The fairly young Austrian Audio brand was founded in 2017 by former AKG employees. Until now, the premium audio brand only offered studio-quality professional headsets. Now they are following up with their first gaming headset, and expectations are correspondingly high. Our Austrian Audio PG16 test clarifies how well the 7.1 spatial audio headset does.
|Driver||44 mm Hi-X (High Excursion Technology)|
|Frequency Range (Headphones)||12 – 24,000 Hz|
|Impedance||25 Ohm @ 1kHz|
|Sensitivity (headphones)||113 dBspl/V|
|Connectors||2.5 mm to 3.5 mm jack (cable: 1.4 m length)|
|Compatibility||PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox|
|Special Features||SpatialSound Card 7.1. surround sound software, microphone with tilt-to-mute function|
|Price||UVP: 139,00 Euro|
Austrian Audio PG16: Scope of delivery
The claim to deliver an absolute premium headset with the Austrian Audio PG16 is already noticeable in the packaging. The peripheral comes in an elegant, black-red cardboard box with a Velcro closure, which informs about the most important specifications on the back.
After opening the box, we are initially greeted with a velvety soft fabric carrying bag, which contains a quick start guide, warranty card, a sticker with the manufacturer’s logo, as well as a voucher for the free download of the 7.1 “Spatial Sound Card L” software.
Below that, the PG16 headset itself takes up space in a plastic bag, held in place by a cardboard holder, while a separately packaged 2.5mm to 3.5mm jack cable (length: 1.4m) including a double jack adapter skillfully rounds out the scope of delivery.
Design and workmanship
The first, purely optical impression of the Austrian Audio PG16 is consistently positive. With regard to the design, the Austrians rely on an equally simple, as well as noble exterior. The gaming headset is dominated by a black color scheme, which sets corresponding accents with matte and glossy materials.
Details in red, such as the manufacturer’s logos on the outer sides of the ear cups or the metal bracket for the holder, make the headset a real eye-catcher that also cuts a good figure in a rather dignified office environment.
The oval ear cups are relatively generous with an inner size of 72 mm x 45 mm (size x width) and adapt excellently to the head shape, or the size of the ears, thanks to the soft and comfortable memory foam cover.
The temples leading from the ear cups to the headband are made of metal, while the headset makes a comfortable impression thanks to a leather-covered headband. Conveniently, the ear cups can also be folded inwards, which allows for space-saving transport.
Connection and microphone
On the bottom of the right ear cup, Austrian Audio positions the input for the TRRS (Tip Ring Sleeve) jack plug. The cable is detachable and can be reordered accordingly in case of a breakage. On the other hand, it is a bit annoying that it is not a classic 3.5 mm input, because it is a bit narrower with 2.5 mm. Why they didn’t choose the same diameter on both sides here is beyond us.
On the outside of the left shell, the omnidirectional microphone takes its place. It has a flexible arm that is about 18 centimeters long and is equipped with a pop filter. The tilt-to-mute function is also practical, thanks to which the microphone is simply muted when it is folded up. However, the microphone cannot be removed.
Workmanship of the Austrian Audio PG16
In terms of build quality, the Austrian Audio PG16 offers little cause for criticism. All components, from the sturdy metal earpieces, to the secure hinges, to the soft and thick pads of the ear cups and headband feel extremely high-quality.
Only the rotating mechanism of the ear cups provides minimal cause for criticism. It is a bit too smooth for our taste. A slight point deduction is given for the glossy piano finish on the outer sides and the underside of the headband. This magically attracts fingerprints within a few minutes.
Otherwise, there is nothing to complain about in terms of the PG16’s workmanship. The entire construction feels very sturdy and durable. Surprisingly, the weight for this turns out comparatively low at around 265 grams, which has a positive impact on the wearing comfort.
Wearing comfort of the PG16: Excellent!
