A lot of gaming headset manufacturers have been trying to appeal to a more casual audience of consumers lately, trying to stand out with sleek, simplified designs and trend-following colour schemes. Another way to stick out, however, is to be like Victrix and unabashedly embrace the pro gamer aesthetic.
You don’t get more gamer than branding your headset the Pro AF, and from the name to the bulky design and flashy neon purples, Victrix aims to deliver a slightly more affordable version of their $300/£233 goliath from 2018 – this has subsequently been renamed the Pro AF ANC. While it’s easy to think of all the esports pastiche as nothing more than big talk, Victrix’s bite is just as big as their bark; this is one of the best headsets I’ve ever used for gaming.
As much as I usually dislike busy and over-complicated headset designs, Victrix managed to find the sweet spot with their minimalistic colour scheme. I’m a sucker for purple in particular, and the way the highlights of purple in the audio cable, exposed headband wire and logo imprint contrast against the black body left a wonderful impression on me. The reflective plastic earcups are a little distracting, but it’s made up for by the sleek and comfortable padding throughout, as well as the sturdy aluminum, stainless steel and polycarbonate that make up the frame of the device.
My only issue with the construction of the headset was the rigidity of the audio cable. Thicker banding helps prevent the cables from tangling or tearing, but the cable also frequently falls into an unbendable shape that would got in the way of my hands when plugged into a PS4 controller.
It’s a beast of a headset with a decent amount of weight, but the Victrix Pro AF still manages to feel like a feather on top of my head. The split in the middle of the cushioning on the headband ensures that it provides plush support without too much pressure as it sits against your head.
As a glasses wearer, I also sometimes struggled with the leather earcups pressing against them a little too firmly, but I was able to diffuse this with the patent-pending levers on both earcups that you can flip to open up the earcuffs mid-use and vent them out. It’s meant to help deal with the heat that sometimes builds up from extended use of leather earcups without taking the headset off, but I found that it also helped to ease the tension on the sides of my ears during extended gaming sessions.
Of course, a headset can have all the purple wires and ear-venting levers in the world and it wouldn’t matter if the sound quality wasn’t up to snuff. Thankfully, that’s where the Victrix Pro AF shines the most. An issue I’ve commonly run into with gaming headsets on PS4 is that the maximum volume is just a few hairs short of the loudness that I seek. Sometimes I want to blast the audio to the max in order to really feel the gun blasts in Doom or to better immerse myself in the quiet ambiance of Monster Hunter World. The Pro AF is the only headset I’ve used that meets those beefy volume requirements for me.
Using them to play Death Stranding, I was able to hear every little sound, screech, and warped musical queue as I navigated America. In more powerful audio experiences like Modern Warfare, I could practically feel the kickback of every gun I fired while also being able to pick out the sound of footsteps coming every direction.
The quality of the detachable microphone is just as good. The built-in mechanical filter helps prevent pops and hisses while still keeping my voice clear as crystal. During thorough solo recording tests and hours of party-chat action, I never ran into any issues.
Compared to last year’s Pro AF ANC, this headset is practicaly identical in appearance, only cutting a handful of features, but cutting the price at the same time. They weigh exactly the same, they have the same colours, the same padding and frame. In fact, the main differences are the lack of Active Noise Cancelling (the ANC that gives last year’s model 3/8ths of its name) you also lose the in-line controller that can toggle different presets, adjust mic monitoring and fiddle with the Victrix logo’s lighting. With the price dropping from £233 to £140, you can save money for features that you might not necessarily want or need.