XPG Precog Gaming Headset Review

XPG Precog Gaming Headset

For those who are not aware, XPG is the gaming brand that belongs to ADATA and they have recently decided to bring their Precog gaming headset. Which according to them is the world’s first dual-driver gaming headset. As as far as our knowledge and research are considered, that is true. Not just that, the XPG Precog also happens to be one of the most ambitious gaming headsets in the market.

The company is boasting a lot about the headset and how the pair of dynamic drivers are complemented by a pair of electrostatic drivers. This means that on paper, the Precog has a frequency response of 5-50,000 Hz, which is way higher than an average human is able to hear. However, this does grant the Precog the certification of Hi-Res Audio, if that is something that fancies you.

However, the goodness does not end here as the headset does bring a number of other features in the spec sheet. The most obvious one being the fact that the well-balanced dual-driver design is something that you will be liking if you are in for good sound quality. XPG has also talked about how the angled memory foam ear cushions are going to provide great comfort. You are also getting a removable, unidirectional microphone that also supports environmental noise cancelling (ENC).

The XPG Precog can be connected to your devices in a number of ways. If you are going to connect it to a PC, a PS4, or a Nintendo Switch, you can do so by using the supplied USB sound card which doubles up as an in-line remote and brings USB-C and a standard USB-A connectivity. However, for Xbox and mobile devices, you are also getting the standard 3.5mm audio port which does come with a y-splitter extension as well. You are getting an in-line remote here which brings a volume dial, as well as a microphone mute switch. This is basically covering all the essentials of the headset.

Other than that, the headset is chock-full of features that most concerned gamers and spec aficionados are going to like. Before we get into the reviewing part, let’s have a look at the specs below.

XPG Precog Spec Sheet

  • Electrostatic/dynamic dual-drivers
  • 32 ? impedance
  • 5–50,000 Hz frequency response
  • Closed-back, over-ear design
  • Removable unidirectional microphone with ENC
  • USB sound card with 7.1 surround sound support, sound profiles, and volume/microphone controls
  • In-line remote control for analogue connectivity
  • 1.3 m braided USB-C cable + 1.25 m braided USB-C to USB Type-A adapter cable
  • 1.25 m braided 3.5-mm audio cable (TRRS plug) + 1.36 m braided 3.5-mm splitter cable (dual TRS)
  • Weight: 362 grams.
  • Price: PKR 23,999

Unboxing the XPG Precog

I will be honest here, after unboxing numerous headsets from all different companies, I am used to the same experience more or less. However, XPG has decided to take things differently this time with the Precog and I don’t mind that at all. What matters here is that the headset is nicely packaged and will easily survive the transit should you order it from an online retailer.

XPG Precog Box

The front of the packaging is neatly showing how the headset looks like, along with its name, as well as the usual set of specs on the left side. On the right side, you have a simple Hi-Res Audio badge for anyone who is interested in knowing that detail. Needless to say, this is certainly an interesting design choice for packaging since I cannot consider it a box, it serves as more of a sleeve, but don’t worry, as I have said before, your headset will remain protected.

XPG Precog Gaming Headset

Flipping it around reveals even more interesting details about the headset, specifically the dual driver setup, along with the two ways you can connect the headset. You also get some highlights on the ear cups that are made out of memory foam cushion. I have to say, XPG really did think about reducing the use of paper here, which is a pretty nice thing, to begin with.

XPG Precog Case

Removing the sleeve reveals a very nice soft touch carrying case with the XPG text and logo on the top centre and that is about it. The case is not hard like some other headphone carrying cases that you might find in the market. However, at the same time, it does not feel flimsy and can easily protect your headphones as even the inside of the case is nicely padded with the headphones sitting snug in their position.

XPG Precog Case from Inside

Opening the case finally reveals the headset sitting in the bottom compartment while the top, netted compartment is for all the accessories that come with it. At this point, I realized that this is not some run of the mill gaming headset. XPG is here to tell everyone that they mean business and the message is loud and clear.

