Assassin's Creed Origins: Listen Wireless specs
Type: Circumaural closed-back ear-cup headphones
Range: > 15m
Battery: Up to 20h
Impedance (passive mode): 32Ω
Sensitivity (passive mode): 122dB SPL @ 1kHz – / 1Vrms THD @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL: < 0.4
Frequency response: 15Hz -22kHz
Driver: Electrodynamic (137/64“) Mylar Titanium
Microphones: 2 Omnidirectional (Clear Voice Capture)
Net weight: 300g
We know more than a little about gaming headphones and headsets here at T3. Indeed, we've got one of the most authoritative buying guides on the internet, packed full of the best cans for gaming money can buy today, and a month doesn't pass without the latest products from the world's hottest makers arriving on our desks.
And, as of late, one of the most out of left field sets to have been delivered is the Assassin's Creed: Origins Listen Wireless limited edition headphone from Focal. A tie-in variant to the company's established Listen Wireless set, these Assassin's Creed-themed cans are limited to only 2,100 sets worldwide and, what's more, are a Ubisoft Store exclusive too.
Falling very much into the tier of gaming headphones that prise versatility of use over hardcore feature sets and functions - a tier that we're seeing more and more of as of late - rather than that occupied by more hardcore, limited use headsets that specialise in remaining in the proximity of a console or PC, this set stood out for a couple of notable reasons.
We have to say that the set's apparent exclusivity peaked our interest, as too its not-obviously-a-gaming-headset design, good French maker pedigree, and apparent versatility when outside of gaming usage scenarios (here at T3 we think gaming headphones should not have to look like something dreamt up by Jamiroquai). The Assassin's Creed Origins: Listen Wireless by Focal seemed to that, but - naturally - the truth of the matter would be revealed with a detailed test.
Assassin's Creed Origins: Listen Wireless by Focal - what you get in the box
The Assassin's Creed Origins: Listen Wireless headphones come in a black, sleeve-opening box adorned with the Assassin's Creed Origins core graphic and Focal's logo on the front. Flip the box over and you are presented with a list of specifications (see above boxout) and another Egyptian-themed image.
Opening the box you are presented with the headphones themselves, which are securely lodged in a moulded recess. At the top of the box you can find the bundled carrying pouch, as well as instruction booklet and technical information. Lodged within a couple of small cavitys are the set's charging cable and audio cable. The only other thing in the box is a small certificate informing you of your limited edition serial number (for more detail see the extended image gallery below).
Assassin's Creed Origins: Listen Wireless by Focal - design and build quality
Taking the Assassin's Creed Origins: Listen Wireless out of their box and holding them in the hand, the first thing you notice is the large, hyper-soft ear pads. These sit just over the ears and feel incredibly pleasant. Just down from the cushions the eyes fall upon the glossy cans themselves, with the right cup also circled with a selection of rubberised volume control buttons and a single, physical, on-off switch.
The headset is charged via micro-USB, with the port located on the right earcup below the set's control buttons. The audio jack for a wired connection is located in a recessed circular cavity on the bottom of the left earcup (plugging in the bundled, Focal-brand cable is easy).
Moving up towards the headband we find the first thing we didn't like about these game-themed headphones - the plasticky, clacky headband extenders. These felt ratchet hard and, after some of the piston smooth examples we've tested recently, feel like a let down. Further up the smooth plastic headband is interrupted by a soft but thin crown pad - this felt sufficiently soft on the head, however, it is nothing to write home about.
Lastly, the top of the headband is engraved with the slogan "Listen Beyond". This isn't overtly standout or particularly garish, however, we just hate when these meaningless quasi-adverts get plastered over products, and especially so when they are big ticket items.
Overall, the rest of the headset felt solidly built though, and the rich dark blue and black colour scheme, set off with gold Assassin's Creed Origins emblems on the outside of either earcup, combine into an attractive design.
- These overear headphones are super
- And these in-ears are sweet too
- And don't get us started on how good these top noise-cancellers are
Assassin's Creed Origins: Listen Wireless by Focal - audio reproduction and features
To test the Assassins' Creed Origins: Listen Wireless we both played a selection of games across multiple platforms with the headphones on, as well as listened to a selection of sonically varied pieces of music and spoken-word podcasts. Pairing the headset for wireless functionality was seamless, with the set delivering an audible (through the headphones) message when it is searching for a connection, as well as when a connection is made.
Audio reproduction on the Listen Wireless was, above anything, smooth and securely lodged in the mid-range. Bass was modest, treble too - and the overall feeling when playing games was an easy listening, straightforward experience. For playing RPGs like the Wii U's Xenoblade Chronicles X with its broad range of sweeping musical score, buckets of spoken language, and sci-fi combat, we felt that we could easily wear the Listen Wireless all day, with its balanced audio doing anything but assault our eardrums.
Call of Duty: WW2, however, with its selection of loud gunshots and explosions coming from almost every direction most of the time, did not quite have the range or complexity of other sets we've tested, however, due to the quality of the core components still sounded good and had suitable distinction across levels.
In terms of music, electronica from bands such as Fluke and Leftfield sounded really surprisingly crisp, while the big drops of Daft Punk's TRON: Legacy soundtrack - despite lacking a little at the low-end, were also handled well. Vocal-centric pieces like that delivered on the late-great David Bowie's Blackstar album were suitably defined and distinct too, with the gravely tones rising with dynamism off the track. Spoken word podcasts and audiobooks shared this good general distinctiveness (although maybe lacking a bit of crispness at the edges) which we felt was a boon, as it helped the headset round off its performance package above par.
Overall, from a listening point of view, we felt the set hit most of the right notes for this price point.
Assassin's Creed Origins: Listen Wireless by Focal - verdict and final thoughts
Look, if you want a full-fat gaming headset, something with a boom mic, audio profiles, and native surround sound capabilities then the Assassin's Creed Origins: Listen Wireless clearly isn't for you. However, if you are looking for a stylish and versatile set of headphones that can be used for multi-platform gaming, as well as for just listening to music during a commute or catching up on your latest podcasts, then these are definitely worth a look - especially if you dig the Assassin's Creed franchise.
Focal's audio expertise means that far from being just a gimmicky, not-well-executed tie-in, these headphones actually sound good and, aside from a few elements that we feel aren't ideal, such as the cheap-sounding clacky headband extenders and cheesy top-mounted slogan, they offer a really solid all-round package, with carry pouch, USB charging cable, and optional wired connector meaning the set can be easily carried and used anywhere and with anything. Plus, the fact that only 2,100 of these are ever going to be produced worldwide means that you have a good dollop of exclusivity in wearing these too.
So, a surprisingly good stab after all, albeit one that while the assassin's choice, will almost certainly not resonate with everyone.