Review Notes: For this review GiN tested the analog version of the 5H V2, but there is also a USB version with a built in sound card and 7.1 virtual surround sound which retails for an additional $20.
The SteelSound 5H v2 is an optimized version of the Popular SteelSound 5H headset. Improvements added into the 5H V2 include more comfortable ear cushions, better microphone quality, and a longer microphone cord.
A lot of this review is going to talk about how good these headphones are for gaming, but I want to take a moment right at the beginning to assure those of us that are not professional games, or even those of you who never go to LAN parties that these are good headphones for those of us who like to sit alone and play solo shooters such as the new Splinter Cell. If hearing matters then you need these headphones. They are also great if the shooting noises bother your loved one who is trying to sleep in the other room while you stay up late trying to finish one last mission.
The sound quality of the 5H V2 is excellent both in game and when listening to music. If you are playing games like splinter cell where picking up distinct noises of footsteps or the opening of a door is the key to success, I prefer headphones to any speaker system.
The retractable microphone is located on the left ear piece and can be pulled out and tucked away with equal ease. In our testing, the pickup on the microphone is outstanding. Other people often commented on how clearly we were speaking including when we tried the 5H V2 with the usual 3rd party team communication applications. Proper positioning for your preferred location may take a few tries, but the microphone does stay right where you put it. The microphone cable is coated in a thick durable plastic for improved durability.
Years ago, I never thought comfort mattered, and sometimes it does not, but when you are talking about gaming headphones, you are talking about something that you might wear anywhere from 4 to 12 hours at a stretch and when you are doing that, comfort is everything. The 5H V2 is not only comfortable, it is very comfortable. The ear cups are well cushioned and appropriately sized and maintain a comfortable tension. The headband is adjustable, and includes a nice thick pad along the top for extra comfort.
The 5H V2 is made of plastic which also keeps them light and comfortable. My concern here is for long term durability, especially at the flex points. Don’t get me wrong, the 5H V2 appears to be well constructed and I expect to get many years of use out of my pair. One of the many good features on the 5H V2 is that they can break apart into three pieces for easy travel. Without reading any of the documentation, but knowing that they were supposed to come apart, I accomplished this task in about three seconds. Located on the inside right below the head padding on the left and right sides are two small buttons. Depressing them will allow you to dismantle the headphones.
The cable is another one of the great features of the 5H V2. It is coated in a durable sheath to prevent fraying and is broken up into two pieces. The first piece is about one meter (3 feet) long and is attached to the headset. There is a volume control module about 2/3s of the way down the cable. This module includes a volume control wheel a High, Low, Mute switch, and a clip on the back so that you can attach it to your clothing.
At the end are appropriately colored audio (green) and microphone (orange) jacks. Now with most headphones, if your computer is not right up near your monitor with front headphone and microphone jacks, you would be out of luck. But the H5 V2 includes and additional two meter (6ft) extension cable, just in case you keep your computer on the floor and may or may not have a front audio and microphone jacks. In our informal testing, we did not notice any loss of sound quality when using the extension cable.
For those of you who thrive on these things, here are the technical specifications for the headphones:
Frequency response, 16 – 28.000 Hz
Impedance, 40 Ohm
SPL@ 1kHz 1 Vrms, 110 dB
Cable length, 1 + 2 = 3 meters (10 feet)
and Connectors are 3.5 mm.
For the microphone, the specs are as follows: Frequency response, 75 – 16.000 Hz
Pick up pattern, Uni-directional
and Impedance at 2k Ohm.
Quite honestly, since I have had the SteelSound: 5H v2 headphones, I have not had my speaker system plugged in. The sound quality is great, and they are just so comfortable to wear. If I have to note anything negative, it would be that they are plastic and they "might" break at some point in the future, but even to me that just sounds so picky, because if they were metal, they would not be so light, and I don’t think I would like them as much. And they probably won’t break for years.