Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
As with all the audio products we review here at APH Networks, it takes quite a bit of experience and training of the ears before we can begin making a fair judgment. Even for the best of audiophiles, it can be hard to produce an exact and accurate evaluation of a product without a thoroughly familiar product to use as simultaneous reference. While I will not claim to be the reviewer of all reviewers for headphones, I can say quite a few other computer review sites have editors lacking in training for reviewing anything audio related. Give them anything and all you will get is some vague description of “awesome bass, amazing midrange, nice treble, no muffles, 10/10”. Do not get me wrong though; there are knowledgeable audio reviewers out there on respected online media outlets, but they are far and few. There are no true objective measurements for audio sound quality. As the reviewer, however, I will put the Cooler Master MH650 through a series of subjective tests to try to come up with the most objective rating as possible. The tests were conducted with the MH650 plugged into a USB port on the motherboard.
After over 50 hours of break-in time -- well above the typical required period -- we put the Cooler Master MH650 to the tests. All tracks are uncompressed or high bitrate audio files. Equalizer settings were manually set to flat for testing purposes. For gaming, I played Overwatch and League of Legends. First person shooter games are probably the most crucial games to test these headphones, as gameplay can heavily rely on hearing additional sounds. The other games have aspects where audio is useful, but this is less of a factor.
In gaming situations, it is often to a player’s advantage to get a greater emphasis on the lower end for spatial awareness in games. This can translate to various sound effects like footsteps or heavy movement. At the bottom, the Cooler Master MH650 offered a good amount of bass with oomph. Compared to the MH670, the bass does not sound as pronounced, but this is probably because mesh does not seal in your ears as much as leather or polymer leather earcups would. It still provided a solid and rounded sound, though I think it was not as deep of a kick. Riffs in the bass guitar as well as bass drum kicks were heard with a good amount of punch. Once again, the bass feels only slightly lessened when we compare between the MH650 and MH670, but it still shows good characteristics.
At the middle of the frequency spectrum, the frequencies in the middle were slightly recessed, which follows the typical V-shaped qualities. Male vocalists in the lower midrange region sound natural with a good amount of resonance and wetness. Guitars and pianos in this region still have the natural wooden resonance and ring and sounded slightly wetter. Moving to the higher regions like female vocalists, the output here also was not as detailed as I would have liked. I still noticed the sibilance in terms of vocalists, but it was to a lesser degree compared to the MH670. Once again, I think this is more due to the fabric on the earpads. In gaming situations, the midrange is generally less crucial for game awareness, but it still is important for voice communications or cues in certain games.
Moving to the top treble range, the output from the Cooler Master MH650 followed the V-shape feel with emphasized highs. This is especially heard in higher range instruments like violins and electric guitars as well as percussion elements like high-hat and ride cymbals clashes. These instruments still had the slight sibilance and sharpness, but felt slightly moister in its reproduction. Overall, the whole sound was very much a V-shaped sound, with some recessed mids and boosted bass and trebles. Most gaming headphones provide a V-shaped sound because this results in a fun sound signature and its usefulness in gaming situations.
When we move to the soundstaging and imaging, the Cooler Master MH650 was capable of producing an image with good width and depth overall. I did find it to be a mostly natural image with a slightly centered bias. Even without the virtualized surround sound, I was quite pleased with the soundstaging capabilities of the Cooler Master headset. They did sound slightly more open than the wireless version of the Cooler Master, but this again is probably due to the mesh earcups. Turning on the virtual 7.1 and setting it up in the software can allow for a deeper and wider sound without too much distortion. Its virtualization is probably not as aggressive, but the subtle differences are noticeable. Even so, I do not personally use it for gaming.
As for layering, the Cooler Master MH650 was sufficient in providing detail and precision. In more complicated situations with more voices and instruments added, some details were lost slightly, but it was still alright. Frequency ranges were notably separate, but it was almost too separate as I noticed some dips during the transitions of the layers. Overall, the sound was clean without muffle or strange distortion. At maximum volume, I was not able to hear any strange electronic noise which is good to say.
Due to its closed-back nature, the Cooler Master MH650 was good for sound isolation. The mesh fabric ears do leak a bit more noise to your external environment, so you should keep this in mind so that you are considerate to your nearby neighbors or family members. Obviously, this closed-back design does affect other acoustic properties like soundstaging, so you should buy these based on the environment where you will be using the headphones most often.
Interestingly enough, I found the Cooler Master MH650 to offer a clearer and more natural microphone recording. I utilized Audacity to record and exported the captured audio as an MP3 file. From here, you can hear the microphone was able to pick up voices naturally. Compared to the MH670, the voice picked up was cleaner with less muffle. This is potentially because we have a direct physical connection rather than a wireless one on the MH670. The recording does not sound too nasally, though the cut off at the bottom frequencies is still noticeable with this microphone. For voice and light streaming, this microphone should be alright, but I would probably recommend something with a more open sound for professional recording or more serious streaming.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Audio Analysis