Remember the AniMe Matrix feature on the Zephyrus G14? yes, those fancy lights that can show various effects and patterns? It’s now on a headphone. The ROG Delta S is powered by an ESS 9281 Quad DAC system, and utilizes ASUS Essence drivers to delivering immersive sound quality both for gaming and just enjoying your favorite tracks.
What’s inside the box
Apart from the headphones, you also get an extra pair of ear pads, the usual documentation, and a USB-C to USB-A adapter.
Design and Build Quality
For its build, the ROG Delta S Animate uses a combination of plastic and metal parts that results to less weights, while still maintaining a sturdy feel. The metal headband, for example is covered by a leathery material with some cushion for added comfort. It’s also properly marked for precise adjustments in order to get the right fit on your head.
Both the earcups and the parts that hold them are also are also made of plastic. The mechanism allows the earcups to both rotate and swivel, so you can comfortable place the headphones on your neck or on a surface when not in use.
On the left earcup, you’ll find the switch to turn the AniMe Matrix on and off, and enable soundwave mode, which adjusts the lighting effect depending on what the microphone picks up, and the volume rocker which also houses the mic on and off switch.. I wish it wasn’t in the form of a wheel but rather physical buttons for more precise control. There’s also a slot for the detachable microphone.
Knowing ROG, I was expecting a detachable cable here, but nope, the cable is non-removable, which can be hassle not just for storing the headphones, but because it basically means that if it gets damaged, you won’t be able to just replace it with a new cable, you’ll probably have to bring the headphone itself for service, or replace it entirely.
The braided headphone cable is 1.5m in length, while the USB-C to USB-A adapter measures a meter. The earpads are covered in a leathery material, and feels very comfortable, even for long gaming sessions.
Perhaps the most unique feature of this headphone is the AnimMe Matrix. Similar to the ROG Zephyrus G14, it uses a bunch of LED lights to display animated graphics on each side.
With sound optimization set to Gaming, the ROG Delta S Animate successfully emits a feeling of spaciousness and distance. It can also accurately project the sound from various directions, and dialogue comes across with good clarity. The sound can be piercing at high volume, so make sure to keep that in check.
With an ESS 9281 Pro DAC and Amp inside, the ROG Delta S Animate is technically, a digital audio player that’s just waiting for input. It also means that you won’t have to have a separate DAC or amp between your source and the headphones.
As for sound quality, with all enhancements disabled, and optimization set to Flat, these headphones offer good layering and instrument separation. The low end is also detailed and extends nicely, while vocals are properly forward with excellent clarity. I wouldn’t call this a bright headphone, but the treble is just enough sparkle in the treble to make things interesting.
These headphones can get very loud. I often listen to about 70% volume, but in this, I have to dial it down to 50%. The passive isolation is also good enough to block typical noise sources, such as the Air Conditioner, dogs barking, and a good percentage of engine noises.
We tested the microphone on the ROG Delta S Animate on all three settings for the AI Noise Cancellation to check if there is a significant difference.
All the settings for the ROG Delta S Animate can be adjusted via the Armoury Crate app. For Audio, you’ll be able to select a sound profile, enable or disable virtual surround sound, reverb, and adjust the equalizer to get your preferred sound. There’s also a bass boost, compressor, and a voice clarity option.
For the microphone, you can also enable/disable or adjust Noise Gate, which, according to ASUS’ definition filters noises for clearer in-game communication, Perfect Voice which basically boosts your voice, and AI Noise-Cancellation, which utilizes the power of AI to filter noises. I know, some features look redundant.
As for the AniMe Matrix, you’ll be able to choose between a number of pre-loaded effects, or you can even create your own for a more personalized experience.
The ROG Delta S Animate offers a unique design that incorporates the AniMe Matrix from the G14 for a head-turning look. It’s built well, is comfortable to use even for long session, and sounds great for both gaming and music. On the software side, you get plenty of options to tailor-fit the headphones to your preferred sound and aesthetics.
On the flip side, the non-detachable cable is more prone to damage when storing the headphones, and can also be a hassle in terms of after-sales when it gets damaged, as you may have to bring in the entire device, instead of just using another cable.
Then there’s the price. At the time of writing, these will set you back PhP16,500 via ROG’s official store in Lazada. Is it worth it? well, even if having a headphone that sounds good and is flashy is your thing, I would say, it’s still a bit too steep. Let’s just say that if you don’t care too much about aesthetics, there are more viable choices out there.
Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.