The Austrian Audio PG16 is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable headsets we have tested so far and does not have to hide behind the Razer Kraken V3 HyperSense (our review), which could also shine in this discipline.
Thus, the already mentioned, quite low weight ensures that the headset rests comfortably on our head even during longer gaming sessions. The comfortable ear cushions made of special and soft “slow retention” memory foam adapt perfectly to the shape and size of the ears, while the generous inner dimensions offer more space than is the case with most gaming headsets. The same goes for the maximum 15 mm thick headband with the same Memory Foam cover.
The size adjustment via grid is done in a full twelve gradations and thus allows for an adjustment to very small as well as particularly large heads. The PG16 relies on a closed design and thus already offers good shielding against ambient noise due to its construction. Nevertheless, there is fortunately no excessive heat development under the ear cups.
Practical test and handling
The connection of the Austrian Audio PG16 is done with the help of the jack cable, which allows for a correspondingly wide compatibility. Once the cable is plugged in, the headset can be used immediately on PC, mac, PS4, PlayStation 5, Xbox or Android smartphones and other devices with 3.5mm jack input. Without the need to install special drivers.
However, controlling the headset is neither possible on the headphones themselves nor on the cable. Austrian Audio consistently does without buttons or a remote control that could be used to fine-tune the volume, for example. At least the microphone can be muted immediately by simply folding it up, and allows voice transmission again when the arm is folded down.
RGB lighting, which is widespread among gaming headsets, is also not offered here. Instead, the manufacturer relies on a simple design. However, to get the best possible audio quality out of the PG16, the manufacturer recommends downloading the optional SpatialSound Card 7.1. surround sound software from New Audio Technology. This normally comes at an additional cost of 9.99 euros, but is free with the purchase of the headset thanks to the included voucher.
Sound and playback quality
Even on paper, the PG16’s sound specifications make a lot of noise. It starts with the unusually high covered frequency range of 12 Hz – 24,000 Hz, while most gaming headsets are at 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz. The impedance also turns out to be significantly lower at 25 ohms, which should speak for a higher realizable volume.
The sound is realized by the unique drivers of the Hi-X series, which are also used in the manufacturer’s studio headphones. They have a diameter of 44 millimeters and are supposed to reproduce all frequencies even more detailed thanks to lively transients. Thus, the PG16 wants to convince with clear and detailed highs, accurate mids and precise, as well as powerful bass.
And all that, in combination with the software, even in virtual 7.1 Spatial Surround Sound. By the way, the virtual Spatial Sound Card is set up like a real sound card and must also be selected as an input and output source after installation.
Austrian Audio PG16: This is how good the sound quality is
In standard mode (stereo), the PG16 strides to action quite punchy and achieves an impressive volume, thanks to which you should by no means turn the knob all the way. When listening to music, the headset scores with rich and precise basses that reach down into the depths.
However, the trebles are also on a convincing level and are well accentuated. Only in the mids does the Austrian Audio PG16 provide minimal cause for criticism, whereby voices in particular take a back seat to the bass and treble.
Considering the price, however, the headset’s sound is on a very good level, where the three-dimensionality is particularly positive. However, the PG16 does not quite reach the level of the currently best gaming headsets, which we consider to be the HS80 from Corsair (our review).
From a purely objective point of view, the Austrian Audio offers the somewhat more neutral sound – provided the right settings are used – but for gaming and music, we like the Corsair’s punchier, fun-listening mix a bit better. Especially since the HS80 also reaches up to 40,000 Hz in frequencies.
What does the Spatial Sound Card software do?
Does the software simulation of 7.1 spatial surround sound actually deliver an acoustic advantage? The short answer is yes – if everything works. Since we received the Austrian Audio PG16 for our test before its release, there were still an increased number of bugs and errors, but these should no longer occur with the final model. Therefore, we do not want to go further into this.
The simulation of virtual 7.1 sound succeeds excellently in the PG16 and not only enhances the soundscape of games or movies, but also has positive effects on music.
