Today is a good day in the office, Shogun Bros are one of the newest players in the peripherals market and they’re back again with their second feature review here at eTeknix. When I reviewed their Ballista MK1 gaming mouse it proved that the company knows how to make a great peripheral without the need for a crazy budget, it was packed full of features, had great build quality, really nice aesthetics and competitive performance. Now they’re launching their first headset and if it is half as good as their gaming mouse, then we should be in for a real treat today.
The Ensense is the latest headset on the market to feature vibration drivers to give the sound some extra thump. Targeted right at the heart of the gaming market the Ensense is said to be perfect for everything from enjoying your games at home to competitive eSports. All the usual bells and whistles you would expect from a premium headset are included, such as a high-quality microphone, Virtual 7.1 surround, configurable sound and a whole lot more, so lets get stuck right in and see what the Ensense has to offer!
50MM Extra Large Pro Audio Driver
- Superior Neodymium Magnet
- Professional Tuned Crystal Clear Voice
- Tuned Monitor Level Sound Precision
- Optimized Sound Boost Logiv Chips
- Ultra Thick PU Leather Ear Cushion
- Ultra Thick PU Leather Head Cushion
- Customizable Head Size Fitting
Powerful Remote Control
- Backlit Control In Darkness
- Mute, Microphone, Volume and Ensense Control
Tough Military Spec
- Anti-interference – Best stable and fast
- Signal (USB Magnet)
- Tough – Military Fabric Cable
- Cable Management Band
Extreme Cool Outlook
- Futuristic Design
- Backlit Logo
- One Body Design
- Vacuum Electroplating
- Change your voice to male, female and even dinosaur and small creatures
The packaging is nicely designed, lots of bright colours, specifications dotted around the box and a side window to give us a sneaky peak at the actual headset.
Around the back we have a more detailed run down of the features and specification.
In the box you’ll find the hard wired headset, a quick start guide and a driver CD.
A Closer Look
The first thing I noticed about the Ensense was that high quality cable, a thick black and orange braiding gives the cable an ultra premium quality look and feel.
The in-line controller is another stand out feature, it’s pretty big, but certainly not intrusive. The design looks really cool and it’s easy to find the buttons you need with ease.
The headset is finished in hard wearing matte finish black plastics, finished off with orange and chrome coloured highlights. It’s a pretty loud design, but I think it looks pretty awesome and it’ll certainly appeal to a gaming audience with those bright colours and those funky shaped panels.
The headband is very durable and while the drivers can’t be rotated, they are angled slightly to provide a comfortable fit.
The headband extenders feature a good range, so the headset should be suitable for younger players, as well as adults.
The headband is nice and solid, there is enough flex to provide a comfortable fit, but I have no doubt it’ll survive more than a few hard knocks and bumps.
The inner section of the headband features two padded areas, each filled with soft foam and covered with soft leather.
The ear cups are also covered with the same foam and leather combo, which should provide a very nice fit, and as a nice aesthetic touch the inner lining on the driver matches that of the braided cable.
On the base of the left ear cup you can see where the cable joins onto the headset.
The headset features a LED back-lit Shogun Bros logo on the back of each driver and the left ear cup has a small recess to the microphone.
The microphone can be folded down when you need it, or hidden out of the way when not in use.
Overall I think this is a really awesome looking and feeling headset, easily one of the best looking headsets on the market although I admit that’s fairly subjective as not everyone is going to love the contrasting black and orange theme.
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.
The Shogun Bros Ensense Pro Headset is available on pre-order for £59.99 (silicongaming.co.uk). This puts them along side some tough competition from the likes of SteelSeries, TteSports and Razer to name but a few, who all have great headsets for this price range, but in terms of aesthetics and features, the Ensense is ahead of the pack and it’s not until you increase your budget by another £10 do you start to see headsets with competing feature sets, making the Ensense great value for money.
I had high expectation for the new Shogun Bros Ensense headset, not only because their last product the Ballista MK1 mouse was great, but also because anything less than exceptional is unacceptable at this time. The gaming peripherals market is fierce with competition, you’ll have a really hard time throwing £60 down on a headset and coming away with something rubbish, so Shogun Bros really had their work cut out for them to compete and fortunately, they pulled it off. Not only that, but as a relatively new brand on the market they need to set a good pace and standard early on or they’ll just fall into obscurity like many of the newcomers to the market.
The headset exceeded my high expectations, I was expecting it to be good, but not this good. For £59.99 it out paces virtually everything in its class in terms of features, its build quality is on par with the best in its class and the design is unique and the sound quality is superb. The real bonus here is the vibrational drivers and the EQ customisation, they stand out from the crowd for me as I’m often disappointed by lack of bass customisation, which the vibrational drivers are perfect for and as a music lover I like to tune my sound just to my liking , yet many headsets don’t offer much in the way of EQ and even when they do you find the sound is quickly distorted after minor adjustments, where the Ensense allows for quite an extensive amount of tweaking.
The microphone is great and while I wouldn’t say it’s better than anything else in this price range, it does a great job and also benefits from a stealth foldaway design when not in use. The in-line controller is one of the best designed I’ve seen, the buttons are easy to find due to the LED back lighting and clear layout, plus it comes with the added bonus of a light switch for those times you want to dim the lights and enjoy a movie.
“Shogun Bros needed an award winner with the Ensense and that is exactly what they’ve got. This headset is yet another milestone for the company and while they may be fairly new to the market, they’ve got a great future ahead of them if they keep making great products for competitive prices.”
- Durable build quality
- Bright, colourful and unique design
- Comfortable fit
- Loads of sound customisation options
- Good quality microphone
- Competitive price
- Powerful sound
- Ear cups could do with a rotating mount to provide an even better fit
- A shirt clip on the back of the in-line controller would be nice
Thank you Shogun Bros for providing us with this sample.