SteelSeries 5Hv2 Headset

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Product: SteelSeries 5Hv2 Headset
Provided By: SteelSeries
Real-time Price:

Introduction:

If you are a gamer and have a family, friends or other loved ones that live in the same building as you, I'm sure there are many times when they've wished that you'd get a headset.  The truth is, gamers need to be able to hear clearly the enemy's footsteps, and other ambient sounds in the game really bring it to life.  Speakers are great for those gaming sessions when you're alone in the house, but for the rest of the time, a headset is a requirement - if you like to keep people happy.  Today we are looking at one of the newest headsets from SteelSeries - the 5Hv2.  While this headset has in fact been around a while, it's still a solid headset that has a growing number of users as the price comes down.

 

First Impressions:

This headset comes in perhaps the best packaging that we've seen from SteelSeries.  The package can be opened without a knife and you can actually put the headset back in the box if you decide that you don't like perfectly comfortable, good sounding headphones.

 Package
Package

 

Previous headsets that we've looked at from SteelSeries had plastic/cardboard packing that had to be cut or torn and was completely disposable.  I like the re-usable package.  This package though is business in the front with a bit of a party going on in the back much like the mullets of years gone by.


Specs, Highlights & More:

To find out more about the 5Hv2, we pull some information from the manufacturers website:

Headphones

  • Frequency response: 16 - 28.000 Hz
  • Impedance: 40 Ohm
  • SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 110 dB
  • Cable length: 1+2=3 meters (10 feet)
  • Connectors: 3.5 mm

 
Microphone

  • Frequency response: 75 - 16.000 Hz
  • Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
  • Sensitivity: -38dB
  • Impedance: 2k Ohm



Headset - Right Side
Headset - Right Side

 


SteelSeries 5H v2 highlights:


  • Pull-out microphone system
  • Custom engineered soundscape for gaming
  • Specifically optimized for FPS games
  • Comfortable XL-sized ear cushions
  • Features extra durable braided cord
  • Can be dismantled into 3 seperate pieces

 

More:

SteelSeries 5H v2 is one of the most popular gaming headsets on the planet. This headset has been used by talented gamers to win major international events like Electronic Sports World Cup, World e-Sport Games, World Series of Video Games, Kode 5, World Cyber Games, Samsung Euro Championship, ESL Extreme Masters and many others.

When wearing the SteelSeries 5H v2 you'll immediately notice the enormous full-size ear cushions which gently fit around your ears and reduce background noise. The comfort is something that has to be experienced first hand, either at a friends house or at one of the many LAN-centers and Internet cafées that offers the headset to their customers.

The headset features a custom-engineered soundscape designed to enhance performance and immersion in FPS-games. This headset was developed and optimized specifically for in-game sound frequencies found in the most popular shooters - making in-game sounds like footsteps, alerts and gunfire especially clear. You will be able to hear and pinpoint the location of your opponents, often before they hear you.

The SteelSeries 5H v2 can easily be dismantled into 3 separate parts, that easily fit into a bag or a carrying case. This makes transportation of the headset both easy and safe. The pull-out microphone is practically invisible when not in use.

 



Closer Look:

Like other headsets from SteelSeries, the 5Hv2 features a retractable microphone.  In my experience, this has proven to be very handy as you can store it internally when packing it around, or even when listening to music.  When you need to chat up your buddy, you can pull it out then.  This also helps alleviate the "geek" factor when you're just enjoying tunes on your computer.

 Headset - Left Side
Headset - Left Side - Mic In

 

There are another couple features about this headset that are worth mentioning in detail.  First, the cord attaches to the headset on one side only and this prevents tangled cords that always occur on headset/headphones with a split cord.  Also the cord has a braided sheath that is slick and is designed to prolong the life of the cord.  Also on the subject of the cord, the actual headset cord is quite short - only about 3.5', and if you are plugging this into the back of your computer which sits on the floor, you'll find it a little short.

That's why SteelSeries has included an extra extension cable for the microphone and headphones.  If you need a long cord, plug in the extension.  If a short cord is required, leave it out and save the long cord tangling mess.  I like this idea as most of the time, I plug into the front audio of my X-Fi Platinum and a long cord is a pain.

 Extension Cable
Extension Cable
 In-Line Controls
In-Line Controls

 

The SteelSeries 5Hv2 headset uses a nice, slime in-line control module.  Controls on this headset include a rotary volume control as well as Microphone High, Low and Off settings.  We'll test these out in a minute.

