Borderlands 3’s Logitech G Pro Headset Mix Disappoints
Borderlands 3 is one of my favorite games to test out gaming headsets and other audio gear with. It has a breathtaking, dynamic sound mix that deftly swerves between incredible explosions and nuanced little details. It’s a true feast for the ears, and a wonderful example of how great sound makes a game’s world come to life.
I’ve already written at length about just how great the sound design in Borderalnds 3 is. In that article, I also mentioned how the very bottom of the sound options menu has numerous different dynamic range/listening device choices. One of those modes is designed specifically around Logitech’s G Pro series of headsets. That’s a great idea, in theory. If a sound designer knows the exact frequency response of the device they’re targeting, they can present their ideal version of the mix.
Unfortunately, theory and reality are often two different things.
The latest revision of the Logitech G Pro gaming headset released in 2019, a few months before the game. I reviewed it at launch, and praised the headset for its sound performance, comfort, and design…though I got weirdly hung up on the stickers used for the Logitech logos on each of the ear cups. It was the only thing about the headset that didn’t truly scream “premium.” At the time, it seemed like an important and valid criticism. Since then, a lot of difficult garbage has happened. Now, it seems ridiculous that I got so hung up on something like chrome stickers. But I’m leaving it up for posterity and as a reminder of a simpler time.
I sold my G Pro X headset a few weeks after completing the review and getting mad at the stickers, so I didn’t have one when Borderlands 3 launched. I’ve always been curious about its G Pro sound mix option, and so this week I finally bought the headset again to test it out. If you own the Xbox, PlayStation, or PC version of the game you can use this special sound preset, but curiously it has been stripped out of the Stadia release, alongside all the other mix options.
There’s nothing to stop you from toggling this mode on without owning the correct headset, but its EQ and dynamic range are designed specifically around the drivers inside the G Pro series. In theory, this means that it can offer a more accurate mix, with the exact right balance of game audio and spatial cue intensity that the game’s sound team intended.
I spent several hours listening across numerous zones of the game, and while the mode does sound nice on the headset…it’s not inherently better than the game’s default “Small Speakers” mix or its “headphone” mode. The G Pro has some gentle emphasis in both its bass and treble regions, and I think the game’s sound designers tried to compensate for this by lowering the treble intensity slightly in the G Pro mix. This makes for a smoother and more even listen, and spatial separation is nice overall…but I think they went a little too far compared to the other modes. I prefer the slightly crisp edge of the default mixes, as I think it better presents all of the detail in the game’s audio.
I still love the idea of headset-specific mixes, but I don’t think this one hits the mark. Just to make sure, I tested it out across every version of the game, and to make things fair, I didn’t use any spatial audio modes on PC or Xbox. I achieved similar results on all platforms. Surprisingly, while playing the game again on PS4 Pro, I noticed that most of the performance issues I wrote about ages ago have been patched out of the game. It runs better on Sony’s aging “enhanced” console than it ever has, and while it’s not up to the performance standard of the newest machines, both of its graphics modes are now finally fun ways to play the game.
Yes, I somehow ended up with four copies of Borderlands 3. It goes on sale with alarming frequency, with deals available in every single major digital discount event. The amount of hours I’ve spent enjoying the game far outweighs the price I’ve paid for it. It’s my personal favorite entry in the series, and it’s serving as a perfect Diablo III replacement as we all continue to wait an eternity for Diablo IV.
Weirdly, the Logitech G Pro sound mode in the game didn’t arrive alongside the usual fanfare that comes with one of these exclusive marketing deals. There wasn’t a Borderlands-branded version of the G Pro headset. There wasn’t a slick video explaining how the game would sound best on Logitech’s gear. Heck, there wasn’t even a token console manufacturer blog interview with the sound design team explaining how they had adjusted the game’s mix. Googling around for answers reveals a handful of reddit threads and my own article from last summer that mentions it. If I somehow missed the marketing for this, send me a link to it in a response!
It’s uncommon to see a co-marketing deal like this not shouted to death in the pre-release coverage. I bet everyone who was interested in Cyberpunk at one point heard about its bright yellow Razer tie-in gear or that gaming chair a bunch of influencers were sent, but here, this exclusive sound mode is buried in a menu that many players might not ever open. It seems more like an afterthought than a genuine feature. It’s at the very end of a long list of different mix options, and it doesn’t sound dramatically better than the default modes. It’s a disappointing execution of a great idea, and I’d love to know how it came about in the first place.
Maybe this is all just an unfortunate indicator of how unimportant sound is to some gamers, or maybe the mix didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to but they still had to include it because they took money from Logitech. I can only speculate at this point. If you found yourself curious about it like me, you can safely skip buying the headset if that’s all you’re interested in. The G Pro itself still remains an excellent buy otherwise, chrome stickers or no, and I’ve had a great time using it in other games. Borderlands 3 just didn’t give me the awesome sound experience I thought its special mode might be capable of.