Sound BlasterX H7 Headset Review
Headsets are getting better and headsets are getting cheaper. Creative is one company making this step, and doing it quickly – the Sound BlasterX H7 Headset brings a $200+ headset to the $120-150 price range, and does not sacrifice any features. When it comes to audio, mic clarity, and comfort, the Sound BlasterX H7 is one of the best headsets I have ever used.
Far too often, I feel like headsets are becoming more restrictive. If I plan on paying more than $100 for a product, I really want it to have a universal purpose. I want to use it on my Xbox One, my PS4, on my PC for doing podcasts, and when playing on my iPad. Thankfully, the Sound BlasterX H7 allows for that. Packed in the box is an auxiliary cord and USB cord so that the headset can be used on a variety of systems. With so many headsets moving away from this – it is easier to market a product that has one use – I’m glad that Creative has decided to be universal.
I argue that the Sound BlasterX H7 is unbelievably comfortable because – and bare with me on this – it doesn’t look comfortable at all. I’m a huge fan of headset companies that take advantage of suspension design, were a second band of steel or plastic is added to the headset to help ‘lift’ the weight off of your head. With a solid, fairly thick, uncomfortable looking band, I was skeptical of how comfortable this headset would be.
Let me tell you, I have a favorite headset company when it comes to comfort, and this headset matches most of those, and even exceeds a few of them. While the ‘look’ of the headset screams lack of comfort, the reality is a much different story. The band over the head is very cushioned and feels great around the top of my head. The ear cups are large, fit nicely over my ears, and don’t exert any extra or painful pressure on my head, even during long play sessions. Comfort is the number one selling feature for myself in a headset – yes, even over sound – so the fact that these were great even before plugging them in was a great way to start of my review.
Removable Microphone – The quality of the microphone is great, but unfortunately it is not retractable like so many other headsets on the market. With loads of video game peripherals and cables lying around, and with my kids in and out of my video game drawer, I’m always afraid I’ll lose the microphone. With that being said, I do find removable microphones of a better quality than retractable microphones, and this is also true of the Sound BlasterX H7.
Audio Control Dongle – I have a love and hate relationship with dongles, and the more I use the Sound BlasterX H7 the more I hate this dongle. The reality is, however, that I should not complain because as a universal headset, there is no great alternative. Over time I assume I will get use to the large dongle hanging in front of me, but having quick access to a mute button, play/pause button, and volume scroll wheel is invaluable. The dongle also works as the universal component, where the auxiliary cord and micro USB cord plug in for use on various pieces of hardware.
The H7 headset is a definite improvement over the H3 and the H5. Although the look has not changed much, what is offered in sound quality is a definite reason to invest in an upgrade.
If you want to take full advantage of the headsets 7.1 Surround, you will need to hook it up via USB. When hooked up via USB to the PC or the PS4, the sound is incredible. Creative, like other gaming headset companies, have also developed online tools to help you play around with audio quality. If you like more bass, for example, you can set that up on the headset via the USB and the downloadable software. It works fairly well, and although you will need more than a basic knowledge of audio levels and frequencies, it doesn’t take too long to figure out what sounds great to you. If you don’t want to go all custom, you can take advantage of the various presets that are offered, including one tailored for Call of Duty.
When using any of the audio presets, things sounded great, but even when I switched away from USB and back to analog on my Xbox One, I never felt I was getting a ‘lesser’ audio experience.
One of the biggest questions people have when purchasing Xbox One headsets is the quality of the microphone. I’m pleased to say that the Sound BlasterX H7 headset microphone is legitimately one of the best in the business. Through various tests across Xbox Live, Playstation Network, Skype, and in podcasts, I never had an issue with my quality, and on occasion, people commented on the clarity of the microphone. this is a big bonus for those playing chat heavy titles.
The Sound BlasterX H7 headset is a must by at the current price point. While the dongle might prove annoying at first, and despite the lack of a retractable microphone, there are not many things to gripe about when using this headset. Audio quality is great, microphone quality is superb, the the comfort is out of this world. If you are looking for a sub $150 headset, I highly recommend the Sound BlasterX H7.