Corsair Virtuoso Pro: two minute review
If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense to use a pair of open-back headphones when gaming because this tends to give the audio a little more room to breathe, which should lend itself well to providing that immersive soundstage and accurate sound the image you want during the game. So, it’s a little strange that not many gaming headset manufacturers are eager to jump on that bandwagon.
Luckily, Corsair is making up for lost time with its bold new Corsair Virtuoso Pro, an open (first-ever) addition to its already excellent lineup of gaming headsets, many of which are among the best gaming headsets on the market .
Corsair is, of course, not a pioneer in the open-back gaming headset scene: Epos, Audio-Technica, and even Philips all got there first. However, this new arrival is a big deal, as none of the big gaming peripheral manufacturers have been intrepid enough to explore it.
And what an impressive first entry it is, rising effortlessly into the ranks of the best wired gaming headsets around and so much so that it might convince Corsair’s rivals to make their own. He convinced me.
Available in black and white, the Corsair Virtuoso Pro doesn’t stray far from Corsair’s signature look. It has all the telltale signs: the elegant curves, the brand logo on the earcups and stands, and the luxurious yet solid finish. In fact, it’s every bit as good-looking as all of Corsair’s recent gaming headset releases, especially in white.
Understandably, since this is the first attempt at an open-back gaming headset, there are design choices that could have been better. The headband foam is thinner and not very soft, and the cushion fabric isn’t the softest. Additionally, the headphones themselves, while quite light, aren’t the lightest around at 338g, although that’s not surprising as open-back wired gaming headsets tend to be heavier.
The only thing I don’t like about the design is the fact that the microphone, which is removable, is connected to the dual 3.5mm audio cable that also connects to the right ear cup for audio. It’s actually not that different from a regular 3.5mm cable, but it feels a lot bulkier in practice. Now that I think about it, the microphone is the weakest point of the Virtuoso Pro, but more on that later.
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Despite these minor shortcomings, there’s a lot to love about the gaming headset’s design. The earcups are soft, large and made of breathable fabric, hugging your ears while keeping things airy, although that’s also the nature of open-back headphones. The ear cup holders offer plenty of rotation, allowing the ear cups to conform to virtually any head shape. Plus, the overall build is just as premium as Corsair’s other high-end offerings. So, expect a cool and comfortable gaming session when you wear them.
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The Virtuoso Pro is also extremely customizable. The speaker labels on the ear cups are replaceable and interchangeable – I’m guessing Corsair will release a line of accessories at some point. As do the ear cups and headband cushion, although the headband cushion requires a bit of work to detach.
As you may have already concluded, these are 3.5mm wired gaming headsets, which means you’ll be tethered to your laptop or PC. But in the box you will find a nice set of cables, a 3.5mm to dual 3.5mm audio cable with microphone arm, a 3.5mm to dual 3.5mm audio cable and a Y adapter cable , necessary if you are connecting to your gaming PC.
If you’re unfamiliar with open-back headphones and gaming headsets, there are a few things to keep in mind. Open backs are generally roomier and wider in soundstage as the sound goes everywhere, instead of getting stuck inside the ear cups. They also tend to have brighter highs that provide lots of detail and clarity. And, for better or worse, that sound tends to fade away, meaning your office neighbors might hear loud gunshots or whatever you’re listening to if you don’t keep the volume down.
And that’s basically what you’ll get with the Corsair Virtuoso Pro. These headphones offer plenty of headroom and their sound stage is even wider than that of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. I AB’d the two during testing and my beloved Arctis Nova Pro now feels very confined next to it. And its sound image is equally impressive. When playing The Hogwarts Legacy, it was evident that all sonic elements had clarity and I could hear exactly where they were in the soundstage, resulting in a very immersive experience.
It helps that it has 50mm graphene drivers, similar to those of the Logitech Pro X2 Speed of light – this also contributes to its very detailed audio quality. Speaking of detailed audio, the highs are incredible here, bright without being painful or fatiguing except in a handful of situations, and with plenty of detail and clarity. Taylor Swift’s synths and treble Jeweled they were bright and sparkly, and the ukelele in Florence and the Machine’s The days of the dogs are over it was bright and clear.
There’s also a lot of bass. It’s not as intrusive as other gaming headsets, but it has good bass response, especially considering that these are open-back headphones. Both Kendrick Lamar and SZA All Stars and that of Kavisky Night call It had good bass and even a decent rumble.
