High-end headphones manufacturer Audeze is back, targeting the gaming crowd with a new headset specifically geared for consoles. The Audeze Penrose features signature Audeze quality and better connectivity for console gaming than past efforts from the company have had. it cuts back on some of the more extraneous features we’ve seen from Audeze before, landing it at a much more palatable price point for a premium headset with a focus on console gaming.
Last year we reviewed the Audeze Mobius, a $400 pair of headphones featuring 3D head tracking technology for a truly stunning and immersive 3D audio experience unlike any other. Unfortunately, the Mobius headset didn’t play well with consoles, to no fault of its own. The PS4 was notoriously fickle regarding accessories you could use with it, to the point that some headsets required USB dongles with optical cable plugins that wrapped to the back of the PS4 just to access the full suite of features they offered. You could get basic audio functionality with the Mobius on PS4, but it lost much of its appeal that made it a $400 headset when used in this way.
Enter the Audeze Penrose, a headset I was thrilled to see designed specifically with console gaming in mind. The standard version of the Penrose features blue accents around the earcups and blue Audeze logos to let you instantly know its the PlayStation version of the headset. The Penrose X, on the other hand, features those same accents in green, to pair with your Xbox. Each includes its proper wireless USB dongle you’ll need to get it up and running on your console of choice, so make sure you are purchasing the right one for the console you’re playing.
Audeze Penrose Headset PS5 Review – Mobius for Gaming
We were sent the Audeze Penrose for PS5 to see how Audeze’s latest stacks up. The visual aesthetic of the headphones mimics the Mobius design and form factor, save for the colored accents and word “Penrose” on the earcup. Setup on the PS5 was simple. I plugged the USB dongle into the port on the back of the console and powered on the headphones. That was it. My PS5 even reads the headset as “Audeze Penrose” in the onscreen menus, which makes switching between audio outputs quite simple.
Matching the overall design of the Mobius headset was a great choice that makes the Penrose a very comfortable pair of headphones to wear. At just a bit a lighter than the Mobius, they are great for long gaming sessions, with earcups that effectively block outside sound so you can be fully immersed in your game and chat.
The Penrose retails at $299, and its $100 price difference from the Mobius comes at the expense of the 3D audio features and head tracking, which, to be honest, is no big loss for this headset. After all, the PS5 has the Tempest Engine, a 3D audio processor specifically used with stereo headphones right now, so you don’t need any onboard fanciness to take advantage of it. Besides, while the Mobius’ 3D head tracking and audio were cool features, they were decidedly “extra,” and not at all necessary for day-to-day use.
The premium price point comes from Audeze’s high-end planar magnetic technology. This patented driver technology effectively increases dynamic range, clarity, and detail, while reducing distortion to “near zero.” Much as I praised the Mobius headphones, I again have to throw heaps of praise on Audeze for the Penrose audio quality as well. Keep in mind that the Penrose is Audeze’s least expensive set of headphones at $299. This is a company known for high-end audiophile headphones that retail for around $1000, with one set even going for almost $4000. Audeze knows what they are doing with audio, and the Penrose is a more broadly affordable indicator of the that pedigree.
Audeze Penrose Headset PS5 Review – Dual Connectivity
One of the features I love most on the Audeze Penrose is the dual connectivity, allowing you to connect wirelessly through both via the USB dongle and Bluetooth at the same time (thanks to Bluetooth 5.0). I can be connected to my PS5 and my phone, so that I can easily take calls while gaming or even use mobile chat service like Discord instead of the onboard console or game chats. With cross-platform play becoming more and more popular, having this feature available on a single headset without a convoluted setup puts me at ease for future gaming sessions that might involve people playing on PC or other platforms.
Sporting up to 32 meter (~102 feet) range wirelessly, there’s no more need to pull the headset off if you need to run quickly to a different room to do something. With other headsets, running upstairs to the kitchen to grab a beer or feed the cats and dog resulted in the headset disconnecting and cutting in and out. With the Penrose, I can move around the house without many issues.
The Audeze Penrose microphone is billed as “broadcast quality,” developed in partnership with mic experts Shure. While it sounds excellent when connected directly with the AUX cable, the wireless transmission “crushes” the dynamic range of the mic audio and makes it sound what my Destiny 2 Raid group described to me as “muffled.” Audeze has a sample of the mic audio from both sources (AUX and wireless), which you can listen to below. You can clearly hear the difference in the two, and while it doesn’t sound entirely bad wireless, it certainly does have a more dynamically crushed and muffled sound to it.
Penrose uses a USB-C charging port, a refreshing step into the future of electronics that I’m glad is catching on. You can’t use the Penrose as a wired USB headset (the port is for providing power only), but you can charge while you use it if you’re in a pinch a need some extra juice to finish out that marathon gaming session. Fortunately the battery life isn’t too bad, lasting anywhere from 10-15 hours. It got me through the opening weekend and many hours of Destiny 2 Beyond Light’s Deep Stone Crypt Raid, and easily charged up overnight to be ready to go for the following week of gaming.
Aside from the relatively minor mic quality degradation when used wirelessly, the Audeze Penrose is a great gaming-focused headset from a company that knows high-end audio. It interfaces easily with the PlayStation 5, and sounds incredible with the PS5’s Tempest Engine pumping 3D audio through the planar magnetic drivers. The dual connection with Bluetooth and USB wireless is additionally a great feature that prevents the need for other workarounds depending on your gaming and chat setup. Audeze is only just dabbling in the more affordable line of gaming/consumer headsets, but so far the results are impressive.
Audeze Penrose Headset for PS5 review unit provided by manufacturer. Reviewed using the PS5, PC, and Pixel 2XL mobile device. For more information, please read our Review Policy.