XPG Precog Accessories

Taking the headset out of the box reveals the contents that you will be getting with your retail unit. For your consideration, I am mentioning them below.

  • The XPG Precog headset.
  • Detachable microphone.
  • USB-C sound card along with its USB Type-A adapter cable.
  • 3.5mm cable for analogue connections.
  • TRS extension cable/splitter for analogue connectivity.
  • Warranty guide, user manual, and some stickers (not pictured above)

The Precog’s package is nicely done without any unnecessary additions and honestly, I do mind that. The easier the unboxing experience, the better. Remember folks, sometimes, less is really more.

Closely Examining the XPG Headset

Now I am not sure about you but I am someone who wants to be certain that their headset or anything else that they are buying is built like a tank. Not that I plan on throwing these things around but wrestle with them but I am also a power user. Which means I expect them to at least survive a couple of years.

I have had my fair share of bad experiences with gaming headphones, and one of the reasons why I stopped using them was because manufacturers would spend a lot of time focusing on how they look and not how good they feel in the hand or how sturdy they are.

Thankfully, the XPG Precog is officially the first gaming headset to change my notion about it. The moment I took the headset out of the box, I realized how good the overall build quality is, and this headset is quite literally a tank.

XPG Precog

The top of the earcups is carrying the XPG branding, and there are nice red accents across the entirety of the headset. The headband is a two-piece design with a leatherette bottom providing the needed cushion along with the adjustment. One thing that I did find strange about the Precog is that there was no way to adjust the headset’s size. However, due to the clever implementation of the leatherette band, the headphone morphs onto the user’s head. I have tried putting it on the head of different sized individuals, and this resulted in the perfect fit each time. Kudos to XPG for this, at least I won’t have to keep adjusting the size based on how much hair is on my head.

XPG Precog In all its glory

Flip the headset around and you are welcomed by two thick cushions that at first felt a lot imposing and I was already preparing to sweat profusely after wearing them for a longer period of time but thankfully, that was not the case as I didn’t encounter any sweating when I tested them in a room with no active air conditioning. However, your mileage may vary based on how much you sweat or how hot or cold the temperature is. Needless to say, the thick, angled cushions are big enough to fit the largest of ears, and their angled nature ensures a natural feeling. However, there is some clamping force which could result in some discomfort for the first few hours, but you get used to it. So, no points are taken there.

XPG Precog Gaming Headset

Plug the headset in with a USB Type-C cable and the earcups light up, I would say that they light up like a Christmas tree but that is not the case as they only have a red LED. At first, I didn’t have an issue with the red LED, but then I realized that the rest of the peripherals that XPG released are coming with RGB lighting, so having a red LED made little sense to me. Thankfully, you can turn these off if you have enough lighting from your other peripherals and components, which I assume you already do. For what its worth, the lighting is not aggressively done, so you do not have to stress over it.

I am going to reiterate my stance on how the headset is built, and yes, it really is a tank. At 362 grams, it is significantly heavier than my trusted Audio-Technica M50x which are about 283 grams but all this extra weight is not just for show, you can tell that XPG has made efforts to make the headset really solid all-around so all your rage quitting can be done with confidence knowing that you will not breaking this bad boy.

Sound Quality

For a headset to be worthy of anything, it has to sound good. It does not matter if your headset is built like a tank or looks otherworldly. If it does not sound good, no one is going to buy it. Thankfully, such is not the case with the XPG Precog, but not everything is perfect, either.

Before we get into the sound quality, let’s reiterate the fact that the XPG Precog is the first dual-driver gaming headset. Each ear cup is housing a standard dynamic driver which is coupled with an electrostatic driver. Electrostatic drivers are not invented by XPG, so this is not the first time we are seeing this technology being used. These are simply reserved for higher-end speakers and headphones, and the characteristics and sound profiles of these drivers are loved by a lot of enthusiasts around the world.

But how do these drivers work? Well, the sound in electrostatic drivers is generated by the force that is exerted on a membrane that is suspended in an electrostatic field. This results in extremely low distortion, great frequency response. These are extremely light in weight, but at the same time, they don’t have the punchy bass that most people want. That is the reason why XPG has gone ahead and paired them with dynamic drivers so they can take care of the low and mid frequencies. But is any of it worth it?