However, it’s not all perfect performance-wise. The mids are pushed back a bit, and because the highs are pushed forward, you get harsher guitars, which means the sound can be unpleasant with rock songs. Listening to The Strokes’ Reptiles it hurt my ears and gave me a slight headache.
Then there’s the microphone. Your voice will come through loud, clear, and audible here, meaning your teammates (or colleagues, if you choose to also use them as work headphones) will have no problem understanding you. However, your voice will sound a little compressed and harsh. There will also be some sibilance. To its credit, it’s a very directional microphone, so the people you’re chatting with won’t be able to hear any background noise—yes, that includes tapping or mashing buttons on the keyboard.
However, these flaws are minor at best. Overall, you’ll find the Corsair Virtuoso Pro to be a very impressive gaming headset, perhaps one of the best on the market right now. Not too shabby to be the first to get into the open-back gaming headset game.
Corsair Virtuoso Pro: price and availability
- How much does it cost? $199.99 / £169.99 / AU$239
- When it is available? Available now
- Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK and Australia
The Corsair Virtuoso Pro is not a cheap purchase. At $199.99 / £169.99 / AU$239, it sits in the premium market, especially considering it’s wired. In fact, you’ll find that it’s a bit more expensive than offerings from Epos and Audio-Technica. However, I can guarantee that it is worth the expense compared to the competition, if you have money to spend.
That’s mostly because it’s cheaper than both the wired SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro and the graphene driver-equipped Logitech Pro X 2 Lightspeed, which sit at the top of the gaming headset pile in terms of performance and value.
If you’re ready to explore the world of open-back gaming headsets, however, and you simply don’t have that money to spend, I’d take a look at some of Philips’ offerings. They are much cheaper and have better reviews than what AT has to offer.
Corsair Virtuoso Pro: specifications
|Interface:||Wired by 3.5mm|
|Platforms:||Windows PC, Mac, consoles, devices with 3.5mm jack|
|Weight:||2.43 oz (338 g)|
Should you buy the Corsair Virtuoso Pro?
|Value||It’s an expensive headset, but its performance and design are worth it if you have the money.||4/5|
|Project||It has all the typical Corsair finishing touches and more. It is also comfortable to wear for long hours and very customizable.||4.5/5|
|Performance||You get brilliant, highly detailed audio performance with a very wide soundstage and accurate imaging. I just wish the microphone was better.||4.5/5|
|Average rating||It’s not a perfect gaming headset, but it’s pretty refined for Corsair’s first attempt at an open-back gaming headset.||4.5/5|
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
Corsair Virtuoso Pro: Also consider
|Corsair Virtuoso Pro||SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro||Logitech Pro X2 Speed of light|
|Price:||$199.99 / £169.99 / AU$239||$249.99 / £249.99 (approximately AU$380)||$249 / €269 (approximately AU$375)|
|Interface:||Wired by 3.5mm||3.5mm, USB-C to USB-A||2.4GHz LIGHTSPEED wireless, Bluetooth and 3.5mm wired|
|Platforms:||PC, Mac, consoles, devices with 3.5mm jack||PC, Mac, PlayStation, Switch||PC, Mac, Playstation or Xbox, Switch, Mobile|
|Microphone:||One-way detachable||ClearCast Gen 2 fully retractable boom||Detachable 6mm cardioid microphone|
|Surround sound:||Nobody||360° spatial audio||DTS Headphones: X 2.0|
|Weight:||338 g (11.9 oz)||298g (10.5oz)||345g (12.16oz)|
How I tested the Corsair Virtuoso Pro
- I spent a week testing it
- I used it for gaming, streaming and listening to music
- I tested it with a variety of games, songs, and movies
I tested the Corsair Virtuoso Pro for a week, using it as my primary headset for gaming, media consumption, and work video calls. I made sure to test its open-back quirks, doing AB with my favorite closed-back gaming headset, and put its features through its paces, taking note of its build quality and comfort in the process.
I’ve tested, reviewed, and used gaming headsets for years as a freelance tech journalist and now as one of the IT editors at EliteViser. My years of experience coupled with my discerning audio tastes make me more than qualified to test and vet these devices for you.
Learn more about how we test
First inspection in September 2023