The latest high-end gaming headset to hit the market is the Spearhead VRX from 1More, which retails for $199.99, and is meant for hardcore audiophiles who desire the best virtual surround sound experience that a headset can offer. The Spearhead VRX doesn’t use tried and true 7.1 virtual surround sound technologies though, rather it offers the award-winning 3D audio Nx tech from Waves. This technology actually tracks your natural head movements and adjusts the 3D sound accordingly, and it works quite well while playing standard games, but works even better when playing a VR title thanks to the extra level of immersion.
I will say that the Waves Nx tech is really cool once you get it working, but to do so you have to use the headset with its USB connection and the driver software that comes with it. The Spearhead VRX will work with standard 3.5mm input devices, but only as a basic stereo headset. None of the features like 3D audio, EQ presets, or the vibrant looking RGB lighting system work without the USB connection setup, so while this headset can work with most modern gaming consoles, you will have to use a PC anytime you want to make changes to its advanced features. Also, if the console doesn’t support USB headset connections, you’ll be forced to use the 3.5mm input, which still offers crisp sounds, but doesn’t even come close to what this headset can do when connected via its USB connection. Plus, this setup disable the headset’s volume and bass level buttons, so you’re stuck with whatever volume your console is set for when it outputs audio to a headset.
Once you install the software and toggle the Spearhead VRX to your liking, it’s ready to treat your eardrums to rich sound profiles and very competent surround sound delivered virtually. I tested the headset on my gaming rig so I could take advantage of the USB connection, but I also used it with the PSVR with the 3.5mm connection to see how that setup sounded too.
As I mentioned earlier, the USB connection provided the best possible sound profiles, and I wasn’t disappointed with what I heard while playing Gears of War 5 on a PC. The 3D audio sounded distinct, and the audio stream would definitely shift across the speakers as I moved my head from side to side to test the head tracking tech. In terms of tracking where gun fire was coming from though, I found the surround sound to be a bit weak in that area. The entire map sounded full of life and provided a spatial audio feel depending on how I was facing the monitor, but pinpointing exact firing locations just through the surround sound became a bit muddy. Overall though I found the Waves Nx 3D audio to be badass, and just as good as Dolby’s own 7.1 surround sound technology.
The tracking feature was even more prevalent while playing through a slew of VR games on my buddy’s Oculus Rift. Thanks to the visual immersion, the whole head tracking audio feature really made me feel as if I existed in the virtual world. It sounded as if speakers were all around me, similar to a Dolby Atmos theater setup. I just wish the headset itself had a physical button to turn on and off the 3D audio feature, because you need to use the software to toggle it, which is a bit cumbersome while playing a game and wanting to disable or enable a feature of your headset.
I also tested the headset on the PS4 playing a PSVR game, and even though I lost all of the USB connection’s functionality, the Spearhead VRX still provided a competent audio soundscape. It’s a shame that the headset doesn’t have a dongle to power its advanced features through a 3.5mm connection, because I really think the asking price would be more justified if the headset and all of its features worked for more than just USB-enabled platforms. This is especially true with the PSVR since you have to run the headset through the device itself, which only supports 3.5mm connections. I also don’t see many gamers sitting next to their consoles to use the USB connection, so to me the Spearhead VRX is more for the PC crowd than the console gaming crowd.
This headset isn’t just touted as a gaming headset either, so I tested it out with music and a few movies on my Mac. Music sounded fantastic as long as I had the 3D audio feature turned off. In fact, when that feature is on it tends to make voices sound a bit too produced anyway, so they come off as a bit soft, which in music isn’t ideal, nor is it for gaming, but I didn’t find the issue to be any worse than most other virtual surround sound headsets. Movies, especially ones with action scenes and 7.1 surround profiles also sounded punchy. I found the headset to perform admirably at providing virtual surround sound while watching Avengers: Infinity War. Although, I’ll never sit at my computer to watch films of this nature, but those who may not own high-end stereo systems, or live around other humans who don’t like having their innards vibrated while watching a movie, would benefit from wearing this headset to watch a audio intense flick.
