Review: EPOS H3 Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset

It's funny how a small detail can make a big difference.

Sure, I get that a good wired headphone is better than any wireless ones.  I love my AIAIAI TMA 2, I listen with them every day for work.  Then comes along these H3 headsets

EPOS is the Sennheiser division for gaming products and when it comes to audio equipment - gamers have a bit of a discerning taste for quality and for long term comfort.  These H3s deliver on both at only $160CAD.  You can see the unboxing here:

So $160 seems like a lot for just a headphone but this is more than just some basic over the earphones - and not just that it also has a microphone, it's super comfy.

It is wired - and yes, we do love our wireless audio options here, but those are great if you're moving around.  Something like playing games, or sitting in yet another zoom meeting - you're not going too far, and for better quality you'll want to have something wired.

Not only is it better quality, wired offers 2 features.  Better comfort... plus, it's easy to remember you can't wear these while going to the bathroom (I've had that happen to me a few times... it's a little awkward being on the other end of the videoconference and hearing washroom noises).  The little wire can't let you go too far!

Because it's wired, and there are a couple options you could have - most laptops only have the 1 jack for headsets with a joined audio in and out connector, and PCs will have 2 separate connectors; well the H3s come with 2 separate cables for you to use in either scenario that connect to the headset - not just one and then an adaptor to sully the quality.

Aside from the cable it comes with it also had a microphone boom on the left hand side which is moveable.  Sweep it all the way up to the top and it puts the microphone on mute, it'll click in place.  Slide it down and it'll be active and let you set it to wherever you think is best.  I've had friends in the audio biz remind me that never have it directly in front of your mouth so as to have those 'popping ps'.

It's now on the head and the headband itself is comfortable to rest on your head which has a bit of an angled connector to the ear pads, which puts the pressure on the head at a good angle (I find others always then just rest slightly behind the crest of my noggin and slide backwards). The adjustable part of the band has a nice solid 'click' and locks in place for just the right position for your ears.

Speaking of fitting over the ears, this is where 'closed' really comes into play.  Normally, most headphone earpads are circular or maybe slightly oval - yet, they fit over the ears still, and part of your ear is on the cushion, some are inside the cavity.  Not too bad, but over an hour or so that pressure difference can be felt on your ear ridges.

The H3 has a semi-triangular shape, which fits ears better, so your whole ear fits into the cavity which means that not only are you saving that pressure on your ear ridges, but then because it has a consistent pressure on the pad, it really closes off the outside world.  Definitely isolates the sound coming in.

Sound coming in can be controlled not just with the controls in your computer, there's a volume knob built into the right hand side.  

That's handy.

Now in terms of quality, it's really good.  I'm a little spoiled by the TMA-2s as they are so rich and loud; whereas I find the H3s just a little quieter.  The sound is very rich and I can decipher various sounds and instruments cleanly, I just find it just slightly quieter oddly for the same volume level.

In terms of the audio, well, you can hear on the video - it's not bad, but it's a little on the dull side - again, I'm a fairly 'spoiled' as I'm comparing this to my Blue Yeti microphone.  For a built-in headset mic, it's not bad.

Overall, I like these and I would use these every day for my work, except I have the Yeti, and it's easy for me to move away from the mic when I don't want to be heard - whereas this the mic is ALWAYS right there, and I forget to move it up or down, so I've had folks mention they hear my breathing (I've not got a deviated septum, but my doc says it's close, and then add in any pollen and I tend to mouth breathe a little more than is attractive!).

I do use them for my gaming on Stadia as it's just easy to plug into the gamepad.

I do recommend these primarily due to their comfort level - it's silly that something as simple as changing the shape of the ear pad cavity made such a difference, like why isn't every other headphone that shape?

If you spend a fair amount of time with earbuds or headphones, you'll want to check this setup.