Today we’ll be taking a look at Corsair’s “new” wireless headset from the Void lineup, the Elite. This is the third headset from the lineup since it launched in 2015, so let’s see what Corsair has been doing with Void headsets since then. Thank you to Corsair for sending this review sample.
VOID RGB ELITE OVERVIEW
When it comes to appearances, the Void RGB Elite comes in two colors: Carbon and White. This is purely a cosmetic difference; there is no point in choosing one over the other when it comes to pricing or technical aspects. Carbon is an all black design whereas White is actually only partially white and also partially black.
In terms of features, the Elite features a microphone with an foam cover, a mute button for said mic, automatic muting when the mic is turned up and put away, a volume knob, RGB, and compatibility with Corsair’s iCUE software which can control the RGB functionality as well as customize the listening experience. The headset connects wirelessly via a custom USB receiver included in the box and is charged using a USB micro B cable. The Elite has an MSRP of $100.
This is the third generation Void headset Corsair has released, so let’s compare its technical specifications to the original Void and the previous generation Pro.
Many of you are probably like me and don’t know exactly what all these specifications mean; no, I’m not an audiophile. But I think it is pretty plain that compared even to the original Void, the “new” Elite isn’t really breaking too much new ground. Most notably we have better frequency response, higher sensitivity for both the headphones and mic, and the switch from a unidirectional mic to an omnidirectional mic. The question is whether or not that makes a difference.
THE LISTENING EXPERIENCE
Again, I’m not an audiophile, but I have actually used every single one of these headsets for extended periods of time. I got the original Void a few years ago, then the Void Pro last year, and Corsair sent this headset to me in October, and I have been using it daily ever since. I also have iCUE installed since it has some nice features for the Void. But for right now, I’m going to focus on audio.
I think I can sum up the audio quality in a single word: unchanged. When I first put on the Void Elite, not having looked at or read what exactly the difference was between it and the Pro, I thought that it sounded exactly the same, and that’s probably because it is more or less the same. The enhanced frequency response and sensitivity made very little or no difference in my experience. What I’ve been doing in the past 2 months has been watching videos, listening to music (primarily the Fire Emblem Three Houses soundtrack and some other stuff), playing some games (Europa Universalis IV which also has a great soundtrack), and typing. My use cases certainly are not terribly varied, but I still did not really find any benefit switching from the Pro to the Elite.
That’s not to say that the audio quality is bad, in fact it is very good. I’m still not an audiophile and I don’t spend much on my headphones, nor do I upgrade very often, but out of all of the headphones I’ve ever owned, these sound the best, just like the other Void headsets. They sound noticeably better than my more mid range Bluetooth RCA headphones, especially in bass heavy situations. I find that the iCUE tuning for audio really helps bring out the most of these headsets, and I also like the presets that are offered since I’m not entirely sure what all of these options do. I like Corsair’s movie preset the most but the bass boost preset is a close second. Everything else didn’t really appeal to me and my use case; there’s pure direct (which has all the knobs set to default), FPS, and clear chat. I never used them but I’m sure they’re not terrible for what they’re intended to be used for.
iCUE can also enable 7.1 surround, instead of using the default stereo, but in my opinion it either doesn’t do much or makes things, especially music, sound much worse. Music in particular sounds really muddied and unclear with 7.1 surround, it ruins Fodlan Winds from Fire Emblem Three Houses (which has a track with a wide variety of instruments and tone) because it sounds like it combines all the instruments into one incoherent blob, whereas with stereo it sounds really clear and you can hear the piano, drums, cymbals, etc individually. So I’d really just recommend turning off 7.1 surround.
Overall, I really like the Void Elite when it comes to sound quality, just like the Void Pro and the original Void, but that’s not necessarily a good thing and I’ll explain why soon.
THE MICROPHONE EXPERIENCE
The microphone is actually an interesting point on the Void headsets. The Void Pro and Elite share the same housing for the mic but the type of mic (unidirectional vs. omnidirectional) is different. Though the housing differs between the original Void and the Pro, they have the same unidirectional mic. The mic has certainly changed since the Void in 2 major ways. However, I’m not entirely sure if this has actually made a noticeable difference.
When it comes to quality, the Elite and the Pro sound pretty much the same. When it comes to functionality, the Elite and the Pro act about the same with the same automatic muting feature. When it comes to style, the Elite and the Pro are literally the same. There is a technical difference but it just doesn’t really manifest in a noticeable way, at least not in my experience. I will say that switching from unidirectional to omnidirectional doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Why would you want to pick up more noise in other directions that aren’t from your mouth? It’s not like the mic can be adjusted that much. I feel like in some environments this might be a terrible downgrade especially given the increased sensitivity.
In terms of physical qualities, the mic on the Elite is quite flexible unlike the original Void. There is also this automatic muting feature that kicks in whenever you turn the mic up, which is nice because obviously it’s not going to be used in that position and eliminating a button press is very nice. I do experience some really weird feedback when doing this, however. Turning the mic up will make a single beep to let you know that it’s muted. When pulling the mic back down, however, it will beep several times all the way down, and I think this is because it keeps muting and unmuting. It has always ended up being unmuted once I turned the mic all the way down, but it is pretty annoying to hear so many beeps. This was also the case with the Pro which features the same mic (aside from the technical aspects).
