The Omnes Essential Wireless Gaming Headset from Cougar Gaming is the company's first venture into the wireless headset market. Cougar has a track record of offering their own unique take on a product and continually refining it. Armed with their unique style, years of experience in headphone design and a historical track record of trying new things, they have presented the Omnes Essential.
I have, over the past couple of years, had the opportunity to review a couple of Cougar’s wired headsets. Most recently I spent some time with the Phontum Pro and was impressed with the audio quality that came at the relatively inexpensive price point. Now having spent some time with the Omnes Essential Wireless Gaming Headset I’m eager to share my thoughts on Cougar's latest offering. So grab that coffee, kick back and check out our review of the Omnes Essential Wireless Gaming Headset from Cougar Gaming.
- Current Price: 99.99 USD (Newegg)
- Driver: 53mm
- Max Input Power: 40mw
- Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
- LED: Yes
- Driver: 9.7mm
- Mic Type: Cardioid Cancellation
- Inline Mic Type: Omnidirectional
- Connection Types: 2.4 GHz Wireless, 3.55mm Audio cable
- Wireless Range: 10 Meters
- Charge Time: 2.5 Hours
- Battery Life: with LED on - 12 Hours, LED off - 20 hours
- Audio Modes: Stereo, Surround Effect (Windows 10 only)
That Cougar Feeling
One thing I will always say about Cougar; they know how to create unique branding. Out of the box, the Omnes Essential Headset is the most stylized and unique-looking headphones I have in the office at the moment. As someone who reviews a lot of headsets that's saying something.
The Omnes feel flexible and adaptable while maintaining a durable and well-built quality. The outer headband is comprised of metal while the inner band is plush and adjustable, allowing the band to rest easily on your head, regardless of shape and size. The earpieces as well are exceptionally plush and comfortable to wear, even with my glasses on. Over long sessions, I found them comfortable but they did start to hold the heat in after a couple of hours.
The Omnes have a bit of a unique design in that they have multi-axis points that allow for multiple smaller adjustments when placed on the head. This results in a rather robust amount of adaptation to the shape of your head. Essentially the Omnes fit comfortably on your head and ears with reduced pressure against the outsides of the ear.
Speaking of the ear, the aforementioned plush earpieces are large enough to completely encompass the ear meaning you won’t have additional pressure to contend with. As someone that wears glasses at night while gaming, it is an extra layer of relief (no pun intended) to not have constant pressure on your ears.
The Essentials come with LEDs tucked in behind a logo on each earpiece that adds a nice accent to the all-black headset. An onboard switch allows you to cycle through six colors to give additional customization to the Omnes. Along with the LED cycle switch, you’ll also find a power on/off button for the headset and a mute button for the detachable microphone. Finally, there is a volume dial that allows for quick adjustments while gaming.
The button placement works fairly well, with the power, LED and volume control easy to find and operate. The mute button, on the other hand, is placed awkwardly and inset just enough that it's not easy to access and switch quickly. In an age where most other gaming headsets are offering quick-mute options, this felt like a step backwards.
Speaking of the mic the omnidirectional, detachable mic comes with a small LED indicator to let you know if the mic is muted. Additionally, the pole of the mic is quite flexible allowing you to easily manipulate it to meet your needs. The mic can be connected via a 3.55mm audio jack in the left earpiece and once inserted fits securely in place.
The Cougar Omnes Essential Headphones look and feel like a great first-gen headset. While there are a couple of things that could use some improvement, namely the placement of the mute button and some heat trapping in the earpieces, I’m still pretty impressed with the design of the Omnes.
Connections, Software, Functionality
The Omnes Essential offers two modes of connection; wireless via a 2.4gHz enabled USB transmitter and wired via a 3.55mm audio cable. While you can connect to everything from PC to Nintendo Switch there are some caveats. Wireless connection is limited to PC/Mac and PS5. For your PS4, Xbox Series X/S, mobile and Switch you’ll need to use the included 3.55mm cable. Along with this caveat it is worth noting that virtual surround is only available on Windows 10 with all other devices defaulting to stereo sound.
In regards to getting connected though, it couldn’t be easier. The Omnes Essential leans hard into its namesake, these headphones provide the essentials for everyone. With both the wireless and wired connection, everything is plug-and-play. No fancy setup or adjustments need to be made to get up and running. Simply plugging the appropriate adapter into your device syncs the headphones to said device and you’re on your way. If you are looking for the easiest solution, Omnes deliver.
While the plug-and-play design is wonderful and creates a pair of headphones that really can be used with all your devices it also means, at least in the case of the Omnes, that you won’t find a lot of customization in the audio itself. There is no software support for the Omnes so the sound profile that comes standard (more on this later) is what you’ll be working with. Other than adjusting the volume and the LED color, the Omnes are locked down when it comes to customization.
