ASUS ROG Centurion 7.1 headset review – Your seventh sense activated!
+ Beautiful design and very comfortable for prolonged usage
+ 10 discrete drivers creating true 7.1 surround
+ ROG Headset stand included
+ Speakers pass-through
+ Plenty of customizations using ROG 7.1 software and Sonic Radar
+ Extra pair of ear cushions
+ Environmental Noice Cancellation (ENC) is definitely worth it!
- USB Audio Station is too light, keeps getting out of position
- Headset cable is too short
- The USB Audio Station is a bit confusing to master
If you spend hours in front of the desktop and gaming is a serious business to you, then you would have realised how important it is to couple your gaming rig to a great headphone. See, I mentioned gaming specifically here, because today, we are taking the ASUS ROG Centurion 7.1 for a spin, which is a REAL 7.1 surround-sound headset engineered specifically for the real gamer in you. If you are an FPS gamer and the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty are your picks, the ROG Centurion will even give you an edge in the game! Check it out~
Unboxing the ROG Centurion
I’ve mentioned countless times before, when it comes to ASUS ROG products unboxing, you are never going to be disappointed. The ROG Centurion is no exception here. The box is bulky but the goodies that it contains explains why. The outlook itself is pretty neatly done. The front face projects the headset while the rear highlights the key features.
But let me tell you this, it only gets interesting as you unbox it further. For starters, the front layer has a foldable flap that shows a black lid underneath it that is securing the content. under that black lid? Actually a series of lid later, you finally get the first peek of the headset.
Look at that ROG shield holding the headset securely in its position. The box is deep, so to keep things neat, only the headset is displayed at the top layer. I know what you’re thinking coz I had the same thought too. If only that shield was part of a headset stand. Or maybe it is?
You don’t see this much! ASUS actually included a headset stand for the ROG Centurion. It looks good too! Underneath the headset, lies the rest of the accessories that are bundled with the ROG Centurion headset.
Finally, under the headset, you will find the rest of the accessories. I’ll run it through shortly, let’s take them out and lay them on the table for better visibility.
Clockwise from top, we have the ROG Centurion headset and its stand, fabric mesh ear cushion, HDMI to 3.5mm splitter, quick start guides, Type-A to Type-A USB cable, ROG Centurion USB Audio Station.
The ROG Centurion feels premium just by holding. The black part of the headset is fully coated with matte teflon. The default ear cushions are made of protein leather and it comes with an option of fabric mesh cushions too. Being plastic material, the headset is very lightweight but still durable. The only part that will be in contact with your body is leather. I swapped to the fabric mesh as I prefer its comfort more than the leather.
The headset itself is very beautiful! The sides of the headset are draped with glossy black and silver plates. The Mayan inspired design which is the ROG signature adds a touch to the orange and black scheme. The gamer eye, which is the ROG emblem adds the final touch boasting the pride you have earned. The microphone easily revolves back into its position when not in use. The shining orange metal piece adds attitude to the microphone.
In case you are wondering, yes, the ROG logo does lit up when you enable the lighting mode, and no, its not RGB.
The ROG Centurion USB Audio Station has a similar outlook as its headset. It looks like a mini spaceship with Mayan designed scheme around the edges. At the top of the Audio Station, there is a rotating knob that functions as the volume variable switch. Around this knob, you can see plenty red lights that will indicate the levels or selected profile option. Now this is dependant on a combination of the four buttons and another knob in front of it.
The four buttons in front of the top knob are the 7.1 activator, Amplifier activator, Microphone ON/OFF switch and the external speakers switcher. The front facade has another knob that is a little trickier. It has options for Main, Mic, Side, Rear, Center, Lighting, Front, Sub and Spectrum. I’ll get on to how to use these buttons later on. It’s a bit complicated at first, but after a little practice, it gets pretty easy to use.
Right above the top knob, there is an ENC (Environmental Noise Cancelling) microphone. This microphone will pick up any noises around including conversations, or even keyboard clicks and cancel them for a much more immersive experience. To switch this off, you can use long fingernails to toggle a small switch at the bottom of the ROG Centurion USB Audio Station.
|Connector||USB Station to Desktop: USB
Headphone to USB Station: HDMI
Rear: 20mmDriver Material: Neodymium Magnet
|Microphone:||Uni-directional, 50~12000Hz, -26dB|
|Cable:||Headset cable: 1.5m
USB cable: 1.5m
Setting up the ROG Centurion is very straightforward. Just plug the USB cable to the desktop and connect it to the Centurion Audio Station. Then plug the headset to the headset socket – not to be confused with the one next to the USB socket. That one is for your external speakers. Which you can plug in the provided HDMI to 3.5mm jack and extend another (up to) 7.1 setup that you might have on your desktop. Next, download the ROG 7.1 software form ASUS’ website and you’re good to go.
The cable of the headset is too short for my use case. My desktop is on the floor, right side of my table. The USB cable is perfectly long enough to put the Centurion Audio Station to the right of my display monitor. It wasn’t long enough to reach to the left side of the monitor, where, trust me, you would want to put it there so the cable don’t mingle around with your mouse. So I was only able to put the Centurion Audio Station to the right of the monitor. Plugging in the headset, the cable is not long enough to go around my keyboard and extend from the left side instead. I mean, it does elongate, but with this, my movement is much restricted. I think the headset needs at least 2m to 2.5m length cable. And since it’s not unpluggable, there’s nothing much I can do about this other than rearrange my desktop.
