Last year we had a look at the Asus’ Vulcan ANC. Now meet Vulcan Pro.
Asus is convinced that active-noise cancellation is what gamers are looking for in a top-end gaming headphone, and so the Vulcan ANC was all about strutting its ANC technology that cuts out almost all of nearby ambient noises and human interruptions. The Vulcan Pro too focuses on that aspect, though also promises to deliver on superior sound quality thanks to the ROG (Republic of Gamers) Spitfire USB sound adapter. The adapter brings virtual 7.1 surround sound capabilities, as well as an FPS equalizer that apparently lets gamers hear footsteps better. It also features an ‘amp’ equalizer presets that expands and bumps up the oomph factor of the soundscape a little.
Design and Comfort
Design wise, the Vulcan Pro is almost exactly like the Vulcan ANC. It still has the sports bike look, with red streaks cutting its slick appearance. The only difference I could spot was that the ROG insignia now has a brushed metal finish than Vulcan ANC’s checkered.
It’s good that Asus didn’t tinker around with the design too much. With the Vulcan ANC, Asus nailed the comfort with the headphones’ “ultra-soft” Japanese protein leather, and thankfully has maintained the same quality and design for the Vulcan Pro. Indeed, they are supremely comfortable, allowing you to game for hours on end without your ears throbbing with pain. The leather also creates a nice suction that quietens ambient noise up to a certain extent. If you want further noise cancellation, you can use the built-in ANC function that literally kills any surrounding noise, swallowing you into a quiet, peaceful place where there is only you and your games. Of course, it would had been more romantic had it not killed all the bass, but it’s a price you pay if you want complete silence while enjoying your games.
As I said earlier, the Vulcan Pro comes with the ROG Spitfire USB sound processor. The benefit of this is that you can then use the headphones anywhere, on any PC, as long as it has an available USB slot. It’s quite nice when you are LAN party-ing, or are in a café and don’t want to mess with the CPU unit looking for an audio jack. The sound processor carries three presets: FPS, Surround, and Amp. I will talk about this a further bit down.
The Vulcan Pro also packs in a detachable mic. I am not a fan of detachable mics as I am sure I will lose them in no time, plus I do not want to go fetch it when I need it and remove it when I don’t – the Vulcan’s mic does not even roll up to the side, you have to remove it when it’s no longer in use or leave it awkwardly dangling.
The Vulcan Pro is designed for gaming, and it’s pretty evident. I wouldn’t say they are terrible for music, but it’s a good bit below average than most gaming headphones I have used. While the sound is clear and wholesome, the overly powerful bass muddies songs even after basic equalizer tweaks. This is when using the USB sound adapter; without it the bass underplays, leaving songs feeling empty and soulless.
This all is miraculously rectified while playing games. Sound positioning and quality is amazing, and coupled with the immediate noise cancellation just by wearing the headphones, it quickly creates an engrossing experience around your ears. Our test bed included couple of rounds in Counter Strike 1.6, a few hours in Guild Wars 2 and Sleeping Dogs, and some Diablo III. Guild Wars 2 is all about expansive, open-world experience, and having a good sound setup is surprisingly a must to fully enjoy the game. The grand, epic scale was well created by the Vulcan Pro, with each of the power attacks of my Warrior carrying the necessary punch and power that they should. This with the headphones' amazing comfort made for some good gaming times.
Coming to the presets, as I said there are three available on the adapter: FPS, Surround and AMP. FPS is designed to making footsteps easier to hear in shooters, but I found it ‘booms’ the sound to an extent that everything just drowns in the ‘buzz’ left behind it. Surround expands the soundscape a bit (virtual 7.1 surround sound), while AMP boosts the volume a bit without crackling it. Both are recommended for gaming as they certainly help in immersion.
If you are looking for an all-rounder, the Asus Vulcan Pro is certainly not the one. Below average performance in music and movies is a downer, but if gaming is your focus then the Vulcan Pro sits right there with the top. It’s got sound quality and comfort nailed down, and the noise cancellation created by the ear cushions should keep vile noises at bay.