(Pocket-lint) - The Corsair Virtuoso XT is an upgrade to the company's previous gaming headset of the same name. The original headset was one of our favourite gaming headsets for a number of reasons, including high-fidelity (96Khz) audio when plugged into a PC, but also the option to use the headset wirelessly with a USB dongle.
One of the upgrades is something that we had wished had been included the first time around: Bluetooth connectivity. That's right, the Corsair Virtuoso XT now has multiple connection options. You can plug in with USB (for the best audio) or you can use 3.5mm, the Slipstream wireless dongle, or Bluetooth wireless. It also gets better than that as the Virtuoso XT supports dual-connectivity, so you can use multiple audio sources at once.
Is that enough to make this the best gaming headset on the market though? It's definitely up there, except for one strong caveat (well, for us at least)...
Style and substance?
- Memory foam ear cushioning and lightweight headband design
- Detachable high-bandwidth omni-directional microphone
- Machined aluminium frame
- Multi-function button
The Corsair Virtuoso XT is a stylish-looking headset constructed from machined aluminium and designed in such a way that it should easily stand up to use and abuse over time. It boasts a nicely extendable headband and earcups that twist and tilt with ease. The result of which is a good fit with a superb clamping force that keeps the headset neatly in place while you play.
We enjoy the overall look and feel of the Virtuoso XT because although it's a gaming headset, it isn't overly garish. It has a detachable microphone which means you can easily use these cans out of the house like standard headphones, but can plug in that mic when things are getting serious.
There is RGB lighting, too, in the logo on the outer earcup, but it's subtle and understated rather than in-your-face. You can also turn it down or completely off if you want.
- 20Hz - 40kHz frequency response
- Dolby Atmos surround sound compatible
- 50mm high-density neodymium speaker drivers
- 24bit/48kHz over Slipstream wireless and Qualcomm aptX HD via Bluetooth
Like the previous model, this headset has Hi-Res Audio compatability when you plug it into a PC with the included USB cable. It also has Corsair's Slipstream Wireless - which not only gives a solid connection, but also gives you 24bit/48kHz audio wirelessly.
Wired on PC is where it shines though, as you then get 96kHz/24-bit audio which gives a wider soundscape and lets you hear more of what's going on - including extra detailed sound, such as enemy footsteps when playing first-person shooters.
On PC, the Virtuoso XT also has a licence for Dolby Atmos which you can easily access by downloading and running the Dolby Access app on Windows. This gives you great surround sound and another option over Windows Sonic sound.
The multiple connection options also allow for dual connectivity. You can connect both wireless and Bluetooth, for example, and then listen to two audio sources at once. This means you can stream tunes from Tidal on your phone, while also playing games on your PC. We've seen that functionality on other headsets before, like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro wireless, and we're big fans of the flexibility it brings.
The headset also has separate controls for Bluetooth and standard audio, so you can adjust the volumes independently of one another. The controls for Bluetooth also act as a multi-function control that lets you pause, play and skip tracks.
The 3.5mm connection, Bluetooth and wired and wireless options also mean this headset will work with PC, Mac, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4, but is also compatible with Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile too.
Broadcast quality mic
- Mic type: omni-directional broadcast-grade (9.5mm)
- Mic frequency response: 100Hz – 10kHz
- Mic sensitivity: -42dB (± 2dB)
The Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT rocks one of the best headset mics we've seen on a gaming headset. It offers broadcast-quality capture with a wide dynamic range. It also doesn't pick up a great deal of background noise which is pretty essential when you're gaming with friends or streaming online.
The mic does pick up a bit of your mouth sounds if you have it too close when talking - but it's easy to adjust it out of the way to avoid that. There's a small mic mute button on the back part of the microphone where it connects to the headset. Press this and you get an audible cue that it's muted and also a ring around tip of the mic lets you see at a glance when it is off.
You can press-and-hold the mic button to turn the sidetone on and off so you can hear yourself. You can adjust the levels of that in the iCue software too. Alas, the mic monitoring volume isn't as loud as we'd like, so if you like to be able to hear your own voice you might struggle with this one.
The mic can also be used for Bluetooth calls, which is certainly a bonus.
Corsair claims that "comfort is king" with the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT. It's been constructed to be lightweight, with soft padding and premium memory foam earpads that feel plush. The earcups certainly turn nicely and can be adjusted to fit your head easily.
Unfortunately, the headset is just not as comfortable as we'd like. It uses round ear cushions, that although are nicely padded, just aren't large enough or deep enough - for our ears anyway. This results in uncomfortable pressure on the top and bottom of the ear and where the driver presses against the ear as well. It's all very well having a great-sounding and feature-rich headset, but if it's uncomfortable to wear after a short period then it's just not cutting the mustard.
This was a problem with the original Virtuoso headset and Corsair seemingly hasn't changed this aspect of the design for this update. We know that people with smaller ears don't have problems though, so this caveat might not be an issue for all users. For us, however, it's the one thing holding this headset back from perfection.
The Corsair Virtuoso XT is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it's great-sounding, fantastic looking, and multi-functional with a wealth of connection options. On the other, it's just not comfortable - at least for us. We would certainly recommend it for some people, but with a hint of caution that if you've got larger ears then you might have problems.
This is a serious gaming headset with drivers that are twice the size of the Virtuoso. It too has hi-res audio and dual-connectivity. It's more expensive, but worth every penny in our mind.
SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
This headset has long been a favourite of ours for numerous reasons. It's flexible and has multiple connection options right into its base station including optical, 3.5mm and Bluetooth. It also has swappable batteries - meaning you essentially never have to plug it in, which is a godsend for wireless gaming.