VZR Model One Review: Get the Most Out of 3D Audio
RRP $ 349.00
“The VZR Model One offers excellent audio quality that is perfect for next-generation gaming.”
Excellent sound quality
Strong spatial audio
Comfortable ear pads
Two microphones in one
No volume control
The VZR Model One is not your average gaming headset. You won’t find any flashing RGB lights on it. It doesn’t have a well-known gaming brand like Razer or HyperX attached to it. And you probably won’t see your favorite streamers prominently (and suspiciously) as they play. Here the audio quality is in the foreground, not the fashion.
The self-proclaimed “audiophile headset” comes from an impressive pedigree. It was designed by Apple’s former senior acoustic engineer Vic Tiscarareno, along with video game audio veterans. The great innovation of the Model One is its patented CrossWave technology, which optimizes it for 3D audio. With consoles like the PlayStation 5 that use sound as a selling point, the Model One is poised to be the perfect next-gen headset.
The VZR Model One is a great gaming-focused headset that offers superior audio quality and surprising comfort. Its high price tag may be out of budget for many players, but this is a prime example of “you get what you pay for” on the move.
Do the CrossWave
The Model One’s main selling point is its audio quality. It’s a closed headset with 40mm drivers. For those looking for a gaming headset that is geared towards spatial audio, VZR has a strong selling point.
The basic sound quality lives up to the label “audiophil”. When I switched between the Model One and the Roccat ELO that I had on hand (my go-to gaming headset), the difference was immediately clear. It offers a wider audio landscape that better balances booming bass and sharp highs. When listening to music, the bass is powerful, but never drowns out the higher frequencies. It’s always a difficult balance to strike, but the VZR has done an admirable job here.
I can’t deny that while wearing the Model One I got the most out of the next generation sound.
The main attraction here is VZR’s patented CrossWave technology. To put it for the layman, the Model One uses an acoustic lens that was built to better shape the directionality. VZR notes that technology enables the headset to direct sound so that it better reflects how we hear it in real life.
This is immediately apparent when you play a PS5 game. As part of my testing, I jumped into Returnal which offers a detailed alien soundscape. Even after playing for 20 hours before, I was overwhelmed by what I heard. The rain was spreading in all directions and I heard drops, near and far, hitting the ground in all directions. As I trampled on someone else’s eggs, I could hear them squeezing under my feet as if the sound were coming from right below me. I had similar results in Resident Evil Village’s Maiden demo (which is a 3D audio tour de force), as detailed sound actively made for a more terrifying, immersive experience.
Sony notes that the 3D audio effect works the same on any headset that supports it, but I was skeptical of this claim after using the Model One. While the CrossWave technology was a bit of the marketing glitz of “Blast Processing” (and I don’t think so), I can’t deny that wearing the Model One I got the most out of the next generation sound. The high audio quality makes every sound pop, no matter how small, and I felt a full spatial listening experience.
Quality and comfort
When I first looked at Model One, I was expecting an uncomfortable experience. You weigh 430 grams with a hard metal skeleton around the headband and ears. This design certainly signaled that these are probably built to last, but I was skeptical of what it would feel like to wear them for hours.
I was expecting a compromise between comfort and quality here, but I’m impressed that the Model One can do both.
To my surprise, the Model One offers a surprising level of comfort. This is in large part thanks to the headset’s memory foam ear cushions. With their thickness, my ears barely touch the hard plastic underneath. The ear cushions are soft compared to gaming headsets I’ve used before, so they can be worn for hours without any problems.
The headband also increases wearing comfort. Thanks to a depression in the middle, it’s not stiff, so it can bend. The headband appears to be padded with the same memory foam that is used in the ear cushions, so it sits lightly on the scalp.
I was expecting a compromise between comfort and quality here, but I’m impressed that the Model One can do both. The only downside is that the size can make it a pain to lug around. They come in a solid square case that is bigger than a childhood lunch box. They might not be the most portable option, but that shouldn’t be a huge problem if you’re looking to grab a bunch of cans that home consoles make better use of.
The last part of the package is the Model One’s detachable microphone. While it doesn’t try to reinvent anything in the way the drivers are, it’s still a bit unique. It has a patent-pending design that is geared towards passive noise cancellation.
It’s harder to say how much effect this design tweak has, but the mic definitely does the job. When testing on PS5, I found that my voice came through clearly without interrupting. As I was recording some tests with my iPhone, I realized that I needed to have the microphone closer to my mouth than I would like. It picked up my mid-range voice well enough, but I could hear the distance. Discord friends noticed the same thing after playing a few rounds of Pokemon Unite.
When the temple attachment is not in use, the headset defaults to an in-line microphone, which is a nice touch. Of course, the quality suffers here, but there is a great deal of flexibility. The headset also has a mute switch, but no volume control. It’s a surprising omission considering how sturdy the package is – and the price.
For the casual gamer, the price of the Model One will certainly be hard to swallow.
The last part is important. The VZR Model One costs $ 349, which is certainly an investment. For comparison: Sony’s own Pulse 3D headset, which is “optimized” for the PS5, costs 100 US dollars. For the casual gamer, the price of the Model One will certainly be hard to swallow. But for those who want the best possible sound, it certainly does justice to the audiophile label.
The Model One offers tremendous sound quality that really brings out the best in the spatial sound of the next generation. VZR has entered the headset scene with an impressive socket set that combines convenience and quality. The $ 349 price tag is remarkably high for the gaming arena and admittedly that will be a block for many gamers. Fortunately, Model One justifies the price for those willing to take the plunge.
Is there a better alternative?
If you’re just looking for a headset better optimized for next-gen consoles, the Pulse 3D is a cheaper PS5 companion.
How long it will take?
With a metal frame and a sturdy design, the VZR Model One is certainly built to last. Don’t expect them to fall apart in a year.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you have the money to burn and really care about sound quality, they are sure to meet your audiophile needs.