SteelSound have recently expanded their range of headsets, which now included the 5H v2, 4H and the 3H. Today I’m reviewing the 4H, which is dubbed as ‘a simplified version of the SteelSound 5H v2’. Lets see whether this is true…
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 4H specs
|16 – 28000 Hz|
SPL @ 1kHz, 1 Vrms
|1.8m (6 feet)|
|75 – 16000 Hz|
Pick up pattern
Created as a simplified version of the SteelSound 5H v2, SteelSound 4H features many of the same qualities such as XL-sized ear cushions, a retractable microphone, volume control, and sound specifically geared towards enhancing in-game performance.
The XL-sized ear cushions and light weight design provides a the user with a high level of comfort, even when gaming several hours at a time. With ear cushions that gently fit around the ears the headset will always stay in the right place, while also reducing background noise.
The retractable microphone is practically invisible when not in use. The microphone cord is covered in high quality transparent plastic to ensure long-lasting durability.
I’ll be comparing this headset to the 5H v2 and the 3H throughout the review, their reviews are freely available to read on XSReviews.co.uk.
The packaging is consistant with the others in the SteelSound range, with the maroon blocks and ‘Frag You!’ stamp placed around the package. SteelSound have really taken to this trademark, and is on the 4H itself on the inside of the headband. The packaging is appealing to the eye, and totes the 4H as a ‘professional gaming headset’. Looks like the days of using a generic OEM headset are over.
After taking my anger out on the clamshell box, I managed to pry the headset out.
The 4H is much the same as the 5H v2. The speakers used in this headset have exactly the same specs as the ones used in the 5H v2. Whether or not that means that they are the same is another story, but they should (on paper) perform equally.
As expected, the 4H is fully adjustable, with the earpieces themselves being able to rotate slightly, and the head band being adjustable. Contrary to the other SteelSound offerings, their logo isn’t plastered around the top of the headband. I think I prefer having it there, its like a brand name t-shirt that doesn’t show off its logo. However, there is a smaller logo on the headband on the right hand side.
Like all of the SteelSound products, the 4H comes equipped with a concealable microphone which hides away in the left-hand ear piece if its not in use. The microphone is on a bendy stalk which allows you to position it where you feel is best.
As the headset doesn’t have a wire running from one earphone to the other across the top, there is a wire that goes to each earphone and then is combined into one wire. This then runs for 1.8m before being split again into the mic and speaker plugs. Unlike the 5H v2, the wire isn’t encased in a cloth braid.
The 4H comes with the usual volume and mic control present on the 5H v2 yet missing on the 3H. This allows you to change the volume and to choose between off, low or high for the mic. This control is small, ergonomic and has a small clip to attach to your clothing if you wish. It even has a small ‘4H’ logo on it, making sure you realise the pride that SteelSound have over their product.
The headband is covered in a fabric mesh and is slightly padded. This compliments the large earphone padding which makes gaming for long hours comfortable and enjoyable.
The outside of the earphones looks pretty much exactly the same as the 5H v2. Obviously this design has been tried and tested and works well.
You can see on the product that corners have been cut compared to the 5H v2. There are no covers on the insides of the earphone struts for example. While this far from effects the performance of the product, it makes it feel and look cheap (at least compared to the high-end 5H v2).
To make a fair comparison between the 4H, 5H v2, and 3H, 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 4H, 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). Unlike the bass on the 3H, the 4H follows in the footsteps of the 5H v2 with the bass lacking lustre and power. However, as the speakers are closer to your head, the bass is stronger than the 5H v2. Its odd that simply the distance between your ear and the speaker makes such a difference. The bass level couldn’t be turned up as high as the 3H, the 4H would just distort at the same volume level.
However, the high notes were reproduced with clarity that I have come to expect from SteelSound.
Gaming: The larger earpads make a very good job of cutting out background noise and hence you can concentrate on kicking ass.
I played F.E.A.R to test the headsets ability in an FPS. The headset managed to bring me into the game, much the same as the 3H, however the lack of powerful bass soon becomes apparent, especially if you have just been using the 3H. The bass has been improved since the 5H v2, but its still missing that edge. That said, it still manages to beat the much more expensive Razer Baracuda in that department.
Long term gaming wasn’t really possible with this headset, I found that the padding on the ear phones is too hard and you can feel it pressing on your head. The 5H v2 is much more comfortable. Granted I’m used to the 5H v2 (I use it all the time when gaming) but I don’t count the 4H as a long term gaming solution. I gave the headset to a few people to try on; they all said that it wasn’t particularly comfortable, but that is was not too bad. However, I’m sure that you would get used to the feel after a while.
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 4H’s mic sounds exactly the same as the 5H v2’s and with good reason; they are the same (at least on paper).
When SteelSound said that they had made a ‘simplified version’ of the 5H v2, what they actually mean is that they made a headset that performs the same (same audio quality) but with a lower price and hence a product that isn’t as durable or as professionally manufactured. That said, there are gains in the bass department.
Unlike the 5H v2 which can be dismantled or the 3H which can be folded up, the 4H can’t be as easily transported. I feel that the 4H is a 5H v2 in cheaper clothing, aiming to get budget gamers into the world of quality audio peripherals
|Good bass||Cheaper feel compared to the 5H v2|
|Sounds great||Bass isn’t perfect|
|Blocks out background noise well||Uncomfortable|
I’d like to thank our sponsors SteelSound for providing us with the headset.
Discuss this review in our forums