 

Testing the 5Hv2 Headset:

When I got this headset, I initially plugged it into the closest device available, my iPaq 2490 and was impressed by the quality, but let down by the lack of volume.  I can't blame the headset though as most headphones sound a bit weak in the iPaq.  For testing this headset we plugged them into a Creative X-Fi Platinum on our test system and let the good times roll.  All other hardware really isn't relevant so we'll save space and leave that out.

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.  As far as microphone testing goes, you can download a recording of the 5Hv2 and see for yourself!

 

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.


Headset Mic Extended Team Fortress 2:

I was able to spend a fair bit of time playing Team Fortress 2 while using both the older Icemat Siberia In:Ear Headset in comparison to the SteelSeries 5Hv2 Headset.  Overall sound quality was pretty darn sweet as the bass on the SteelSeries 5Hv2 headset very good for a full-sized headset.  While the bass may have a bit more punch on the Siberia In:Ear headset, the 5H is very close.  The treble and midrange chatter of gunfire sounded very well done and it gave this "cartoony" game a greater appeal as the sound greatly added to the fun aspect of gameplay.  Special effects like from teleporting, building turrets, medic stations and even the battlecry that emanates from "sudden death" were all a pleasure.  Ambient sounds were clear and soft while the chatter of gunfire and dull thud from the shotgun or grenade launcher added some punch to the surroundings.


Enemy Territory - Quake Wars:

There has been much press and publicity surround the new Quake installment - Enemy Territory - Quake Wars.  I downloaded the demo and spent a fair amount of time fragging Strog and getting fragged.  The sound is this demo was quite well done, although not as polished as the Team Fortress 2 beta.  Overall sound quality was very good though and positional audio worked very well for a stereo environment.  When plugged into my X-Fi, little details like footprints and other faint ambient sounds were all heard clearly and crispy until the mayhem broke loose and we fought off yet another wave of Strog.  For gaming this headset is very comfortable, and has excellent quality audio.

 

Movies & Music Testing:

With harvest season in full-swing on the farm, I haven't had a lot of time to sit down and watch a whole bunch of movies, but I managed to slot in some time to watch some HD-DVD movies.  I enjoyed many scenes from Serenity and Sahara and was impressed at the quality of this headset.  It may not be equal to 1920x1080 in terms of superb quality, but it's a very good headset for watching your favorite movies without disturbing your neighbor, wife, sleeping children.

I listened to a variety of music on these headphones, and they are more than adequate for most people.  When listening to old school Petra and Fear not, the headset performed very well with these treble heavy albums.  Music quality is very clean, crisp and well-balanced.  Bass response is very well done and while it won't blow you away if you like brain thumping R&B or Rap, it should satisfy most listeners.  If you are all about Dance, Rap, or Trance music, you'll probably want to get a set with a little more "oomph" such some high-end Sennheiser headphones.

Instrumental music such as John Tesh and even some classical music was reproduced very well on these headphones as well.  They have a well-balanced appeal that fits most music. 


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 microphone "mute" feature that is very handy when using Skype.  When you're at your computer using Skype, at times it's nice to quickly go grab a coffee or take a bathroom break.  It is my observation that this mic is better than either the 4H or the Icemat Siberia In:Ear headset.  If you want to check it out yourself, download a small clip of the mic in action over here.  We test the mic at "High" and "Low" settings.  Overall, the microphone did a very good job and I'm quite impressed with it other than when you switch the input level on the in-line control.



Conclusion:

The SteelSeries 5Hv2 headset is currently the most expensive offering from SteelSeries.  After using this headset for over a month, I can say with confidence that it warrants the larger price tag.  The headset is comfortable, sounds great, and appears to be very durable.  It has both long and short cord options to accommodate virtually every user's specific needs.  The audio quality of the headphones is very good and the microphone quality is equally good.  The only issue we had with the mic was the "squeek" that is observed when switching microphone input levels.  In reality, this won't bother the end user much, but it is an issue that detracts from the overall finish of this headset.

 

Pros:

  • Comfortable.
  • Very good sound quality.
  • Sturdy, durable design.
  • In-Line Controls.

 

Cons:

  • Microphone level switch causes momentary loud interference.

 

BCCRating

 TopPick

I'd like to thank SteelSeries for sending over this super headset for us to review.  If you are looking for a headset that has everything you need for hours of gaming, and won't keep your family awake at nights, consider the 5Hv2.  You can find it online from several vendors starting around $70.  If you enjoy high-quality audio and a great headset, this is money well spent.

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