I do want to comment on the fact that I could not compare the mic of the original Void (which I still have) because it actually snapped off at the hinge one day. I’m not sure if I was being too rough with it or if this was a common issue with the original Void. Anyways, I also didn’t like the original mic since it looked weird and was totally impossible to adjust, the new one on the Elite and Pro is far better since it looks much better and has a decent amount of adjustment since it’s not made out of hard plastic and some rubber.
The Elite’s mic is good, it’s not really professional quality but if you just want to talk or maybe make some videos it’s good enough.
QUALITY OF MATERIALS
In terms of materials, you could say that the Void Elite is a solid downgrade from the original Void. The original void was made almost entirely out of metal, especially on the headband. The Pro changed that by making most of it out of plastic instead, which doesn’t look or feel as good. The Elite is just like the Pro in terms of what materials Corsair uses and where.
Though the metal certainly feels more premium, I actually think plastic is a better idea since it can be more flexible, almost as strong, and cheaper to produce. There is definitely the risk of cracking with plastic (I used to have a terrible headset with a plastic headband that cracked all over), but that has not happened to me on either the Elite or the Pro. Both are quite flexible without showing any signs of damage or almost being damaged. The issue with metal is that it’s not flexible and also can be dented which might be just as bad as cracked plastic. So, I am fine with the plastic, but some people might not be.
The quality of the ear cups and the general structure of the headset itself is very good. I barely notice that I’m even wearing these headphones; they’re light and don’t fit tightly at all, yet are able to stay on my head reasonably well. The ear cups are all fabric, which I think is the best kind of material the cups can be made out of. Rubbery materials are fine but even good rubber can tear, not to mention the fact that rubber just isn’t very soft.
The quality of the materials Corsair has used in the Void Elite is very good overall, which is what I would expect from a $100 headset. I’ve had quite a few flaky mid to high end headsets in my experience but these seem pretty solid.
THE OVERALL EXPERIENCE
Besides the audio quality and the mic and the materials, there is also stuff like iCUE, RGB, battery life, and other things that affected my usage of the Elite. iCUE is one of the biggest things, since its Corsair’s software that’s used for almost all of its products from AIOs to keyboards. I already talked about iCUE when it comes to adjusting the audio settings, but it also can customize RGB. Personally, I’m not a fan of RGB and I have it turned off mostly because it really drains the battery life of the Elite (and the Pro and the original). Nobody is even going to see the RGB on this headset when I’m using it, least of all me, so turning it off just makes sense.
Speaking of battery life, with RGB off it’s quite good. Usually I have to charge it about once a day or two and that’s really nice. It lasts quite a while which obviously is really important for a wireless headset. Where Corsair drops the ball is the fact that they are, once again, using USB micro B for the charging. It takes such a long time to charge something on this connection, especially while using it. For a 2019 product that costs $100, this is absolutely infuriating. Even Nintendo has switched over to USB type C, the company that barely even acknowledged USB as an acceptable interface for years. USB micro B just isn’t acceptable in this day and age.
Finally, the USB receiver is alright, but I wish it was just a little smaller. I also had issues with the original Void where the USB receiver actually started coming apart but that hasn’t happened with my Pro after over a year of use so I don’t fear that it will happen to my Elite or the Pro over continued usage. The USB receiver isn’t something I’m necessarily complaining about, but it could be better.
So, those are my thoughts, and ultimately I have to say that while the Void Elite is a good headset for a decent price, I’m coming away from this rather disappointed in Corsair. The original Void has basically been getting rereleased for 4 years now with very little change in anything relevant to the typical user experience.
The biggest and most noticeable change has been the physical quality of the mic, which really just made it slightly more adjustable. No noticeable changes have been made in respect to technical features, software features, aesthetics, or anything else part of the user experience, and most unfortunately the price is still the same $100 Corsair has been charging since 2015. After 4, almost 5 years, I would have expected Corsair to give us something new or at least drop the price 10 or 20 dollars. It really is just the same headset from 2015 with minor modifications.
What I want to see in the future is noticeably better audio quality, noticeably better mic quality, a new look, a lower price tag, better battery life, and especially USB type C. I don’t even think Corsair needs to do all of that at once; just adding USB type C and changing nothing else would still be a huge improvement. Corsair just can’t keep recycling the Void forever, and I really hope they consider doing something different, whether it’s cutting prices or adding more modern features. The Void is good, but it’s getting old.
In theory, I recommend the Void Elite, but its biggest competition isn’t coming from other companies but from its predecessors, the Void Pro and the original Void. The Void Pro can be found on Amazon for almost half the price of the Void Elite, and since they are so similar it’s so hard to recommend the Elite. Though Corsair is selling these headsets for $100 each, on retailers like Amazon the older ones have been discounted, so it makes little sense to buy the Elite if you can buy a Pro for less. The Elite will become a good buy when no other Void headset can be found for less.
Basically, I recommend the Void Elite, because it’s a nice headset, but as for actual purchasing I recommend you go and buy a Void Pro or original Void headset, because they’re basically the same thing for a cheaper price.