play with sound is fun to us!)
As you would expect, the Centurion features four audio profiles to enhance sound and increase awareness of environmental effects in certain game types. Astro are experts in this area, as are Turtle Beach, however, as we found with the Audeze headsets, not all applications of audio profiles are equal, so we are keen to see how ASUS ROG approach this conundrum.
The final feature we are very excited to experience first-hand is the microphone built into the audio station, that filters out unwanted audio signals from things like keys clacking, or external speech, so that what your friends hear online is you, and you alone. How this affects the aforementioned excellent frequency response of the microphone remains to be seen, but as far as specifications go, the ASUS ROG Centurion looks like a possible contender for best PC Gaming Headset.
We have reached out to ASUS for a review unit, and hope to bring you the full review soon!