Audeze Penrose X Sound review: reference class, but...

 The Audeze Penrose X has been on the market for a few months, but due to delivery problems we haven't had the opportunity to test it for you. Now we've finally got hold of a sample of the Xbox version of the headset - there is also a PlayStation version without the "X" in the name. A must, because at 299 euros the Audeze Penrose X belongs to the Champions League of wireless headsets, at least in terms of price. The only question is whether it belongs there.

For a really good wireless headset for the Xbox consoles you have to scroll a lot on the table. There are quickly times 200-300 euros due if you don't want to be satisfied with a solid middle class. Or you put 500 stones on the table and buy the (completely overpriced) Bang & Olufsen headset. When Audeze announced the Penrose X at the time, we were immediately pricked up and we were already excited about the Audeze Mobius on the PC. Now, months after the release, we have finally managed to get hold of a sample.

The packaging of the 300 Euro headset makes a rather simple impression at first and hardly differs from other Xbox headsets. The roaring bar, which is moderately heavy at 320 grams, does not look noticeable, even if you can quickly feel that it has been processed to a high quality. There is a lot of plastic, but the Audeze Penrose X really doesn't feel cheap. Nothing rattles there, nothing wobbles. 

Audeze Penrose X Sound review

The structure is more classic with rotatable ear cups attached to the headband, which are noticeably bulky. The upholstery is not exactly lush, but it is soft and the synthetic leather cover feels quite classy. When you first put it on, the Penrose X is not exactly oozing with comfort. Although the weight is well absorbed, the lateral pressure is not without it. It actually takes a few days to wear everything before it comes into shape. Even then, the Penrose X is not the most comfortable headset. Anyone who spends entire evenings with a headset on the console will probably never be really happy with it.

In return, the Penrose X proves to be very flexible. Thanks to the USB dongle with switch, it can be used wirelessly on PC and all Xbox consoles. Operation via the USB-C to A charging cable is also possible. The headset also has a 3.5 mm jack connection and BlueTooth 5.0. So basically it is prepared for pretty much all platforms. It's just a shame that it relies on a dongle and doesn't support Xbox Wireless. Incidentally, 2.4 GHz wireless and BlueTooth can be operated in parallel. Very practical, for example, for cross-play titles where you want to use Discord as a chat tool on your smartphone or tablet, for example.

Connections and controls are all located on the left auricle. On the outside you will find the microphone and power button. There are volume and microphone controls distributed around the auricle - the latter can also be used as a game chat balance control with a click. In addition, there is the connection for the detachable microphone and a mode button with which you can activate wireless, BlueTooth, Aux and pairing. With the help of a Windows or mobile app, you can make further settings, but the software is not really user-friendly, it can be done even better.

Audeze Penrose X Sound review

 
In terms of battery life and range, the Audeze Penrose unfortunately doesn't set any records either. After all, the battery life of up to 15 hours is solid with a three-hour charging time. The wireless range is only seven to nine meters, so we've seen a lot more. But well, that doesn't really hurt, if your refrigerator is a little further away, you have to put the hanger down to get drinks.

What's more annoying is that the microphone doesn't really do justice to the price of the headset. The mention of "broadcast quality microphone" must be made clear as a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, the microphone fulfills its purpose in voice chat and it even has a pop filter, but the relatively dull, if easily understandable voice transmission has little to do with broadcast quality. Our teammates also confirmed that we had sporadic cracks. After all, it is still better than the much more expensive Bang & Olufsen solution with an integrated microphone instead of a microphone boom.

So far, it all sounds like a more or less solid mid-range headset. But the impression changes very quickly when you put the Audeze Penrose X into operation. Audeze is again relying on planar technology with 100 mm drivers, which we were already enthusiastic about with the Mobius. The frequency range of 10 to 50,000 Hz already covered goes far beyond the normal 20 to 20,000 Hz of conventional gaming headsets. 

Audeze Penrose X Sound review

The sound of the Audeze Penrose X is simply a revelation for gamers and almost unrivaled. The sound is so crystal clear, differentiated and rich in detail that you can discover completely new subtleties while playing, even in familiar games that have been played countless times. The spatial effect is simply excellent. No matter how fine a detail may be, it is no problem at all to sense the direction of the sound source. Despite all the subtleties, the Penrose X still has a powerful, crisp sound, with growling motors, hail of bullets or explosions being thrown into the ear with a lot of thud.

The game sound of the Penrose X is simply world class and puts almost everything in the shade. At most, high-end solutions with headsets such as MMX 300 or audio headphones and an external sound card can keep up. The excellent balance also scores points. Audeze doesn't make the mistake of placing too much emphasis on low notes, but rather maintains a relatively neutral mix. This has the advantage that the already great planar drivers hit the bull's eye with music and films. If only it weren't for these stupid quirks such as wearing comfort and microphone, it could be the almost perfect headset. 

Conclusion

Strong sound, but there are problems ...

One thing has to be granted to Audeze: the planar driver technology is a real treat. The sound of the Audeze Penrose X alone is enough to catapult it into the reference class. I've already had a few good to very good headsets behind me, but the Penrose X completely kills it on the Xbox. The sound is so clear, transparent, full and spatial that it is a real delight. No detail is lost, on the contrary, you suddenly discover new sound details even in well-known games. World class.

But unfortunately the Audeze Penrose isn't perfect either. Apart from the rather mediocre app, there is another problem with the microphone quality - incomprehensible with a 300 euro headset. It sounds a bit too dull and has little to do with the advertised studio quality. After all, it does the job. The wearing comfort could also be better, especially new headsets are a bit tight, which fortunately settles a bit after a few hours of wearing.

If you don't care about such little things and you are primarily concerned with the sound, the Audeze Penrose X is an absolute recommendation and in the field currently perhaps the best you can get. Because of these very quirks, the Penrose X was denied the hardware award despite the almost perfect sound. Perhaps at some point there will be a successor who will also remove the last weaknesses. It would be desirable.

Pro

  • excellent sound
  • powerful, clear, transparent and immensely detailed sound
  • optional: BlueTooth and jack
  • also ideal for films and music
  • Mobile and desktop app
  • solid workmanship

Con

  • mediocre microphone
  • not the most comfortable Xbox headset
  • relatively poor wireless range 

 


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