My collection of headphones grows and ebbs slowly. At the moment I have two sets, with another one on the way out. The maximum I have had at once is seven sets. Call it the curse of the audiophile, finding those headphones which portray your music in the quality you desire is a long road.
The Aukey Scepter headset is somewhat of a strange backwards from headsets I generally review. Usually the sound itself is solid, with the failure being in the microphone as an afterthought. But in this case the whole thing is a rather middling failure. Muddy audio mixed with a poor microphone means that this headset does very little more than hold a skin-deep beauty.
Unpacking the Scepter is not a special experience, a very plain box typical of most Chinese companies arrived at my door. While they are commemorated for being green, with only a small amount of plastic in the box, this does make the experience nothing special. Besides the headphones themselves you get a multilingual set of instructions as well as a pretty cool looking warranty card. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Looking good is the main trick here and by the gods I love the style of the Scepter. Imitating a look reminiscent of post-war aviation headsets the body is made of sleek grey plastic – if a bit cheap feeling – with red accents and open-back design cups with RGB logos behind plastic mesh. A metal band and faux metal bolts offset this with a faux-leather band meaning the headset does not sit on the head; rather the leather band flexes and distributes the weight across your head with the metal band flexing to width.
All these little sleek features really makes me want to enjoy the Scepter, because there are plenty of cool features which work here I would love on other headsets. The weight distribution means this headset feels very comfortable for long periods of time, and the open-back design ear cups mean that while there is some sound bleed, it is limited and the bleed stops earache at higher volumes. Forsaking in-line controls the volume control is located behind the left ear cup, denoted with a small plastic nib so you aren’t fumbling around for a while to turn down your game when your mother shouts for you.
Besides this other features add to the pretty sweet look. The USB-A (I know, right) cable is wrapped in glitter black which is unique and feels thick enough to withstand some tension and torsion, even if it is quite short (2.1m/ 6.9ft.) For the more technical of you, the important features are as such:
- Impedance: 16ohms
- 50mm Speaker Diameter
- Microphone sensitivity: -37db
- Microphone Frequency Range: 100Hz to 20kHz
Which leads me onto the worst part of the headset. Its primary purposes. Listening to music and playing a few games the only way I can describe the experience of the Scepter is muddy. The 50mm drivers should be able to push crisp and clear sound easily, but the sound seems soft, even when the volume is cranked hard. Nothing appears to be EQ’d, unlike most bass-heavy headphones nowadays; but the midrange feels a little lacklustre which would go a way to explaining the lack of clarity however cranking it back up helped only marginally making the problem seem deeper than just bad EQing.
The microphone is the real let-down here. The sound is just bad. While recording on Audacity I found the audio passable if a little quiet, using it in places like Discord or Teamspeak leaves me sounding like I am trying to call in from the 70’s. The fact it draws back into the body means that if the audio quality was good you could just use them for listening and get an external microphone, but with that being bad too the whole package falls apart.
NOTE: The microphone test audio was recorded in Audacity and exported in mp3 format. As such the experience will not be the same as through VOIP services.
That says nothing for the bass boost button, located on the back of the headset next to the volume control (see picture above.) It does, as far as my ears can tell, nothing. I’m unsure if it is for the microphone or the audio, but in either case the button appears to be useless.
And overall I am disappointed. The Aukey Specter is a headset I fell for thanks to its beauty, but it appears to be all looks and no personality. I’m sure we’ve all been there. It delivers subpar performance both in the areas of audio playback and microphone quality. If it is cheaper than anything else, and I suspect it won’t be when you consider it then by all means it’ll do. If you are desperate to post your rig on r/battlestations and want a sweet pair of headphones for the picture then this will tick that box, but sadly that’s all it will do. It does what it says on the tin, barely, if you squint a bit, and for that it earns a measly 3.