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Cougar Phontum Pro Headset Review

The 'almost' perfect gaming headset

Matthew Keith Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

With so many options for gaming headphones on the market, it can be a difficult task to find the right pair to get you through those long gaming sessions. Thankfully, the good folks over at Cougar Gaming have been hard at work honing their Phontum line of headphones to provide everything a gamer needs. Having previously reviewed the Phontum Universal Gaming Headphones, I was eager to see what the Pros brought to the table. So how does the latest entry to the Phontum series measure up? Come along and let’s find out. 


  • MSRP: $89.90 (Available Soon, Cougar Gaming Website)
  • Headphones
    • Connection Type: USB & 3.5mm
    • Audio Controls: Fixed Inline Controller
    • Driver: Graphene Φ53mm
    • Frequency Response: 20 Hz-20KHz
    • Sensitivity at 1KHz: 98dB ± 3dB
    • Audio: 7.1 Virtual & Stereo
  • Microphone
    • Mic: Cardioid Mic with environmental noise cancellation(ENC) Sensor
    • Mic Driver: Φ9.7mm Noise Cancelling
    • Frequency: 100Hz to 10kHz
    • Sensitivity at 1kHz: -47dB  ±  3dB
  • Platforms:  PC/Console/Mobile
  • Lighting: aRGB
  • Software Support: UIX

Comfort and build

Much like their predecessor, the Pros feel exceptionally comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. They feel snug and secure without applying too much pressure around your ears. Unlike some other headphones that I’ve tested, the top band rests comfortably atop your head without pressing down and creating a sore spot on the top of your head.

Also returning with the Pro version of the Phontum are the quick switch earpads. This was a unique feature that I found interesting in the original Phontum review and it made a return here. The headphones come with two distinct sets of earpads each lending to different settings. The larger set has a core of memory foam wrapped in soft protein leather. The build and material are the same as my previous pair and after two years of wear, I can honestly say that they are still the most comfortable pair of headphones I’ve worn.

My only real critique of the leather wrap would be that it can hold the heat. Extended use does make your ears feel a little warm. Realistically though, even with that one drawback, they are still exceptionally comfortable for those long nights of hacking and slashing. 

Cougar Phontum Pro

The second set of earpads are wrapped in a breathable fabric(same memory foam core)  that does help keep your ears a bit cooler. However, they lack the depth that the larger set provides and I do find that after a few hours of gaming they tend to push in a bit more on my ears and over time can become a bit uncomfortable.  

The build quality of the Phontum Pro is sturdy and durable. Once again the team used the same integrated metal frame for the headband that attaches to each earpiece with a sturdy metal bracket. They are built to last and based on the Phontum Universal set that I have they can stand the test of time. 

From a design perspective, they can feel a bit bulky (especially with the large earpads). However, they are aesthetically unique. Everything, from the stitching that runs along with the headband to the gold, plated logos that rest on each earpiece, speak to intentional, distinct design choice. They are built to stand out and they do it well.

At the base of the headphones, a 1 meter braided USB C cable extends out to connect to a waiting device. Before you panic wondering how you are going to connect a USB C cable into your device, Cougar provides two USB C adaptors; one for USB A connections and the other for 3.5mm connections. As a gamer who jumps between PC, Xbox, PS4 and Switch Having on the fly interchangeable connections is a huge time saver. 

About six inches from the base of the headphones you’ll also find a control module that houses volume, mute and the ENS to help with noise cancellation. The control module is positioned well for quick access without having to run your hand along the cable fumbling for the mute or volume while trying to hold on to a controller. It’s a great addition to the Pro. 

Lastly, it’s worth noting that the Phantom Pro comes equipped with aRGB lighting. These lights are nestled behind a black metal grill located on the outermost part of each earpiece. The UIX software (more on this software later) allows you to customize everything from colour to lighting pattern based on your preferences. They look amazing next to my red themed case, mouse and keyboard and that’s a good enough reason to have it as far as I’m concerned.

Did You Hear That?

