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The Hephaestus (GHS2000)
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The 3D engine powering the virtual 7.1 is Xear and the audio panel doesn’t appear to have any Gamdias specific branding but more of a OEM look. However it does offer decent functionality such as an equalizer and environment setup to configuring mixer volume and various configuration options.
User Experience and Conclusion
Starting with build quality Gamdias have put together a really strong unit, while plastic can sometimes give that cheap feeling the set has a good weight to it thanks to the aluminium heatsinks. Surprisingly you don’t notice the weight of the unit while wearing it so that padded headband is doing its job. Overall the headset feels very rugged, we did note some small marks appearing on the matte finished areas but the gloss that covers the majority of the headset stood up well. The leather ear pads are very comfortable and a great choice for gamers who are planning long sessions of their favourite title. The braided cable will help with durability and hopefully reduce tangles when storing the 2.5m long lead.
When it comes to the bundle… well Gamdias have used the less is more approach, with nothing other than a quick start guide and a couple of stickers included. This is to be expected though, it’s a USB headset after all so there isn’t a need for extra cables. That said, some may have liked alternate cloth ear cups. As for the software, it is provided via their website ensuring users get the latest software available at time of purchase and it does what we need. No more, no less and a new skin would be nice.
The microphone is a noise-cancelling piece and we found it to be very clear while chatting and were impressed by the maneuverability of the mouthpiece. Below is a recorded mic sample.
Moving on, the virtual 7.1 sound generated works very well. When we saw the vibrating ear cups you could say there was a degree of skepticism for what could potentially be a poorly executed marketing gimmick. However it was less vibrate and more rumble; the experience you get is kind of like having a large subwoofer that shakes your car or desk and actually we liked it. It does give the effect of having some pretty mean bass which is often lacking in headsets. The fact it doesn’t need native support in games and is available no matter what audio content you’re consuming is great. It worked well listening to music, watching movies and gave a real atmosphere while gaming. Though I couldn’t really vouch for its ability to aid detection of incoming explosives, if it’s exploding then it’s very likely already too late!
Overall we found audio quality to be good, it handled music very well for a gaming headset without having to alter the EQ, as a primary gaming headset you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the music performance. When it comes to gaming the target of this headset it’s hard to fault the audio, the immersion factor from the vibrating cups and clear, precise audio really do heighten the experience, even over longer sessions we found no discomfort from wearing the headset. On the other aspect, it’s difficult to know how well the heatsinks actually perform, but we had no problems with them being included.
Retailing for around $100 the Hephaestus sits in the headset product stack with some of the big boys such as the Razer Kraken 7.1, the SteelSeries Siberia V2 and Corsair’s Wireless 2100 7.1 so it’s definitely worth shopping around for a good price on them all before deciding. Clearly though the the Hephaestus feature set is a step above the norm for this type of product and that needs to be taken into account too.
A headset that makes a statement. If you want to impress friends or standout at LAN events this could very well be the headset for you. Good quality sound with a nice sensory addition of vibrating cups which does add to the atmosphere while gaming. We enjoyed using the Gamdias Hephaestus and can say we totally recommend it.
Price: Amazon.com – $97.24