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Introducing the Drop + EPOS H3X

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Building on our success with the Drop + EPOS PC38X, we decided to develop a closed-back, entry-level headset to broaden our offering. Doing our due diligence in the current market, we found that most headsets under $100 focus on virtual surround sound, which often distorts soundstage and frequency response. Many of these headsets also suffer from poor audio quality overall—especially for anything other than games—as well as subpar microphone performance. When we started development on our under-$100 headset, we knew we had to find the right partner to provide a listening experience similar to the PC38X, which works great for gaming, and a wide range of other listening uses. 
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With the PC38X as our benchmark, it was almost inevitable that we’d return for another collaboration with EPOS—and that’s exactly what we did. EPOS had recently introduced its entry-level H3 Wired Headset to the market, and we decided it would make the ideal foundation for our newest headset: the H3X.   Having worked with EPOS in the past, we knew to trust the brand’s expertise on attaining our goal: a budget-friendly headset with exceptional sonic performance. As part of the Demant sound group, EPOS builds on more than 115 years of audio experience. In developing the H3X, we mined that experience to create a finished product that we believe will disrupt the under-$100 gaming headset category.
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During development, our primary focus was the tuning. Starting from a very punchy and dynamic baseline, we worked to slightly flatten the frequency response at both ends of the spectrum for a more reference-like tuning that still maintains the extended bass response of the original H3. For the treble, we used our PC38X as a reference. Another key change is the upgraded hybrid headband—taken from the more expensive H3Pro Hybrid—which uses both cloth and artificial leather for breathability and comfort. We also incorporated community feedback into the cable, adding an indicator stripe to the end that’s inserted into the earcup. This way, you can easily tell if the cable is fully seated and making contact. Lastly, we changed the finish to a new meteorite gray for a sleek, understated appearance that works well in any setting (WFH calls included). Elsewhere, the H3X maintains the same great build quality as the original H3, featuring a polycarbonate frame, hinged, memory foam earcups, and steel hinges for easy adjustment.    Hit “request” to be the first to know when the Drop + EPOS H3X launches.
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The extra details in this write-up are welcome. Demant/EPOS tune their products to my liking: I preferred the PC37X over the more expensive Sennheiser HD 599 (which offered an IMO overly polite sound: a bit dark, with softer attack and decay hurting the ability to project soundstage depth), and the PC38X was only more capable. I like the inclusion of the indicator on the cable… the number 1 support question I saw people ask was related to not plugging in the cable all the way. Good thinking! I haven’t personally done extended testing on the EPOS branded GSP headsets’ volume dials, but they look a little different than the ones that would cause channel imbalance sometimes on the Game One style headsets (which therefore I never touch once it’s balanced at near max volume), and hopefully they are more durable. Time will tell when it comes to the headband. I liked the PC37X and PC38X headbands, but I preferred the apex divot which prevented hotspots in long wearing sessions with the PC38X and Sennheiser’s HD 560S, HD 6XX, and more. If this is at least as comfortable as the PC37X, it still will be pretty comfortable for most. Speaking of pretty, I assume that’s why artificial (vegan friendly?) leather and padding on the outside arc of the headband is used… it won’t do anything functionally (well… maybe reduce ringing resonance from coming from the headband?), but it looks plush and probably doesn’t scuff easily, and the steel adjustment extensions look good too. I would ask how long the cable is? And what is it wrapped in? I presume it will be similar to the PC38X’s “short” headset cable rather than the extra long PC cable with separate mic and audio plugs. Hopefully it’s not microphonic when the cable rubs shirt or couch fabric. I am actually a fan of spatial audio DSPs, I believe surround sound and 3D audio in games is just as important as polygons to an immersive gaming experience. That said, I’m OK with its lack of inclusion here. Headphone surround gets a bad rep for not providing convincing soundstage depth and just sounding like distorted frequency response… that’s because cheap surround/spatial DSPs suck. They are designed as “one size fits all,” about 70% of the population will get a mild sense of direction (and 30% will just not have it work at all), and if they’re only fed stereo audio then they’re not even that good (those they simply apply a bit of crossfeed, a bit of reverb, and a dip in the upper mids to seem a bit distant). To actually be decent, the DSP actually has to be fed with directional data, use a real Head-Related-Transfer-Function (HRTF) to transform the sound, and the best spatial DSPs custom tailor to you. The PlayStation 5 offers all these things to some degree (5 HRTF options isn’t much, because our ears are more unique than fingerprints, but at least they’re real HRTFs and there’s more than one option), so a compatible DAC can pass that along, or something that can take a surround sound signal from HDMI can do spatial audio for headphones on its own.
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