Games

ASUS ROG FUSION II 500 review

ASUS and its Republic of Gamers want to set new standards with gaming headsets. ROG Fusion II 500 packs audiophile sound quality into a stylish, customizable design that made the brand’s previous headsets such a popular choice. With four high-quality DACs, built-in surround sound, beamforming microphones, and an internal design that prioritizes sound quality, this $179 model aims to appeal to gamers and audio enthusiasts alike.

specifications

  • Current price: (Amazon)
  • Interface: Wired
  • Connection: USB-A
  • USB-C: 3.5mm
  • Support Platform:
    • personal computer
    • MAC
    • Playstation® 4
    • Playstation® 5
    • Nintendo switch
    • xbox one
    • Xbox Series X
    • Xbox Series S
    • iPad
  • Headphones:
    • Driver Material: Neodymium Magnet
    • Driver Size: 50mm
    • Headphone impedance: 32 ohms
    • Headphone Frequency Response: 20~40000Hz
    • HiFi DAC: ESS 9280
    • HiFi amplifier: ESS 9280
    • Channel: Virtual 7.1
  • Microphone:
    • Microphone polar pattern: omnidirectional
    • Microphone Sensitivity: -37dB
    • Microphone Frequency Response: 100~10000Hz
    • AI Noise Canceling Mic: Yes
  • Lighting: RGB
  • Aura Sync: Yes
  • Foldability: Yes
  • Weight: 310 gr
  • Additional Earpad: Yes
  • Color: Black
  • Cable:
    • USB-C Cable: 1.5m
    • 3.5mm cable: 1.5m
  • Accesories:
    • User Guide
    • ROG hybrid ear pads
    • 3.5mm cable
    • USB-C cable
    • USB-C to USB-A adapter dongle

ASUS ROG FUSION II 500 – overview and design

The ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 takes what the ROG Delta line started and continues with it. In fact, I would go so far as to say that these are sister headsets. But where the Delta S Animate (which I reviewed here) leans more towards core audiophiles with its support for MQA – Tidal’s Master Quality Authenticated Tracks – the Fusion II 500 takes most of the features, ditches MQA and the animated earcups, and drops the price by $70. It’s a solid approach if you care about sound quality and don’t care about streaming from Tidal or having an LED matrix on your ears.

The Fusion is also a much nicer looking headset in my opinion, opting for simpler oval cups instead of the D-shaped ones on the Delta and tasteful RGB for a bit more flair. The design is mostly matte black, with the RGB tucked away on the back edge of the cup in three curved strips per ear. This isn’t RGB you’ll see on a stream, so just for your own enjoyment. The logos on each ear are minimally printed in matte silver. There’s also a bit of chrome-like plastic flanking either side of the padded headband.

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Expand it and you’ll find something like an Easter egg. The headband is metal for added durability, but the cybernetic ROG logo is embossed on every surface. I have to say you pay a premium for ROG products, but they end up looking and feeling a lot more premium than most competing headsets.

In particular, there is no microphone of any kind – at least to the naked eye. Instead, the mic uses a pair of beamforming mics built into each ear cup. These microphones create a pickup zone in front of your mouth and cancel out outside noise. This is enhanced by ASUS’ AI noise reduction technology and works remarkably well, if a bit aggressively. These mics are both clearer and less muted than other in-cup mics I’ve tested, and are much better at filtering out background noise. At the same time, you lose some clarity and volume compared to a traditional boom mic, and the noise-cancellation makes you sound slightly compressed. The mic would be perfect for chatting with friends on Discord (and is Discord certified, in fact), but I wouldn’t use it to hop on a stream.

Under the hood, the Fusion II 500 has four separate DACs. These chips convert the digital audio from your computer into an analog output that can be played through the speakers in the headphones. Normally this task can be done by a single DAC, but the quad array has been integrated to separate the frequency spectrum into low, mid, high and ultra high. Whether this makes much of a difference is debatable, but it certainly isn’t Poorly thing and points to the sound quality-first approach ASUS has taken here.

