Turns out the ‘wonder material’ graphene could make the perfect gaming headset

ORA GQ Side View

Canadian audio tech company ORA have designed the world’s first graphene headphones, and they’ve smashed their funding goal. There’s still time to pre-order before prices get too mad…

The ORA GQ looks like something pretty special but are still a way off from release. We’ve got you covered with the best gaming headsets around right now.

Graphene is a material with a lot of bragging rights. Essentially, it’s a one-atom layer of carbon that’s 200 times stronger than steel while also being incredibly lightweight. It’s been widely described as “the wonder material” due to its potential application in designs ranging from our beloved PCs to space shuttles and medical equipment.

ORA GQ 2D Laser Scan

Yes, yes, all very impressive, but why should PC gamers care? Well, ORA think graphene’s properties make it the perfect material to form the cones in their GQ headphones. While traditional cone materials can bend and vibrate under the stress of the motions they’re put through, graphene’s extreme strength and thinness mean it can convert the motions to sound without wobbling as much, increasing the fidelity of the sound.

Graphene is expensive to get hold of in sheet form, so ORA took less-expensive graphene oxide flakes and combined them with oxygen and ‘other elements’ (sounds like they have a secret recipe to us) to create a loudspeaker membrane they’re calling GrapheneQ. While it’s not sheet graphene ORA do claim their GrapheneQ composite is over 95% graphene by weight.

ORA GQ Frequency Response

On paper, the results of this creation look impressive: the stiffer material makes for much less flex in the cone, resulting in a flatter frequency response. ORA also claim the GQ drivers’ smooth response helps with positional audio cues, making it easier to pick out your enemies in-game. ORA are stating an incredibly broad frequency range of 4Hz – 63kHz, which ought to provide depth and clarity at both the high and low end of the range. Both of our current picks for best audiophile headphones for gaming have tigher frequency ranges than this. Not too shabby, ORA…

On the face of it, the GQ may not look like an ideal gaming headset, but in fact a microphone and volume controls are built into the closed-back earcups themselves. The circular touchpad on the back of the right cup allows you to rotate your finger to bring the volume up and down, and also to answer calls or play/pause/skip tracks if you’re using the cans for more than gaming. The microphone response ranges from 100Hz – 10kHz, the same as the (currently) similarly priced SteelSeries Siberia 840s, so you can expect for your rivals to hear your wanton abuse loud and clear. The cans also come with Bluetooth wireless support but are without AptX support. This won’t provide the aural fidelity you bought the GQs for, however, so we’d stick to the wires.

ORA GQ Volume Control

To top it off, the GQs look bloody gorgeous, so it looks like they might have the whole package. Whether or not the exciting specs will make a difference when we wrap them around our craniums remains to be seen, so we won’t be making any snap judgements just yet.

They won’t be hitting the market until March next year, and the other sticking point is the planned retail price of $499, putting them very much on the audiophile side of things. The plus side is they’re currently available for pre-order on their Kickstarter for CA$ 359 (about $277/£214), but you’re going to have to act fast….