There’s never been more competition in the gaming headset market. Part of the reason for that is the way manufacturers put out slightly tweaked versions of their flagship products. Cougar is no different, which is why they just released the Immersa Pro, the follow-up to last year’s Immersa.

I reviewed the first Immersa last year and quite liked it, but it was not without its flaws, particularly when it came to sound quality. The Immersa Pro definitely has some new tricks up its sleeve.

You can pick up the headset on Newegg for $89.99.

Design and Comfort

The Immersa Pro looks a lot like the old Immersa, and that’s not a bad thing. The original Immersa had an ultra-minimalist design – the frame is just orange wires with a padded headband that automatically adjusts to the shape of your head. You don’t adjust the length of the earcups on the Immersa Pro – they stretch out and conform to your head shape. It’s super comfortable, and you’re starting to see more and more gaming headsets with this design for that reason.

Cougar has also provided generous amount of memory foam padding on the 100mm earcups, making the Immersa Pro feel nice and cozy around the ears, like sinking into a couch after a long day of work. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and I’m glad to see Cougar kept what worked best from the original Immersa and didn’t make unnecessary changes.

My one complaint is that the earcups don’t swivel, so I can’t comfortably place the Immersa Pro on my neck when I’m not using it. Perhaps Cougar can bring that feature to the Immersa’s third edition.

The paint job is the same orange and black “tiger” look as the old Immersa, but Cougar added two rings of RGB lights around each earcup. My first thought when I saw RGB on a headset was that it seemed unnecessary, as you can’t see the lights when you’re wearing the headphones. However, when I’ve got my headphones resting on my desk it certainly looks much better if all my peripherals and accessories are lit up. If this were the only change in the Immersa Pro, it wouldn’t be worth the price of admission. But as part of a slew of upgrades, it can’t hurt. Hopefully my co-workers will like the color scheme I’ve picked out, because I’m barely seeing it.

My favorite feature of the original Immersa was the retractable microphone, and I was thrilled to see it back on the Immersa Pro. As with the original model, the microphone easily slides into a holster when you’re not using it. It’s a super handy feature that keeps the microphone from crowding your mouth when it isn't needed.

Unlike the original Immersa, you can mute the microphone by twisting the left earcup. On the original, the mute button was on the cable. I definitely prefer the new position on the Immersa Pro – it’s so much easier to reach up and twist my left ear than go down and try to drag up the headphone cable.

The right earcup has a dial as well, and that one adjusts the volume. It took a little getting used to, but controlling the volume this way is handy, and more efficient than digging around in menus or pressing buttons on my media keyboard.

There’s also a tiny light built into the tip of the microphone that will glow when the mic is on, which is great for diagnosing mic issues, as well as for preventing teammates from hearing you fight with your roommate about the LEDs on your headset.

Performance and Features

While the cosmetics of the Immersa Pro remain mostly untouched, Cougar has made some significant changes under the hood. They’ve gone with 50mm neodymium drivers for the Pro, instead of the 40mm on the original. Bigger drivers are more powerful, meaning the Immersa Pro can drive more sound and get louder than the Immersa. That’s all well and good, but how does it affect the sound quality?

I like the soundstage on the Pro much more than the original Immersa. When I reviewed the Immersa, I thought the midrange was a little thin while the bass was way too heavy, crowding out all the subtlety of the high end. This made the Immersa poorly suited for listening to music.

This has all changed with the Immersa Pro; it’s like night and day when compared to the last version. The soundscape feels significantly more dynamic and wide, and tonally everything feels much more balanced. While things occasionally got a little muddy on some tracks, I no longer felt like I needed a separate pair of headphones for listening to music.

That’s a very good thing.

During gameplay, things sound as crisp as ever. The Immersa sounds, well...immersive. In-game action is vibrant and life-like – I really got a sense of space with the Immersa Pro. Gunshots and explosions are punchy and powerful, making you really feel all the on-screen carnage. But a good way.

The other big change is the addition of 7.1 virtual surround sound. Some gamers swear by virtual surround sound, but I’m less impressed. Everything sounds too wispy and less meaty than it should. There’s no virtual setup that can compare to actual 7.1 speakers, so I preferred to keep the 7.1 surround sound off. Still though, the option is appreciated.

The Immersa Pro has a USB hookup for your PC, where the original Immersa had just a 3.5 mm plug. Cougar has included a 3.5 mm adapter to use the Immersa Pro with your gaming console, phone, tablet, or any other device. It also comes with a full on USB adapter, so pretty much any option is accounted for.

Cougar’s UIX software allows you to adjust the Immersa Pro’s EQ as well as the RGB color scheme. There’s 16.8 million colors to choose from, and several different effects. The software is user-friendly and I had no problems making tweaks.

Immersa Yourself

The Immersa Pro is a bit pricier than the original model – it’s priced at $89, versus $49 for the original. That being said, it sounds much better than the previous Immersa. If you’ve got the original and you’re happy with it, you don’t need to run out and buy the Pro just yet. But if you want a new gaming headset, the Immersa Pro is a feature-rich option with oodles of comfort built into the design.