Review by Doug Horton. Real pilots wear headsets, to improve communications and reduce engine and other noises. So, why shouldn’t flight simulator users wear headsets? That’s what I suggested in a previous review of Corsair’s Vengeance 1500 USB Headset, which was published in Computer Magazine two years ago. This review covers one of the newest wireless headset products.
Corsair has built upon the Vengeance 1500 USB (wired) and Vengeance 2000 wireless gaming headsets by producing the Vengeance 2100 Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset. Though most of the specifications are identical to those of the discontinued model 2000 headset, the model 2100 headset:
- supports Dolby 7.1, which was not initially supported by the model 2000
- is black and gunmetal in color, compared to black and silver for the model 2000
- has a more robust headband, to reduce incidents of headbands breaking in some scenarios
Retail package for Corsair Vengeance 2100 wireless Dolby 7.1 gaming headset
The Vengeance 2100 is a professional-grade headset, which with a very impressive industrial design, is a beautiful product that offers style, comfort, and most importantly, great sound reproduction. The product is also provided with software that offers many listening options, including an equalizer and other options that are described below.
According to Corsair, the Vengeance 2100 wireless gaming headset provides users with “realistic multi-channel gaming audio and play-for-hours comfort.” Corsair says that “sound quality makes it the wireless headset for gamers who care about audio, and who enjoy high-performance gaming audio without about wires.” Battery life is rated at “up to 10 hours” with a range of “up to 40 feet.”
Corsair Vengeance 2100 wireless gaming headset and accessories
There are three distinctive features of the Vengeance 2100 headset:
Large Drivers. Large 50mm drivers (headphone speakers) greatly reduce the overloading and distortion that can occur with gaming headsets that typically use smaller 40mm drivers. This feature is also intended to achieve more accurate sound reproduction, particularly for the low-frequency effects that are more difficult to produce with small speakers.
Comfort. The extra-wide, extra deep circum-aural (around-ear) ear cups isolate sounds outside the headset, and they feel much better than supra-aural (on-ear) headsets, particularly for longer gaming sessions. The ear pads include memory foam, with microfiber facing, to provide a comfortable and reliable fit that conforms to the shape of the user’s head “without binding or pinching,” according to Corsair.
Microphone. The Vengeance 2100 headset is furnished with a unidirectional, noise-cancelling microphone, which is tuned to capture the user’s voice loudly and clearly, while filtering out distracting background sounds. The microphone is radially hinged, so it can be moved upward or downward as desired, and moving it upward mutes the microphone. The microphone arm is also flexible, to provide for custom adjustment.
Unlike USB headsets with in-line controllers as part of the cord assembly, the three controls for the 2100 wireless headset are on the headset itself. The on-off switch is on the left side, and it requires pressing and holding for a few seconds, after which a slow flashing (to save battery life) blue light under the switch indicates that the headset is on. The volume knob is a black colored roller below the on-off switch and light. The third control is the switch in the microphone arm that mutes the microphone when the arm is raised.
Charging and Installation
Unpacking. The nicely designed retail box contains the following items:
- Vengeance 2100 Dolby 7.1 Wireless Gaming Headset
- Dongle (wireless USB adapter)
- Dongle stand with 1.5m USB extension cable
- 1.5m USB to mini USB charging cable
- Quick Start Guide in six languages
- Safety Leaflet
- Warranty Card
All of the paper items are sized 5 x 5 inches. The guide is adequate, but the small type face is very difficult to read, and it would be nice if Corsair also provided a downloadable guide with larger, darker printing.
Installation and Charging. After unpacking the components, the first step is to plug in the USB dongle to the computer directly, or it can be plugged in to the USB extension cable and stand. This action should initiate installation of the initial device driver, after which it’s recommended that the computer be restarted.
Vengeance 2100 USB dongle, shown plugged into extension stand
After driver and software installation, it’s necessary to charge the headset’s lithium ion battery, which is rated to provide up to 10 hours of headset operation. Charging is accomplished by plugging the full size USB end of the charging cable into the computer and the mini-USB end of the charging cable into headset mini-USB socket, which is near the on-off switch and roller volume control. This socket has multi-colored lights to indicate the charging status, as follows:
No light: the headset is off, or the battery is fully drained
Red – fast blinking: low battery – less than 10% charge remaining
Amber – slow pulse: charging
Green – solid: charge complete
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Note that the images above show the predecessor Vengeance 2000 headset,
which has slightly different parts colors.
Updating drivers, software, and equalizer profile. While the headset battery is being charged, which may take several hours, Corsair recommends visiting the product’s webpage to download the latest driver, utility software, and updated equalizer profile. Click the Downloads tab to find the latest driver installation software.
To operate the headset after charging and software installation, there are only two steps required: plug the furnished dongle into a USB port directly, place the dongle into its stand and attach the stand’s USB cable to the computer. Next, press and hold the headset on-off switch for two seconds. Note that the instructions suggest rolling the volume control to its minimum setting before turning it on. This is slightly confusing because the roller moves continuously, without stops, markings, or detents. I suggest turning down the computer or game volume before plugging in the headset for the first time, and then using the computer and roller volume adjustments to provide the desired sound level.
Windows 7 and FSX Sound Setup
After starting FSX, the headset name appears in FSX on the two drop-down lists of devices, on the Options, Settings, Sound interface. Within a minute or two of starting the headset and FSX, I was able to configure and verify operation of the headset in FSX to play voice, such as ATC dialog, on the headset, while playing engine and all other sounds on speakers. This is easy to do, but sometimes the settings on separate Windows and FSX sound interfaces require an extra step. Regardless of the order in which the steps are taken, the end point should result in coordinated settings as follows:
- In the Windows 7 Sound UI, Playback tab, headset speakers should be enabled as the Default Communications Device. System speakers, whether powered by the motherboard sound module or by an add-in sound card, should be enabled as the Default Device. Note that my Windows 7 installation also sees other sound options from my graphic card’s HDMI connections, as each of these connections includes a sound output.
Windows 7 sound playback tab settings to provide for voice from headset and other sounds from speakers powered by motherboard sound module or sound card
- In Windows 7 Home Premium Sound UI, Recording tab, select the Corsair 2100 headset Microphone as the Default Device.
- In FSX, in the main menu, Options, Settings, Sound interface, drop-down lists, set Sounds to Speakers (Realtek High Definition, in example), and set Voice to Speakers (Corsair Vengeance 2100). The procedure for Prepar3D is identical, except that the user interface is larger and slightly different.
FSX sound settings interface, set to provide for voice from Vengeance 2100 headset
and other sounds from speakers powered by motherboard sound module or sound card
Documentation and Software
The package includes a user guide manual, which advises downloading and installing the latest version of the applicable driver and software, with this link at time of writing. After the driver and software is installed, and with the headset (wirelessly) connected, you can open the software and adjust settings as desired.
Corsair Vengeance 2100 software control panel
The software control is opened by clicking an icon on the taskbar. Settings include 2.0, 5.1, and 7.1 surround environment selections; speaker and microphone volume sliders; and Equalizer profile settings. By way of explanation that was new to me, in the Equalizer profile selection’s drop-down box, “FPS” is “first person shooter” and “MMO” is “massively multiplayer online.”
Here are the principal specifications for the Vengeance 2100 Gaming Headset
- Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 105dB (+/-3dB)
- Drivers: 50mm
- USB power consumption: 500mA
- Connector: USB Type A
- Wireless range: up to 40 feet (12m)
- Battery life: Up to 10 hours
- Type: Unidirectional noise-cancelling condenser with adjustable, rotating boom
- Impedance: 2.2k Ohms
- Frequency Response: 100Hz to 10kHz
- Sensitivity: -37dB (+/-3dB)
Corsair has developed a premium wireless headset, with design and features similar to their earlier model 1500 USB wired and 2000 wireless models. Like its predecessors, the model 2100 is very comfortable and designed to reproduce sounds that are true to the original sounds. The headset and its accompanying, easily adjustable software help users customize sound reproduction.
At time of writing, the Vengeance model 2100 wireless headset had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $129.95, though it often sells for less on popular retail websites.