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This is further enhanced as you delve deeper into the design. The headphones use huge, high-resolution 50mm drivers. These ‘essence’ drivers feature a frequency response range of 20Hz to 40kHz, pushing any distortion beyond the range of human hearing. The chamber it is kept in has been expanded and made airtight to improve clarity, detail and soundstage. The out-of-box tuning puts gaming first – there’s definitely a low-end boost on these – but custom EQs can be applied to tailor it to your personal tastes.

The Fusion 500 II offers extensive multi-platform support: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, iPad and so on. Much of this is due to the headset supporting both USB and 3.5mm ports. To connect to a PC or console, you should use the USB cable (Type-C to Type-C with an included Type-C to Type-A adapter) to achieve full functionality. Enabling the onboard DACs, enabling RGB, and using any of the included controls requires power. Above 3.5mm even volume is inaccessible. While I’m glad both cables are included (the dual support is great for added versatility), I would have preferred to see a longer USB cable included. Unless you’re sitting right next to your console, you’re likely to get stuck connecting to your controller with the 3.5mm port.

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Connecting via USB gives you access to the headset’s many controls. The left ear cup features a mic mute switch and a clickable volume wheel that allows for 7.1 surround sound (even without software!). The right earcup features a switch to toggle between PC and console modes and adjust the sound balance between game and chat. You can tell that special attention was also paid to the two wheels. The volume roller is notched to easily feel every step you adjust. Game/chat balance is smooth, but has a notch right in the middle when both channels are balanced. It’s intelligent design.

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Also included in the box is a pair of alternative earcup pads. The Fusion 500 II comes standard with the faux leather upholstery installed. These are better for isolation and bass performance, but can generate heat over time. The alternative set consists of fabric cushions and is much more breathable. While these pads let more outside noise in (and out), they’re better suited for warmer environments where you might sweat.

ASUS ROG FUSION II 500 – Performance

The ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 is a great gaming headset, no question about it. The sound is big, powerful and boomy when it needs to be, but it doesn’t lack the detail to hear exactly what’s going on around you. I was able to spot enemies around me by hearing their footsteps before seeing them on my screen.

I particularly liked not having to open the software to turn the 7.1 surround sound on or off. It’s not a feature I use often, but the application here is more subtle than most and doesn’t drench the soundscape with reverberation. Instead, it lowers the overall volume and widens the soundstage to give a better sense of spaciousness. It’s one of the better implementations I’ve heard.

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Musically, I wasn’t a fan of series tuning. It’s just too bass-heavy for my personal taste, so I had to turn to Armory Crate to create a second EQ profile when I was listening to music. With a custom tuning, these headphones can sound very good. The drivers are very capable, and while I wouldn’t necessarily compare them to dedicated music headphones, they’re certainly better than most other gaming headsets out there today.

Having reviewed the Delta S Animate not long ago, I was glad that not much had changed here. I really liked this headset and had the same feelings when switching between music and games. It also needed some personalization, but once applied you could really get great sound quality for music from it. The Fusion II 500 offers an almost identical listening experience for $70 less, and that’s hard to argue with.

In my opinion, the microphones also need a small adjustment. Plug and play is perfectly possible, but the noise-cancellation is a bit too aggressive for my liking. Dialing it back gives you a more natural sound and balance overall, eliminating background noise and sounding full and lifelike. There’s really no escaping the extra distance you get with an embedded mic like this, but while it’s noticeable, ASUS really did an excellent job of making them sound like a regular boom mic.

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Final Thoughts

At $179.99, the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 is a premium gaming headset with a range of features to match. You’re really getting a lot here, from great gaming sound quality, tasteful RGB, excellent comfort, and extensive cross-platform compatibility. At the same time, you should plan to adjust the sound if you want a next-level music experience compared to other gaming headsets. If you’re looking for a headset that puts sound quality first and you don’t mind tweaking a few settings, this is a solid buy.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.

https://www.mmorpg.com/hardware-reviews/asus-rog-fusion-ii-500-review-2000124661 ASUS ROG FUSION II 500 review

Fry Electronics Team

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