The next thing is that the Centurion Audio Station is too light. Or it doesn’t have good grip. A little movement is enough to prod it all over the table. I tried several things like cleaning the rubber feet and my table, but it just wouldn’t stay in one position. And because the headset is plugged at the back of the Centurion Audio Station, you would be struggling to keep it facing front towards you – which is very important because you really need to use the buttons a lot. That leads me to my next topic.
The buttons on the Centurion Audio Station can seem pretty complicated. It requires a little practise to get familiarising. Most of the actions that you can do on the Centurion Audio Station can be tweaked over the software but while in a serious game, you would not want to switch your window to the software just to do tweaking, right? So how does it work?
Keep in mind first, that the top knob works two ways. Rotating being one, you can also press it inwards for “activation”. Now, you would want to focus on the first four buttons first. The 7.1 button switches the Centurion Audio Station into surround or stereo mode. When you switch this off (going into stereo mode), You could only function the Centurion Audio Station in “Main” mode in which spinning the top knob will affect overall headset volume. Pressing the top knob in this case will switch mute the headset.
When you switch the 7.1 to “ON”, you can now tweak the volume of every speaker in the headset by turning the front knob to either Main, Side, Rear, Center, Front or Sub. In this case, turning the top knob will alter the volume of that particular speaker respectively.
The next button is the AMP which is pretty straightforward. Switching it on will activate the built-in amplifier enhancing the sound. The button next to it (MIC) is to activate the microphone. You actually have to disable the mic from the Centurion Audio Station. If you have this button enabled, even while your microphone is fully folded inwards, it will still capture the surrounding sound. In case you don’t want to extend the microphone, this can be pretty nifty. The last button is “Speakers” which will switch the sound to your external speakers if you have one mounted.
Now, to make things even more interesting, there are two extra options that you can tweak. Turn the front knob to “Lighting” and then press the top knob to activate the lighting LEDs. You can now choose whether you want the LED to blink or remain static. If you want the light to switch off, just press the top knob inwards and the LED on the headset will switch off.
Next, you can turn the front knob to “Spectrum” and activate it by pressing the top knob. Now, you have four modes activated on the Centurion Audio Station that allows you to let the ROG Centurion to automatically tweak the audio environment to four different game modes: FPS Gunfire mode, FPS Footsteps mode, Action/RPG mode and Racing mode. And trust me when I say this, it really feels surreal when you are playing the respective game!
The ROG 7.1 application itself is really powerful! It provides you plenty of options to tweak the sound for each of the speakers separately, setup your own equalizer, alter the microphone’s noise gate, add some reverb based on your preferred environment, boost the bass, add compression, setup your profiles, export and import them. The equalizer itself is a full-spectrum equalizer with ranges between 32Hz all the way to 16KHz.
There is also integration to Sonic Radar PRO which you can easily enable or disable it. If you enable it, you can then tweak your Sonic Radar PRO settings too.
Of course, Sonic Radar Pro gives you a bonus edge in-game by identifying the source of sound. The accuracy of this application is so scary, it feels like cheating. You can enable an overlay within your game to let it show you where the enemies are coming from, or where the source of bullet shooting sound is coming from, or identify which base is the C4 planted in, and a whole lot more! Then again, having 7.1 headset, you wouldn’t really need this, I suppose?
The headset itself has five drivers on each sides to deliver the audio. The subwoofer itself uses 40mm driver that delivers punchy bass. Even listening at loud volumes, you barely hear any crackling or stress on the speakers. Coupling this to the built-in ESS amplifier – which is the world’s highest performance headphone amplifier, the sound that the ROG Centurion delivers is just amazing! If you are keen to know more, the ROG Centurion is using the ESS9601 Hi-Fi headphone Amplifier.
The ROG Centurion is as comfortable as good as it sounds too! I burnt-in the headset for a total of 24 hours to achieve it’s absolute form. Using it for 5 – 6 hours continuously was effortless. In fact, while being this bulky, it almost feels like you’re not having it on you. And if you want to make it even more comfortable, I would suggest seriously trying on the fabric mesh cushions. You might never revert back to the leather cushions. The only annoyance that ASUS needs to rectify is the fact that the audio cable keeps getting in my way, but that’s just my setup. Still, to achieve perfection, I expect the ROG Centurion to adapt itself rather than the user having to adapt. Afterall, it’s ROG.
Paying a price of RM1479 does put my expectations very high from a gaming headset. The build quality is impressive, the finishing is immaculate, the sound is amazing. Pretty much whatever you want from a very good headset, the ROG Centurion has it. Forget about virtual 7.1, this is THE 7.1 environment that you need for the absolute gaming experience. If you have ever tried the ASUS Strix DSP and have been impressed with this, then you would be blown away if you get your hands on this ROG Centurion. It’s huge but fits very comfortably on your ears and head. Just don’t expect it to work on anything else other than your desktop :)