We’ve reviewed a number of different types of headphones, both wired and wireless, and those that are purpose-built for gaming versus those that are intended more for a broad variety of uses. Today, we’re going into one that is very purpose-built for gaming, but can easily pull double-duty for your work calls. Meet the Audeze Penrose.
Right out of the gate, once I had the Audeze Penrose charged up, I noticed that the sound was a bit crisper and beefier than what I was used to from my regular daily headset. This is for two reasons, as near as I can tell. First, for the wireless connection, it uses a 2.4 GHz USB adapter to communicate with super low latency with your device (the headset can also handle Bluetooth and an analog connection).
The other reason the sound is so good on the Audeze Penrose are the planar magnetic drivers that they’ve built into those over-ear cups. What’s a planar magnetic driver? You can read more about those here. Rather than relying on a cone- or dome-shaped diaphragm, the magnets used work with a very flat and thin diaphragm to reproduce the sound. Combined with their Audeze HQ desktop app, you can dial in your EQ to what you prefer, or even download some of their presets to get things set quickly.
One note about the Audeze HQ app – on a desktop computer, you can’t adjust things when you’re wireless. You’ll need to connect the headphones with the USB-C cable, and then you’ll be able to make the adjustments, as well as check for firmware updates. Once you’re back to wireless, the EQ is whatever you set it at on the headphones, so no on-the-fly changes are possible.
For adjustments while you’re gaming (or, you know, on a work call) the Audeze Penrose offers you some configuration on the headset itself. First off, you’ve got a mic mute switch right on the left earcup. Flip it up and you’re unmuted; slide it down, and now you’re hard-muted (no worrying about finding a mute button in a UI). Also on that left earcup, you’ve got two dials – one is to adjust the volume of the headphones, and the other is to adjust the gain on the microphone. Handy for adjusting to whatever your particular setting is.
Just to the other side of where the detachable mic plugs in, the Audeze Penrose has another button. It’s with this one that you can switch between the various input modes. I most commonly had it in the 2.4 GHz wireless or bluetooth modes, but you can actually have it run both at the same time. Basically, you’re then mixing your audio inputs on the headset – say, hearing the game from your computer or console while piping in Discord chat from your phone. If you’re going to be using that, you’ll likely want to set that mix level via the Audeze HQ app.
Once you’ve got your settings dialed in and the Audeze Penrose charged up, it’s time to pump some audio to your ears. Both the earcups and the pad on the headband are memory foam, and this makes for a very cushy and comfortable wear. Even on my larger-than-average noggin, the head fit right on, and I had no problems wearing it all day. When it comes to the mix, the flexible boom is easy to move into place, or even move out of your way if you need a refueling break.
Once I had the mic gain set on the Audeze Penrose, I left that alone. Unless I accidentally hit it when I was trying to adjust the volume with the other dial (shame those don’t have different textures to tell them apart). The one I used the most was the headset volume. And you’ll need to get used to that one, as your normal volume controls (say, on your keyboard) don’t work when you’re on the 2.4 GHz connection.
If you’re planning to use the Audeze Penrose as your daily driver headset, and not just as a gaming headset, do be aware of the battery life. The stated 15 hours, I came pretty close to, but that also means you’re charging every other day. And with a 4-5 hour charge time (which seemed slow over USB-C), you’ll need to consider your use case. Sure, you can use them while they’re charging, but then that’s a cable hanging off of your wireless headset, which sort of defeats the purpose.
Oh, and a pro-tip for the Audeze Penrose and it’s mute button. Once you’re unmuted, you should be able to hear yourself a bit, as it seems to pipe some of that sound through the headphones. However, if you sound muffled, that’s because the switch was flipped to mute, and you’re only hearing what audio makes it past the earcups.
As a daily-use sort of a headset, I think I’d limit the Audeze Penrose to your gaming sessions, or maybe listening to your music and the occasional phone call. If you’re looking to use it as an all-day work-and-play sort of headset, I think the battery life is going to hold you back a bit. As a pure gaming headset, though, you’ll be ready to go for even a marathon session, and the ability to blend the two sources of wireless input is going to be pretty awesome if you’re doing a lot of online gaming. If you want to pick one up yourself, it’s available for $299 from Amazon, or direct from audeze.com
Tech Specs from Audeze
|Transducer type||Planar Magnetic|
|Magnetic structure||Fluxor™ magnet array|
|Magnet type||Neodymium N50|
|Diaphragm type||Ultra-thin Uniforce™|
|Transducer size||100 mm|
|Frequency response||10Hz – 50kHz|
|THD||<0.1% (1 kHz, 1mW)|
|Earpads||Contoured memory foam: artificial leather|
|Microphone||Detachable broadcast quality mic|
|Battery type||Lithium-polymer (15hr battery life, 4-5hr charge time)|
|Wireless Connection||2.4 GHz Wireless (16bit/48kHz) + Bluetooth|
|Wired Connection||3.5mm analog audio, USB-A-to-C charging|
|Weight||320g (including battery)|