EPOS H3PRO Hybrid Wireless Headset Review: Maximum Flexibility
A Go Anywhere, Do Anything Headset
The H3PRO Hybrid Wireless Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset from EPOS is a jack of all trades. It can connect to just about anything, and even offers active noise cancellation. They are lightweight, look nice, and have a removable boom mic if you just want to use them as stereo headphones.
You can connect the H3PRO Hybrid to PCs, game consoles, smartphones, and just about anything else thanks to four connectivity options: 3.5 mm headphone jack, wired USB, wireless USB via included dongle, and a second wireless option courtesy of Bluetooth (version 5.2).
When you are connected to a PC you can take advantage of the simulated 7.1 surround audio provided by the EPOS Gaming Software, and there are EQ adjustments and mic enhancements to enable via software as well. We will cover this, as well as the rest of this author’s impressions of this headset in today’s review.
- Ear coupling: Around ear
- Transducer principle: Dynamic, closed
- Pure Variant Weight: 308 g / 288 g without boom arm
- Cable length:
- GSA 31 USB Cable: 2 m
- GSA 30 Console Cable: 1.5 m
- Connector plugs: USB-A / 1 x 3.5 mm (GSA 31 USB Cable/GSA 30 Console Cable)
- GSA H3PRO Dongle: PC, PS4, PS5
- GSA 31 USB Cable: PC, PS4, PS5
- Bluetooth (version 5.2): Mobile devices
- GSA 30 Console Cable: PC, Mac, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and consoles with 3.5 mm jack input
- Warranty: 2 years, international
- Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 116dBSPL / 0dBFS @ 1kHz
- THD: <0.35% / 0dBFS @ 1kHz
- Driver size: 40 mm
- Frequency response: 100-7,500 Hz
- Pick-up pattern: Bidirectional
- Sensitivity: 1kHz (Boom arm) -20dBFS / Pa @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity at 1kHz: (Ear cup) -20dBFS / Pa @ 1kHz
- Style: Detachable
- GSA H3RPO Dongle (ANC on): 19 h
- GSA H3RPO Dongle (ANC off): 30 h
- Bluetooth (ANC on): 22 h
- Bluetooth (ANC off): 38 h
- GSA 30 Console Cable (ANC on): 18.5 h
- GSA 30 Console Cable (ANC off): 29 h
- GSA H3PRO Dongle + Bluetooth (ANC on): 19 h
- GSA H3PRO Dongle + Bluetooth (ANC off): 28 h
- GSA 30 Console Cable + Bluetooth (ANC on): 19 h
- GSA 30 Console Cable + Bluetooth (ANC off): 27 h
- Charging time: 2 h
Design and Comfort
Design is attractive (to me, anyway) and these ended up being lighter than I expected. I placed the headset on a digital scale and these registered 308.8 grams (about 10.9 oz). EPOS lists these as 308 grams, so I was within 0.8 g on my $20 kitchen scale.
Build quality feels pretty good, but as light as these are – and as flexible as the headband is – I would be careful with them. Speaking of the headband, it’s pretty well padded, and I have no complaints about the ear pads, either, which have a nice velvet-like surface on the part that touches your face.
Adjustability is fine, and while the ear cups don’t move a whole lot, they still have enough swivel to conform to most heads. I personally found them comfortable, and they seal out a decent amount of outside noise without ANC enabled.
For PC audio testing I first connected the H3PRO Hybrid using the USB cable, and then connected it via the included USB dongle. In both cases it presents itself to the OS as a 2-channel, 16-bit, 48 kHz audio device. I first tested the headset without any additional software, but I later installed the latest version of the EPOS Gaming Suite software (more on this later).
Next, I’ll try to paint a picture of sound using words. That makes no sense, but maybe these labeled sections will.
The H3PRO Hybrid can reproduce audible sound all the way down to the very low bass frequencies, but the volume level of that lower bass is a bit quiet until you get up to the 60 – 80 Hz range. Don’t get me wrong, these don’t sound “thin”, and I was of course able to get a more prominent lower bass using EQ. Just don’t expect those subwoofer-low 20-40 Hz frequencies to be very loud.
Most of what we hear falls into this area, and with middle frequencies I’m always looking for clarity and a lack of any “boxy” quality. These are quite good, and midrange isn’t as noticeably recessed with these as with many headsets I’ve heard. The midrange performance is a big reason why these sound fairly balanced to me.
High frequency response is similarly good, and these offer clarity without sounding harsh. I didn’t feel the need to alter treble much when playing with the EQ settings.
Software and Equalization
As you may have noticed, I talked about EQ more than once in this usage impressions section. The H3PRO Hybrid can benefit from a bit of tuning to enhance the lower bass frequency reproduction, but they already sound good out of the box. I installed the latest version of the EPOS Gaming Suite software before beginning my EQ experimentation.