Well, the XPG Precog is going to ship with a sound card that is attached to the braided USB-C cable. It offers three DSP settings: Music, 7.1, and FPS. As the names suggest, the 7.1 is for the 7.1 virtual surround sound, and the FPS is for FPS games, obviously. The Music setting is the default one and right off the bat, I will tell you to stay away from the 7.1 or the FPS settings because they are not going to do you any good in any case. Whether you are playing games or listening to music.

The 7.1 mode is going to widen the sound stage and while that is not a bad thing, the effect takes place with a lot of added reverb, and because of that, everything feels like it has been processed significantly, and there is a lot of echoes that comes in the audio. This decay is pretty slow across the frequency range, which means that vocals or voices, in general, lose their naturality and the soundstage positioning gets muddled up. Simply put, by putting your headset in the 7.1 modes, your XPG Precog is not going to be the headset you want to listen to.

Shifting to the FPS mode is not going to win you any game of Call of Duty or Apex Legends either as the moment you do it, you lose a significant amount of bass to a point you might not even hear it at all. The post-processing is extremely severed, and everything just feels unnatural, this mode is even worse than the 7.1 surrounds, to put things in perspective.

However, the moment you shift to the Music mode, the XPG Precog starts shining. As a matter of fact, it should not even be called the Music mode, to begin with. XPG could have labeled it “Default” and no one would have blinked an eye. Whether you are gaming, listening to music, podcasts, or watching your movies, the mode is amazing through and through. XPG states that there is no DSP filtering applied in this mode, which means that you are getting the actual sound of the drivers.

However, assessing this mode was not the easiest of experiences. For starters, coming from a headset that has a flat frequency response, the XPG Precog was a step in an entirely different direction. The first song I played was Andy Jame’s After Midnight, and I was blown away with how deep, thick, and decently detailed the bass was. The highs were slightly boosted, but at the same time, the mids were muffled. However, after spending almost a week with the headset playing games and listening to a lot of different songs, I realized that the sound signature of the XPG Precog became a lot better.

Surround Sound of XPG Precog

At the time of writing, the mid-range is clear and is nicely integrated into the overall sound stage of the Precog. I know you might think that it is just my ears getting used to but as someone who owns 5 pairs of different headsets on top of a plethora of in-ear monitors, I can tell you that my usage is highly randomized, to be sure that I am not getting used to how a headphones sound.

I will say this, however. The thick and punchy bass feels natural, and the headphones feel a lot warmer than some of the other options in the market. At the same time, the mids and the highs do sound like they are in your face, the overall experience remains pleasant enough.

Whether you are plowing through demons in DOOM Eternal or you are just enjoying the Wild West of Red Dead Redemption 2, or you are in the midst of an intense match in Call of Duty: Warzone, the headset is excellent in terms of the quality of its sound, as well as the spatial awareness.

When it comes to music, the XPG Precog don’t shine as much, however, that does not mean they sound bad at all. It is just that they are geared towards different genres. For starters, Audioslave’s Like a Stone sounds absolutely phenomenal on these headphones. As a matter of fact, I found myself repeating that song over and over again just because of Chris Cornell’s voice and Tom Morello’s guitar sounded way too good. However, at the same time, some songs like Memento Mori by Lamb of God didn’t sound as good. But at the same time, Iron Maiden’s Aces High was a blast to listen to. Simply put, the XPG Precog can, at times, act as a great headset for music as well. But if you are someone who prefers a more flatter frequency, this might not be for you. However, if it is loudness and clarity at every volume level you desire, these are without a doubt amazing at delivering that. Listening to Slayer’s South of Heaven at max volume never felt this good.

The passive noise isolation is another good implementation here. While I wouldn’t call it perfect, it works just fine. Granted, at higher volumes, there are sounds that end up leaking but I never felt like I have to speak louder than I normally would when using the headset at max volume.

