The Audeze Penrose headset comes in at the top end of the PS5 wireless headset range that's available now. And while it's still relatively early days in the PS5 peripherals market, additions like this do make it immediately richer. With the pedigree under the hood and in the name, I knew that this would be a contender for our best PS5 headset list - but is it actually worth the price of admission?
Now, the Audeze Penrose is a $300 / £300 headset and that will make some folks take a sharp intake of breath. But there is a market for such premium headsets; the Astro A50 is another at that end of the scale, and it justifies its price tag completely by being one of the best wireless gaming headsets going, and one of the outright best gaming headsets too. Can the Penrose do the same?
Design & Features
Type: Wireless, Over-ear, closed-circumaural
Drivers: Audeze 100mm planar magnetic drivers
Microphone: Detachable, broadcast quality
Compatibility: PS5, PS4, PC, Mobile
Frequency response: 10 - 50000Hz
Sharing the same design and aesthetic language as the Penrose X headset (the Xbox variant), the headset has a chic black design with blue accents. It's a pretty inoffensive look and should be at home in any setup - there's no garish or overly 'gamer-y' flourishes here. The earcups are leatherette and comfy, and the padding in the top third of the headband makes for an overall snug yet comfortable fit.
All the controls are on the left earcup which makes it easy to control and build that muscle memory up for quick alterations. On the outside of the left earcup, you have the power button and the mic mute switch, while on the underside (the usual place) you have the function button, the mic volume dial, and the master volume dial, accompanied by the USB-C port, the audio jack connection, and the detachable mic's housing and port. Listing them all out makes it sound a bit cramped, but they are spaced out enough and easy to engage with in practice.
The USB-C connection is for charging and data so adds some flexibility, while the audio jack connection is great for this too. But, don't get me wrong, it's clearly designed to be a neat wireless headset and that's the main draw here.
The key to that is the USB dongle. It's your standard USB stick, but it is very long so will stick out annoyingly from whatever USB slot you use. Something to bear in mind should your PS5 be at dog height, or if it has footfall nearby it. Generally, though, the dongle will be put in one of the back USB ports and left there forever, so I am nitpicking a bit.
The wireless connectivity on offer is great, too, as you can connect over Bluetooth to your phone while also connected wirelessly to the dongle. This is a neat feature and adds an extra string to its bow.
The strength and range of the wireless connection are also strong, with the connection never dropping out even when I walked to different parts of my house.
The main feature of the headset, however, are those 100mm drivers inside. These famous drivers certainly have the chops on paper, and knowing what we know from the Penrose X, but how does it sound in real-world performance? Excellent is the answer to that question - and one that I'm happy to report on a headset with this price tag.
The surround sound is marvellous, and clearly presents audio from all around game worlds and environments with accuracy. The audio performance is exceptionally detailed, rich, rounded, and well balanced in every department meaning that enemies approaching from any direction are located, world noises such as weather and wildlife take on a new clarity, and you can hear your friends nicely over even the most intense firefights. Traversing the world of Assassins' Creed Valhalla was a genuine joy, for example, and playing online with my friends in Remnant: From The Ashes was clear as day, even in the most chaotic of boss fights.
The boom mic is crystal clear and makes for easy communication, though just like any boom mic, you'll need to arrange it in such a way that's not impairing your comfort or vision, but can still send orders and tactics clearly to your pals.
The headset also operates wonderfully when you turn the volume right down (the detailed audio still comes through) and when it's on max volume. I mention this as it's clearly a benefit of being a PlayStation-focused headset; the volume levels on the PC-centric Mobius headset were limited on console, which hindered it greatly.
The battery life is good, sitting at about 15 hours or so, but it does take a while to charge so this is something to bear in mind. This was a factor in my testing sessions as the Penrose revealed to me that you absolutely cannot use it while charging as there is an audible buzzing when the headset is on and connected to charge. This buzzing is not just audible to yourself; your teammates can hear it too, with my friends complaining that they could literally hear my electricity.
Overall - should you buy it?
The Audeze Penrose headset gives off some of the best audio on PS5 that I've experienced so far in the console's life. Rich, detailed audio, directionally robust, and well balanced, it really is as close to the full package as it gets for in-game audio.
It's also well built and offers flexibility by being a great PC headset for gaming too, if you were on the lookout for something that you could use seamlessly and easily for both platforms.
But the audio quality, great mic, and connectivity come at a cost. Yep, you just can't look past that price tag. For context, and roughly speaking, you could get two SteelSeries Arctis 7P sets for that, three PS5 Pulse 3D headsets, or nearly three Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2s. I jest a bit, but the reality remains that you could get one of these aforementioned headsets and then reinvest the remainder into a PS5 SSD or PS5 external hard drive and probably consider yourself in a position of net gain, rather than blowing it all on one headset.
That said, if you have the budget, and strive for some of the best audio going, then the Audeze Penrose could very well be for you as its audio is seriously hard to beat.