In terms of design and comfort I’m a big fan of what 1More did with the look and feel of this headset. It’s feels very lightweight on your head thanks to the dual headband system, and the thick padded ear cups fit nicely over or on top of your ears depending on how big they are. I didn’t experience any fatigue while wearing the headset for up to two hours at a time, so I really appreciate the design.
I have to say that I also love the completely useless RGB lighting system, which can be toggled in 16 million different ways through the software. It serves no purpose to the wearer outside of making their headset look rad as fuck. The lights will blink when you talk, but outside of that they have no real functionality outside of just looking fresh as hell. What’s even more ridiculous about the lighting system is that a clear shaft can be pulled down from the left hand side of the headset to extend the lighting system. One would think this shaft was the mic, but it’s not, it’s literally just a decoration. Although, it doesn’t kind of look like a mini-lightsaber, so while it serves no real purpose like the lighting system itself, it still looks cool if looking cool in a headset is your thing.
Speaking of the mic, the Spearhead VRX has a nice noise cancelling one, but it’s nothing I’d recommend using for high-end voiceovers or streams. It suffers from a tinny sound profile, so your voice sounds a bit weak and muted. For the price I would have liked a legit boom mic that goes right up to your mouth, but the pinhole mic setup is what the 1More team went with. The mic is useable for casual gaming and chatting, but it’s not up to par for more intense voice work.
When it comes down to it, through the USB connection, the Spearhead VRX puts out premium-level sound profiles, which you can tweak to your hearts content with the software. I was very impressed with the Waves Nx 3D audio technology and found it to perform better with virtual surround sound than all of the other 7.1 virtual surround sound headsets that I’ve tested. The ability to customize your audio experience is a nice touch too, so I do feel that any serious audiophile can craft the best sounding experience for themselves with the software.
I’m just not sure about the price tag though. The fact that the headset can only perform its advanced operations using a USB connection is severely limiting in my opinion. It would have been nice to have a built-in powered amplifier to use with non-USB connections, but that’s just not the case. You’ll also have to use a PC to toggle its advanced operations, so I feel as if you’re constantly anchored to a computer to get the best audio out of this headset. A mobile app to make changes on the fly would have been useful.
I do consider the Spearhead VRX to be a top-of-the-line gaming headset, but I wish there weren’t as many roadblocks to get the most out of it. If you’re a PC gamer exclusively and have the money to try a high-end headset, then I’d recommend giving the Spearhead VRX a try. It doesn’t sound great with the right setup, and it’s comfortable to wear. Plus, and I know the feature is useless, but I can’t help but be intoxicated with the RGB lighting system. What can I say, I’m a sucker for flair.
1More Spearhead VRX Specs
- WAVES NX HEAD TRACKING TECHNOLOGY- Delivers a hyper-realistic 3D audio experience. Nx automatically tracks your natural movements immersing you into a virtual reality audio environment indistinguishable from being in the game or movie theater.
- 7.1 CHANNEL SURROUND SOUND- For a revolutionary 3-dimensional gaming and entertainment experience. Stay ahead of the competition with crisp audio precision and an immersive soundstage.
- 50 mm MAGLEV GRAPHENE DRIVER- Get in the game with superior sonic detail and Super Bass VR Shock Wave for high-impact bass and sound you can FEEL.
- ENVIRONMENTAL NOISE CANCELLATION (ENC)- ENC Dual microphone technology filters out background noise for crystal clear communication with teammates or opponents.
- CUSTOMIZABLE LED LIGHTING- Over 16 million customizable color options for personalizing your gaming style and experience. LED tube can either be extended or shortened for optimal use.
- ADDITIONAL 3.5 mm CONNECTOR- Premium stereo only sound experience on gaming consoles, Mac OS, or mobile devices.
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