Introduction and Specifications
Cougar, a well-known brand of PC parts and peripherals, has a long history of offering affordable components from cases and mice to power supplies and chairs. Their pricing model is definitely aimed at the affordable market, so they are competing in a fiercely competitive market segment.
The latest Cougar product to hit my review desk is the rather striking Immersa Gaming Headset. Straight away the appearance and design remind me of a more expensive headset from a couple of years back. Here are the specifications.
- Cougar Immersa Gaming Headset
- 4pole to 3pole 3.5mm Jack adapter
- Product Leaflet
- Driver 40mm
- Max. Input Power 100mW
- Sensitivity at 1KHz 95dB ± 3dB
- Impedance at 1KHz 32Ω +/- 15%
- Frequency Response 20Hz – 20kHz
- Type Noise Cancelling Condenser
- Frequency Response 100Hz to 16kHz
- Sensitivity at 1KHZ -40dB ± 3dB
- Impedance 2.2kΩ
- Connector Type 3.5mm Phone Plug
- Cable length 2m
I’m going to get right in and give this Cougar Immersa a closer look.
All wrapped up in a nice windowed box, the Cougar Immersa gaming headset has a photo and some information on the front, the Driver Free tag meaning that this headset does not come with Cougar’s UIX software to unify control of multiple Cougar devices, there is a PRO version of this headset that offers a USB connection 7.1 Surround and RGB Lighting.
The rear of the box offers a wealth of information in several languages, however, the technical specifications are not found anywhere on the box, meaning that if you intend to compare capabilities, online research must be done before hand. If out shopping in a retail outlet this can make comparisons a bind. Also included on the back of the box is an image of the in-line volume control with microphone on/off switch.
Pulling the contents out of the box and removing the headset from the plastic cradle, we are met with a rather attractive headset, 2m cable with an in-line volume control and mic switch. Curled away underneath the plastic cradle is the pamphlet which has some specs and instructions in a bunch of languages.
Looking at an off front view of the Cougar Immersa headset with the microphone extended out of the left earpad, the microphone flexes into any desired position. Just look at those earpads, nice and chunky for a semi-closed headset, the material is matte and smooth to the touch, this is very welcome on a headset at this price point, the mid-headband adjusts on a springy cord, the padding is more than adequate as it adjusts to your head. The outer bands are rubberised plastic coating a metal core, they are nice and sturdy. The whole headset feels well built, I would say the weakest points are the plastic clamps where the mid-band is connected, but I doubt they would be taking any serious punishment during use.
Round the back of the Immersa headset, you can see it’s natural curve, this gives it a light but firm clamp on the head/ears, the comfort of this style of headset is one of my all time favourites, many of my friends have similarly designed headsets too due to the comfort offered.
With just a turn to the left, the grilled driver back is what makes this headset semi-closed, although it doesn’t let out a lot of noise at normal volumes, the Cougar badge is made of a stamped textured metal and adds a feel of quality to the Immersa headset. Again the feel of this build is very solid, I am confident it should last a good few years.
Nipping around to the right-hand side, just to confirm symmetry and apart from not having a microphone in the earpad, it is exactly the same.
Moving down the cable we get to the in-line volume and microphone controls, the volume wheel is accessible from both sides and is nice and large, I am really pleased to see a larger volume control used, as this reduces the amount of fumbling should you wish to adjust the volume during a game for example. The microphone switch does not actually say which position is on or off, FYI in the position shown it is off. All in all a respectable control that some more expensive headset manufacturers could learn from.
Down at the end of the braided cable, we have the adapter changing the connector from a 4pole mobile phone combo plug to separate microphone and headphone connectors.
Quality and Performance
Ok guys, I am going to start off here with comfort, there is an incredibly familiar feel to the Cougar Immersa headset, putting it on my head I felt I was using a slightly lighter Steelseries Siberia Elite, the Immersa’s earpad material isn’t as soft and the head clamping feel is just a smidge lighter, but the Cougar Immersa is less than a third of the price of the Siberia Elite when that was on sale. Comfort is incredible, top marks for going with that design. The general headset build is fantastic, the cable while braided is not very sturdy, though, it is thin and the sort that tangles easily, however this is not the worst place where costs could have been cut so it is forgivable at this price point. The last thing to look at here is the in-line volume control, microphone switch, this little unit feels almost like an empty shell, the mic on/off works well and the volume wheel which is accessible from both sides of the control is easy to manipulate, the only thing it doesn’t do is cut out audio completely, it drops the volume almost totally though so it’s not really an issue, you can just hear things still going on.
Onto listening to some tunes, the Cougar Immersa 40mm Neodymium drivers are excellent, any regular readers will know I have a selection of music that has a big range from deep low bass right through to high soprano level vocals along with brass instruments. I use songs with a big range to see if the low end gets muddy or even played at all and whether the highs get screechy making me want to turn the volume down.
Regular test tune Phibes’ Bust That Rhythm, was used along with some other favourites and I am happy to report that I have happy ears. The lows are reproduced at a good mid-range headphone level, this sort of performance is very often lacking in this price range, the highs are accurately reproduced and I can honestly say I have no complaints about the musical capabilities of this headset.
I think I will have to do a big comparison of 40mm vs 50mm drivers, because lately bigger has not been better.
Just about all my gaming is done online with friends, I love the interaction with real people which has left a library of single player games mostly untouched, please feel free to tut loudly.
My online chat application of the moment is Discord, this thing swooped in and offered cloud-based online high-quality chat for free, I and my online pals use it daily.
So chatting away to the crew I got their perspective of the quality of the built-in microphone. After a little initial twisting around of the posable cable, I got the mic in it’s clearest position, without any boost my voice sounded harsh and a little distorted, dropping the output volume in Discord helped, my view on this is rather too loud than too quiet, the quality isn’t top notch, but you have to pay quite a lot more for real decent microphone quality. The microphone did pick up some background noise on occasion too, but it wasn’t too distracting. One thing that could make this microphone a lot better would be a foam boom cover/pop filter, I will try to source one to try and see what improvements can be made.
Jumping on for a few rounds of Overwatch, the in game audio is great on this headset, whizzing around as my favourite heroes the comfort offers a longevity of gameplay without becoming hot and bothersome.
Rocket League as some great tunes, the fast pace gameplay faithfully reproduced by the Cougar Immersa, again no complaints.
The final game in my testing suite is CS: GO, many of us are well aware of how important sound is to Counter Strike and the Immersa headset does not disappoint. Even though this is not the 7.1 surround version, footstep and gunfire positioning is very well reproduced enabling me to call out enemy team positions as me and my team fight for those competitive points. A CS: GO match can take up to 90 minutes without a break, so the comfort offered by the Cougar Immersa was again very welcome.
Well looking at the Cougar Immersa headset you know it’s geared towards gamers, the bright orange might not be to everyone’s taste but I really like it, the orange parts accenting the mostly black components are not gaudy or in your face.
The build is excellent, the design is very comfortable, the sound from the drivers is brilliant, just the microphone and cable could be improved however that would surely drive the price up. Maybe a windshield/pop filter foam cap on the Microphone could help it wouldn’t be too much to add.
Available from Overclockers for just £39.95 the Cougar Immersa has got to be one of the best budget headsets available and I have no hesitation awarding it both Gold and Value awards, for high-level sound quality at a budget price.