Cougar has worked hard to pack a lot of features into the Pro to create the best sound experience for the listener. Powered with 53mm graphene drivers, the company has set out to create a clean, high-fidelity experience. It boasts that the drivers deliver “audio with virtually no distortions,” and for the most part, deliver on that promise. 

I ran the headphones through a series of tests using everything from Spotify quality MP3s to FLAC quality audio using the accompanied UIX software. In my tests, I noticed that when running the headphone EQ at a balanced setting there was really no distinguishable distortion in audio. Even when tweaking high-end bands there was little to no distortion. It was only when I pushed hard on the low-end bands that any distinguishable distortion was present. Even then this was only when I pushed the lower 3 bands past +10 that it was noticeable.


It was actually quite impressed at how well they handled the range. What does that mean for gaming? When playing games like Modern Warfare and Doom Eternal the quality of the driver ramps up the clarity of the audio experience. In layman’s terms, it sounds really nice.

This is bolstered by the fact that, with a little work, you can actually create custom audio profiles for each game allowing you to really target what and how you want to hear things. It's a level of customization that the audiophiles among us (myself included) will appreciate and use. 

On that note, I want to speak to the 7.1 Virtual Surround experience that comes with the Phontum Pro. I must confess that my experience with 7.1 virtual surround is limited. I’ve only really demoed similar systems a couple of times and never for long periods. That being said, I was blown away when testing this feature on the Phontum. 

I spent most of that test playing Doom Eternal (as one should) and it really did impact my gameplay immersion for the better. Hearing responsive directional sound was not only a treat but aided me as I ran through the arenas desperately trying to survive. Will it make you better at Deathmatch? If you’re me the answer is ‘heck no’; I’m terrible at deathmatch. It will, however, add to the immersive experience that can be enjoyed while gaming.   

Testing One, Testing Two

The final test I performed on the Phontum Pro was the microphone. The mic is powered by a 9.7mm cardioid capsule. For those new to microphones, the simple explanation is that it is a directional microphone. It will only accept audio from a specific direction (your mouth), rejecting everything else. This is aided by the aforementioned ENS that helps separate your voice from all the other room noise. 


I have to confess that this is one piece of the Pro hardware that I’m not overly impressed by. I ran the mic through a series of recording tests using three different audio capture software; Reaper, Cubase 10.5 and Audacity. In each test, the results were not as clean as I would have hoped for. The audio was hollow, felt distant, and lacked any low end. Even with the mic less than an inch from my mouth the quality wasn’t amazing. You can hear my recording sample below.

Now understand that it is not that it wasn’t clear. In fact, it works fine for general chat and during my tests with the PS4 chat those in my party had no problem hearing me. My issue is that compared to the rest of the headphone’s exceptional quality the mic just feels like it was an afterthought. It gets the job done for communication but I wouldn’t necessarily rely on it for recording. 

Software That Just Works

Cougar offers its UIX software as a companion to the headphones. The software gives you control of all the fun EQ and RGB settings I mentioned earlier. It’s easy to set up and, with an auto-detection scan, will grab them immediately when plugged in. From there you are free to EQ to your heart’s  (ears’?) content, as well as play with all the colours of the rainbow in RGB lighting. It’s a simple but powerful piece of software that compliments the headphones nicely. 


Final Thoughts

The Phontum Pro headset from Cougar Gaming is, once again, one of the most comfortable I’ve worn. The new graphene drivers and virtual surround experience really help bring them  to the next level. Although they suffer from a less than stellar microphone, this is outweighed by the quality sound and comfort. If you’re in the market for a pair of gaming headphones that won't break the bank, the Phontum Pro should be on your list of contenders.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. 
8.5 Great
  • Quality build
  • Unique design
  • Great audio, enhanced by 7.1 surround sound
  • Easy to use software
  • Underwhelming microphone
  • Can build up heat over time


Matthew Keith

Hailing from the Great White North, Matt's been playing games since the Sega Master System was new. About 20 minutes after picking up his first controller he discovered he had an opinion on the matter. Ever since he has been looking for ways to share it with others! Matt's a pastor, gamer, writer, geek, co-host of @Rollthelevel podcast, husband, father, and loving every minute of it!