SteelSound 3H Headset

SteelSound 3H

Introduction

LAN parties are becoming all the rage these days, and manufacturers have realized that there is a niche that is yet to be fully exploited. Today I have the SteelSound 3H gaming headset, which is fully collapsible and ready for transportation.

About Steelseries

SteelSeries is all about gaming. Our mission is to create performance enhancing gaming gear, created for and by leading professional gamers. We continuously strive to better ourselves, and work with leading professional gamers from 3 different continents to create our products.

Steelsound 3H specs

HEADPHONES

 

Frequency responce

10 – 27000 Hz

Impedance

50 Ohm

SPL @ 1kHz, 1 Vrms

102 dB

Cable length

2m (6.5 feet)
   

MICROPHONE

 

Frequency response

50 – 18000 Hz

Pick up pattern

Uni-directional

Sensitivity

-40 dB

Impedance

2.2K Ohm

SteelSound 3H is a compact and lightweight headset for gamers who frequently attend LAN events, and expect high quality sound. With it’s foldable design the size of the SteelSound 3H makes for easy transportation, even in the most crammed situations. The small size also means that the headset is very light weight, which makes all the difference when it comes to wearing this comfortable headset. With pads that lightly press on top of the ears and a light headpiece that keeps the headset in place at all times, SteelSound 3H is hardly noticeable when the sound start playing.

A strong bass and crystal clear sound will help you determine where you can expect the next encounter with your enemy. At a very affordable price, everyone will now be able to buy a high quality gaming headset build for and by professional gamers.

The SteelSound 3H comes equipped with a retractable, uni-directional microphone that can be completely retracted into the headset, meaning the microphone will only have to be visible when in use. Featuring a 50 – 18.000 Hz pickup pattern your voice will be communicated to the recipients with perfect clarity, making it a excellent choice for both games and IP-telephony programs like Skype.

The Headset

I’ll be comparing this headset to the 5H v2 and the 4H throughout the review, their reviews are freely available to read on XSReviews.co.uk.

SteelSound 3H
SteelSound 3H

Packaged in the usual SteelSound way, the product looks very enticing and something that would look at home on a performance PC shop shelf. The 3H itself is visable through the plastic front, showing how it can be folded up.

SteelSound 3H

The headset is attractive, but quite obviously a budget peripheral. The headset features the same styling and design as the other members of the ‘5’ line that SteelSound make. The microphone can be stowed away in the left-hand speaker and is on the usual bendy stalk that SteelSound pioneered.

SteelSound 3H
SteelSound 3H
SteelSound 3H

Running along the top of the headset is a headband that is made of a low-quality bendy textured plastic that provides a more comfortable experience for the user. The headset is adjustable allowing the headset to fit any kind of head.

SteelSound 3H

The 3H can be folded up to a much smaller size, which is of special interest to anyone who frequents LAN parties. A smaller package to carry is paramount when you have to lug everything around with you.

SteelSound 3H

The earphones are padded with a small surround that should make extended wear more tolerable. As they are small, they won’t full enclose your ear meaning environmental noise will be easily heard. This may be a problem, especially in a LAN environment where things can get quite noisy.

SteelSound 3H
SteelSound 3H

The wire for the headphone comes out of the right-hand speaker and terminates in a splitter; to the microphone and speaker plugs. For some reason these are not the standard green and pink connectors that SteelSound normally use, but moulded black (for speaker) and bright red (for microphone). This again lowers the overall feel of the product.

Unlike the other headsets in this range, there isn’t an inline volume control which means that you will have to rely on your PC to control volume.

The usual SteelSound branding is present on the speakers and the headband, making sure that anyone who sees you will know that you support SteelSound.

Testing

To make a fair comparison between the 3H, 5H v2, and 4H, I will run the same tests.

I used the headset for a few days to fully test the capabilities of it. The headset was combined with Creative’s X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity soundcard. This should mean that the sound quality is solely in the hands of the 3H, and not the PC.

Music: I played Darude – Sandstorm (Dance), Black Sun Empire – Arrakis (Intense drum and bass), Hey Negrita – One Mississippi (Chillout), Disturbed – Land of Confusion (rock/metal) and Basshunter – Vi Sitter I Ventrilo Och Spelar Dota (camp disco dance).

The bass rocked my ass off. Full stop, next sentence. I was seriously blown away by how much vibration the 3H can send to your ears, every song sounded so much better with a more punchy bass line. Granted I love bass, but its great that a budget headset can beat higher end products such as the Razer Barracuda. When listening to a song which is heavy on the bass, I can feel my ears shaking. After a few tracks I was left with goosepimples. Thumbs up to the designers of these headphones :).

The reason for the increased bass performance is probably due to the lower frequencies that the headset can reproduce and that the ear pads are smaller so the speakers are closer to your ears.

The high-end frequencies begin to get a little muddy when higher notes are played. Although they are more than acceptable for the odd Beegee’s track.

Gaming: The ear pads are smaller than the 4H or 5H and hence they don’t do a great job of cutting out environmental noise. But if you are playing a game or listening to music the speakers are loud enough to stop you hearing anyone else.

After a couple of rounds of F.E.A.R I was fully sucked into the game. Gunshots can be heard easily over explosions and ricocheting bullets ping around your head with surprising realism.

Whilst the ear padding is small they are very comfortable to wear and don’t press on your head too much.

Skype: Skype is a VOIP program that allows two people to talk over the internet for free. The voice quality is a lot better than a standard phone call, which means that a high-quality microphone is required. The 3H’s microphone is compact yet does the job well. The bendy stalk is excellent as it allows you to position the mic where sound pick up is best.

Conclusion

After testing the 5H v2, 4H and the 3H, the perfect headset would be one as comfortable and as well designed as the 5H v2, while packing the 3H’s speakers. SteelSound have done themselves proud with this headset, blowing other headsets in this price range out of the water.

The build quality is lower than the other headsets in the range that SteelSound offers, but this is to be expected; its a budget headset. This is a product that is meant to be carried around and used at LAN parties rather than a dedicated headset. For just over £20, it’s the sort of headset that you aren’t too worried about getting damaged/stolen/sat on. Excellent bass and foldable design make this is a must have product.

Pros Cons
Comfortable Feels cheap compared to 5H, 4H
Readily transportable  
GREAT bass  
Mic works well  

You can read our 5H v2 review here, and our 4H review here.

I’d like to thank our sponsors SteelSound for providing us with the headset.

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