Under my desk, hidden from sight, a half dozen gaming headphones dangle. They include models from Astro, Logitech, Razer, HyperX; each taking turns being used during gaming sessions. But lately, they’ve been gathering dust thanks to a new pair of headphones.
The Victrix Pro AF ANC headphones are a thing of beauty made of carbon steel and aircraft grade aluminum, an industrial design in black that pops with bits of exposed purple wiring and relatively subdued lighting. But that’s not the main appeal, what really keeps bringing me back to the headphones is their feel and sound. The headphones feature 50mm speakers that drive into circumaural, memory foam earpads which are covered with seemingly seamless faux leather. Each earpad also has a clever ventilation system that makes use of a lever to lift the back of the pad about 14mm away from the ear. This not only cools off your ears, but lets you talk to people around you without having to take off the headphones or slip one ear free. I ended up using this feature much more than I ever would have predicted.
A split head-band cushion, which rests on the top of your head when you wear the headphones, also makes wearing these for long periods of time much more comfortable than most. The team at Victrix also designed the headphones to rest on a diecast four-axis slider that allows you to easily adjust them but also means you can twist them to rest flat when they’re off and resting on your neck.
The ANC version of the headphones means you also get some pretty hefty active noice canceling. Four built-in microphones arrayed across the two headphones actively listen for environmental noise and, when it’s active, cancel that out, leaving you in a virtual cone of silence while playing, free to focus strictly on game sounds and chat. An in-line controller, which has a nifty hasp to hook onto the outside of your pocket, not only turns the ANC on and off, but it also lets you switch between two sound modes (Euro and US tuning), switch the lighting effects of your headphones and adjust volume, monitoring and mic gain.
Finally there’s the microphone, which Victriix says uses the same mechnical filter design originall created for Cobra attack helicopters. The microphone boom is adjustable and features a little replaceable lable that can be swapped out to show a tiny mustache.
After spending a month or so with the headphones, it’s easy to say that this is my favorite pair of gaming headphones. That said, there are a couple of things I wish were don’e differently.
The in-line switch uses regular batteries, which seem to only last about a week during my tests. I like the ability to swap out regular batteries, but it would be nice if there was also an option to plug the control into a USB port to draw power.
My only other complain comes from a desire to use this headset a lot more. Right now there’s no way to use this headset without the mic attached, which means I’ll never be using it for my non-gaming needs. That particular decision, though, was driven by the company’s sole focus on gaming and specifically on competitive gamers. The Victrix has a very specific audience in mind and is designed perfectly around that conceit.
The Victrix Pro AF ANC headphones remain in beta, though you can pre-order them now. They’re currently on sale for $199 (down from $299) and come with a bunch of little freebies.