In gaming, not only the power of the machine to offer excellent video quality, but also a high-quality sound that reflects the spectacularity and the sense of the title that the player experiences .
And no matter how good the sound section has the machine on which we play, if we do not also have a good channel to reach our ears, it will be of little use to us.
In this sense, one of the essential components in all gaming equipment consists of headphones that allow us both to listen to the music and the effects, as well as to talk with our teammates and, above all, that are comfortable to be able to spend hours ‘addicted’ to our favorite hobby.
There are many manufacturers of gaming peripherals , and all seek to distinguish themselves by some certain factor. What is the XPG Precog?
A [more or less] modular system
It is opening the transport case in which the Precog headphones of the XPG brand (the ADATA subsidiary dedicated exclusively to gaming equipment ) are delivered , and being surprised by two factors: firstly, its size and, secondly, the reason for so many cables inside.
In this image we can see the open carrying case, with all the elements that make up the package: the headphones, and different cables, four in total, for a very versatile connection
And the surprise raises questions that we can answer by explaining the philosophy of these headphones: to be modular to adapt to any need and not only to those of video game users, since in addition to providing this playful service, they are also suitable for listening to music, watch a movie or video conference .
Maybe talking about a modular system is exaggerated, but we can talk about very versatile and adaptable headphones to the circumstances in which, for example, we can do without the microphone when we go to listen to music, simply disconnecting it, not moving it (where it would continue to bother for this need), or changing the cable depending on the device to which we connect them .
In this sense, the pack includes four cables, two with USB terminations, and two with minijack terminations, all of them with gold connections and the cable sheathed in a nylon protection that prevents it from tangling or kinking causing the dreaded knots .
The first of these connection cables is USB-C to USB-C , allowing us to connect it directly to a computer that has ports of this type. More or less in the center of the cable, we find a control box to moderate the volume and cut the mic, with DSP functionality (digital signal processor, for its acronym in English) to improve the audio quality . This is accompanied by a USB-C to USB-A adapter , just in case we work with a computer that only has these ports, and both include an antiparasitic filter near the end that connects to the computer.
Here we can better appreciate the DSP of the USB-C to USB-C cable, as well as the anti-parasite filter that said cable has in the part that connects to the computer or mobile device
The third cable allows us to connect the headphones through a minijack , including a volume control and a switch to close or open the microphone, which is accompanied by a converter that separates the audio and microphone outputs for connection to the computers that present input and output line (what is called a Y-wire).
The minijack connection cable (on the left), and the Y-shaped splitter cable
The bill for these four cables is very good , and with them XPG has taken care of a detail that is neglected in low-cost headphones, thus guaranteeing that the sound quality is not lost due to careless connections, in which it has been spared.
In addition, with this configuration, we can connect them to any device , be it a computer, a smartphone (we would need an adapter for the Lightning connector in the case of an iPhone), a game console, or a stereo.
From top to bottom, the USB-C port, the minijack, and the hole to connect the microphone
Some might say that it lacks Bluetooth connectivity, but adding it would take away all the essence of these gaming headphones ; And it is that no self-respecting gamer will play seriously with Bluetooth headphones, since no matter how good they are, they will not give the same quality or response as some connected by cable, especially if the detail of the cables is as well taken care of as in these.
Design and comfort
Headphones aimed at the gamer public must be prepared to adapt as comfortably as possible to the ears during long gaming sessions that can last hours.
In this context of use, headphones that after an hour begin to annoy and divert the player’s attention from their objectives in the game, do not have much travel.
Feelings are always personal, but what usage analysis does not end up being too ?, so I ye will, dear readers, who will transmit the results that have given me so much with games gaming , and video conferencing, listening to music, or watching movies.
And all I can say is that they are really comfortable ; the protective pads of the units are soft and of considerable thickness, so when we put them on and compress against the ears, they adapt very well to their shape , thus guaranteeing an excellent level of comfort for anyone.
Here we can see the inside of the pads of the Precog
The elastic band that is located just below the upper headband means that we practically do not notice pressure on the top of the head, but it has also caused me a slight sensation of the headphones falling, totally false (as I said, only one feeling) and that in the end I have coped quite well, which has not taken away the fact that once (sporadically) that feeling of “ oh! I’m going to drop them ”, especially in the middle of a very lively game.
