If you’d told me that one of my favorite gaming headsets of all time would come from Asus ROG, I’d have called the looney bin on you. The new Asus ROG Delta S Wireless looks like a stripped down version of the Hi-Res Audio, AniMatrix display tooting USB ROG Delta headsets. It drops the fancy dot-matrix light show and the Hi-fi ESS 9281 Quad DAC.
However, the minute I took the Delta S wireless out of its box and put them on my head, those concerns were lost in plume of dust raised by the hair-raising performance and comfort. The Delta S wireless is one of the most comfortable gaming headsets I’ve ever used — more so than even the Steelseries Arctis headsets. And once I heard the meaty sound of my submachine gun fire as I mowed down agents of darkness in Destiny 2, I was sold.
The Delta S Wireless will go on sale in August 2022 for $299.99 which is about average for a dual-mode wireless gaming headset. That isn’t small change but you certainly get a hell of a headset for your money. Here’s why.
Design and build
Removing the shiny bits and flashy cables in favour of a matte black with silver-white flourishes was a stroke of genius by the Asus designers. The Delta S is one bloody handsome headset that clearly announces itself as a gamer peripheral for the sophisticated playa. Nobody will miss the RGB lights here.
The giant D-shaped ear cups conform to the ears and cover them up nicely for a solid sound seal while the plush, memory foam cushions gently kiss the ears. The solid headband with more memory foam has just the right amount of clamping force that even with my glasses, I never, ever once felt pressure or discomfort throughout my days wearing them.
The ear cushions are also swappable and the Delta S comes with two sets in the box — the all pleather for better noise seal and a fabric set for added comfort. I was more than happy to keep the default pleather ones as they feel wonderful and cool on my ears.
The headset weighs 310gms which isn’t exactly light but you wouldn’t know by wearing them. They feel at least 100gms lighter than what the spec says thanks to a wonderfully balanced headband with memory foam. I never complained about pressure on the top of my head even with a whole day of wear.
The cups are joined to the headband by striking Silver-white hangers that allow the cups to swivel 90-degrees flat. The hangers also slide in and out of the headband for size adjustment and I appreciate the notched movement with size markings to make it easy to remember.
Controls are pretty basic with only a spring-loaded volume dial, media button and a mode switch that allows you to switch the headset between 2.4Ghz wireless and Bluetooth connection. Which unfortunately means that you can’t run them simultaneously but more on that later.
There’s also the USB Type-C charging port which is always a welcome site. The right ear cup remains free of clutter but has a rather ingenious cubbyhole for the headset’s small L-shaped USB Type-C dongle. I absolutely love this since most wireless headsets don’t usually have anywhere to store the dongle making them a nightmare to move around with.
Connectivity and battery
The Delta S connects via 2.4Ghz wireless and Bluetooth which means it will work with almost any device under the sun — except for Xbox which uses its very own special flavor of wireless protocol. But if you have a PC, Mac, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, this thing will work.
Those with Android smartphones with USB Type-C will also have a party but iPhone users will need to stick to Bluetooth. There’s also a Type-C to Type-A adapter in the box which is very convenient. Unfortunately, you can not use both connections at the same time like on most other dual-mode gaming headsets which is a bummer.
It’s always nice to have your phone connected to your headset so you don’t miss any calls while you game on your console or PC. But at least you can leave your basement cave to go make a sandwich without dropping connection thanks to the impressive 25m range of the Delta S. The other key thing missing is a 3.5mm connection jack for legacy devices and Xbox or just when you’re out of battery.
Battery life is decent at 25 hours over 2.4Ghz and a bit more on Bluetooth. However, considering you don’t get simultaneous connection, I’d have expected more out of this battery. Thank fully, charging is a breeze because the Delta S uses USB Type-C which is everywhere. Additionally, it supports quick charge which gives you 3 hours of battery after just 15min of charging — this is such a great feature that I wish all headsets had.
Asus included a power saving feature that turns the headset off when it’s been idle for a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, the only way to wake up the headset is to turn it off and on again which can get pretty irritating after the first two times. You can turn this off in Armoury Crate but risk forgetting your headset on and draining the battery unnecessarily.
Performance and surround sound
I’ve already alluded to the fantastic sound performance of the Delta S and that’s thanks to Asus expertly tuned 50mm drivers ensconced in those uniquely shaped ear cups. With a frequency response of 20 — 20000 Hz, and firing at an angle into your ears, these cans produce a powerful and deeply rich sound. The unique design of the driver chambers makes them sound much more expansive than they should, sounding almost like open-back headphones.
The bass is large and heart-pounding but clean with no distortion and I always got the sense that Asus had even restrained the Delta S from going full tilt. You can fiddle with EQ in the Armoury Crate software to really crank them up if you want but I think they are perfectly tuned right out the box.
When I first used the Delta S in my weekly level grind in Destiny 2 The Witch Queen, I was immediately taken aback how meaty my weapons sounded and how rich the environments sounded. And the excellent soundtrack with its eclectic mix of choral pieces and grunge electronica further elevated the on-screen action.
Spatial awareness is great with crisp, clear detail beautifully rendered seemingly from all directions. A perfect example was in my recent playthrough of Wolfenstein Youngblood. In one mission to rescue a resistance fighter from them Nazis, I was searching a hospital and for one second got seriously spooked as I heard voices from behind me that I was almost sure were in my house. Color me impressed.
The Delta S use Dolby Surround and do a pretty convincing job in the right scenarios. It’s a shame that the Armoury Crate doesn’t allow you to personalize the surround sound like Razer’s THX Surround. The detailing though is good enough especially in open-world games like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Assassins Creed Origins.
If you love listening to music, the Delta S won’t disappoint. They deliver very rich sound with excellent acoustics to cover both vocal and instruments. The powerful bass is well restrained and kicks in just enough to give plenty of soul to music while the highs are very detailed and clean without ever getting fatiguing. Again, you can really dial in a preferred sound profile in the AC software and save that preset.
AI Beamforming microphone with AI Noise cancellation
Here’s where things get a little iffy with the so far, exceptional performance of the Delta S. Unlike the rest of the Delta family of headsets, this one does away with the physical boom microphone and opts for the new fangled beamforming microphones. These microphones are built into the earcups and create an acoustic cone targeted towards your mouth. This works exceptionally well for what’s essentially a virtual boom mic. Check out the sample below to hear for yourself.
Impressive, hey? The schtick is with the AI Noise cancellation that aims to remove background noise while you speak but I experienced a huge dip in audio quality when I used this and playing around with the settings in the software didn’t improve things for me. Ignoring the noise cancellation left me with better overall quality. I should also point out that these AI features only work with PC’s running the AC software so don’t expect that on PlayStation or over Bluetooth.
The Asus ROG Delta S Wireless is a fantastic gaming headset that is easy to recommend to anyone looking for a wireless connectivity across multiple devices without compromising sound quality and comfort. It’s without a doubt one of the top three most comfortable gaming headsets I’ve ever reviewed and I just love wearing them. It’s a huge plus that they look really suave for gaming headsets and they sound fantastic in games, music and media. My only complaint has to be the lack of simultaneous 2.4Ghz and Bluetooth connection which I’d love to see in the next iteration. And while it doesn’t have any extra features like its siblings, that doesn’t stop the Asus ROG Delta S Wireless from being one of the finest gaming headsets on the market today.