Ready to take your game to the next level?
That may sound like marketing hyperbole, but I truly didn’t realize what I’d been missing. A few short weeks ago, I upgraded my Logitech G35 to the XPG Precog — and entered an amazing new world of crystal clear comms and sound. This top-tier gaming headset packs incredible audio quality, a noise-canceling microphone, and a lightweight design into a portable package. It’s laser-focused on sharpening your gamesense to a keen edge with a world-class audio experience. And despite a few missteps, it largely succeeds on all fronts.
Zoom In: Specs
- Name: XPG Precog Gaming Headset
- Drivers: Electrostatic and Dynamic
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 50,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32Ω ± 15%
- Sensitivity: 102 ± 3dB/mW @ 1KHz
- Weight: 362g
- Microphone: Detachable unidirectional mic w/ ENC
- Interfaces: USB-C and 3.5mm
- Lighting: Red LED
The XPG Precog Gaming Headset comes with the following components and accessories:
- XPG Precog Headset
- Carrying case
- USB-C wired controller w/ DSP sound card
- 3.5mm In-line wired controller
- USB-A-to-C cable
- Y-splitter cable
You Can’t Fight What You Can’t Hear
Good audio is more important than you may realize in the digital arena. People often talk about “gamesense.” It’s the cumulative effect of hundreds or thousands of matches played, learning common positions and angles or frequently used strategies. Gamesense relies heavily on good audio in addition to good intuition. Spotting the enemy hiding in the corner is one thing, but what if you knew they were there even before you peeked? What if you heard their single, solitary footstep — a mistake made while trying to flank you? That shaves precious milliseconds off your reaction time. Hearing that footstep might mean the difference between victory and defeat.
For me, the XPG Precog, delivered. I was able to hear the enemy with a clarity that will make professionals green with envy. But how does it pull it off? Let’s talk about the tech under the hood.
Music to Your Ears
Key to the audio experience is the dual-driver setup for each ear. The dynamic driver is no slouch, but it’s the electrostatic driver that elevates this headset into new realms. If you’re a home theater buff, you’re likely already familiar with the “electrostatic effect“ — found with MartinLogan speakers and other premium brands. Now you can bring that unrivaled experience straight into your earcups. This means lower distortion, better frequency response, and audio as clear as mountain spring water.
In terms of gaming, it also means crystal clear situational audio and a virtual 7.1 experience. But electrostatic speakers are known for falling short in the bass department. And that’s where the dual-driver design comes in. The dynamic driver augments the electrostatic driver with guttural booms, filling in the gaps with that little something extra. It’s the best of both worlds in a compact package.
The earcups are incredibly comfortable, even during long gaming sessions. They’re covered with a cushy “pleather” material, and block ambient noise better than any headset without active noise cancellation that I’ve tried. The frame housing them is plastic, and while it’s solid and durable, it’s unfortunately the cheapest feeling part of the whole package. At least the audio is excellent, thanks in no small part to the digital signal processor (DSP).
The DSP is built right into the USB-C cable. In other words, there’s a little sound card directly in the cable that’s big on audio quality. It makes the magic happen with firmware sorcery that provides the best possible signal to the headset proper. And the DSP implements all the dials and switches you need to control your experience: change the volume or press in on the dial to mute the mic, enable/disable the environmental noise-canceling for the mic, and toggle the audio mode between Music (pass-through), 7.1, and FPS. You can also connect the headset via the included 3.5mm connectors, but you’d be missing out on the signal processing. At least the option exists to plug your Precog into darn near anything in your home.
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
Maybe it’s just me — I’ll be the first to admit I’m remarkably picky when it comes to my peripherals — but I’ve never encountered a “virtual” 7.1 surround sound that I was satisfied with. That trend continues here with the XPG Precog. I took the time to test the Music, FPS, and 7.1 DSP modes in a variety of situations, and I have to say: as of now, I only use Music Mode. This passes the audio along the line with minimal processing, which seems like the obvious choice for in-game audio. Music sounds great on it as well, of course, and the directional audio in-game doesn’t seem to suffer.
But the 7.1 DSP mode adds an obnoxious reverb effect over everything, completely muddying the once pristine sound and creating what I call “the wall of sound.” When you’re taking a site in VALORANT, guns are blazing, and teammates are stacking the comms with calls, the wall of sound is like putting all of that sound into a blender. The disgusting puree that comes out the other side offers nothing of value — and gets you killed more often than not.
FPS mode is equally ill-advised but for a different reason. I can only speculate, but it sounds like they apply a high-pass filter to the signal. This cuts out all the lows and leaves only the upper-mid and high range frequencies. According to their marketing, this should help highlight footsteps and other vital bits of audio info needed for top-tier gamesense. In practice, it sounds like you’re listening to the game through two paper cups and a bit of string. Hardly an ideal situation.
Fortunately, you can set your cruise control to Music Mode and have 99.99% of use cases covered. No matter what you’re doing, from fragging to blasting Spotify, it all sounds incredible in the pass-through mode.
Fortunately, the environmental noise-canceling for the boom mic works spectacularly. This is one case where I welcome a bit of extra audio processing. I stress-tested the tech by aiming a fan directly at me, while Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers roared from the TV across the room, and a boisterous conversation was taking place on the couch beside my desk. Even with open comms on Discord, none of my teammates complained. They mentioned occasionally hearing a particularly sharp burst of laughter, or trumpet blast from Howard Shore’s legendary soundtrack, but nothing that kept them from hearing the game loud and clear.
The trade-off for this potent processing is that your voice may sound a little more muted than usual. A clear difference from a Blue Yeti microphone, for instance, but then again, you don’t hear every little background noise either. Try it out and see for yourself — or rather, ask your teammates how it sounds.
Is the Precog Your Next Headset?
If you want to be the very best — to take your gamesense to the next level in the pursuit of victory — you need to have the best hardware backing you up. Despite its shortcomings, the XPG Precog checks all the boxes when it comes to a quality headset. And it checks some boxes that may have been better left unchecked.
Zoom Out: Verdict
Audio - 9/10
Comfort - 9/10
Features - 6/10
There are a few cons to be found with the Precog — but the pros far outweigh them. The dual-driver design gives you incredible audio with range and power. It’s comfortable in all the right ways. The mic is clear and crisp, and the environmental noise-canceling tech does precisely what it claims to do.
- Comfortable to wear
- Incredible audio quality w/ great positional sound
- Flexible connectivity options for PC, console, or otherwise
- High price tag overall
- Relatively cheap design for the price
- Frustrating virtual 7.1 and FPS modes