In this photo we can see the elastic band for adjusting the head, just below the structure that joins the two units (due to its position, in the photo it is just above them)
On the inside of the clamps (which look metallic to the eye but plastic to the touch) we can see the letters corresponding to the right and left earphone silkscreen and, at the bottom of the left unit, we find the connection ports: USB-C , minijack , and microphone . A microphone that exhibits a standard minijack connector (we can connect it to the input of any other device, such as a computer), but with a design of the handle that makes it fit perfectly in the way practiced in said left unit, being robustly attached to the headphone main body.
The cables are designed so that they do not kink or tangle , or take shapes, so it is easy to finish putting them where they do not bother us while we play, although personally I would have made them a little longer.
At the aesthetic level (you can see it in the photos that illustrate this analysis), the Precog follow the trends of the gaming world , combining dark colors such as black, with details of a more vivid color (the XPG brand in red, color in the which are also made of the adaptable rubber piping for the head), and an ‘aggressive’ appearance.
As an added bonus, they have a red LED light that illuminates the headphones from the outside , a superfluous detail if we play alone at home … but that can give a certain touch when we go outside and play with other people in meetings, for example.
A final design detail is found in the fact that the two units pivot at an angle of 90 degrees, necessary to store the headphones in their carrying case, but which also allows us to take them off and leave them hanging on our neck, adapting the position of the units so that they are comfortable for us.
When we purchase this product, the box it comes in is, in fact, the same briefcase in which we will store the headphones. And I’m talking about a briefcase more than a cover, because if in some other headphones it is more of a cover, in this case it is a whole case that adapts to the shape of the headphones, but that bulks more because it is protected to guarantee the integrity of the device against bumps and falls .
In its upper cover we find two sections divided by nets. One of them contains the microphone and the documentation (the warranty, a quick start guide and some stickers), while the other is in turn divided into four sections, each with one of the cables that accompanies them. headphones.
The only annoying thing about this briefcase (which, by the way, has a handle on the top for a more comfortable grip and transport) is that when we put the cables back in place, it is a bit cumbersome to put them in.
In gaming and video conferencing they offer exceptional quality , with clear sound both in terms of listening and the sound captured through the microphone. In music reproduction they have not completely convinced me , with a sound a bit ‘flat’, especially if we connect them through a minijack .
If we change the cable to USB, either USB-C or with the adapter to USB-A, things improve thanks to the DSP . The latter features three modes of operation: music, FPS, and 7.1 . For music, it eliminates digital audio processing, letting the sound pass as is. With this mode, and as I have said, it improves on the use of the minijack cable, giving the sound more three-dimensional depth, but still does not reach the quality offered by headphones aimed at music reproduction.
Detail of the outer part of the piece that joins the structure with the units
Although, if we have to choose to gamble all our money on a single number, betting on the Precogs will not leave us in a bad place. Let me explain: if you are not going to buy two headphones and you want one to do everything but prioritizing gaming over music, then this is a very good option. If your priority is the highest quality in music playback, think twice.
But where you can really feel the power of these headphones, is in the FPS and 7.1 modes .
The first does not refer to an optimized mode for First Person Shooter , although paradoxically it is in this type of titles that it also shines, since it works on the location of the sound so that footsteps or shots sound in their spatial context . In this way, when an enemy does not take care of his stealth when approaching us, we can locate him by turning the head of our character, or we can identify where the bursts of shots come from.
And the effect, believe me, it shows. Precisely playing Project Reality (a military simulation FPS) I was able to react to an enemy that came out of my back by ‘noticing’ that the steps were coming from behind me.
The 7.1 mode activates surround sound , the performance of which is flawless. In fact, just by looking for any movie trailer on YouTube that is compatible with 7.1 sound (THX, Dolby), we already realize the high levels of quality that it can offer us. I recommend that you try it with a film that offers spectacular sound effects (how about some from Marvel or Star Wars?).
The mechanics ‘under the hood’
How do the Precogs deliver this quality? Let’s put the practical part aside and take a look at what we can find inside.
We have dual transducers (electrostatic and dynamic) , a frequency response ranging from 5 to 50,000 Hz, an impedance of 32 Ω ± 15%, and a sensitivity of 102 ± 3 dB / mW at 1 KHz.