Having said that I don’t want to detract from the great functionality that comes with these headphones. The Omnes Essential Headset offers some great functionality. While I’ll get into a breakdown of the audio quality and testing in the next section, suffice it to say that the overall quality of the audio and mic makes these are solid pair of headphones, especially for gamers that want an easy, consistent solution for their audio needs.
Audio Testing and Results
While I can say that build quality and design are both durable and creative and the basic functionality is great on the Omnes that is all for not if the audio that they produce isn’t also up to standard. As always I run headphones through a gauntlet of stress and quality tests just to see what they can handle.
With the Omnes Essential I began testing with a 50-hour driver test. Essentially this test consists of turning everything up to full volume and blaring a 50-hour playlist through the headphones. While there isn’t a magic formula I use to get the 50-hour threshold I find it at least gives the drivers a good run and time to warm up a bit. With this test, I always listen to the same song before and after the test making notes on any differences I hear.
The Omnes performed well overall. There was no major cracking or popping after the stress test and the overall sound was bright and clear for the most part. I did notice a bit of harshness in some of the string instruments in the song selection I use as a sample. Nothing that I would call distortion but just enough that it made some of the higher frequencies brighter than I like.
The second test I ran the Omnes through was a frequency test. The purpose here is to simply here where the drivers struggle to maintain clean audio within various frequencies. Full disclosure here, while the headphones are rated for 20Hz to 20kHz, I can only actually hear to just above 15kHz so my results are only based in that range.
The Omnes held up exceptionally well in all the lower frequencies. Everything from 20Hz up to about 9kHz was clean and clear. When I jumped up into the 10kHz plus there were some minor distortions that popped out as I ran through the bands. This is, I believe, what attributed to the aforementioned harshness I heard in the string instruments in the audio sample.
Now before we all panic because I heard some distortions in high band frequencies let me give a bit of context. Most drivers, unless we are dealing with the exceptionally high-end product, will have some frequency distortions. Not every driver is good at producing every frequency. The question that is important when doing a test like this is how those distortions impact the experience of the listener. In the case of the Omnes, it translates into a brighter audio mix with a bit of harshness in some high frequencies at full volume. Interestingly while the low-end bands were clean I didn’t find them as powerful as I would like which also contributes to the brighter sound that the Omnes produce.
The next test is a simple test of running the same couple of games through the same couple of levels to get a feel for how the headphones perform in real-world tests. I have been testing with Both Doom 2016 and Halo Infinite as my games of choice for the past 6 months on various headphones. In both cases, as I expected based on the results of the previous tests the mix was nice and bright. This resulted in some nice clean audio. The dialogue was clear and easy to understand, multiple audio sources all mixed fairly well together and while it was a bit brighter than I personally like, no part of the mix was overpowering.
It was a clean, fairly balanced mix. While I personally like a warmer sound with a bit more bass, the audio was solid. As a quick aside I will say that I’ve actually enjoyed listening to music with the Omnes quite a bit. While it isn’t their primary function, the Omnes sound pretty decent for music mixes while gaming.
The mic test is a pretty straightforward procedure and in this case, I was surprised at how nice the mic capture really was. In my Cougar Phontum Pro review, I noted that the mic was a weak point in the design. It seems that Cougar has corrected that issue with this newest iteration. The Omnes’ mic does a great job at picking up and representing my voice well and even cancels out quite a bit of the background noise. I was quite impressed overall with it. That is saying a lot as I am generally quite picky with microphones.
The battery life on the Omnes Essential is rated for 12 hours with LED on and 20 hours with LED off. This is also based on the volume being at 70% for the duration of the test. I typically test the battery during the 50-hour stress test and since the headphones are at full volume for that test I didn’t quite achieve the times that Cougar did. However, I wasn’t that far off. With LED on and at full volume, I got just over 10 and a half hours. With the LED off and full volume, I managed to get over 18 hours. Still quite impressive despite my pushing the headphone to their limit.
One final test that was performed is the virtual surround test. As noted this feature is only available on Windows 10 which was a bit disappointing as I could see a lot of gamers wanting to use the Omnes for console gaming. However, what wasn’t disappointing was how well the Omnes performed. They had no problem handling the virtual surround and sounded great while playing games on PC. sounds seemed appropriately positioned based on their relative position to my character. My only wish is that this feature was accessible on the Xbox Series X/S, as they would probably replace my main wireless headphones that I use with that system.
Overall the Cougar Omnes Essential Wireless Gaming Headset is a solid offering from Cougar. While there are a few things I would love to see in the next iteration, like full wireless support across consoles and virtual surround for consoles, they are still a pretty solid pair of headphones. A lack of EQ options, mute button placement and the aforementioned wireless connection platform restrictions hold the Omnes Essential from really reaching its full potential. Regardless, at 99.99 USD they are still a great option for people looking for a good pair of wireless headphones without breaking the bank.