SteelSeries 3H and 4H Headsets

by Matt Serrano on April 20, 2007 in Audio & Media

SteelSeries has become well known for offering quality products for gamers, and today we are taking a look at two well-priced offerings from their headset lineup, the 3H and 4H.

Further Features, Final Thoughts

The 3H is able to fold for more portability. This feature was really useful for carrying it around, and it would probably be a breeze to take to a lanparty. SteelSeries’ top-of-the line 5H allowed you to take apart the headset, so it’s odd that the 4H is the only headset in the product line with no form of disassembly or compacting the package.

Both headsets have the ability to extend and retract the microphone to hide them when they’re not needed. It’s a nice feature, although it’s present on many other gaming headsets.

Another cosmetic difference is the color of the connectors. The 4H has the standard green/pink cables for the headphone and microphone, but the 3H has a pair of black/red cables at the end.

Final Thoughts

The fit is worlds apart with each model. The 3H was snug (maybe too tight for some) but the 4H was loose in comparison. There wasn’t an issue with either, but I came to favor the 4H because it had the ability to swivel, and the 3H was a little uncomfortable having it on for long periods of time. I tested the sound quality for both headsets with games, movies, and music.

Half-Life 2 is a game with a lot of action. It’s a rollercoaster ride with a lot of explosions, dialog, and background music. Playing the game while listening to both headsets was enjoyable for the most part, but instances with music coupled with other sound effects were tolerable at best. I could make out individual footsteps, gunshots, and other noises in Counter Strike easily.

To test out music, I listened to Foo Fighter’s “There Is Nothing Left to Lose” encoded in FLAC. The 4H did a decent job, but the 3H was muddy and lacked a lot of detail, especially on instruments like the cymbals and hi-hats. I wouldn’t recommend either of these headsets solely for listening to music.

For movies, I watched the screens Rooftop rescue through the end of the movie from The Matrix. Both did a good job with most of the movie, but the 3H was a little harsh with many of the voices and louder sound effects like explosions and gunshots.

I recorded my voice in Audacity to test out the microphones. Both recordings were clear and audible.

I would only recommend the 3H for situations that require moving them around and wearing them for short periods of time. If you’re looking for something to wear in more intense gaming sessions, by all means go with the 4H. After using them, I can safely say both are a cheap solution for gaming but don’t really satisfy for anything else. Neither of them are terrible products, but other alternatives can be had for a marginal increase in price.

    3H Pros

  • Small and compact
  • Can fold together for easier transportation
  • Decent microphone, retractable
    3H Cons

  • Sound quality could have been better
  • Not suitable for anything other than gaming
  • Uncomfortable for wearing over a long period of time
  • No controls

    4H Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Superior sound quality
  • Decent microphone, retractable
    4H Cons

  • Larger than the 3H
  • Not suitable for anything other than gaming

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