If you’ve never heard of XPG before, don’t worry. They’ve been around for a while now and we’ve had some hands-on experience in the past with their products. They’re a subsidiary of ADATA who are generally known for PC storage and memory components, and XPG is their gaming branch. pushing flashy RGB type products through the market. The XPG Precog is their latest gaming headset, and it’s aimed towards the higher-tiered gaming market, with the headset coming in at around £120 online. It’s bulky, comes in a hard carry case and just screams gamer, and I love it.
The XPG Precog is a pretty decent headset at first glance. The build quality is absolutely superb, and everything feels extremely robust. There’s no hiding the fact these headphones are aimed at gamers, they’re very fierce-looking, with the bright red and shiny chrome accents to the chunky head strap and suspension band to the grill on the outside of the earcups, everything just screams gamer, and I like it. The design looks pretty top-notch and nothing is too in your face and outspoken. Even the red accent lighting on the earcups is smart.
The headset weighs a meaty 360-grams, which is pretty heavy for a set of headphones, but because the suspension strap is covered in memory foam, and the earcup cushions very padded, I felt no issues when wearing the Precog for longer periods of time. Clamping force is pretty much non-existent too which is a bonus, and as a glasses wearer, I was pretty impressed that it didn’t interfere at all with those. As the Precog relies on a suspension band, it means there’s no need for movement in the earcups themselves like so many headsets have. The hinges that connect the earcups to the headband are made from metal and can turn 90-degrees, making it easier for the headset to sit around your neck though because of the earcup size, they do press against the front of your neck. Well, they did with me anyway.
There’s no lack of connections when it comes to the Precog. and with all the cables it means you can pretty much plug it into any games console, PC or mobile you want. You’ve got your traditional 3.5mm jack input, which comes in two parts depending on the length you need. This connection is great for your Xbox or Playstation controllers and I even used it with my GoXLR Mini for streaming purposes. It has a small controller for setting volume levels and a mute mic switch. The second though is the most interesting, and that’s the USB Type-C input which connects directly with the headset itself and has a built-in soundcard directly on the cable. This soundcard opens up the Precog in a number of ways. First is a volume control wheel that doubles as a mute button.
There’s also a switch to switch the audio profiles between one that’s suited to music which is a flat EQ with zero post effects added, FPS games which widens the directional audio finally a virtual 7.1 surround sound. Two more switches remain and the first is to turn the red LED lights on and off, which only work if you’re running USB power to the headset and finally the ENC toggle switch which turns on noise cancellation on the boom mic. If the Type-C to Type-C cable isn’t long enough, you’ve got a Type-C to Type-A adapter which also lengthens the cable for those plugging it in around the back of your PCs.
Sound quality though, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The cans rely on a dual driver system in each earcup, which means there is an electrostatic driver and a dynamic driver to really push your audio. Before you jump to conclusions and think it’s bad, it’s not, if you get the mode and cable right. As explained earlier there are two ways to connect the Precog to an audio source. And because I needed the headset for streaming, I used the 3.5mm cable and plugged it directly into my GoXLR. This meant that I had no post-processing effects on the headset. It’s pure audio from the source, which case was my GoXLR plugged into my PC and it was by far the worst way to receive audio. Everything I played through the XPG Precog I was greeted with an extreme amount of bass, and that detail in audio from the mids and treble ranges, like voices if you’re watching a show or people glass shattering if you were shooting a window in-game or reloading was completely lost.
However, the soundcard fared much better, but again, not all modes came out on top. On the USB Type-C cable, there’s the DSP sound card, and while using that in the simulated 7.1 sound stage, things came alive and I could again hear little details in games and music that weren’t present using the 3.5mm cable. The soundstage certainly widened for that immersive feeling, but it didn’t really give an accurate representation of 7.1 when it came to directional audio. The FPS Mode wasn’t too great either, with audio really pushing treble frequencies to give you better audio cues from games like people reloading round a corner or putting down equipment or footsteps etc. It was great to pin-point enemies in a game, but at the expense of some punchier sounds, it’s not something I enjoy. But, competitive and eSports players may beg to differ as it made it easier to place enemies around you. The Music mode, though this should definitely be called something like ‘Flat’ or ‘Off’ was great, with no post-processing effects being applied and everything sounded full and powerful and details in music, movies and even games remained and in some cases became clearer. So, it’s not all bad, though it’s a bit of a waste having several profiles to choose from and not used at all. One issue I did find myself having each time I used the Precog with the USB DAC was the fact the volume wheel would only raise the volume. whichever way I turned it. When I tried to turn it down by twisting the wheel the other way, it flittered between 100 and 98-percent on my computer. Not sure if it was the driver or an actual fault with the DAC, but it sure was frustrating.
The microphone quality didn’t fare too much better either, with my voice sounding very strange, almost like I was underwater, but not that muffled audio you hear, it was like someone had put an underwater effect onto my voice at about 25%. It’s not the best, but I suppose it’s passable when playing on a console, as everyone sounds like that through their console headsets, but as a pro gamer or even a streamer, you’re not going to be using this microphone because there are far better dedicated mic options out there far cheaper than this headset.
It’s such a shame that this review has ended pretty negatively because the build quality and comfort levels of the XPG Precog are superb! But they’ve just not been able to pull ahead with their audio quality unless you’re listening to it on your PC using the Music preset. Sure the 7.1 preset is usable, and it gives some nice separation, but the FPS mode for me anyway is a bit of a flop. The buggy volume wheel was frustrating when games started getting louder and the 3.5mm jack input is simply a no-go. It’s a good attempt by XPG for sure, but at £120 or $139? It just can’t keep up with similarly priced headsets on the market.