"Ideal balance between cost and quality" says Forbes of Audeze Penrose

April 08, 2021

"Over my tenure at Forbes, I’ve been on what feels like a never-ending quest to find the best gaming headphones. It’s no secret there’s a lot of competition in this audio hardware space, but recently, I think I may have found the ideal balance between cost and quality: Audeze’s new Penrose fits the bill, though with some specific caveats."

"The slightly more affordable console-friendly Penrose, which ditches the Mobius’ fancy 3D head-tracking gimmick, also bypasses wired connections almost entirely (minus the trusty returning analog option) in favor of a proprietary 2.4 GHz USB dongle. The adapter plugs easily into any available USB slot on your console of choice (there are separate PlayStation and Xbox headsets), and once you power up the headset, it connects almost immediately. No tedious pairing debacles; the Penrose is as plug-and-play as wireless headphones get."

"On that note, I would have definitely preferred that Audeze taken advantage of Microsoft’s native Xbox Wireless protocol. This would be not unlike Razer’s somewhat comparable Kaira Pro headset, which bypasses the need for a dongle and connects directly to Xbox consoles. I’m not entirely sure how Xbox’s protocol compares to 2.4 GHz wireless technology in terms of audio quality, but it’s always more convenient when headsets make use of Microsoft’s built-in feature."

"All controls for the headset are located on the left earcup. Everything works as expected for the most part, though I don’t particularly care for the volume and microphone adjustment wheels, which can both be pressed in for additional functionality. They’re a bit too recessed for my taste and are somewhat difficult to adjust when the headphones are in use. As is the case for most gaming headsets, there’s an early learning curve where you have to fumble your way through pressing the buttons by memory while staring at the screen."

"And while the connection between the Penrose and its source—Bluetooth or 2.4 GHz— is overwhelmingly solid, I’ll once in a while experience light pops and hiccups that disrupt the audio tether for intermittent milliseconds. Again, I’m suspecting this has less to do with Audeze’s wireless tech than it does with rogue wireless interference in my general play area. Even when it does occur, though, the popping is light and infrequent, and I’ve never experienced an outright disconnect, so I’m not exactly complaining. I’ll continue to play with my router’s settings and the placement of the wireless dongle in the hopes that I can totally eliminate interference."

"The final verdict? At $300, the Penrose is a rather expensive—but equally remarkable—gaming headset that blows most of the competition clean out of the water. Audeze has finally brought its top-of-the-line audio expertise into the console gaming world and you’d be hard-pressed to find a worthy audio opponent, especially at the Penrose’s relatively budget price (especially when considering that other Audeze headsets can easily price into the multi-thousands)."