I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve never heard of Austrian Audio. They’re a relatively new company, derived from members of AKG, and usually makers of pretty high-end audio gear for that audiophile audience out there. But, they wanted a slice of the gaming market, and rightly so. But rather than going ultra-premium, they’ve gone more modest, releasing the PG16 at the ¬£129 – 149 price point.

£122.95
£129.00
in stock
2 new from £122.95
2 used from £99.06
as of May 21, 2022 17:42
Amazon.co.uk

Being modest though means that features are missing that you would generally expect to compliment a premium brand’s gaming headset, like Bluetooth, it uses 3.5mm aux connections, which okay are compatible with consoles and mobile, but doesn’t exactly scream modern, and worst of all, there’s no in-line remote or any kind of UI on the headphones, like a volume wheel, for example, so once plugged in, it’s a pretty bare-bones gaming headset and is software-reliant in Windows or in your game, unless using with something like a GoXLR like I’m doing, where I can control my game volume and chat volume separately.

Primarily made from plastic, the Austrian Audio PG16 is pretty lightweight, and only weighs around 265 grams which is light enough to use for longer periods of gaming without feeling heavy on the head. I never had any reak issues while in use it was very comfortable to wear though I would have liked to have had a bit more padding around the crown, as this did feel a bit uncomfortable after a while. Everything here feels pretty sturdy too, and the hinges which can fold flat to your desk or neckline don’t feel weak, and the adjustable head straps are nice and smooth to move up and down and strong enough to stay in place without the need for constant readjusting. There is a rod running through the headband to help with its build quality too though there’s a minimal creak when stretched out. There’s a mixture of matte, gloss and material effects here, and the red highlights aren’t too in your face, and the best part is it doesn’t scream gamer, like some new headsets we’ve come across. It’s understated and looks great.

The earcups themselves are fully memory foam and provide a nice comfort without clamping too hard to the side of your head. They are an over-ear style, and I had no trouble surrounding my ears with the memory foam, and they offer a decent level of noise isolation too. There are exposed cables running between the earcups and headband, which as you probably know by now I hate this. They’re thin too. Why is it so hard to get them hidden?! The boom arm mic can be found on the left, and unfortunately, it’s not removable, so I very much doubt there’ll be many people wearing these on their commutes to work. The quality from the boom arm also isn’t too bad. Just take a listen to this. As I said before, there are no controls on the unit itself which is a very odd choice for Austrian Audio to go with. I would have at minimum liked to see some kind of volume control so I can decide on the fly if I wanted to turn down my headphones, rather than having to go into my Windows volume settings or even my game audio settings to adjust the volume. The 3.5mm aux cable is connected to the actual earcup on the right-hand side. Would this have been better on the left? For me and my setup, sure. But it’s not a huge deal-breaker and the 1.4m supplied cable is a generous length.

As for game audio quality, I’m impressed. There’s a fantastic blend of highs and lows, and game audio sounds extremely clean and precise. I’d claim that the Austrian Audio PG16s definitely favour the high mids and high tones, especially when it comes to hearing in-game cues when playing battle-royale and team shooter games, but they’re more capable of holding their own when it comes to more hectic gameplay, with explosions and gunfire ringing out. It has a 12Hz – 24KHz frequency response with big 44mm drivers which is incredibly good not just for games but for music too, and listening through Spotify on a daily basis while working (yes I know it’s not the highest bitrate or quality in the world but hey, what you guna do), I was impressed with the quality. It also makes RPG-style games feel a lot more immersive, as subtle audio can be heard, and surprisingly enough, over audio that you could consider being a little louder in an overall mix. Nothing really seems to get lost or overpowered.

Now, I will tell you there is an additional software you can download called Spatial Sound Card L which gives users a chance to use a simulated 7.1 spacial sound awareness. This is virtual though and accessed in your Windows sound settings. Personally, I didn’t use this as I use my GoXLR Mini, and I don’t want to start having to switch my Windows sound driver targets around just to get passable at best virtual surround sound. The headphones are more than good enough as they are in stereo sound. I was told by a friend when playing some Apex though that there was a bit of audio spillage into my dynamic Rode mic while playing. The PG16 are closed-back, so was odd to hear that kind of feedback, but it might also be down to volume levels I play at. Either way, I don’t think this is an issue with the headset, more an issue of my audio setup here, I just wanted to let you know. If you did want to try this for yourself though, there is a voucher in the box for you to download it through Steam.

The microphone quality though isn’t bad at all, and I was actually surprised at how it performed, to be honest with you. For an audio-focused brand, it’s a very decent offering. Okay so it’s nowhere near broadcast quality, but it’s absolutely good enough for playing games with your friends on Discord and maybe even a bit of live streaming if you haven’t got a separate dynamic mic setup or some kind of condenser USB mics like a Blue Yeti or Elgato Wave 3 on the desk. Being an omnidirectional microphone though, you do get a bit of background noise picked up like keyboard keystrokes. It’s superb in all honesty, so top points there Austrian Audio, nice work. It can also be muted on the fly too, so just tilt the microphone upwards, and it’ll cut all audio, so that’s a handy feature if the phone rings or someone’s at the door.

I am dead impressed with the Austrian Audio PG16. It combines a fairly nice design with some unbelievable performance. And yes, while the virtual surround sound driver is a bit of a pain, and definitely something I wouldn’t recommend, the base quality of the PG16s is awesome. Would I have liked to have seen a bit more metal and a bit more of a premium feel? Sure. But as it is they’re light enough to wear for long periods of time. I also wanted a bit more padding on the crown, but that’s my head and your mileage may vary. And a separate volume control at least at a minimum on one of the earcups would have been handy. But for ¬£129 here in the UK, you’re going to be getting a superb bit of kit, and I couldn’t recommend more really in this current gaming market. Great job Austrian Audio, you’ve quite frankly smashed it.