Asus is bringing RGB LED illumination to its Fusion line of headsets with the high-end ROG Strix Fusion 500. The Fusion 500 virtual-7.1 gaming headset leaves the source device's sound quality out of the equation by integrating an ESS ES9018 DAC and a Sabre 9601K amplifier to convert a digital stream to analog signals suitable for the 50-mm drivers.
In addition to the integrated DAC and amplifier, Asus tuned the ROG Fusion 500 headset's virtual 7.1 audio with Bongiovi Acoustics' algorithms. The digital boom microphone automatically mutes when it's folded into the headset. The ear cups seal around the ears with a "100% protein" leather and fabric mesh that purportedly deliver better sound insulation and comfort compared to other materials.
The heavily-styled exterior of the left ear cup acts as a touch surface for gesture control. Swiping can change tracks and volume, single taps will play and pause, and a long press synchronizes headset lighting. The disco party LEDs are controlled with Asus' Aura RGB control software. Multiple listeners can synchronize the lights on their headsets using Asus' smartphone app and Bluetooth, too.
The lights and the integrated electronics need power, so the Fusion 500 connects using USB rather than regular audio jacks. Even so, Asus touts compatibility with the PC, Macintosh, and Playstation 4. Xbox and Switch players will probably be stuck looking at the ear-mounted light show in regret. The braided cable is 78" (2 m) long.
TechPowerUp reports that Asus' ROG Strix Fusion 500 headset is available now for $180, though we were unable to find it for sale at our favorite e-tailers. The company's less-fanciful ROG Strix Fusion 300 headset has a lifetime warranty and trades for about $100.