The Audeze Penrose X Wireless Headphones are planar magnetic headphones designed for gaming. They retain the same level of comfort as the Audeze Mobius, as well as a similarly neutral, although slightly dark sound profile suitable for a variety of audio content. You can also customize it to your liking using the AudezeHQ app. These headphones support Bluetooth for more casual day-to-day use, as well as non-Bluetooth wireless, which ensures low latency while you game. They have slightly over 13 hours of continuous battery life. However, unlike the Mobius, they lack a built-in virtual surround feature as well as a carrying case.
If you’re one of the wealthier gamers who had the good fortune to use the Audeze Mobius, or even the HyperX Cloud Orbit S, the Audeze Penrose will seem pretty familiar, as it’s almost identical to those headsets. Just like aforementioned, the Penrose sports an all-plastic build, with a memory foam headband cushion and memory foam ear pads. Its headband is light and flexible, which helps with the overall weight, compensating for the heavy planar magnetic headphones. While there’s no metal here, nothing feels cheap; the hinges are firm and sturdy, and nothing creaks as you make adjustments.
The Audeze Penrose is a very comfortable headset. The headphones feel pretty weighty, but not so much that they cause fatigue, even after a few hours. The headband offers just the right amount of tension to feel secure without getting too tight, and paired with the memory foam ear pads, make achieving a decent seal pretty easy.
Using this gaming headset is pretty straightforward, but there are still a few things to keep track of. All of the Audeze Penrose’s onboard controls are located on the left headphone, and generally they’re spaced out well enough to make finding what you’re looking for easy. On the left side of the headphone, there’s a mute switch for the mic and the headset’s power button. Along the bottom edge, there are volume dials for mic monitoring and headphone, a button for toggling between headset’s three connection modes, and a USB-C port for charging, as well as 3.5mm ports for audio and connecting the removable microphone.
Additionally, the Audeze Penrose supports Audeze HQ, the desktop companion app previously reserved exclusively for the the Audeze Mobius. Audeze HQ is a little less cluttered with the Penrose, as there’s no Waves Nx 3D audio feature this time; all it offers is EQ customization, game and chat mix adjustments, and a monitoring toggle.
Oddly enough, the headset can’t connect to the app wirelessly through its included dongle. You have to plug the headset into your PC to use the app. Wired USB audio isn’t supported, which this means actually using the headset (at least on PC) while you use the app requires two ports at all times. Audeze HQ also now comes as a mobile app, so you can change all the same settings over Bluetooth as well.
Audeze claims the Penrose can last up to 15 hours on a single charge, but in my testing we found it fell just short of that. At a consistent output of ~75dB, the Audeze Penrose lasts just over 13 hours, 7 minutes on a single charge. This is quite a bit lower than many of the best wireless gaming headsets on the market, but planar magnetic drivers generally require more power than dynamic ones, so it’s not totally surprising; the Audeze Mobius fared similarly.
There’s no way to check battery status on the headset or in Audeze HQ, but we charged the headset for around 6 hours before starting the test, and given that Audeze says a full charge only takes three hours, it’s safe to say we started at a full charge.
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.
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.
The Audeze Penrose are priced at $299.00, but in my opinion you are getting what you pay for here. The quality is really good which makes these that much more worth it.