It feels like forever, but it's only been 18 months since we reviewed the bigger brother of today's headset. Back then it was the Corsair 2000, which was a silver and black wireless headset which combined some fantastic wireless technology with some great driver and sound quality to give a great package which wowed us.
The big downside to a wireless model is the same as that which plagues USB headsets, namely if you have a good soundcard then it lays redundant. To that end the Vengeance 1400 might be exactly what you're after as it combines the 50mm drivers we found in the 2000 series into a model that works with a couple of 3.5mm jacks.
Removing the wireless has greatly reduced the price and placed the Vengeance 1400 up against some very stern competition. The £50 - £65 price bracket has a lot of very good options for headsets so how does it fare?
As a wired stereo headset the Corsair Vengeance 1400 has a simple set of specifications. If you made a list of things you'd expect to find in a headset then 20Hz to 20kHz is very much the popular option, although the inclusion of 50mm drivers means that the 1400 has the potential to really impress.
The packaging for the Corsair Vengeance 1400 is half cardboard box and half plastic, which enables the headset to be easily visible and yet keep it safe in transit. There is a tendency to
Whereas the Vengeance 2000s are bright silver on the sides and the revamped 2100s are black, the analogue Vengeance 1400 are gun metal grey arms with black ear pieces and headband. The microphone is a solid design which allows users to know it's always in the right place, useful if you've ever had to endure people who seem to be eating their microphone, whilst the lack of retractability means it's always there even if you don't plan on using it.
The ear pieces are some of the lightest and foamiest that we've ever experienced. You could wear these all day without either suffering from hot ears or uncomfortable ones. Even if you partner Noddy you can be sure that they'll fit in happily. The inline remote handles the volume as well as microphone muting.
The cable is braided and lengthy enough for all but the most far-sighted users. At 3m you'll never get the cable stuck tight.
One of the sad flaws in the packaging design is that the headset rests upon the edge of the cardboard and this has put a permanent dent into the headband. No amount of gentle massaging has managed to remove it at the time of writing. We're hardly perfectionists, a little sign of being well used can be charming, but this is very irritating on a 'fresh from the packaging' product.
As always with our testing wherever possible we like to utilise the ASUS Phoebus soundcard, and due to the 3.5mm jacks on the Corsair Vengeance 1400 it's an easy fit.
Sound quality is, as always, everything when reviewing a headset. The most comfortable, well-designed one in the world is meaningless when it sounds like a mono tape-recording, and equally if the sound is good enough then you're willing to tolerate some slight design quirks.
The Vengeance 1400 fall into the category of good. Which in this world of endless hyperbole and superlatives sounds like damning with faint praise. It isn't at all. Testing music with everything from the soft stylings of Mozart's K482 through the progressive sounds of Pink Floyd's PULSE and on to both ends of the loud spectrum with hard house and even harder rock the 1400's very very good with some tight bass and clear highs, but the majority of the focus was on the midrange as one would expect to find from a gaming-based headset. Indeed gaming is where the Vengeance 1400s shine with team audio and gunfire proving an aural pleasure. When using a stereo headset quickly identifying where the enemy is has always been the acid test and the 1400s in combination with the Phoebus work very well to allow you to pinpoint the next frag.
The design is nice too, and the headset is very light and comfortable to wear for long periods. The person who designed the packaging needs a bit of a slap though, as there is no excuse for a brand new product to come out of the box with a seemingly permanent dent in the headband. It doesn't affect comfort but it looks poor. The non-retracting and non-flexible microphone can be a bit of a pain when you're not using it as such designs always are. We can see the benefits in allowing Corsair to tune the microphone knowing that the placement is pretty much guaranteed, but it does make us long for the choice afforded by such designs as the ASUS Echelon and SteelSeries 5H. Indeed those two particular headsets are the big challengers for the Vengeance 1400, especially at this price.
Good though the Corsair is the sound quality and general design of those two headsets just shade things in our opinion, and when the market is this close then such fine margins can be the difference. It's a shame the packaging problem and fixed microphone slightly spoil an otherwise good sounding and well built product. You certainly wont be disappointed with the Corsair Vengeance 1400 for £56, and the 3.5mm jack connections are a boon for those with a good soundcard and it's worthy of our OC3D Silver Award.
Thanks to Corsair for supplying the Vengeance 1400 for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D forums.