Audio is an essential part of any game. Whether you’re tracking enemy fire from a distance, losing yourself in the bustle of an alien world, or listening for the sound of an opponent sneaking up behind you, the sounds you hear play an important role, and a good headset should allow you to hear each of these elements clearly, without losing the finer details.
For Computex 2019, we’re announcing two new gaming headsets designed to deliver improved audio for clearer, more immersive sound while you play. The new ROG Theta and ROG Theta Electret both feature the same slick look to match the Republic of Gamers aesthetic, and soft-touch ear cups maximize comfort during long gaming sessions. The new and improved cushion design boasts fast cooling material and softer foam in the middle that reduces pressure for gamers wearing glasses.
While these two look identical, they're actually fraternal twins that leverage separate and very different technologies in order to cater to a wider variety of people. The ROG Theta packs eight large Essence drivers that deliver rich surround sound from any USB Type-C device. If you’re looking for an analog solution, the ROG Theta Electret combines electret and dynamic drivers for impressive stereo audio that balances the best of both technologies.
Eight big drivers for big surround sound
The Theta represents an alternate take on multi-channel surround via a headset. The typical approach for delivering fully-baked surround involves embedding five independent drivers in each ear cup. However, this compromises the size of each driver, leading to poor bass reproduction in game titles that don’t effectively utilize the dedicated subwoofer channel. The Theta gets around this by removing the sub driver and piping the entire frequency spectrum—including low-frequency effects—to four large drivers for the front, center, side, and rear channels. Upstream, we’ve utilized the Realtek S1220A 7.1 channel codec feeding four ESS 9601 headphone drivers that deliver pinpoint placement of effects within a vast aural landscape.
Communication is a two-way street, and your squad needs to be able to hear you just as well as you can hear them, so we’ve tweaked the noise canceling technology in the Theta to limit some of the common issues that cause problems when carrying on a conversation. Conventional noise canceling technology relies on differential microphone sensing and an assumption algorithm that can negatively affect the sound of your voice. The Theta’s boom mic utilizes a dedicated processor loaded with smart profiles honed by AI to preserve vocal harmonics and nullify over fifty million types of background noise. The chip reduces distracting chatter, keyboard clatter, and the sound of mouse clicks by up to 99%, allowing you to communicate clearly in any environment.
Nearly every new PC and portable gaming device comes equipped with a USB Type-C port, which makes it a natural fit for the ROG Theta. Not only does the reversible connector ensure that you always plug it in right the first time, but it provides a clean audio signal and allows us to pack our own DAC into the headset. For an added bit of style, you can customize the Aura Sync RGB on the side of the Theta and set it to glow in tandem with your other Aura Sync-compatible components and accessories.
Analog’s not dead
While a USB-C headset is perfect for people who prioritize the ability to plug their cans into a variety of modern mobile devices, the ROG Theta Electret features a traditional 3.5 mm jack as well as a 6.3 mm adapter to accommodate plugging into a wider range of setups, including your preferred DAC or sound card. This analog stereo headset utilizes an exotic dual speaker setup in each ear cup, carefully teaming an electret driver with a dynamic transducer to get the best audio from both technologies.
Electret drivers feature a self-biased, lightweight polymer film that is held taught by magnets and placed between two plates. A small transformer is used to amplify the audio signal sufficiently to generate an electromagnetic force between the plates, causing the film to move and create sound with significantly less distortion than conventional dynamic drivers.
However, electrets only excel at mid-range and high-frequency reproduction, which is why we’re using a 45 mm dynamic driver to cover everything from 20Hz to 7.5KHz. The electret is then gently rolled in to extend frequency response all the way out to 40KHz. This approach allows both drivers to operate in their optimal range and deliver beguiling sonics.
The Theta Electret comes with a 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm jack adapter so you can easily connect to your hi-fi setup at home, and the specially-tuned boom mic is certified by TeamSpeak and Discord to ensure your voice will come through loud and clear as you play. The mic is also removable, so you can go totally silent and focus on the sound if you prefer.
A tale of two Thetas
Whether you need a USB-C headset to provide superior surround sound and noise cancellation across a range of devices, or a more traditional analog headset that will pair with your existing sound system, ROG has got your back. Our Theta headsets will go on sale later this year. Check with your local ROG representative for information on pricing and availability.
We announced a lot of hot new tech at Computex 2019. You can find all of the latest gear from ASUS and ROG in this article.