Last but not the least, XPG has added a pretty useful feature that I have not seen before in any gaming headset or headset for that matter. When you connect the headset to the PC, your computer will pick it up as two separate devices. The first one being the “XPG Precog Gaming Headset” and the second one being the “XPG Team Chat”. The idea here is that you can use the “XPG Precog Gaming Headset” as the default playback device before you start using a VoIP of choice, and then going into the VoIP settings and selecting the “XPG Team Chat” as the preferred playback device. What this will do is that it will tell Windows to use one device for the voice playback, and the other for playing back all the other sounds. You can then adjust the volume of the teammates separately from the master volume control, which is great if you are looking to make them louder or quieter. Sadly, XPG doesn’t allow you to adjust this from the main volume controller, so you will be limited to doing it from the Windows Volume Mixer.

Microphone Performance

It would not be a review of a gaming headset without testing the microphone. After all, a microphone is perhaps one of the most crucial parts that can make or break the communication. Now before I show the audio sample with ENC turned off or on, I would like to point out that I did not use any specialized equipment for testing the microphone. The reason is simple, and the average consumer is going to buy the headset, and plug it into their preferred platform, and start playing.

Adding specialized equipment will only introduce more variables, and make the design a bit difficult for the ones who want to buy this headset. With that said, here is how the XPG Precog microphone sounds like with ENC off.

There is no denying that the audio sounds a lot cleaner than I thought. The fan is on 100% in the background and I can barely pick up the noise, and the same goes for the noise from the Purple switches of my Razer Huntsman Elite. I am now going to share another audio sample but with the ENC turned on.

You can notice some improvement, but it is minor at best. This means that that the XPG Precog does a good job of recreating the sound and makes sure that there is no heavy processing being done on the sound that makes it sound unnatural. After listening to the recorded samples, I can tell you that this is exactly how I sound like even when I am broadcasting through my Blue Yeti on a similar setting and while I would not compare this microphone to that, I’m just giving a point of reference that if you are a gamer who wants to enjoy playing with their friends, the microphone on the XPG Precog is more than enough for that.

Conclusion

I went into this review without any expectations due to my disappointing history with gaming headsets. I almost thought about skipping it almost entirely, but there was something that kept pushing me to do it, and I am glad I did it.

In hindsight, the XPG Precog is one of the most ambitiously made and advanced gaming headset available in the market with simply no other option to rival it in terms of the absolute value it delivers. Remember, don’t confuse value with gimmicks. You are getting an absolutely gorgeous sound in the default Music mode, especially if gaming is what you primarily want to do. The wearing comfort is top-notch and the build quality is just what a clumsy gamer would need. The rotatable earcups are great to have, the fact that it comes with such a great carrying case makes everything all the better. XPG has done a fantastic job of implementing dynamic and electrostatic drivers, and there are a lot of features for the money.

However, on the flipside, I do have some complaints but nothing will take away my recommendation from this gaming headset, to begin with. For starters, there is no software, which means that you cannot customize any aspect of this headset. It also serves as a positive for those who are just looking for a plug-and-play experience. Additionally, the USB sound card, for some reason, gets unusually warm, even when the headphones are not actively playing anything. Last but not the least, the sound profiles aside from Music or pointless and should not be there, to begin with.

Overall, I can close my eyes and call the XPG Precog the best gaming headset that is available in the given price tag. Granted, there are some discrepancies that could have been ironed out but right out of the box, the XPG Precog feels like one of the most complete gaming headsets with impressive and exciting sound stage, solid build quality, impressive microphone, and loads of different ways to connect and enjoy on the go.

Things I Loved

  • Excellent sound signature in Music mode.
  • Extremely comfortable for hours of use.
  • Solid build quality ensures a peace of mind.
  • Dynamic and electrostatic drivers are implemented in a clever way.
  • Lots of features for the price you are paying.

Things That Could Have Been Better

  • There is no software for customization, which could be seen as a positive as well.
  • The USB sound card gets warm for some reason.
  • The sound profiles other than music are pointless.