The software allows for adjustments to both headphone and microphone audio, as well as other functions such as control of headset power savings and customization of the “smart button” (the BT pairing button when held down), which I set to toggle between stereo and 7.1.
The lowest adjustment using the software is 64 Hz, and by raising this up – and lowering the low/mid frequencies a bit – I was able to get a more powerful sound with bass-heavy electronic music, though they still lacked power at the bottom. I suspect that the 40 mm drivers could be a factor here, but the internal amp doesn’t seem particularly strong, either.
This wavy shape was the result of several minutes of equalization experimentation while listening to some bass-heavy music
In addition to tweaking frequency response, this software is the only way to enable the 7.1 effect, but I wouldn’t recommend this. As before when I have tested the EPOS implementation of simulated surround, I was immediately aware of a change in audio fidelity when enabling the feature. I would describe this as going from lossless audio to satellite radio in an instant. It’s a dynamically compressed and low bitrate sound that made everything I tried sound…worse (in my opinion).
3.5 mm Input
This is not a passive input (the headset needs to be powered on), but I was able to get much higher volume levels than either USB connection methods by turning up the volume of the headphone amp in my external sound card. (Feeding the headset a higher voltage input means the onboard amp has less work to do.) Distortion became audible at these higher levels, however, and I had to back off on the output level from the external sound card. Your mileage may vary.
A look at the included accessories (the USB wireless dongle is not visible, but is included in one of the bags)
I paired the headset with an iPhone 12 Pro and listened to everything from lossless music to YouTube videos, and the sound quality was as good as any standard Bluetooth (SBC codec, not AAC or aptX) connection allows. I still felt like the sound was a bit reserved, but it’s a smooth sound that serves to mask some of the limitations of standard BT audio streaming.
The only other Bluetooth headphones with ANC that I’ve listened to recently were the JBL Club 950NC, and the comparison was very unflattering to the JBL. The H3PRO Hybrid pretty much mops the floor with the Club 950NC, with greater comfort, better noise cancellation, and more extended bass response from the EPOS headset.
I also installed the EPOS app and have nothing to report as I could never get the app to see the headset, even when it was successfully paired to the phone and playing music without issue.
As with other EPOS headsets, the boom mic features lift-to-mute functionality, and the boom itself can be removed entirely, with a cap provided to keep the headset’s sleek appearance intact.
The microphone presented itself to Windows as a 16-bit, 16 kHz recording device. Windows calls this “Tape Recorder Quality”. Why this wasn’t the same 48 kHz (or at least 44.1 kHz) I don’t pretend to know, but apparently the solution that EPOS is using does not offer a higher resolution ADC than 16 kHz. Given the frequency response of the mic, which is listed as 100-7500 Hz, I guess you really don’t need a higher sample rate.
To describe the quality of recordings made with the mic, it is phone call quality. If you are too young to remember landline phones, think 3G quality. If I’m being generous I’d upgrade this analogy to LTE (without VoLTE). The microphone noise cancellation is good, at least.
Active Noise Cancellation
And now for perhaps the killer feature. The H3PRO Hybrid not only offers all possible connectivity options, but it also features active noise cancellation, and it ended up being my favorite part of testing the headset.
The ear pad seal is pretty good already, and when you add a good ANC implementation it can suppress quite a bit of noise. While I don’t pretend to be an expert on ANC, based on what I’ve experienced these are well above average. They are certainly better than the JBLs I mentioned in the Bluetooth section, which also offer ANC.
The H3PRO Hybrid is another quality headset from EPOS, offering outstanding flexibility from the various connection options. As mentioned, you can connect these via Bluetooth, or a USB wireless dongle, or a USB cable, or a 3.5 mm audio cable, making them useful for just about any application that requires headphones – not just gaming (and the boom mic can be easily removed).
Sound quality is good, with a pretty balanced overall sound and plenty of clarity. On the other hand they don’t get especially loud (I did much of my testing with the volume up at 90%), and they don’t have the most powerful low bass reproduction. Still, I can only speak for myself, as all of the sound impressions I describe are subjective.
Overall, I really liked the H3PRO Hybrid, in part because they are so flexible, but also because I was very impressed by the active noise cancellation. Sound quality is definitely above average, and when you combine that with the ability to connect to literally anything they are handy to have around.
Now, all of the features and flexibility do come at a cost, as these have a list price of $279 USD. This places them $10 above the similarly flexible CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB WIRELESS XT, though the VIRTUOSO doesn’t offer ANC.
In the end, the active noise cancellation became the killer feature for me, and while I personally think there are better sounding headsets, the ANC from the H3PRO Hybrid is a very tempting option if you’re shopping in this price range.
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How Product Was Obtained
The product is on loan from EPOS for the purpose of this review.
What Happens To Product After Review
The product remains the property of EPOS but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.
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