It is hard to argue that ASUS has made a name for themselves as a company that isn’t going anywhere but forward within the gaming space. Today, we got our hands on the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Theta 7.1: a headset intent on changing the landscape for what should expect from gaming headphones. Let’s check out what gives these big headphones an even bigger sound and why that statement speaks volumes about them.
- MSRP: $299.99
- Driver Diameter: Front 40 mm, Center: 30 mm, Side: 30 mm, Rear: 30 mm
- Driver Material: Neodymium magnets
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 40 kHz
- Impedance: 32 ohms
- Connection Type: 1.2M USB-C; 1M USB 2.0 Extension Cable
- Noise Cancelling: AI Noise Canceling
- Microphone Type: Unidirectional
- Microphone Sensitivity: -40 dB ± 3 dB
- Microphone Frequency Response: 100 Hz – 12 kHz
- Included Accessories: Detachable microphone, ROG Hybrid ear cushions, USB-C to USB 2.0 Type-A
- Compatible Platforms: PC, macOS, mobile devices, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch
- Weight: 650 g
At first look, the ROG Theta 7.1 is an absolute unit. Coming in at a whopping 650g (or 1.4 lbs), the Theta 7.1 is a solidly built pair of headphones that look pretty stunning. Complete with programable RGB illuminated Republic of Gamers logo, these headphones are absolutely massive and mean to dominate whatever space they find themselves in. That statement isn’t simply a commentary on their physical stature or heft, they provide a soundscape that, once dialed in, is hard to compete within this class of headphones!
That massive sound is created by a total of eight Essence drivers that are powered by four ESS 9601 headphone amps and controlled by a SupremeFX S1220A codec specifically designed for ROG’s built-in 7.1 surround sound DAC.
In case you are lost in all of the audiophile speak, what that all means is that ASUS built these headphones to provide user control over setting as well as making sure they have the right amount of power to create a broad sound that can be full while reducing distortion. This a range of frequencies can be present without overpowering the mix or muddying it.
Speaking of mixing, when paired with the ASUS Armoury II software, the options for control with Theta 7.1 open wide. Users have the option to use presets optimized to specific use cases. Say you want to listen to music, the options get even deeper with Equalizer settings tuned to specific genres. Not enough control? How about add some reverb to give the mix in your head a more “present” feeling with the music. While you are at it, you can throw on a Compressor to bring out the lighter subtleties in the track and bump up the bass to taste.
Where this is beneficial in a gaming environment is that the Theta 7.1 also has gaming-specific presets as well with the same options of control with each setting. Using the example of having the option to set up Compression, this setting could be helpful in setting were the sound of foot sets or event triggers can give you a competitive edge. You will have to spend some time testing and tuning it to your needs, which, depending on your ear, can be a bit time-consuming.
Theory aside, how do the ASUS ROG Theta 7.1 function in the real world?
In order to discern the quality of sound produced, I ran these headphones though an audio tough test – a gauntlet of tracks I run audio devices through alongside gaming experiences to test high, mid, and low-end responses in a variety of environments. For this test, the selection of music includes everything from symphonic scores, technical rock, and EDM (both bass-heavy and ambient) to the spoken word. After running those tests, here is what I found:
The best way to describe the overall soundscape the Theta 7.1 produced is that it is both open and full. The extra amplifiers and driver positioning create a wash of sound that can be quite immersive with being oppressive. As you begin to play around with settings, especially mixing in reverb and compression, the sound environment opens wide with layers. This is going to be a theme that you will see throughout our tests.
In gaming experiences, Theta provided layers that made space for narrative dialogue to have a presence alongside the soundtrack and the action. Explosions felt full without overpowering everything around it. The sound balance felt right for the space. Enabling the Compressor helped often lost environmental sounds to come to life. Even better, this was helpful in PvP situation where any clue to be alerted to an enemy player’s location is helpful.
In the music tests, I found that the Theta 7.1 with its music preset enabled with the slightest amount compression and reverb made each listening experience feel a little bit closer. With the flip of some settings, Theta can accentuate the frequencies that give each genre their defining sound. Whether at high volume or low, each track had good articulation in sound.
The ROG Theta 7.1 is also equipped with a switch to select device type as well as volume controls. It also has a detachable unidirectional microphone. From a quality standpoint, it’s decent for a gaming headset. Give it a listen for yourself.
Coming in at just under $300 USD, the ASUS ROG Theta 7.1 is an impressive pair of headphones – and they should be for the price! They have a solid build quality that does put them on the heavier side, but they don’t feel like they will fall apart on you any time soon. The split cable design, detachable mic, and alternate ear cushion give it some extra versatility whether you are using it on the road or at your in-home battle station.
Theta 7.1 gives a wide array of control to the user, but this is a bit of a double-edged sword. If users have some type of musical acumen or a good ear for sound, this depth of control can be a massive game-changer. On the other side, it could be frustrating to get the right sound out of Theta with so many options to choose from and their impact on one another. With all of those options, too much of a good thing can make them Theta sound like not much of a good thing.
At the end of the day, if you are looking for a pair of USB-based headphones that have a high degree of versatility without sacrificing quality for features, the ROG Theta 7.1 by ASUS is worth taking a look at. They are highly customizable in their settings offering a broad soundscape no matter the application. They are a pricey investment and they are big, but their sound is even bigger.
Note: The product was reviewed with a sample provided by PR.