IntroductionThe SteelSeries started off with just the simple SteelPad line of gaming surface products. These were a great success and therefore created a fuzz about SteelSeries as a "Gamers Brand". A while after the initial success the SteelSeries product line was expanded to include both mouse mats and headsets optimized for gaming. The SteelSound 5H comes in two variants one with a USB soundcard, and one without the soundcard. The version with soundcard is specifically aimed at providing the same sound quality to avid LANgoers who might not be using their own PC at an event.
The packageThe SteelSound 5H USB comes in a transparent case which lets the buyer inspect the condition of the headset before opening it. It seems quite durable and it was brought to me without a scratch. This headset comes with a USB soundcard. This rare combination is actually quite well thought out since it enables you to get the exact same sound quality wherever you are and whatever PC you are using. The package also contains a small CD, I guess it's about half the size of a regular CD. This contains drivers for the soundcard and a manual.
There aren’t any extras like with the Speed-Link Medusa, you only get a headset, driver CD, and the USB soundcard.
As you can see from the pictures both the CD and the USB soundcard are very handy, they are absolutely tiny. I will comment on the USB soundcard's performance later on in the review.
Closer examination & DesignOne of the more interesting things about this headset is the way it is constructed. You can dismantle it for transportation and it features a well designed pullout microphone. These little innovative features makes the SteelSound 5H headset very attractive for both the ordinary gamer and the more hardcore gamer who goes to a lot of events. Another little thing that makes this headset attractive is the build quality, it's far better than its Sennheiser counterparts. It feels way more sturdy and durable than i.e. Sennheiser PC160. Of course this added durability makes the headset weigh a bit more but the extra padding really compensates for the extra weight.
On the left picture you can see just how nice the headset looks when you haven't extracted the pullout microphone, it can easily be mistaken for a pair of headphones. The right picture shows how the ultra flexible microphone looks like when extracted. Because it is so flexible it is very easy to adjust so that it has the best pickup of your voice.
One of the main features of this headset is that it can be dismantled for easy transportation. As you can see from the image above the headset can be split into three parts. These parts are connected via gold plated fittings.
As with any other headset the SteelSound 5H has a remote attached to the cable. This little remote features volume and microphone control. Now, there isn't anything new to the volume control, but the microphone control actually comes in handy if you are situated in a noisy environment. The microphone control has three settings: Hi, Low, Off. On high the microphone is like a microphone on any other headset, but if you switch it to low the microphone is less sensitive which means that you have to make more noise in order for the microphone to pickup voice.