Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
As with all audio products we review here at APH Networks, it takes quite a bit of experience and training of the ears before we can begin making a fair judgment. Even for the best of audiophiles, it can be hard to produce an exact and accurate evaluation of a product without a thoroughly familiar product to use as a simultaneous reference. While I will not claim to be the reviewer of all reviewers for headphones, I can say quite a few other computer review sites have editors lacking in training for reviewing anything audio related. Give them anything and all you will get is some vague description of “awesome bass, amazing midrange, nice treble, no muffles, 10/10”. Do not get me wrong; there are knowledgeable audio reviewers out there on respected online media outlets, but they are far and few. There are no true objective measurements for audio sound quality. As the reviewer, however, I will put the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 through a series of subjective tests to try to come up with the most objective rating as possible. The audio tests were conducted primarily with the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 plugged into my motherboard via a USB Type-C port, but I also plugged into my Focusrite Scarlett Solo via a 3.5mm audio jack for burning the headphones in and some testing.
After over 100 hours of break-in time -- well above the typical required period -- I put the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 to the tests. All tracks are uncompressed or high bitrate audio files. Equalizer settings were manually set to flat for testing purposes. For gaming, I played VALORANT, League of Legends, and Genshin Impact. First-person shooter games are probably the most crucial games to test these headphones, as gameplay can heavily rely on hearing additional sounds. The other games have aspects where audio is useful, but this is less of a factor.
Starting from the lower end, the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 performed admirably, providing a good amount of roundness and smoothness here. It was not too heavy, like some typical V-shaped gaming headphones may sound like, and I think ASUS balanced it relatively well with the other regions. Instruments like the bass drum and electric bass provided a good amount of punch and felt solid. Even in the lowest parts of the bass, there was presence here to make for a fuller sound. In games, a good bass will help with spatial awareness through hearing things like footsteps and explosions. Thankfully, this pair of headphones was more than adequate in providing this awareness.
Moving to the midrange, I found the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 to be quite pleasant here too. There was a good natural reproduction of midrange voices and instruments. Acoustic guitars and pianos had good resonance and warmth. Vocals in this region were clear and full without any muffle. There was also a good thickness of detail provided and there were no missing portions. In games, the midrange may not always be seen as important, but it does help with hearing in-game voice lines and communication between your friends.
Finally, at the trebles, the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 provided a bright and sharp sound, with a tight higher range and clean output. Vocals were clear and energetic without sounding dry or raspy. Instruments like violins and flutes were clean without sounding too shrill. They also did not drop off in the highest of region. There was a slight amount of sibilance heard in "s" sounds, but it was not too harsh. In gaming situations, the trebles are important for sound cues, such as glass breaking or gunshots, again to help with spatial awareness. Overall, I would still say the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 followed a slight V-shape sound signature, with the midrange only slightly pulled back compared to the rest for a fun-sounding headset.
As for soundstaging and imaging, the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 offered a decent amount of direction and depth in the overall sound. However, while direction was on point, I think the width and depth could have been improved given the 50mm drivers we have here, even with the physical limitations with its closed-back design. While listening, I felt like there was still some lacking distance between some instruments and vocals. This made the overall image feel closer together. ASUS does provide a virtual 7.1 surround, which works quite well without creating too much distortion. It pushes back some voices to create a more "live" environment. Even so, I think improvements could be made without the need of virtual effects.
When it comes to layering, the ROG Fusion II 500 was able to reproduce sound with lots of detail and with good resolution. Even with more layers and more complex music, the headphones did not distort or lose details through the track, and everything was heard with clarity. Frequency separation was good with distinct layers being heard while still sounding cohesive together. There were no noticeable dips between the three frequency ranges, which is another good sign. In cleanness, the audio reproduced by the Fusion II 500 was clean and clear, which is another great sign.
In terms of sound isolation, the closed back headphones were average at keeping sound in with a decent seal created between your head and the ear cups. It also did a good job at keeping external noises out, performing as you might expect of any passive noise cancellation solution.
As for the microphone quality, I utilized Audacity to record and exported the captured audio as an MP3 file. From this recording, you can hear the microphone on the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 picks up your voice decently without sounding too nasally. This should be sufficient for gaming communications. On the other hand, there are a few quality issues. For one, my recorded voice sounded like I was inside a closed container. It also cut out the bottom end of my voice. With music playing in the background, the multiple microphone setup did well at cancelling out external noise, but I think this was as the expense of the quality of capturing my own voice. If you plan to stream or produce content with this microphone, I would definitely look at a dedicated microphone instead, which should sound fuller and more natural.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Audio Analysis