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SteelSeries 7H review: SteelSeries 7H

The SteelSeries 7Hs are pricey, but the isolation is impressive as is the portability, and the balance between gaming headphones and music is well struck.

Craig Simms Special to CNET News
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
2 min read

The 7H sits at the top of SteelSeries' headphone pile, and it's not hard to see why. Exquisitely built with leather head rest and closed ear cups, the isolation is also highly impressive, giving even noise-cancelling headphones a run for their money. When we plugged them in, almost all we could hear was the ringing of our own ears, leaving us wondering if we'd even plugged them in at all.


SteelSeries 7H

The Good

Excellent isolation. Can pull it apart for travelling. Detachable headphone cable. Long cable that's also detachable via 3.5mm cables. Hidden mic.

The Bad

Pricey. Drums are a bit over-driven in music due to gaming enhancements.

The Bottom Line

The SteelSeries 7Hs are pricey, but the isolation is impressive as is the portability, and the balance between gaming headphones and music is well struck.

If you don't like leather ear cups, don't fret — SteelSeries has included some velour ones, which you can swap in at will.

Like the 5Hv2s, it pulls apart into three pieces, the top part of the headband coming away so it can be easily packed into a travel case. While it still features a 3-metre, braided detachable cable that breaks into 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks, new this time is the ability to disconnect the cable itself from the right ear cup, further increasing the portability. The clamping force of the headphones is also quite strong, although we imagine that this would give over time.

Like other SteelSeries headsets, if you ramp the volume up too high on the inline control the treble takes over to the exclusion of everything else — around the three-quarter mark a better tonal landscape is created. We'd advise finding the tonal sweet spot, then using the Windows volume control or a dedicated amp to adjust the volume afterwards.

Plugging them into a Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic and firing up Team Fortress 2, it became apparent that sonically the 7H is the hybrid of the Siberia and 5Hv2, as a result offering the best soundscape of the lot.

Sure, it still attempts to pull out vocals and drum shots, but compared to the other SteelSeries headsets the treble finally sparkles, and the range doesn't sound oddly compressed. Playing back Karnivool's Goliath, bass was definitely more defined, although drums are still shot to the fore, we're guessing as a side effect of the frequency of gunshots being tweaked for competitive gaming.

We like the 7Hs, but at AU$189 they're not cheap. Still, the isolation is brilliant, as is the portability, and the balance between gaming and music is well struck. If you lean more towards the gaming side, the 7Hs are a good purchase — but at this price if you're more music inclined, it's probably time to start looking at mid-range headphones from the likes of Audio Technica or Beyerdynamic.