Victrix Pro AF Gaming Headset ReviewFebruary 28, 2020
Design and Features
Like its predecessor, the Pro AF looks impressive. Combining a bold black and purple color scheme and faux-industrial look with sharp edges and exposed cords makes it simultaneously look “technical” and stylish in a “PC gaming chic” sort of way. The headband is made from carbon steel and the yolks, which hold the cups, are aluminum. Both pieces have a smooth finish, making the headset feel well-built. While we’re talking aesthetics, it’s worth noting that the Pro AF drops the purple lighting on the cups, replacing it with a plastic purple X instead. It’s a little less flashy, but still distinctive if you’re into the black and purple.
All the parts on the Pro AF, both metal and plastic, feel sturdy, durable, and reliable. It feels comfortable on-head thanks to leatherette-covered “slow return” memory foam pads on the headband and cans, and forms a solid seal without squeezing your head. At 318 grams, it’s a little heavy on paper, which makes sense considering how much of it is made of metal. That said, I never felt the headset weighing me down.
The Pro AF has a couple of distinctive eccentricities on its sides. Let’s start with the obvious stuff: there’s an onboard volume dial, which is oddly set in the shell of the left can – it feels like a small nub unless you handle it from the bottom, sliding it with your thumb. The dial is nicely textured and rolls well, but the design feels restrictive: Why not just set it flush on the side so players can roll it any way they like? Likewise, there’s a mic mute button, which sits high on the front of the left can, above some ornamental purple plastic. Again, the placement seems like it’s meant to force you into a specific form, where you hold the left can so your thumb is under the volume roller and your middle finger rests on mute. The problem is it renders those buttons considerably less useful, especially if you’re playing on PC and have volume controls on your keyboard.
Most interesting is a pair of “venting” switches that open a gap between the plastic molding of the cans and the padding, allowing cool air into the cups and letting moisture escape. (They also allow ambient noise to get in, so you can have a conversation with someone while keeping your headphones on.)
It’s a welcome feature – my ears can get sweaty, especially in the winter with the heat on – but you do need it to put time in to make it work for you. Venting occasionally as a preventative measure helped keep my ears from getting sweaty. Using them once I was sweaty though didn’t lead to any kind of noticeable relief. You need to get ahead of the curve, which can be tricky if you’re in the middle of an intense game.
Sound and Gaming Performance
The Pro AF, like the Pro AF ANC, has 50mm drivers. I found them capable and clear in games, though not quite as clear as other models I’ve tested in the same price range when watching videos or listening to music. Multi-textured mid- and high-pitched sounds, like you may find from highly produced pop and electronic music, comes through a bit muddled. This is, at least in part, because they are mixed for gaming, which leads to a very bass-heavy sound. Victrix brands itself as an esports brand, so you could say this isn’t a concern, but as someone who bounces from watching videos to listening to podcasts to playing games, I found its lack of versatility problematic.
On the other hand, the Victrix’ singular focus seems like an advantage when you look at its detachable mic. The metal-coated wire boom allows for better adjustment than any mic of its kind. I tend to have trouble finding the best place to set bendy mics, and a harder time getting them to stay in position: The Victrix mic never moves unless you move it, which is far more impressive than it sounds. It also picked up my voice quite well and the sound comes through clear without any major ambient noises coming through.
I’ve used the Victrix Pro AF with a variety of games, competitive and experiential, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Destiny 2, and Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. For the most part, the sound in games comes through very clear. Explosions ring true. Bullets whiz. Lightsabers whirr and hum. The level of detail in those sounds, however, did not always come through as clear as I’d have liked.
As I mentioned before, I found some muddy spots in the higher end of the Pro AF’s range. There were times when high-range noises like laser blasts in Fallen Order didn’t come through quite as intensely as I thought they should have. Again, it’s clear that the Pro AF puts bass first. It also seems to naturally boost in-game dialogue and, of course, voice chat so that all comes through especially clear.
For a $180 headset, though, clear, crisp sound really feels like the bare minimum. Many headsets at this price range feature simulated 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound or make claims about location-based audio. The Pro AF doesn’t have any of these features, which is technically fine – (I’ve paid more for headphones without them). Their absence is notable, though, especially for a product with the word “Pro” in the title.
One thing to keep in mind: Prior to Victrix announcing and releasing the new Pro AF headset, many retailers and publications referred to the Pro AF ANC as the “Pro AF.” Make sure to check the listing to make sure you’re buying the right version before putting it in your cart. If it has an inline amp and/or costs $300, you’ve got the other model!