Audeze Penrose wireless gaming headset review: Great audio for PlayStation, Xbox at a better price



Josh Goldman/CNET

The Audeze Penrose gaming headset delivers full, rich-sounding audio, with a wide soundstage for more immersive gameplay made possible by its 100mm planar magnetic drivers. It’s also $299 and in a world full of good gaming headset options for PlayStation and Xbox, that price is on the high side. However, considering it’s Audeze’s least expensive gaming option, with the $399 Mobius and $899 LCD-GX above it, the Penrose is a more attainable audiophile-grade headset.

The Penrose is essentially a stripped-down version of the company’s Mobius gaming headset. It looks the same and uses a similar microphone and drivers but the Penrose lacks the Mobius’ surround sound, 3D audio and head-tracking features. Also, the Mobius was designed for PC gaming while the Penrose and Penrose X are made for PlayStation and Xbox consoles. The only differences between the two Penrose versions are the color and the wireless dongle. The dongle for Xbox has the security chip from Microsoft.

Audeze Penrose

All the controls and inputs are conveniently located on the left earcup.


Josh Goldman/CNET

Though the Penrose is meant primarily for console use, you can pop its USB dongle into your PC for wireless use or connect with the included 3.5mm analog cable. The headset also has Bluetooth 5.0, but it’s more for use with your phone. You can connect to the 2.4GHz adapter and Bluetooth simultaneously so you can use your phone for chat or to listen to music or hear notifications. After the initial Bluetooth pairing, Audeze makes it painless to reconnect with just a button press after you turn the headset on.

Also, while there are USB-C-to-USB-A and USB-C-to-USB-C cables in the box, the cables are just for charging. They are also disappointingly generic plastic instead of more durable braided cables. Battery life for the Penrose is rated at up to 15 hours and they have a three-hour charge time. I reached about 10 hours using both Bluetooth and the wireless adapter. You can charge while you use them, too.

Read more:Best PS4 and PS5 gaming headset for 2021

Both Penrose versions can be used with third-party audio processing like Dolby Atmos, Windows Sonic and Sony’s Tempest Engine on the PS5 (here’s how to set it up). Audeze’s software for the headset, AudezeHQ, is pretty lean on features. Available for Windows and Mac, you can use it to store up to five EQ presets to the headset, turn on and off sidetone, adjust game and voice mix and mic volume. Audeze also has an Android app you can use to change headset settings.

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The earcups fold flat but that’s as travel-friendly as the Penrose gets. Audeze doesn’t include a case, either.


Josh Goldman/CNET

The removable mic, which was designed with help from Shure, is excellent overall. The people I played with could hear me clearly as long as I had the mic positioned about 1 to 2 inches from my mouth. Because the wireless signal has bandwidth limitations, you’ll get better voice quality using the aux 3.5mm jack instead. Audeze posted audio samples using wireless and wired connections on SoundCloud.

Initially, the Penrose headset I tested had some issues. The 2.4GHz wireless had a constant modulating background hiss and the signal would regularly drop out even within a couple of feet of its wireless adapter. The wireless issues may or may not have been related to my setup. Regardless, after a recent firmware update, both issues are gone. Plus, it added new on-headset controls for adjusting the Bluetooth and wireless volume mix, balance for game and chat, turning on and off sidetone and switching your EQ presets.

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The headband is well padded as are the earcups.


Josh Goldman/CNET

As for fit, well, like any headset it’s going to depend on the size of your head and your preferences. The earcups fit nicely over my ears. Since the band was fairly tight on my head, it really clamped the memory foam cushions down, sealing out external noise. The cushions do make my ears pretty warm, though, and if you prefer a looser headset fit, you might find the Penrose too tight. I will say it has loosened up some since I started testing them. Audeze does have a 30-day refund policy, too, just in case.

The Audeze Penrose audio quality is undeniably good. Whether for games, movies or music, the headset has excellent clarity, tight bass and an open sound despite being closed-back. Combined with the excellent chat quality, the lossless wireless and Bluetooth and the updated features from its April 30 firmware update, the Penrose delivers the premium Audeze sound experience for gaming.



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