(Pocket-lint) – There aren’t a great many high-resolution gaming headsets out there, but the devices that do exist can make a real difference to your gaming experience. That extra audio range provides more immersion and also helps with things like hearing footsteps in competitive shooters.
The Asus ROG Delta S sports a high-resolution Quad DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) and MQA technology that promises “true to life” audio. So on paper it should be fantastic, but is it? We’ve been gaming and listening to find out.
Lightweight comfortable design with RGB
- Detachable microphone
- Lightweight 300g frame
- Braided 1.5m USB-C cable, 1m USB 2.0 adapter
- ROG Hybrid ear cushions / protein leather cushions with fast-cool memory foam padding
The first thing that struck us about the Asus ROG Delta S upon wearing it for the first time was the comfort. This headset comes with a flexible headband and earcup design that extends nicely over the head and sits in a satisfying way over the ears. But more importantly, it sports D-shaped ergonomic ear cushions, with a choice of either a protein leather or ROG Hybrid finish backed by fast-cool memory foam padding.
Both these ear cushions are included in the box, giving you a choice of what to use – but they’re equally comfortable in our mind. The protein leather cushions do a better job of blocking out external noise though, which means you can focus on the sound.
The D-shaped cushions fit nicely over the ears and they’re both deep and wide enough to not put unnecessary pressure on your ears either. This, combined with the nicely padded headband and the lightweight over ear design, result in a headset that’s comfortable to wear all day for work and then into the evening for gaming.
Comfort and convenience go hand-in-hand with this headset. As standard it has a USB-C connection, which means you can use it with your Android phone or Nintendo Switch and still get great sound. Alternatively, there’s an adapter that converts it to USB-A with ease, meaning you can connect it to even more devices. The detachable mic also gives you the choice of whether you use the provided one or opt for something external.
On the outside of the headset there’s a couple of RGB lighting zones on each earcup: a ring around the outer plate and the ROG logo. This lighting can be adjusted within the Armoury Crate software – there’s a few different effects including static, breathing, strobe, colour cycle and, of course, rainbow. The headset itself also has a hardware button to set it to three different modes – on, off or soundwave. Soundwave makes the lights respond to your voice when you’re talking, which might appeal to streamers.
One thing we were impressed with is the RGB lighting works even when plugged into a smartphone, which is a fairly unusual feature. So yes, you can have RGB on the go with this headset. If you really want to show off your passion for gaming when outside the house. But there’s the option to turn it off too if you don’t want to look like a mobile disco.
Satisfying high-resolution audio
- 50mm Neodymium magnet drivers
- 20Hz-40KHz frequency response
- Hi-Res ESS 9281 Quad DAC
- MQA rendering technology
- 24-bit, 96KHz sample rate
- Virtual 7.1 surround sound
- Custom audio profiles
The main selling point of the Asus ROG Delta S is the inclusion of the Hi-Res ESS 9281 Quad DAC and MQA rendering technology (which stands for ‘Master Quality Authenticated’). This tech means that with Tidal Masters recordings you can enjoy some seriously satisfying sound quality.
We thoroughly enjoyed listening to music this way on a Google Pixel 5. The audio is rich, warm, and has a superb range to it. If you’ve never heard hi-resolution audio before, you’ll soon notice new elements to your favourite tracks that you’ve never heard before.
Best USB-C headphones for Android phones 2021
That same logic applies to gaming too. Plug the headset into a PC, set the 24-bit/96KHz sample rate in Windows sound settings, tweak the equaliser (EQ) in ROG Armoury Crate and get your game on.
Suddenly you’ll find a wider audio range than you’ve heard before. This is great as it often means you can pick up on important sounds more easily. The footsteps of enemies in games like Rainbow Six Siege or Warzone, for example, are much easier to hear and discern their direction from within the game world.
That said, we did feel like this headset oddly isn’t as bassy or as rich as other high-res headsets we’ve tried. Strangely, music is richer than when gaming. And though you can adjust the EQ settings and sound profiles within Armoury Crate, we just feel like it lacks some of the richness we’d expect at this price point.
That said, the virtual surround sound is good and combined with high-res audio it delivers great positional awareness. This headset is also insanely loud. So if you feel like you struggle to hear with other headsets then the ROG Delta S won’t disappoint.
- AI-noise cancellation
- Unidirectional pick up pattern
- 100Hz to 10KHz frequency response
- Noise gate, perfect voice, other settings in Armoury Crate
The Asus ROG Delta S has a flexbile, detachable unidirectional microphone included in the box. This mic offers AI-powered noise cancellation that’s designed to block out external noise and help keep your voice in focus.
We weren’t overly impressed with the mic on this headset, though, but it’s far from the worst we’ve tried.
You can adjust settings for noise gate, perfect voice and the AI noise-cancellation in the Armoury Crate software. But we found our voice was captured more clearly when we didn’t use those settings. This is going to depend on your environment of course, but the quality of the audio can certainly be tweaked in various ways with ease.
The Asus ROG Delta S is a comfortable and easy-to-wear gaming headset that sounds fantastic when listening to high-res music on Tidal.
However, for our ears the audio lacks depth when gaming. It’s not as rich or as bassy as we’d like, but there are plenty of settings to play around with and tweak to your preference.
The included microphone is also not as good as, say, that included on the Corsair Virtuoso – so we’d highly recommend a proper mic as an alternative.
All told, the Asus ROG Delta S is a mixed bag. We love that it works with multiple different devices – a benefit of that USB-C/USB-A connection option – and for music it’s absolutely fantastic. But it’s just not quite as on point for gaming audio.
Corsair Virtuoso RGB
A fantastic alternative thanks to a superior microphone and more connection options with 3.5mm, wireless and USB-A. It’s not as comfortable as the ROG Delta S, but is more impressive in a number of ways and also delivers high-res audio that’s fantastic on PC.
This is a wireless version of the company’s Mobius headset. It features massive 100mm Planar Magnetic drivers and a broadcast-quality microphone. It also works well on PC and PS5 and offers 2.4Ghz wireless, Bluetooth connectivity and 3.5mm options too.
Writing by Adrian Willings. Editing by Mike Lowe.