Steelsound 3H & 4H Headsets

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
December 14, 2006
Views
28868
Steel has finally released more headsets specifically made for gamers. The 4H and the 3H both target different aspects of the market, but are they worth your well earned dollar? Read on...

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Intro:

Steel is a company that I have much respect for. They have always thought of the gamer when building products. Even to this day, I use the »Steelpad S&S for my mousepad needs. I have not used a better mousepad, ever. Continueing the tradition of quality products, Steel released sound gear to fullfil your gaming desires back when the »5H was first introduced. Since then, Steel has released a new 5Hv2 and, most recently, two new headsets. Let me introduce you to the 4H and the 3H.

Specifications:

I know my limits and sound products require a bit of specifications to help you determine how well a product stands up to another.

Said By SteelSound 4H Specs Page

Headphones

Frequency response: 16 - 28,000 Hz
Impedance: 40 Ohm
SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 110 dB
Cable length: 1.8 meters (6 feet)

Microphone

Frequency response: 75 - 16,000 Hz
Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
Sensitivity: -38dB
Impedance: 2k Ohm
http://www.steelseries.com/products/steel_sound/steelsound_4h/information


Said By SteelSound 3H Specs Page

Headphones

Frequency response: 10 - 27,000 Hz
Impedance: 50 Ohm
SPL@1kHz, 1Vrms: 102dB
Cable: 2 meters (6.5 feet)

Microphone

Frequency response: 50 - 18,000 Hz
Pick up pattern: Non-directional
Sensitivity: -40 dB
Impedance: 2.2K Ohm
http://www.steelseries.com/products/steel_sound/steelsound_3h/information


From the specs it looks like the 3H can handle big bass better than the 4H due to the lower frequency response. The frequency response of the 3H microphone is a bit better on the 3H as well, but human speech does not get nearly that low or high. Both headsets are stereo.

Product Box Shot:

4H Box 3H Box


Both products are packaged in similar style packages. The 4H has a bigger overall box due to its larger size. Each package contains the headset and some paper stuff.

4H Stuff 3H Parts


Headset:

4H 4H


4H: The 4H contains a set of headphones that are cans. They wrap over each ear to give the user a good feel and to block out outside sound. These headphones are not those cheap $5 sets that break after a few uses. Remember that since there is padding between your ear and the outside, the sounds that the unit delivers should not lose their vibrancy and accuracy as opposed to open air listening which can create different acoustics in different parts of the room. There are a few extra features present on this device to cater specifically to the gaming market.

4H Mic


The included retractable microphone is a great addition to this headset. You are able to actually have a good pair of headphones that also includes a good microphone with it. In the past, you had to pick which thing you wanted. If you do not want to use the microphone, it slides right back into the unit and is basically hidden from view. This is such a great feature. The microphone itself bends in any direction and can be placed at the perfect spot from your mouth. Note to some that you do not place the microphone IN your mouth or close enough so that people can hear you breathe into it.

4H Volume 4H 4H Extension


The headset cans are made of cloth which is fine considering that ones made of leather eventually make your ear hot. While they will not block as much outside noise as the leather variety, they still do a good job. They are not as good as the 5H. The 4H contains an inline volume and microphone control. This is handy to have. I know of some games that get louder in certain instances and it is good to have a volume control that is accessible like this for headphones.

3H 3H


3H: The 3H is the portable set of headphones from Steel. The immediate difference is that they can fold up instead of be taken apart (5H). The build quality of the 3H compared to the bigger units is slightly less in some areas, but slightly more in others. The place where the headphone rests on your ears is made of leather instead of cloth. This device is shaped to fit around the ear, but just to cup the outsides of it. It does not go completely over and around your ear as a bigger can would (like the 4H or 5H).

3H Extension 3H Mic


Like the other headsets, the 3H also contains a retractable microphone. I really love the design of these microphones and it can be placed in the proper position near your mouth. Even though these headphones are made out of leather for padding, they expose your ear so your ears will not get hot like a leather can would make them. They do allow more background noise in as opposed to the can, though. This headset does not contain inline volume control and unlike the 4H, the speaker wire comes out of one side instead of both.

Testing:

Remember that testing sound devices is a very subjective thing. Make sure you read reviews from many different sites to really gauge how something that deals with sound actually is. A sample size of one site is not enough to make an intelligent decision on which product to buy since there is not 'standard' way of testing something like a headset.

4H Steel


4H: The 4H was basically the same as the 5H I tested last year. Sounds were excellent as was the range they produced. Music playback was great with equal highs and lows. The highs are nice and crisp (my ambient trance music really benefits from this) and the bass produce is fine. It is not great. Comparing the 4H to my 5.1 speaker setup is a joke since my speakers sound much better and produce much more bass. Another thing that I noticed is that the 4H cuts down the volume compared to the 3H headset on the same source. This makes the 3H actually sound better on the same source signal. Gaming was excellent with the 4H as long as you have a good game with directional sound. You know where the enemies are. The microphone was fine when I was testing it.

3H Steel


3H: I really enjoyed testing the 3H since it is pretty portable. I can now have a good set of headphones while I am out on trips and such. They provide great bass and sound clarity when listening to music. Gaming is a blast with good directional audio. The microphone sounds fine when talking into it at the proper position. Remember that it is important to listen how you sound. The 3H really impressed me with the amount of bass it has even over the 4H. The 3H really is a champ for a portable headset. I find it a bit strange that the plugs are not the standard green and pink, though. I do like how there is a single wire coming from the headset as opposed to the double wiring that the 4H has.

Conclusion:

The 3H is an excellent product. It is rather expensive at around $50 direct from Steel, but the price is acceptable due to the target audience and the extra features. This is not just a set of headphones, it is a true headset. For gamers, this is a needed thing even on the road. The 4H is a step down from the 5H but it is cheaper. The problem is that it still costs $70. The headset is good, but I would not pay that much for this headset. Wait until other retailers have the units in stock and you will get a better deal. Even the 5H is pretty cheap now. Head to Steel\'s online shop to purchase these.

I would like to thank Thomas from Steel for sending these headsets out for review.

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