A certain subset of humanity loves a good dose of specifics, whether it’s the specifications on the side of a brand-new piece of equipment, or the minutiae of the rules of either flavour of football. You know where you are with specifics. If you’re heavily involved in pretty much any activity, the specific equipment isn’t just a badge of honour, it’s designed to make that activity better.
Final are a relatively unknown audio company here in the UK, but the Japanese company are set to make a play with the VR3000: a headset that is very specifically designed for VR and gaming. Of course, it will work with plenty of other things as well.
The VR3000 look like a relatively unassuming pair of wired earbuds. The 3.5mm connection means that you’re going to be able to hook them up to pretty much anything you can think of (even if it requires a dongle), but as all of their marketing pictures show, and with the hint in the name, this is intended as a set of VR earphones through and through.
The aim with the VR3000 was to create a lightweight, unobtrusive audio experience that also gave users an exceptional level of clarity and realistic spatial audio. This is an in-ear setup that aims to deliver spatial sound as VR developers intended, and testing them with the Oculus Quest 2, the results are extremely positive.
So many headphones and headsets introduce their own emphasis, whether its ear drum rattling bass or intensely crisp higher frequencies. The VR3000 is, to all intents and purposes, an in-ear monitor, recreating sound without adding any of those emphases. While there’s undoubtedly an exceptional level of detail to the audio they kick out, it feels natural and realistic thanks to a wider soundstage than we’ve come to expect from in-ear headphones.
There’s no thumping bass here, rather a taut, rounded tone that allows you to pick out detail that you might otherwise miss. What that does mean is that these likely aren’t the best headphones for games that rely on music like Beat Saber or Audica. I largely found that the combination of lower quality music files and the more natural audio representation of the VR3000 combined to create a disappointing musical experience.
However, that’s not where the VR3000 is really targeted. Instead, this is a pair of in-ear headphones that enhance your VR experience by adding realism through the way audio is represented. There’s no bespoke virtual surround sound here, and it will rely on the quality of a game’s audio design and any spatial audio provided by the system. When paired with an immersive VR game like Jurassic World Aftermath, the VR3000’s exceptional definition and flat EQ setting helps to bring out the sensation that you really are experiencing what your eyes are telling you.
They are perfectly designed to work alongside the Oculus Quest 2, with a relatively short 1.2m cable and a lightweight 20g build. The earpieces themselves are an unusual design that sits upwards into your ear rather than hanging down, with the idea being that that creates less fatigue as you’re wearing them, and during our testing that certainly played out, with hours of VR gaming more constrained by the Quest 2’s battery life than any discomfort from the headphones.
As part of that weight-reducing fit and build, the cabling is intended to run up and over the back of your ear. There’s a pair of ear hooks provided in the box if you need them to keep the cable in place, though I didn’t find them to be necessary during testing – then again, I’m the owner of a decent pair of FA Cup handles. Either way, it’s a nice inclusion to have the option of the hooks whether you need them or not.
The overall design of the VR3000 is decidedly unassuming, with an all-black build that you’d probably overlook if not for the more aggressive angles of the body itself. There’s no external branding either, which gives you a real sense that these are a serious, focussed piece of tech.
There’s a light, three button control unit high up on the right cable length, with an in-built microphone which will let you use them with your mobile phone, or indeed any of the current gaming consoles. The microphone is perfectly useable, but it isn’t going to match up to a dedicated boom mic in terms of definition, and there aren’t any in-built noise gates etc. to set it apart from the crowd.
It’s worth noting that beyond its virtual reality chops, the VR3000’s wider soundstage and enhanced detail make it a good choice for FPS gaming in general, with the ability to pick out footsteps and gunfire in PUBG or Warzone a real boon. You might want to play cinematic single player games with something that has a more explosive response, but in terms of multiplayer, it’s a definite winner.