SteelSeries 3H Gaming Headset
Author: Llwyd Johnson
The first music test carried out was the playing of a CD through Foobar2000, followed by Windows Media Player 11. Here, once again, the bass on the 3H headset did not fail to impress, in fact, nor did the treble. The overall sound quality was far better than that of the 5H headset and on par with headsets of double their price and reputation.
The volume range of the headset, like mentioned, was very impressive. I was able to take the headset up to a level that was probably unsafe with next to no distortion to the music. I did on several occasions turn the headset up full and leave it on my desk to act as a pair of speakers. Usually this would give a very harsh, tinny sound due to the failing bass but this was not the case with the 3H at all.
For the DVD testing I played various clips from the film The Pianist. I chose this film for mostly the same reasons as I chose the opening section of Quake 4. There is plenty of distant explosions and gunfire, emotive and subtle soundtrack, a range of close up sounds such as gravel underfoot people crying, which, all together creates quite a trying sounscape.
Here I feel the headset struggled slightly. The sound was clear and the bass was good but there was just not the sense of atmosphere one would expect, which detracted from this particular film slightly. This is however, like its successors, a gaming headset and so cannot be expected to be an outstanding all round performer.
As this is a gaming headset, it is essential for it to have a good, clear and accurate microphone. The microphone on the 3H, as with the other headsets, is built into the left ear cup and retracts pretty much fully into the cup. As mentioned in the appearance section, when deployed, the microphone naturally sits very close to the corner of your left eye and needs a fair bend to put it where it should be.
The sound quality of the microphone was limited by the two lower end sound cards, which was a good sign. The output over teamspeak and ventrilo was, with all available codecs, clear and understandable, it just lacked in crispness. With the X-Fi XtremeMusic the microphone was available to perform to its full capability. This was not a large step up from the quality seen on the Soundblaster card but did provide better clarity.
Overall the microphone is perfectly adequate for gaming, providing clear and understandable output, which is what matters. For recording or higher definition communications however, you would definitely want look into a separate, higher quality desktop microphone.