AceZone A-Rise review: Unparalleled esports performance
AceZone’s hardware is a truly professional look at how to improve the esports scene, and with its incredibly high price, does the A-Rise live up to expectations?
After speaking in depth with AceZone a few weeks ago, and being shown just how the hardware inside its trio of headsets, we still remained skeptical. Surely, the A-Rise can’t live up to these wild expectations in a real-world, uncontrolled setting.
We connected the A-Rise to our PC, adjusting the mobile app to support “pro gaming” and began to play things that we never usually would. While we test a lot of our hardware reviews with Counter-Strike, we can’t say that we’re any good.
We still aren’t. However, one thing had changed. AceZone’s gaming headset was working. It was making us better at the game than we were before. Once it all clicks into place, this gaming headset is absolutely astonishing.
AceZone A-Rise Key specs
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB-C, 3.5mm jack
- Driver diameter: 42mm
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20 kHz
- Weight: 550g
- Compatibility: PC, Mac, Linux, Bluetooth devices, Steam Deck
- Features: Noise cancelation, removable earcups, flip to mute microphone
- Price: $799
In the box: USB-C cable, headset and carry case
The A-Rise is designed to use the whole head to aid in its noise-isolation goals. The cups have been specifically machined over to cover your ears in a way that assists with the complex algorithm driving them. Even the headrest is engineered with the intention of gripping tight to your skull and never letting go.
While this might aid in its audio reproduction in your favorite games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, and more, after long periods of time with games that are usually played in longer sessions, like Path of Exile, it can begin to get uncomfortable.
However, the intention behind the AceZone A-Rise isn’t for regular gaming purposes. That trophy belongs to the A-Spire, a smaller, less expensive headset from the company. No, the A-Rise is purpose-built for esports hopefuls. Those people need that extra edge in terms of the technology in their gaming setups, like the Wooting 60HE keyboard – to get a competitive advantage.
Its basic look assists with that goal. There are no flashing lights to distract, and it is surprisingly sturdy. In fact, the AceZone A-Rise might be one of the best-built devices we’ve ever reviewed. AceZone has engineered something with esports players in mind at every single turn.
Even the microphone, which while it doesn’t clip into anything, will not move from its position once pushed up. It can’t even begin to move when down in front of you so that you can take full advantage of the microphone’s capabilities.
AceZone’s noise canceling is every ounce as good as their marketing suggests. The way it works is by weeding out the middle of the range of outside noise, rather than just the lower frequencies. Sony and Bose and other headphones manufacturers are currently in a war to the bottom. AceZone doesn’t need to cater to everyone, just its primary, niche audience and that’s what makes them so exceptional.
Drivers and algorithms
Esports, while massive, is still a niche for headphone manufacturers to focus on. Razer or HyperX might still remain some of the most popular, but they don’t hold a candle in terms of gaming to the AceZone A-Rise. The difference is that they’ve not just focused on the sound, but on how the game interacts with the headset itself.
Most companies use a 50mm driver to power the audio, whereas the 42mm driver setup that’s been custom-made for the A-Rise allows them to deliver more accurate audio for esports players.
This means altering the noise-canceling algorithm to not distort the original audio of the game. Counter-Strike players heavily rely on certain sounds to alert them to the scene, but if that noise is removed by noise cancellation algorithms, it can cause them to lose track of the game.
Flat audio – but it is not a bad thing
The default audio on the AceZone A-Rise will not blow you away, and it actually sounds fairly flat. This can all be customized in an easy-to-use app for those looking for a bass boost. It connects over an alternate Bluetooth signal for control purposes and there’s another step of Bluetooth setup if you want to listen to your phone’s audio.
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However, the presets have a dedicated purpose. The audio is flat because it helps the game better represent itself. With this, combined with the noise cancelation you can legitimately hear players from further away. Of course, during explosive shootouts, it’s still anyone’s win, but we were able to track players sneaking around corners far better than with the recent spate of headsets we’ve tested.
AceZone A-Rise Gaming performance
The audio performance of the AceZone A-Rise allows you to just hear more sounds from the game. In experiencing it, it feels somewhat bizarre, especially since it’s just hooked up to your PC via USB-C. AceZone has no other software running, and it’s not like an Nvidia Reflex which helps squeeze more performance out of you by altering the game in some capacity.
For instance, Counter-Strike has always had this level of depth in its audio. Gaming on traditional headsets or popular brands has never been able to bring this forward because it isn’t tuned to do so. The theory is to get the best audio quality possible and beam it straight to your ears.
With the AceZone A-Rise, it begins to unravel the soundscapes that have been lost down to drivers, software, and algorithms. It’s weird to be praising flat audio outside of audio production scenarios, but here we are.
The flat sound profile allows the game to properly give you every micro detail because the headset is designed to accommodate it.
Other esports games and non-esports titles
This doesn’t just stop at Counter-Strike. Apex Legends, also built on Source, has a similar effect. In games that you’re not traditionally expected to play on the A-Rise even feel the benefit. The caves of Path of Exile sound creepier as droplets of water fall off stalactites in the background. Amid Evil and the newly released Hrot are excellent examples of the focus a dedicated designed product can do on games. The soundscapes and enemies are all easier to detect from a “further” distance just due to the detail in the audio being reproduced on this hardware.
AceZone’s noise cancellation is so good, we failed to hear everything even during the quiet menu sections of each title tested. We don’t recommend slotting these on if you’re expecting a package or living with a loved one.
We don’t really like to speak to people over the microphone while in game, but in our testing scenarios audio came out far clearer than competitors. Testing the mic with our windows open, machines, cars, and a surprise jacuzzi fitting from the neighbors, all were undetectable when testing things over on Discord.
The microphone, while impressive in its capabilities, is still a headset microphone. Ideal for meetings and gaming, but you won’t be streaming with something like this. It can often sound tinny in normal recordings.
It also requires to be bent into a specific position. Without this, it blocks out all sound you’re speaking and will pick everything else up. Thankfully it indicates this with each app connection and even has a handy instruction pamphlet included.
AceZone pricing concerns
There’s no getting around the fact that this is a costly gaming headset. But it’s more like a tool for hardcore fans of esports than your run-of-the-mill gaming headset. The AceZone A-Rise is a near-perfect headset for those looking for the best possible audio in this product segment. It is a big investment, but we cannot say that many other gaming headsets even manage to come within spitting distance of what the AceZone A-Rise offers as a package.
The Verdict: 5/5
Even with small issues when using the device, nothing competes with the AceZone A-Rise for esports and competitive gaming. Every aspect advertised works. Every single gaming session with had with them reproduced audio that was totally unmatched by almost every other gaming headset we have tested. It’s a competitive advantage, for sure, and one that might be worth paying the price for, if you are serious about esports.