SteelSeries H Wireless Headset...

#1 Posted by Vodoo (1886 posts) -

I am seriously considering getting the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset and wanted some opinions on it, if anyone has had experience with it. I've been scouring the internet and from every review I've read, both consumer & critic alike, they all seem to like it better than the previous king of wireless headsets, the Astro A50's.

The virtual 7.1 rivals wired headsets (supposedly), it comes with 2 swappable batteries that last 20hrs each so one can charge while using the other, it comes with a mixer box, every cable you could possibly need and a ton of features.

They're on sale at Amazon for $285, down from $300. Cheapest I've found them from a reputable seller. Are they really that good?

Oh... I'll be using these for my PS4, XB1 & 360. Wired isn't an option, so no need to tell tell me wired is better.

#2 Edited by Vodoo (1886 posts) -

Nobody's ever used this headset before?

#3 Posted by inb4tehlulz (25 posts) -

I bought them a bit over a month ago, but since they were back ordered only got them about 2 weeks ago. They for some reason dropped to like 240 on amazon (watch http://camelcamelcamel.com/SteelSeries-Wireless-Gaming-Headset-Surround/product/B00G6IJ5NI if you want to see when they are cheap).

That being said they aren't bad. I had a set of Astro A40's with the mini-amp and everything else for about 3 years. My experience with those was terrible, the build quality to me seemed horrid, screws actually started falling out and I had to go through and torque all the remaining ones myself, eventually even needed to torque and glue. Unfortunately one was lost to the depths of god only knows where, and trying to contact customer support resulted in zero responses after 3 attempts.. but I digress. The problem with most reviews would be that they don't really take the long term into account, so I can give you at least my two weeks or so of experience, and a comparison to the A40's.. which are wired but similar in design to the A50's, so take everything with a grain of salt. To be honest I've purchased steel series wired headphones in the past, and a mouse, and I've never been super enthralled with it's quality either. I pretty much hate almost every "for gamers" item I buy, so you probably won't find a much harsher critic.

Comfort wise everythings going to depend on the user. They have round ear cups with a pleather like material, where the A40's are more oval shaped. They both squeeze my ears, so maybe I'm just dumbo. The A40's aren't wide enough front to back, and the Steelseries aren't tall enough. I just deal with my earlobes folded inside or under the ear cup, regardless of what I wear. I far prefer the headband design of the steelseries, it's a bit thinner, but feels stiffer. More importantly it has padding and less little areas to get my hair stuck in and pulled out. I don't have very long hair, and I constantly cleaning pulled out hairs from the headband of my A40's. One note about the padding and headband, maybe I have a giant head or something (I don't know seems normal to me) but once I stretch the ear cups over my head, there is a pretty tight clamping force, and my head only touches the middle top pad. Also that pad seems like it's going to be pretty much permanently deflated after a few months, as the padding isn't very hard or resilient, it just squishes down to nothing. That shouldn't be an issue for me in the long run, but it's an observation.The headband also seems to want to twist a bit on my head, probably because it is thinner than the A40's, but I just try to ensure it's straight when I put it on or adjust. If you try to flex or twist the band a bit, it's not the strongest thing I've ever played with, but it seems to have a pretty good give without feeling like it might break. Of course since I don't want to break mine I'm not going to stress test that. It's more than adequate for normal usage though. The portion where the ear cups attach to the headband appears to be all plastic, and overtime could snap, and given the pressure that my ears sit at with it that's my primary concern for the long run. So overall build quality is decent. I think a slightly wider headband would help keep it from twisting as much, and add some resilience, and slightly larger earcups would help. Some kind of metal reinforcement for where the ear attach would be nice, but very few companies do. This is one place the A40's do seem to shine. So long as you have all the screws in place I don't think you'll ever have to worry about the ear cups snapping off from the headband, just due to a different style of construction. It's also worth noting that because of how tight the headphones feel to me, I do notice that I'm wearing them, but to be honest I've never put on headphones that I didn't "notice" the entire time. I may be a poor judge of whether they "feel there" or not. I remember learning in Anatomy and Physiology that our skin adapts to stimuli, basically that if you have a constant stimuli, that your skin adapts and stops sending the signals to your brain that something is on you. For example, wearing a watch, or shoes, eventually your skin (A few minutes max) will adapt and stop telling you that it's there and you won't notice it. Well I always notice it. I feel my watch and shirt and shorts on my skin all the time, same with my headphones, rucksack, whatever else. Maybe It's just me, but I haven't had the chance to be someone else yet so, your mileage may vary.

Now.. it might seem like I've focused a ton on the quality of the build, but that's because for 300 dollars I expect something to last and sound pretty good, but that's just me. The sound is comparable to my A40's, but my A40's do seem to get louder when hooked up to analog than the Steel Series. When hooked up to the mixamp the volume seems about the same. This could be due to my Motherboard, as I believe the sound on my Asus board amplifies everything. Since you have to use the Steel Series transmitter regardless, and it does modify the sound, there is no way to be sure there. That being said the max volume seems to be different depending on what input I'm using. The Analog input is by far the quietest, where the USB and Optical seem about the same. Now I'm no audiophile, so my descriptions will be very much that of a laymen. My A40's had more bass, but seemed about equal on the trebles. The sound quality overall though feels about the same. The only game I play where sound -really- matters seems to be Counter Strike, and with either headset I can hear footsteps quite well, and determine the direction. Gunshots come through well, but they lack the oomph from the bass of the A40's. Listening to music (Which I'm doing on the Steel series atm) sounds fine, and isn't dull or washed out, but if you listen to rock like I do, you will miss some of the deep sounds. I tried playing with the preset equalizer but it didn't seem to improve too much, perhaps a software solution could. I can say however that buying a set of good headphones will undoubtedly be cheaper, and provide better sound. For example I have some 100 dollar ear buds made my Shure that I bought in about 2007, and they sound much richer. Deeper bass and .. I guess a warmer treble. If you're an audiophile and will only settle for the absolute best you probably don't want these. But you probably don't want gaming headsets at all. These are great for games, but they lack the quality of good headphones for music.

But I think the most important thing about these would be convenience. I needed headphones and a Mic. I strongly considered some good headphones and a mod mic, but the convenience of wireless won me over. I have a cat and a dog who constantly pull on my headphone cable, I have to be careful of my office chair rolling over it, and many times it's just in my way. I've made pretty good workarounds, like routing it under my desk loosely with clips and trying to keep only as much as I need, but it's still an annoyance to me. I also tend to need to move my chair to multiple desks in the room, and being able to put these on and listen to music while I actually work is a nice bonus, even if they aren't the best sounding on the planet. It's worth mentioning the mic is unremarkable, but conveniently tucked away. The controls are pretty much all on the right side, but I tend not to use them much because my right arm is gimped. I suffered major tendon damage to it a few years ago, never fully recovered and it hurts quite a bit to lift it above about 90 degrees. I can however easily still reach the volume and mute with my left hand from either behind or in front so there is that at least. Thankfully the only thing you need to touch the buttons on the headset for would be to turn them on. Everything else you can control from the receiver.

It might be worth measuring my head for you to see if my head is just way too big for headphones or something as well, so at it's widest it seems to be about 61cm or 24in around the forehead area. Which I guess a quick google search seems to be about 4cm's above average so, I don't know. Use that information however you want.

Now if I can just figure out if I can fit a wireless charging coil inside the ear cup.. that would be nice. Or maybe a larger antenna inside the transmitter box.