Date: December 20th, 2006
Article by: Karl van der Walt (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Steel Series
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PRODUCT COMPOSITION & WALKTHROUGH (cont'd)
The 4H also comes equipped with an inline volume and microphone control. This is very useful when playing games as it saves you having to adjust the volume via software. The microphone has three settings: off, low and high.
The jacks are your standard fare 3.5mm green and pink variety. One thing I was disappointed by was the length and thickness of the cable but I will go into more detail on that later in the review.
Well, that wraps up the pictorial walkthrough, lets have a look at what really counts, the sound quality…
PRODUCT IMPRESSIONS & SOUND QUALITY
To test the 4H I ran through a plethora of games, played a variety of different music styles and watched a few movies. For the microphone I used Skype and windows voice recorder to get an accurate gauge of noise levels and volume. I also did a bit of recording in a professional audio application to see how it performed compared to the 3H. All testing was done using a SoundBlaster Live! Platinum so the sound quality is left purely in the hands of the 4H.
Seeing as the 4H is identical to the 5H V2 on paper I had high expectations for this headset. Suffice it to say the 4H did not disappoint. It is clear that the 4H was designed for use with First Person Shooter (or FPS) games. The midrange and treble is sharp and crisp making ingame sounds like gunshots and footsteps clear and easy to pinpoint. The bass on the 4H is significantly weaker than that of the 3H but it does sound cleaner and is by no means weak. I personally like the sound of the 4H, it delivers a crisp sound over a broad spectrum and, although a little intense on the midrange and treble, sounds very good with music and movies. I found that turning down the treble slightly on my EQ balanced out the sound nicely for music and movies. It goes without saying that the 4H has a much cleaner and fuller sound than the 3H. If you are looking for mind-blowing bass then you would be better off with the 3H. But, if you are like myself and enjoy a more full spectrum of sound and love to play FPS games then the 4H is a handy alternative to the more expensive 5H V2.
The microphone, like on the rest of the SteelSound series, is retractable and coils up neatly inside the left headphone.
I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with the microphone on the 4H, it picked up more background noise than the microphone on the 3H and also was not as loud, even on high. That said it does perform sufficiently well when it comes to game commands and VOIP applications like Skype.
I also found putting the microphone back into the headset all but impossible without taking the headset off. This could be corrected by tapering the hole in the headset more.
To say that the 4H is comfortable is an understatement. I played a six hour session of counterstrike online and hardly even noticed them, in fact I got up to go to the bathroom and they were pulled off my head by the cable… I had forgotten they were there.
The 4H is solidly built and although not attractive to look at like the 5H V2 they are very well made. My only real issue with them is the fact that SteelSeries have used cheap cable on the 4H, its thin and fragile seeming and I don't believe it belongs on this level of product. I can excuse this on a cheaper unit like the 3H but even the 3H had thicker cable, not to mention slightly longer. One snag and I feel like I'll snap the cable. Considering that the 4H was not designed to be transported like the 3H and 5H V2 they could have provided a longer cable.