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Tinny sound. Cheap cable that tangles and bunches up. A headband that makes you feel like your head is in a vise. Ear cups that bring on fatigue faster than you can load a level in a game. And yeah, a microphone that gives you the power of silence because no one can hear you…

Sound familiar? I’ve just described your average generic PC/gaming headset. I’ve bought many of these over the years, and the most I can say about them is that at least they end up in the recycle bin, hopefully not inflicting as much damage on the environment as they did on my head.

ASUS and ROG are leading the charge to banish horrible gaming headsets. Sure, if you’re really strapped, you may end up buying one of those abominable things, but the results are a foregone conclusion. You will not enjoy your gaming, and they won’t last. Better use the headset that came with your smartphone and skip the microphone!

Moving forward let’s stick with good gaming headsets. We’ve seen the Orion and Vulcan PRO from ROG and had a look at the new Echelon Camo Edition from ASUS. These three have a lot in common and specifically address each of the problems I detailed above. They also take care of one I forgot, noise. Cheap headphones and headsets offer the isolation of tissue paper, whereas the good ones really do block out distractions and disturbances.

Echelon Camo is a civilian version of the ROG Vulcan. That means it’s not as fully-specced, but for gamers like me this is bliss. A couple of hours gaming with Echelon Camo and the thought of going back to a generic headset really does make my gorge rise.

I took the liberty of snapping quick pics before donning it and having some gaming fun, so here’s the unboxing!

Echelon comes in a nice package that offers a good look at the product within, so at a store you get a very accurate picture of what’s inside.

On the top we have the product name and the digital camouflage pattern that’s the main motif here, inspired by the camo/skins you unlock in first person shooters.

 The see-through portion of the box and our first look at the power totem emblem on the side plates.

The back of the package with product highlights and information.

Open Echelon! And the first thing we see is the plastic tray you get with most headset packaging.

When Echelon emerges, you can feel and see that the packaging is much sturdier than that used in generic fare. The entire box is quite tightly sealed, meaning your new gaming headset doesn’t land in your lap all dusty and covered in random factory-sourced debris, which is a common sight with the cheapos.

Sorry, couldn’t help myself – it may look like a minor touch, but I love it that the manual has the same camo scheme on it!

Close look at one of the ear cups. I won’t repeat the tech specs because we’ve covered those before and you can get them at the ASUS site, but suffice it to say they’re genuinely comfortable and reduce noise infiltration drastically. The difference is palpable, and even after hours of gaming these won’t get in the way or bother you. You can also see the microphone, which is retractable for easier portability and storage.

Here’s the mic fully extended. It’s also flexible so you can move it around and position it as you wish, and the materials used are all very durable so it won’t fall apart on you any time soon. When playing Black Ops 2 I tested various mouth-to-mic distances and the performance was good throughout, people heard me perfectly. Ditto for Skype usage.

A look at the power totem design on the side plates, as well as the camo pattern. Echelon uses a slight soft-touch, semi-rubberised coating layer, and I personally found the product very touchable. Always great to have tech to cuddle.

Exterior of the headband with the durable camo paintjob. It won’t rub off, scratch, or discolor – Echelon has been designed to last the duration.

Inside of the headband, and naturally nicely padded. It won’t leave indentations in your head, and has apparently been tested on numerous head types to ensure comfort and optimised clamping force, as is the case with all other ASUS and ROG headsets.

This has to be one of my favorite aspects of all good gaming headsets. A braided cable. I’ve been traumatised by cheap cables that become a tangled mess over time, and proper braiding is the only way to guarantee this doesn’t happen. It also protects the wiring inside to prevent sound quality deterioration. Plus, there’s the controls/cable clip right within reach as you can see.

Details like this count. Not using the mic plug? Just place it in the holder so it doesn’t dangle. Neat, and good for storage and mobility!

I highly recommend Echelon Camo Edition for anyone now looking into a gaming headset. This product is terrific value: it has all the features a serious gamer needs, and works well with all other applications like music, movies, and VoIP. It’s time to promote your personal audio to a new rank! Superior build quality, sound performance, and a sensitive mic that ensures everyone hears you loud and clear…this is the headset for you, my friends!

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