|Excellent sound||At its best with the USB dongle|
|Detail-oriented construction||Controls can be hard to find on the cable|
|Value for money|
The Logitech Pro-X headset has been out for a little over a year now, and despite a follow-up wireless version, and new competition from all the other manufacturers, it remains my top pick for wired headsets.
So what does a headset have to do to stand the test of time in the middle of a pandemic where we’re all far more online than usual?
There’s a saying in product manufacturing that things can be made up to a quality or down to a price. From the moment that you open the box, it’s immediately apparent that no corner has been cut, and no detail arrived at by accident.
Holding it in your hands, you can feel the quality of the materials and the construction. There’s no play or give in the hinges, and the aluminum side plates are etched in a circular pattern which catches the eye from any angle. The stitching is precise, and detailed. The detachable mic clicks firmly into place, but is removed easily with no threat of breaking the way that the Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2s are liable to. If you want, you can pop off the synthetic ear pads and swap them out for the included fabric ones, trading isolation for a little extra softness.
Now you have them on, and the temptation is going to be to plug them directly into your computer, and throw the included USB interface in the bin. Do not do this.
Unlike every other USB interface that’s been bundled with a headset, the Logitech Pro-X is actually good. Yes, shocking, I know. At first I plugged this directly into my computer, and then into an Astro Mixamp (a long-standing favorite), but something just didn’t feel right in the sound I was getting, or what the mic was recording. But after plugging in the USB interface, everything just clicked. These two are clearly designed for each other, and the immediate improvement was so huge I’m annoyed that Logitech didn’t make a bigger deal out of it.
When they’re on, the world drops away. Striking a perfect balance between firmly attaching to your head and stopping before they’re uncomfortable, it’s a struggle for the sounds of the outside world to penetrate the thick plastic and metal of the Pro-X. The opposite is true also – when you’re blasting the same embarrassing kpop song on repeat over and over, your friends and family will not know. I joke, but some headsets leak like a sieve, which is annoying both from a ‘my music is escaping’ point of view and when you want to just take your headphones off and walk away. When you take off the Pro-X, the cups close up against each other, sealing the sound off like a tiny headphone coffin.
Putting on my test playlist, a combination of metal and kpop, my first impression was “lol this rules”, and after a solid year this one summarizing sentence has not been bested. It succeeds in providing volume, clarity and depth at all frequency ranges. There’s bass without being muddy or overpowering, the low-mid range where most headphones feel tinny in at least some way is rewardingly present. This is thanks in part at least to the aforementioned aluminum backing plates – when speakers make sound, it travels in all directions, and the internal reflection driving the rear-side audio back into the shell creates a warm, luxurious tone.
Jumping into game with the Logitech Pro-X, the atmospheric audio is spacious, and the crisp effects of swords on armor and bullets (both firing and colliding) land with presence. In the back of my mind I’m mentally preparing myself to be let down by the mic. It’s the last thing, and surely the universe would not allow me to have something this nice.
My pessimism is shattered. The mic is clear, doesn’t pick up the environment, doesn’t pick up excess mouth noise, and is easy to position. With tech provided by Blue Microphones (of Yeti fame), the Pro-X’s headset mic was easy to tune to get the right sound for my voice. I have high demands of microphones, and usually only ever used headset mics as a last resort. Despite my repeated insistence in other reviews that headset mics should not be used by streamers, I am willing to invalidate that advice just once, for the Pro-X. There’s an immediate and noticeable improvement in how my voice sounds on camera, and everyone I call that first day asks if I got a new mic.
I’m dropping in and out of present tense in this review – I’m sorry, it’s just that I remember the day I got them with such clarity. I want to channel that excitement and that feeling of coming to understand that you’ve got a truly special piece of equipment that you’ll keep for as long as it continues working.
This is where I’d usually say ‘but it’s not all good’ and talk about what I didn’t like. And while the reality is that there are trade offs made to achieve what it does, I don’t necessarily consider them bad. The microphone is detachable rather than retractable, but this serves the design goal of keeping a firm cup construction, and it would be a worse headset for it. The same goes for the volume/mute controls being a slider on a cable, which my hands consistently fumble with locating. The fundamental audio design on the Logitech Pro-X relies on the construction not having any opportunity to leak, so I’m not comfortable calling this a weakness, but a design trade. Same again for requiring the use of the USB interface. Yeah, it’s a little annoying if you’re used to the features of an Astro Mixamp and you want to keep your local voice loop and game/chat mix. But that’s the trade – being designed like this so it can perform like this.
At $129.99USD, it’s expensive, but not at the high end of prices. This wasn’t a review sample sent by Logitech, and was purchased with my own money because I suspected it would be worth it, and it really was.
I’m waffling; I have waffled. I’m so pleased to be able to share the story of my schoolboy crush on this headset that I’ve used daily for the past year. It continues to stand the test of time and best every new thing that crosses my desk. When I sit down and put them on, the music swells, the game loads, the world fades, and I am Home.
I recommend the Logitech Pro-X to anyone who can afford it.