Heavy padding with a chance of sweat

Corsair really paid attention to the small things and made sure their Vengeance 1300 headset could withstand avid gamers. For example: The band is very well-padded, the ear cups are big enough to fit even the largest ears, and there isn't much clamping force on your head. The cable is quite long (9.84 feet), and will allow a wide range of movement around your computer desk; you should be able to shift positions in your chair no sweat.

You will encounter wild sweats without fail.

However, if you sit in front of that screen long enough, you will encounter actual sweat without fail. Those ear cups really do trap in a lot of heat, so if your AC goes out in the middle of a raid or deathmatch: You're toast (or just feel sweaty and gross).

The boom mic is a very standard no-frills affair—it's rigid and can only move on one axis. However, the mic works well during online games if your internet connection can handle it. Th somewhat bulky mic can be stowed in a vertical position when you need it away from your mouth, or just want to lay the headset flat on the desk.

Great audio with a bizarre error

So the box to the Vengeance 1300s claims that these cans have "audiophile quality" sound. However, that's not really the case. Usually we don't see headphones that hit that mark under $100 anyways (though there are many exceptions), but this set has a strange problem with tracking that could dampen the overall experience for hardcore gamers.

This tracking error can mean life or death in an MMO.

While a general tracking error usually means an incorrect fit on our intrepid sound testing robot, the phase (how long it takes the signal to reach each ear) said otherwise: That tracking error will persist no matter how you wear these headphones. So what does that mean for you? Well, most sounds will come in ever-so-slightly louder in your left ear than your right.

This isn't a huge deal if you're playing a real-time strategy game or a 2D platformer, but it can mean life or death in an MMO—if you can't tell where those footsteps are coming from, that split-second of re-adjusting your position based on a visual cue can mean your untimely demise. It's a very minor error, but it's there. Most of my test subjects adjusted to the hindrance, but their in-game avatars suffered greatly.

Best away from the battlefield

So how does this thing fare in a game? As with most headsets, it really depends on what you're doing with it. Because of its engineering, it's actually very well-suited to online RPGs: It has decent enough audio quality for music, but it doesn't really downplay any frequencies over others. You can experience the game like the publisher wanted you to.

Unless you're Barry White, you're probably not going to run into trouble with the mic.

The microphone seems to work well enough too—taking it for a spin on Team Fortress 2, I was able to trade barbs with my teammates with relatively good clarity. For whatever reason, the microphone doesn't pick up sound under 100Hz, so my super-deep voice definitely sounded a bit less clear than it would for your average younger gamer. Unless you're Barry White, you're probably not going to run into trouble here.

After about 45 minutes or so heat and sweat starts to build up on the ear pads, leading to increasing discomfort. Despite the initial soft cradling of your skull when you put this headset on, you'll find yourself taking these on and off to vent some of the heat after a while.
Considering the price point, the Corsair Vengeance 1300 is a solid entry-level buy when it comes to gaming headsets. While it's probably not the best for first-person shooters, it'll perform adequately for RPGs and other types of online games.

The audio quality leaves a bit to be desired, but you're probably not going to find anything better for the price. The only headset that comes to mind is the Razer Carcharias another PC gaming headset at a similar price point. Where that headset falls short of the Vengeance 1300 is isolation—the Corsair definitely blocks out a lot more sound.

So, if you're someone that doesn't have a super-deep voice, looking for a gaming headset that doesn't empty your wallet, and can block out a fair amount of outside noise—try out the Corsair Vengeance 1300. It may not quite live up to the "audiophile quality sound" it advertises, but it comes close enough to stand out among entry level headsets. MMORPGers take note- this one's a good bet for you.
Gamers with a vested interest in keeping the volume down in the house should know by now that it's dangerous to go it alone. Take this headset—if you're a fan of RPG games, the Vengeance 1300 hits certain performance points that make them well-suited for games that don't have a lot of gunfire in them.

It'd be impressive if not for the tracking error

Different types of games mean that different frequency responses are called for. Namely, we're not necessarily looking for a flat response or something like an equal-loudness contour. Instead, there are certain ranges that should be boosted or deadened in order to gain an advantage in-game.

For the Vengeance 1300, RPGs and adventure games are a good match, as the type of frequency response it has lends itself well to games with music or intriguing sounds in them. Because they don't deaden higher notes and the lowest bass sounds simultaneously, they're probably not going to give you much of an advantage in shooting games. For those, a flat response like the one shown here is not something you're going to want—though it scores well in our tests.

You won't hear any distortion

The Vengeance 1300 has the errant peak of distortion here and there, but never at an audible level—even if you were to attempt to blow out your speakers at 120+dB. The Total Harmonic Distortion does get a bit on the ugly side in the lowest frequency notes, but in reality this is normal for most headphones.

As far as added noise goes, that too is less than what can be audibly heard by human ears, peaking at just less than 1 phon—1/20th of what would be necessary for a human to hear.

He's right behind you! No.. No—a little more to your right

Here's where the results get a little weird: The volume comes in the left ear slightly noticeably louder than it does the right ear (2-5dB). Normally this isn't all that weird, but if you're playing a game where hearing footsteps or rustling nearby is crucial, you can run into trouble with this.

I thought that this must have been a mistake, but looking at the phase confirmed the results. Note how tight the lines are in the chart: This means that the signal is reaching the ear at the same time in each channel, meaning the positioning of the headphones was correct.


Meet the testers

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging

@cthomas8888

A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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