Your audio quality is an important element of your gaming experience. And since you’ll spend hundreds of hours with a gaming headset over your ears, you need to find the right set. EPOS offers the H3 line of gaming headsets to meet your audio needs. Here’s a quick look at the H3 line, and my impressions after using them for gaming and general purpose use.
EPOS came into existence as a joint venture between Demant, a company that specializes in hearing technology, and the audio giant Sennheiser. Though the partnership has run its course, the influence of Sennheiser’s extensive audio experience is still evident in the quality of EPOS headsets.
EPOS H3 and EPOS H3 Hybrid
The base H3 model and the H3 Hybrid model are identical in terms of speaker and microphone quality, with very similar physical design. There are two main differences:
The Hybrid offers both wired and wireless connection methods. You can have your phone connected via Bluetooth and your PS5 connected via 3.5mm cable at the same time, which allows you to answer your phone in the middle of a Call of Duty round.
Detachable microphone boom arm
The microphone boom arm is detachable on the H3 Hybrid, with a second microphone built into the right ear cup taking over microphone duties. So, it’s easy to head out and about with the H3 Hybrid as your non-gaming headphones.
EPOS H3 series features
Choice of colour
You’ll get two options in terms of colour: black and snow. I would have liked to see a few more colour options, but the two available choices are perfectly acceptable.
Closed acoustic design
I wasn’t sure what this feature referred to, so I did a little research. In a closed headset, the back of the ear pads is sealed. That means that the sound only travels in one direction, to your ear. You hear less of the sounds from around you. The drawback is that some low frequencies can sound overly amplified. And the closed design means no airflow, which means increased warmth. I liked the reduction of noise from outside sources. I didn’t find the low frequencies were affected, personally. But yes, the closed ear pads do make them retain heat fairly well.
Volume control dial
The EPOS H3 has a volume control dial on the back of the right ear pad. I had no trouble quickly dialing the volume up and down, without accidentally assaulting my ears with full volume.
The microphone in the H3’s boom arm claims to have studio quality, noise cancellation, and auto-mute when the boom arm is raised. Though I was not in a sound studio, the H3 did pick up my conversations clearly without any distortion or delay. My voice sounded natural and clear, whether I was muttering my displeasure or howling for help from my teammates. There was no discernable exterior noise, and the auto-mute worked well.
All models of EPOS H3 offer compatibility with most gaming devices, including the Nintendo Switch and PS5. If your household is a multi-platform like mine, you’ll benefit from being able to use the same headset on whichever platform catches your fancy.
You can adjust the distance between the headband and the ear cups on each side, to ensure that the headset fits comfortably. The ear cups themselves are hinged to improve the fit and comfort. My slighter large cranium was easily accommodated by the options available.
The ear pads on the H3 series are made of two different materials. The outer ring is simulated leather, while the inner area that comes into direct contact with your ear is fabric. I appreciated the decreased heat and increased comfort of the fabric. And the ear pads can be easily replaced when normal wear and tear from prolonged usage makes it necessary.
I was very happy to see that the EPOS H3 headsets have detachable cables, instead of being hardwired into the headset. Your headset cable will see wear and tear, and is the part most likely to become damaged. I’ve lost most of my old headsets to damage to the 3.5mm jack and the cable attached to it. So, being able to easily replace it is very welcome news.
EPOS H3 plug and play
The EPOS H3 is a wired headset and does not require a power source to work. You plug in the 3.5mm jack to your device, and away you go. The drawback of a plug and play headset is a lack of audio software adjustments and features, like surround sound emulation. But the good people at EPOS offer a solution for that situation: the GSX 300 external sound card.
EPOS external sound card GSX 300
If you’re like me and relying on a laptop as your primary gaming PC, your audio quality is somewhat limited in comparison to a desktop gaming PC. An external sound card like the EPOS GSX 300 gives you upscaled sound quality, and the ability to customize the audio experience. Specifically, the GSX 300 functions as a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for the EPOS H3 headset.
A DAC removes unwanted noise from the sound and overall improves the audio fidelity. If you want to get the most out of your good quality H3 headset speakers, you want the signal to be analog. The H3 hybrid has DAC built-in, so it may make more sense to choose the Hybrid if the other features of the GSX 300 aren’t important to you.
EPOS H3 sound quality
I tested the EPOS H3 in several different scenarios. I started with a session of Counterstrike: Global Offensive on PC. After losing repeatedly, I switched to a multiplayer game of Civilization 6. I then literally switched things up by taking the EPOS H3 Hybrid and my Nintendo Switch on a trip to the local coffeeshop. In all scenarios the sound quality was fantastic. The passive noise reduction from the ear cups was impressive as well.
Comparing the EPOS H3 to the EPOS H6PRO
I had the opportunity to compare the H3 to the top of the line EPOS model, the H6PRO. The general design and fit of the two models are very similar. The H6PRO ear cups are larger, which makes them a little more comfortable for anyone with impressively sized ears (like me). The audio quality is better in the H6PRO, due to the higher end speaker systems used in it. The H6PRO also offers either closed or open acoustic design. The open design has better audio fidelity, but it doesn’t keep exterior sounds out.
Final impression of the EPOS H3 gaming headset series
There is no arguing with the sound and material quality of the EPOS H3 gaming headset series. On every device I tried them with, the sound was crystal clear and free of distortion. They were comfortable to wear and easy to adjust. The EPOS H3 has few frills but delivers a focused, high quality experience. If you are a gamer with audiophile tendencies, these headsets should be on your list for consideration.