SteelSound 3H Gamers Folding Headset - Game, Music and Skype Testing

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SteelSound 3H Gamers Folding Headset
First Look and More
Game, Music and Skype Testing

Before we get into testing, I have to say that listening to audio is very subjective.  What one person believes is "good quality" audio can be very different from what another person hears.  I am no audiophile, but I do like to hear the full spectrum of sound without the bass being over-powering or the midrange and treble being too sharp and harsh.  Please bear in mind that all of our observations are subjective. 

Game Testing:

Most people who will purchase a headset from SteelSeries do so because they want it for gaming.  SteelSeries claims they "are all about gaming."  The best part about testing a headset is the excuse to sit for hours and play a bunch of games, so here we go.  We will test out several different types of games to see how well it works and which type of game we believe this headset is best suited for.

Battlefield 2142:

I was able to spend a couple of hours playing Battlefield 2142 while using the new SteelSound 3H Headset.  Overall sound quality was pretty good although the bass from explosions and tank shells sounded a bit weaker than with the AudioFX headset.  The treble and midrange chatter of gunfire sounded very well done though.  As this is a stereo headset it was difficult at times to tell if an enemy was directly in front of you or slightly off to one side.  The biggest complaint in BF2142 comes from other gamers who say that they can hear "everything" in the background when I use the VOIP feature of BF2142.  They can hear my mouse clicking and other noise than apparently is fan noise.  The mic is very sensitive.  My voice was not too loud, but they could still hear a lot of background noise.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a game that I picked up recently and have enjoyed playing.  This is an action/adventure game that combines some FPS action with more "adventurish" features like talking to people, picking up items and so on.  The sound scape is very broad and the game has an eerie feel to it.  Overall, I was quite impressed with the quality of the headset in this game.  When you step into a room and someone fires a shotgun close to your head, you can really feel the loud, deep blast.

SteelSound 3H - Xena Testing

Oblivion:

My wife plays much more Oblivion that I do and she tested these headphones out to see how they stacked up to the Plantronics  Audio .90 headset she had been using.  Her thoughts were that the 3H Headset was a little clearer when it came to ambient sounds, but lacked some deepness that the .90 has.  I listed to a few levels and have to agree.  Voices were easier to hear and were crisper, but some sound from casting spells was a bit weak.

 

Movie Testing:

I have been fairly busy with work and haven't had a lot of time to sit down and watch movies, but I managed to watch Casino Royale and parts of Eragon and Pirates of the Caribbean 2 with this headset.  Overall sound quality was pretty good, but nothing really floored me and made me think "Wow".  The bass has some punch but the overall lower sound spectrum is just a bit weak.  Stereo separation in the movies I watched was very good however.

 

Skype / Mic Testing:

One of the listed benefits of this headset was its usefulness for Skype.  I use Skype on a daily basis and have it running on my PDA, on my main computer and even have a set of GE Dect 6.0 Skype Phones.  This headset has a couple of things worth mentioning in regards to Skype.  First of all, I believe that a Skype headset, or really any headset for that matter needs a Microphone "Mute" feature.  This headset has none.  When you're at your computer using Skype, at times it's nice to quickly go grab a coffee or take a bathroom break.  With no "Mute" feature on the mic, combined with an extremely sensitive mic, the person on the other end can hear everything.  From the clank of the coffee pot to the flush of the toilet in the other room - they hear everything!

Second, this headset comes with a very high-quality 6' (2M) cord and while that is great if you're sitting stationary with your computer directly beside you, some situations may require your computer to be a bit farther away.  With this cord plugged in the back of your computer that is on the floor, 6' is barely long enough.

 

Conclusion:

This headset is a decent choice, but I do believe that it could be better.  The mic is way too sensitive and picks up a lot of background noise.  If you are trying to use it for gaming or VOIP in a somewhat noisy environment (you have kids or are at a large LAN), people will become irritated with all the background noise they hear when you are trying to talk.  Overall sound quality is pretty good though and for $50, is about what you'd expect from a computer headset.  It won't blow you away, but won't leave you feeling really disappointed either.  The biggest negative factor for me has to be the comfort - or lack of it.  The ear pieces are just downright too small.  They squish your ears and make prolonged use very uncomfortable.   If you have small ears, you will find these much more comfortable than I did, and will probably love this headset.

Pros:

  • Lightweight folding design.
  • Retractable mic.
  • Gold-plated connectors.

Cons:

  • Small "cans" are uncomfortable.
  • Mic picks up background noise.
  • No Mic "Mute" feature. 

 

 

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
8/10
Performance:
7/10
Comfort:
6/10
Stability:
n/a
Features:
7/10
Value:
7/10
Total Score 7.0

 

I'd like to thank SteelSeries for sending over this headset for us to review.  This is the first headset of theirs that we have used, and it's been interesting.  We hope to test more of their products in the future and see what their more expensive headsets have to offer in terms of sound quality and comfort.

If you have any questions regarding the 3H or this review, please head on over and post them in our forum at the "Comments" link below.