The Asus ROG Delta S is sitting well in the premium category of gaming headsets. We reviewed the previous generation not too long ago and it had some shortcomings for the price. Even then, there are simply some gaming features that never really made it to the Delta S. HRTF or virtual surround sound is missing even now but it has another ace up its sleeve — a built-in MQA renderer.
Audiophiles might already know what the MQA is capable of, even if some folks in the community shoot it down for coming across as nothing more than faff. For something like gaming headsets, it really feels like an improvement or maybe it is the new and improved ESS 9281 Quad DAC. Either way, it does make the ROG Delta S sound refined and mature, unlike any gaming headset we’ve tested.
It’s clear that the ROG Delta S is not meant for competitive play or even serve you in intense multiplayer games. Don’t get us wrong, these will fit nicely into any gaming scenario but their main objective has always been high-quality audio as opposed to feature-rich headphones like the JBL Quantum series.
A few rounds of Valorant, and it’s clear that the ROG Delta S have a flat delivery. Each frequency is accounted for and none stomp over the other. It’s very unlike a gaming headphone to have such a flat sound signature. Jumping into the Synthwave tracks of Ghostrunner and the ROG Delta S bring out every minute detail from the tracks. Weirdly, we enjoyed listening to music on these more than gaming. Take My Breath by The Weeknd sounds clean and orderly. You can hear The Weeknd gasping for air in pristine clarity although we feel the upbeat tempo could use some more energy here.
R&B and Soul music is where the Delta S truly feel like premium headphones. The mid-range depth and vocal clarity in Leon Bridges’ voice in Sho Nuff are unmatched. The luscious instrumental set comes alive with every beat in Don’t Worry as well.
For games that have an immersive sound stage and pleasant tunes, something like the Ghost of Tsushima on the PS5, the headset really bring out the best. Although, they do not connect to the PS5 via the controller’s Type-C port. You’ll have to run the cord from the system itself which can be a pain if you’re sitting far from the console. The USB-C cable from the headset is 1.5m whereas the USB 2.0 extension is an extra 1m. So you have a good 2.5m to stay from the console. And that’s pretty much what you get in the box as well. A mesh and leather set of replaceable earpads too of course.
Yes, there’s a mic. You can even detach the mic and really never go back on sitting in Discord. Alas, gaming headphones have priorities and the mic for one is quintessential. For this one, the mic has been given some AI noise-cancelling smarts. It’s what it is. We really didn’t find much of a difference in voice quality or the adaptability of the AI to shush background noise. Discord’s in-built Krisp feature is quite useful at that too and works as good as any AI. The mic itself is rather good. It’s clear and only focuses on your chatty chords. Whistling and howling are often negated so your teammates don’t have to keep up with your nonsense.
You’ll have to download the Armoury Crate software from Asus to bring out the tools needed to tweak this thing. The mic AI settings along with virtual 7.1 surround sound, equalizer, bit/sampling rate settings are all accessible through the software. You can tweak and tinker with the sound settings to suit your needs. The virtual 7.1 surround sound is best ignored.
The ROG Delta S is a step in the right direction, although we’re not sure if this is what you want from gaming headphones. Sure, there’s RGB, a volume rocker and a mute button but these are way too refined for gaming. There’s room for tinkering, so if you’re one of the very few people who are into gaming and high fidelity audio, the Delta S is perfect for you.
The MQA stuff works with Tidal, a streaming service that is not available in India so the use is rather limited here.
With clean and mature sounding gaming headphones like the Delta S, you also get a polished build and comfortable ergonomics. Now it’s only a matter of choice if you want something that sounds like the Delta S or, break the bank and go for the Audeze Mobius.