EPOS H6PRO Open Acoustic - Sleek and Sophisticated
There was a time when choosing a “gaming” headset meant either choosing something bawdy but functional, or choosing something that looked stylish, but wasn’t actually built with the needs of gamers in mind. With every new range, EPOS proves that those days are well and truly over, providing a steady stream of sleek and sophisticated options for those who don’t want to sacrifice style or quality in order to meet their gaming needs. With their latest model, the H6PRO, EPOS have created an open acoustic headset that maintains the quality they’re known for while building on a clever design that allows gamers to stay aware of their surroundings and be more connected to the real world while they play.
It’s hard not to be immediately struck by just how smooth these headphones look. From the sleek matte finish to the leather padding of the headband and all the hinges and bits that click, it’s apparent that this headset is made of high quality materials. Every moving piece feels satisfying to not only use, but to hold, and to be perfectly honest, it’s sometimes a little hard not to just absentmindedly click the microphone arm up and down like it’s a new and particularly tactile pen. That said, given almost every piece (the PC cable, console cable, open acoustic ear pads, replacement microphone, and microphone cover plate) of the H6PRO is replaceable, you could technically click all you like without worrying about ruining the whole headset forever. There are three colours available – Sebring Black, Ghost White and Racing Green, and replacement parts are of course available in all necessary colours. My review set is the Sebring Black variant, which actually has a very nice deep, almost navy blue tinge to it, and I’m definitely a fan of the colour.
Though a closed version of the H6PRO is also available if you want a more focused sound, the open acoustic version that I was given allows for a little more interaction with the outside world. It means that you can hear your own voice more naturally when you speak (which is oddly nice), you can hear the doorbell ring, and when someone wants to speak with you, you don’t have to physically remove the whole headset from your head in order to catch what they’re saying. I wear this headset a lot during my remote work meetings (because of how comfortable it is) and it’s great to be able to hear my partner from the home office desk next to me, while still following along with what my coworkers are saying. Plus, the grates that let the sound in also help to keep the cups cool, which is nice during long sessions.
And long sessions you may have with this headset. It can connect to basically any console (as long as it has a 3.5mm audio port) along with your computer, and requires essentially zero setup, so you could really just move from console to console, using it to play games all day long. It comes with two cables, one single line for use with consoles or laptops and one for PC with separate line-in/line-out jacks, and both braided cables are long enough to suit most needs. I can comfortably use this headset for most of the day during work meetings and then transition to using it again for games at night – it’s that lightweight and comfortable on my (admittedly quite small) head. It’s adjustable, so it will fit bigger heads, but it was nice to find a headset that doesn’t feel like it’s swallowing me.
As is often the case with EPOS gear, the sound quality of the H6PRO is excellent. Having sound filtering in from the outside world while you listen to music makes whatever is coming through the speakers sound softer, and I personally found that pleasant. The sound is still crisp, but not overpowering. The volume is controlled by a rotating dial on one of the cups, and is separate to your PC audio, so you can adjust it on the fly. I found it a little awkward to control the audio, because I couldn’t quite grasp which way was up and which was down, and I’m still not sure whether that’s my user error or if the headphones are inconsistent in how they function. The motion feels smooth, but often has me frantically swivelling while trying to listen to something, which can be an issue when it’s another person speaking and you miss some of their words trying to get the sound levels right. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it can lead to some frustration.
Apart from the fiddly volume dial, the only other thing that’s less than perfect on this otherwise stellar bit of gear is the microphone. It’s comfortable to use, and I do appreciate the sturdy ‘click’ sound when it is raised far enough that its ‘mute’ function has enabled, but I did find that my voice quality was a little lacking. A colleague pointed out when I was using it that my voice lacked ‘warmth’ compared to other microphones, and some exploration on my part had me agreeing. Thankfully, if you have a separate microphone on hand, this can easily become a non-issue. The microphone is detachable (in another very satisfying piece of clicky technology – it even uses magnets so that you don’t try to put it back on the wrong way) and can be replaced by a little plastic cover, so that your headphones can still be headphones without the mic getting in the way. For those who plan to use this who don’t have another option for audio input, this might be a sticking point, but if you have a standalone mic, it doesn’t feel like a huge problem.
It’s worth noting that you can also calibrate the settings for this headset with the GSX to achieve a better sound if you have an EPOS GSX 300 Sound Card and the EPOS Gaming Suite, but I didn’t have access to that to test it out.
Overall, it’s pretty easy to recommend the EPOS H6PRO Open Acoustic Gaming Headset. At an RRP of $259 it doesn’t come cheap, but with that price point comes a quality in the physical build of the headset and a smoothness of sound that is truly impressive. If you can get around a slightly subpar microphone and some fiddly volume controls, then the latest in the EPOS premium range is worth the investment.