Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
There are many challenges when it comes to reviewing headphones, because of how subjective the experience could be. It takes experience and time to train your ears to be able to make a proper judgement for an audio review. These challenges force us to take quite some time to listen and compare it to other sound equipment to have the best results and to be able to give it a fair observation. Unfortunately, since different people have different tastes in their headphones and what they should sound like, it is hard to come to a truly objective conclusion. As such, the ADATA XPG EMIX H30 headphones were put through a series of subjective tests to come to the best final conclusion. The gaming tests were done through the included Solox F30 amplifier, however, the music tests were done through the headphones plugged directly into the computer. I did this because the amplifier changes the equalization levels and I wanted to be able to find the most natural sound of the headphones.
The headphones were properly broken in by playing sound through them for a few days before testing to ensure they are performing at their best during testing. All test tracks are uncompressed or high bitrate audio files. Since the ADATA XPG EMIX H30 is a gaming headset, I spent more time gaming with it. The tests were conducted in DOTA 2, Sid Meier's Civilization V, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Personally, headphones should perform best in a game such as Counter-Strike, because of how important it is to hear where the enemy is in relation to yourself. The gaming tests were conducted on the "gaming" mode on the amplifier.
As expected from gaming headphones, the bass is boosted particularly in the gaming mode. During testing, it made it much easier to hear footsteps in first person shooter games. The bass was deep and well-rounded. It dod not sound hollow nor recessed. This made it easy to isolate sounds like footsteps, while the wide soundstage made it easy to know where the sound was coming from. One thing to note, the virtual 7.1 surround sound made it even easier to hear where the different sounds were coming from, but it made everything -- the footsteps, gunshots, reload noises, and even flashbangs -- all sound hollow as a result. It really is give or take in this circumstance. In other words, the soundstage is much wider with surround sound on, but at the expense of the sound losing its thickness.
For music tests, as I have previously mentioned, I am foregoing the use of the amplifier because it changes the sound characteristics considerably. I attempted to find out what the ADATA XPG EMIX H30 headphones sound like without the amplifier. Starting with the bass, it definitely is still boosted above the other frequencies, getting to the point of bleeding into the midrange and treble. However, the bass remained deep and solid. It was smooth and defined. I found it a bit too overpowering for my liking though.
For the midrange, I found it relatively recessed, and in some circumstances, muffled. Vocals still sound fine for voice chat, but the sound was not as natural. Guitars and some other stringed instruments sound deeper than they should be. Fortunately, the sound was not raspy. This was especially noticeable when the whole range was being played. Even though the midrange was underpowered in my opinion, the final form was still acceptable. One thing to note was the strong bass bleeds through especially in the lower midrange. The lower midrange was just not as articulate due to the powerful bass. The treble fared similarly; however, I was surprised it still had some energy and was fairly bright in the higher notes. Some of the treble's sharpness was missing towards the low high's, making the overall sound a bit of a mixed combination in terms of brightness. I would still say the treble was less affected by the bass than the midrange, making it more clean, especially at the highest frequencies that is the furthest away from the bass.
The ADATA XPG EMIX H30 exceled with its soundstaging and soundscaping, which is crucial for gaming. The direction of the instruments was clearly defined. The whole virtual environment was clearly communicated and realistic. The sound also had great detail and high resolution; however, the frequency separation could be a bit unclear due to the boosted bass and thus reduced its cleanness. The sound was cohesive, and will be a hit for anyone who like their bass boosted.
The microphone fared decently. For the most part, it reproduced a clear sound. However, it easily picked up any air that blew into it. Even by just normally speaking, the microphone picked up lots of wind noise. Even a small filter would make a huge difference.
It is not uncommon for gaming headsets to have prominent bass. For gaming, this helps a lot, making it much easier to hear footsteps and other important sounds that gives away your enemy position. Along with the excellent soundstaging, the ADATA XPG EMIX H30 makes a good contender for gaming headphones, but not so much for music.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis