Firing up my audio test track I found the drivers on the Ensense to be pretty powerful, I couldn’t push both drivers directly into the decibel meter, but still managed to record an impressive 94dBa, more than enough to give you a headache or ear damage after usage, so no concerns about them not being loud enough for those who like to deafen themselves. The drivers don’t sit completely flush over my ears, but they still do a great job of keeping sound leakage to a minimum and at a range of 2ft I was only detecting 58dBa at max volume and 48dBa at 50% volume; although it is worth pointing out that 58dBa is more than enough to annoy the person sitting next to you, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever need the headset running at 100% volume.
Hooking up the headset via USB gives power to the internal LED lighting, throwing on the backlight on the back of each ear cup and on the in-line controller. The lighting is subtle enough not to be intrusive, but Shogun Bros have been thoughtful enough to include a light switch in the middle of the controller that will blackout all of the LEDs.
I’ve tested a few headsets with vibrational drivers recently and they all add significant thump to the lower end of the sound, but for the most part it can be a little heavy and detract from the audio. This isn’t the case with the Ensense and with the effect dialled up to max it does a great job of beefing up the sound without causing the headset to rumble on your ears. The vibrational drivers are controlled by the “Ensense” button on the controller and has three settings (off/low/high) and even on low the headset sounds great, but when you really want to enjoy some bass heavy music or get the full range of in game sound effects, it’s a very welcome feature to have.
Music performance on the headset was impressive, from aggressive bass lines, to thundering guitars and acoustic medleys, everything sounds great. There is a slight dullness to the sound on default settings, but the EQ settings allow for extensive tweaking to the range and a little push on the higher frequencies soon balanced things out, but this is of course a subjective matter and it shouldn’t take you more than a few moments to find a sound that is tailored to you.
Gaming is certainly a strong point for this headset, there is loads of depth to the sound and minor details really shine through even in the more frantic moments on games like Battlefield 4. The thing that really stood out for me though was the microphone, even in a noisy room it was pin sharp, bright and clear. For those that rely on team chat or make a lot of Skype calls, this microphone is going to serve you well.
Movies really shine too, I’m not one for virtual surround modes as they often muddy the sound and while I found that to be true in both gaming and music tests on this headset, it does work rather well for movies. Transformers 2 loves throwing sounds around to the back speakers, especially in the big battle scenes towards the end as the Ensense does a great job of mixing the sound without causing sound artefacts that I find often plague virtual surround modes. The headset allows you to tweak the angle and virtual distances of each of the 7.1 speakers to better tailor the sound to your liking, allowing you to further tweak the sound to your liking and this works great for movies.