Reviewed: March 15, 2007
Type: Gaming Headset
For over a year, Iíve been playing games with some form of headphones. It started because I wanted to allow the other people in my home to sleep while I played my games until the wee hours of the morning. Then, it became a necessity when I started playing online games that use voice communication software. There is nothing more annoying than hearing someone you are playing a game with activate a voice chat and all you can hear is whatís happening on his end as well as your own sound effects.
When I went from playing with just plain old ear-buds from my mp3 player to buying a gaming headset with a built-in microphone, there was a world of difference. Obviously, the sound quality with a full ear-covering cup rather than just something you slip in your ear is going to be better. Also, you have the obvious benefit that the sound is only heard by you and not transmitted over the microphone; a problem that is faced often by people who still insist on using speakers.
One problem that I found with my old headset, however, was that the ear-cups were approximately the same exact size as my ears, which, after playing for any longer than a half an hour or so, you started getting ear-aches caused by your ears getting compressed unrelentingly against your head. After about 2 hours of playing, I started getting headaches as well as painfully numb ears.
Then, I got the SteelSound 5H v2 Gaming Headset and experienced another leap in enjoyment from what I had gotten used to with my old gaming headset. The Steelsound headset is a testament to ergonomic engineering. The cups and the head-strap are very flexible and adjustable, allowing for an extremely comfortable fit, no matter the size or shape of your head.
The very first thing that I noticed was that the ear cups were deep and actually surrounded my ears, instead of resting on them. The cushions around these cups are very comfortable, resulting in a feeling that you are not wearing a full headset at all. Rather, after hours of gameplay, I still feel comfortable and the only sensation my ears have is the pleasure of hearing high quality sound piped into them.
Another problem I faced with my old headset was that the seal the ear cups created over my ears was so complete, it was like those noise-cancelling headphones you can buy for airplane trips. And although this sounds like a great idea, it was actually frustrating for me while using voice-coms because I was unable to hear the volume of my own voice while I was speaking, so I constantly found myself screaming thereby forfeiting one of the main reasons that I was using headphones in the first place; namely the silence it allowed the rest of the people in my house.
With the Steelsound headset, I found that although the sound was perfectly encompassing and that the sound quality was crisp and clean and clear, I could still hear myself speaking outside of the headset, which allowed me to speak much more comfortably and naturally into the built-in microphone. Now, some gamers may argue that this is not a good thing to have in a headset, but I think that it is.
One more amazing design feature that I noticed with the Steelsound headset was the microphone. Like all of the other components on this piece of equipment, it is designed with functionality and durability in mind. The cord that the microphone is built on is covered with a heavy duty plastic coating that is fully articulated, allowing you to bend it into the perfect position every time. No more fighting against a microphone to get it into that spot. Also, it retracts! Yes, it pulls in and out of the left headphone! This is absolutely perfect for those times that you donít need a microphone and just want to use the headphones for pure listening pleasure.
As I said, just like the microphone, the other components of this device are built with rugged gaming in mind. The cable that connects the headset to your computer are wrapped with a heavy-duty woven cloth for protection and durability. Also, the cables are short, for people like me who use a laptop, but also come with extensions that allow you to plug them into a floor-based CPU that might require a stretch. That way, you donít have miles of cord hanging on the ground when you donít need it.
And finally, the sound quality. Although at first, I found that the sound was a little more brassy than my old headset, I realized that it was simply more crisp and clean and I was getting a more true-to-life sound, whereas my old headset was very bass-heavy.
When itís all said and done, I found myself loving every bit of my new headset and I highly recommend the Steelsound 5H V/2 Gaming Headset to anyone who wants a fully immersive audio experience with their games. The SteelSound 5H v2 can be also be easily dismantled into 3 separate parts, which makes transportation a breeze when you're headed to your next LAN party.
Also, as a side note, it works perfectly well with a TrackIR reflector stuck onto the tip of the microphone, as well.