This wide frequency capacity, which goes beyond what the human ear is capable of hearing (between 20 and 20,000 Hz) is what helps us to ‘feel’, in addition to listening, sounds, giving us more information (and, therefore, quality) on their geospatial location when our brain interprets them.
Detail of the inner part of the piece that joins the structure to the units
Likewise, the impedance presents a figure that places the Precogs in the range of the best headphones on the market . And the only parameter that seemed ‘normal’ to me is the sensitivity, although this has more to do with the volume, and being headphones, we will not go overboard with this either.
The impedance, with a high value but which does not go beyond what is usually normal in good quality headphones (it is considered that from 32 Ohms, this is a parameter that makes a certain difference in quality), he explains the high consumption of electrical power that they cause in the device to which they are connected .
Thus, in my touch tablet (a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite with a 7,040 mAh battery), the average consumption of each session of two hours of cinema has been 30% of its capacity. They are not headphones that we carry around to use anywhere, so we will not have to think about that detail, nor its impact unless we want to use them to watch a movie on a computer or tablet that is not connected to electricity .
The dual drivers deserve a separate mention, as they are largely responsible for the sound quality offered by the Precog. I understand that, in this case, the dynamic driver takes care of the audio reproduction in the mid frequencies, which is the point at which it can really be loud, while the electrostatic must be in charge of cleaning the lower frequencies of distortions. and the highest.
Another section in which XPG has done a good job with the Precog has been in this one. Just by putting on the headphones in an environment with some background noise, one feels silence.
Obviously, and as in any case, the isolation from the outside is not total, but it is to the point of allowing us absolute isolation (self-absorption?) During our games, since it facilitates our concentration on the game.
It offers a degree of flexibility that allows us to adapt it to the position that is most comfortable for us . For example, I tend to seek to place it in front of my lips when I play, and a little lower when I use it for video conferencing. Own hobbies …
Its frequency response is between 20 and 20,000 Hz, with a sensitivity of -38 db ± 1.5 db, and it also has noise cancellation technology.
All the people with whom I have shared games and videoconferences have told me the same thing: my voice was clear and diaphanous, and without any stridency or loss at any time.
In the DSP of the USB-C cable we have a switch to activate the noise cancellation in the microphone (marked as ENC, for the acronym of environmental noise canceling ), noticing the difference.
Sometimes we are not aware, but the noise that comes to us from the television turned on in another room, the noise of the keys on our keyboard, or other environmental sounds, can easily filter through the microphone and make it difficult to hear our interlocutor. Active background noise cancellation virtually eliminates this annoyance.
In the case of the Precog, we can only enjoy this functionality when we use the USB-C cable, not with the minijack cable .
We have only two software packages to download from the XPG website, the first of these being the firmware update tool , available only for Windows (the overwhelming majority of computer gaming is carried out from the Microsoft platform), and very simple to use .
Firmware update utility
No installation is even necessary: we download the application from the XPG website, unzip it (it is compressed in RAR format, so it will be necessary to download a decompression program such as WinRAR), copy it to the folder that is most comfortable for us , we connect the headphones through the USB cable, and we execute it.
As we can see in the illustrative images, its interface is truly simple: it informs us of the firmware version installed in the headphones, the firmware version available on the XPG servers, and offers us the possibility of downloading and installing the latest version. new while we follow the evolution of said facility. Push a button, and you’re done.
Updating the firmware
Finishing the update process
The other package can download the game XPG Epic First Person Shooter , created to allow the showcasing of the qualities of headphones Precog and especially of the sound mode FPS.
It has not inconsiderable hardware requirements but, after all, it is still just another shooter , with a futuristic setting but without any incentive that makes it stand out from the rest.
Excellent in all aspects, meeting the expectations of what it promises, satisfying the needs of any gaming connoisseur . Would you recommend them? Without a doubt .
Do they present a big difference from the competition? They are in line with what they cost the approximately € 150 that they have in price , they do not stand out in excess but they are not far behind, I would place them on a high note that make them a good option to enjoy a very high quality with a price – although it may not seem like it – content for a good gaming headset .
Although it has not convinced me for its use in music reproduction, its very high performance and quality in terms of gaming , and excellent 7.1 mode to enjoy movies, have convinced me that the XPG Precog are an all-terrain headset that stands out as an excellent option if we want a single headset to cover several areas .