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Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO
225mm x 195mm x 48mm
Many gamers and streamers use open-back headphones like the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro. This is because open-back headphones prevent your ears from overheating and provide a more natural sound. That said, there are very few premium open-back headphones with a boom microphone for this niche. Corsair aims to conquer this market with a new open-back headset with a detachable microphone. Find out if this headset brings the best of both worlds in our Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO review.
Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.
The Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO is great for creators looking for an open-back headset. The detachable microphone works well for both gaming and virtual meetings.
What’s it like to use the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO?
At first glance, there is nothing to indicate that a gaming company made this headset. There are no bright colors or RGB lights. Instead, the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO feels more closely related to a studio headphone. Built from aluminum and plastic, the headset feels as premium as its price point suggests.
A sturdy build quality creates additional weight, and I did feel some pressure start to build up on the top of my head and around my ears after wearing the headphones for more than an hour. Over time, the headband stretched, and the ear cups began to mold around the shape of the head, so breaking in this headset does improve comfort. The ear pads are covered with a simple cloth material, which may not be as fancy as the leather or velour on other premium headphones. Still, it does keep the ears from getting too sweaty during intense gaming sessions. You can also easily remove and replace the ear pads and headband cushion.
The design’s most striking feature is the visible 50mm graphene drivers encapsulated by aluminum grills. The open-back design allows sound to pass in and out. This helps create a natural sound, but it also means that you can only really use this headset in a quiet room without anyone who will be annoyed by audible spill from the headphones.
While the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO is marketed towards gamers and streamers, it also works well as a regular pair of headphones. You can remove the cable with the attached microphone and swap it out for a regular cable, so you don’t have to worry about having a microphone dangling in front of your face. This makes it easy to swap between listening to music, playing games, or taking calls.
How do you control the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO?
The Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO doesn’t include any controls on the ear cups or on the cables. This is an old-school set of headphones where you’ll need to adjust playback directly on your device. This is annoying for gaming, as you can’t quickly increase or decrease the volume on a console without digging through software menus.
Is there an app for the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO?
The Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO is designed for plug-and-play use and does not come with any app or custom software. You can still use third-party software on your device, such as an equalizer, to adjust the headset’s sound. Corsair also recommends using NVIDIA BROADCAST for real-time background noise and echo reduction on the microphone and a variety of audio effects.
How do you connect the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO?
Corsair includes two cables for connecting the VIRTUOSO PRO to your device, one with a microphone and one without. There is also a TRRS to 2x TRS audio splitter included.
How well does the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO attenuate noise?
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As an open-back headset, the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO is not designed to passively isolate any environmental noise. You will still hear nearly everything going on around you while wearing this headset. You should think twice about using this headset at school or an office, as those sitting nearby will also hear everything you play through the headphones.
You can still clearly hear your voice when using the headset microphone. This means the headset doesn’t need to artificially pump in the sound of your voice using sidetone to get a good chatting experience.
How does the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO sound?
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The Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO has a sound that doesn’t stray far from what you would expect from a gaming headset. Like many other gaming headsets, this headset boosts bass frequencies. Combined with a subtle boost to high frequencies, this frequency response makes explosion sounds in games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 extra intense.
This frequency response deviates from our in-house headphone preference curve, which is noticeable when listening to music with a lot going on in the low-mid range. However, you won’t notice the bass boost in games’ soundtracks focusing on ambient instrumental music. I found that games with an orchestral soundtrack, such as Hogwarts Legacy, sound good on the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO, as it does a nice job of reproducing string instruments in the mid-high frequencies.
An open-back design also lends itself well to sound localization inside of games. With 3D audio on the PS5, I found it easy to detect the direction of enemy footsteps while playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
If you’re unfamiliar with this newfangled material, its tiny layers are “barely thicker than an atom” of latticed carbon stacked on each other to create incredibly rigid, strong, and lightweight structures.
In this headset’s case, the diaphragm of the headphone driver is made of graphene instead of the more typical mylar. The idea is that using a more lightweight and rigid material will produce less distortion or unintended resonances in the output, improving the distinctness and clarity of sound.
In theory, you’ll better differentiate the sounds of gunfire, voice chat, footsteps, and elements of music. This isn’t meant to aid in spatial awareness but rather sound clarity in hectic or complex moments. In practice, you won’t notice much of a difference. The headset sounds good, but don’t expect it to sound noticeably different from most good-sounding gaming headsets. We’re not seeing anything in the measurements suggesting this is superior to conventional technology.
How good is the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO microphone?
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The microphone quality on this headset is excellent for gaming and conference calls. As you can hear in our standardized recording below, the microphone amplifies high frequencies so that voices sound clear. That said, if you want streaming quality, check out our list of the best gaming mics.
Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO microphone demo (Office conditions):
Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO microphone demo (Reverberant space):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO?
Compared to the best gaming headsets on the market, the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO carves a unique path. It forgoes wireless connections, fancy lights and apps, and bells and whistles in exchange for a premium open-back design. This headset isn’t designed to stray far from your desk, but it does perform well for gaming, taking calls, and casually listening to music.
While the over-emphasis on bass frequencies means most people doing professional audio work will steer away from this headset, many consumers will still find the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO enjoyable to listen to, especially if it’s their first time listening to an open-back headphone. The Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO works well for gaming and streaming, and the removable microphone makes this a good choice for people who work from home.
What should you get instead of the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO?
Alternative recommendations here will depend on what you plan to use your headphones for. If you are just looking for gaming headphones, the Logitech G PRO X 2 LIGHTSPEEDis a great option. That headset also has graphene drivers but has a default sound that more people will enjoy when listening to music. It also supports wireless connectivity and comes with a companion app for surround sound, equalization, and an audio sampler, $249 at Amazon.
On the other hand, if you don’t need a microphone or are okay with using an external microphone, there are other open-back headphones you should consider instead of the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO. Some of the classics include the Sennheiser HD 600, $299 at Amazon, and the AKG K702, $135 at Amazon. Both are premium studio headphones with significantly less bass emphasis than the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO.
Frequently asked questions about the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO
The Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO can connect to phones with a 3.5mm headphone jack. However, since most phones only have USB-C input nowadays, you’ll probably need to use an adapter to connect this headset to your phone.
No, the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO does not have Bluetooth or any other wireless functionality.
Yes, you can use the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO with an Xbox or PS5 by plugging the headset into the controller.
You do not need to charge the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO. Simply plug the headset into your device to use it.
Yes, just plug the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO into the headphone jack on top of your Nintendo Switch.