The advantages are already obvious in Spatial Sound test videos, but prove to be a plus especially in games – above all competitive shooters. After all, we can hear exactly from which direction other players are approaching or from which direction we are being shot at.
How good is the PG16’s microphone?
For voice reproduction, the Austrian Audio PG16 resorts to a microphone with omnidirectional polar pattern (omnidirectional). The sound is thereby picked up evenly from all directions. This has the advantage that the microphone arm does not always have to be positioned exactly in front of the mouth in order to be well understood.
The PG16’s microphone scores with a clear, warm and dynamic voice reproduction, thanks to which we can always be understood well. The gaming headset also masters plosives without problems, but sharp S sounds are the Achilles’ heel of the Austrian, which are often rendered too sharply. A constant, quiet background noise is also somewhat annoying.
In return, however, we like the volume of the recording “out-of-the-box” extremely well. Even without fine-tuning, we can get started with the microphone right away.
The microphone quality is thus on a very good level, even though one or the other similarly priced competitor delivers a slightly better result here. You can hear how good the PG16’s microphone actually sounds in the following video.
Software: Spatial Sound Card
Austrian Audio does without a classic companion software, as we are used to from most gaming headsets. Instead, the already mentioned Spatial Sound Card L software represents the only companion program. However, it has a clear structure and a convincing range of functions.
In the main screen, all seven simulated speakers can be set separately from each other, muted or adjusted individually in terms of volume. In addition, a sound boost (up to a maximum of 30 decibels) or a limitation can be added in the “Leveling” menu item, and the simulated surround sound can be turned on and off via mouse click in the main menu.
Where things get really interesting, however, is at the bottom of the screen. In the following window we can choose between different sound modes (from stereo to 7.1) and set the latency. We can choose between 5.3 milliseconds, which especially competitive games benefit from, 10.7 ms or 21.3 ms for listening to music, which clearly minimizes the CPU load.
Besides that, we choose between a total of five sound presets that bear the names of cities (New York, Paris, Dubai, Shanghai and Sydney) and actually result in a completely differentiated sound. New York, for example, focuses more on trebles and mids and is therefore ideal for music enjoyment, while Sydney focuses even more on trebles and bass and is ideal for shooter fans.
The headphone EQ also marks an interesting bonus, thanks to which you can adjust the sound of the PG16 to the acoustics of many well-known headphones or headsets from other manufacturers. From Sennheiser and Beats to Razer and Beyerdynamic, there are many options to choose from here. Alternatively, mandatory options such as bass or treble boost can be quickly selected here.
All in all, the Spatial Sound Card software performs admirably and offers a coherent feature set that easily outperforms most other headset companion software. Bonus points for that.
- More on the software: You can find an introduction to the features Spatial Sound Card software on YouTube
Conclusion on the Austrian Audio PG16
The Austrian Audio PG16 makes an absolutely convincing debut. The predominantly black design along with its red accents looks equally noble and high-quality. The build quality is also on a convincing level, although the brackets have a bit too much play.
At the same time, the foldable and collapsible design enables space-saving transport, which we also like. The detachable jack cable should also be mentioned positively, although we find it a bit unfortunate that the manufacturer relies on a 2.5 mm to 3.5 mm cable, which probably only very few have at home. But that is complaining on a high level.
The PG16 also cuts a very good figure in terms of sound, even though the midrange frequencies are somewhat overshadowed in comparison. However, the simulated Spatial Surround Sound is convincing again. The same applies to the extensive software, thanks to which the sound can be adjusted down to the smallest detail. At least, if the software plays along – which should not be a problem at the final market launch.
All in all, the Austrian Audio PG16 with its RRP of 139 Euros is undoubtedly one of the best gaming headsets in this price segment. If you can do without a USB port, additional gimmicks and RGB lighting, you will get your money’s worth with this headset in terms of sound and wearing comfort.
Austrian Audio PG16 price comparison
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