We reviewed the Sound BlasterX H7 USB 7.1 headphones awhile back, and our now taking a look at another gaming headphone option from Creative. Our Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition review takes a look at the updated version of the Sound BlasterX H5 analog gaming headset.
The Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition Professional Analog Gaming Headset has the following features and specifications:
- Upgraded drivers for better gameplay: Expect immersive and crystal-clear surround sound. The reproduced audio is rich and alive, so you feel like you’re right in the action of your game.
- Improved mic quality: Redesigned and improved detachable mic enhances vocal pickup and noise cancellation in loud gaming environments.
- New sleek look: New look for the Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition that features brushed metal earcup plates and gun metal finishing.
- Compatible with Sound Blaster G1: Get unparalleled accuracy and positioning with true 7.1 HD surround sound. You can even program it with customized sound signatures for tournaments without requiring on-site software installation.
- Dynamic sound signature: A dynamic sound signature with punchy highs, mids and lows for natural sound with enhanced clarity and precision. So you can attain your sweet victory on the battlefield!
- Audio Drivers: 50mm FullSpectrum
- Headset Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
- Headset Impedance: 32Ω
- Headset Sensitivity: 118 dB @ 1kHz
- Interface: 3.5mm stereo input
- Microphone Type: Unidirectional with Noise-reduction condenser
- Microphone Detachable: Yes
- Microphone Frequency Response: 100Hz ~ 15kHz
- Microphone Impedance: <2.2Ω
- Microphone Sensitivity: -40dB @ 1kHz
- Software: Sound BlasterX Acoustic Engine Lite
- Supported Operating Systems: Windows® 10, Windows® 8.1, Windows® 8, Windows® 7
- Supported Gaming Consoles: Xbox One via 3.5mm 4-pole audio cable (With Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter)
What’s in the box
- Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition Headset
- Detachable 3.5mm 4-pole to 4-pole Jack Braided Cable with Controls (1.2m)
- Extension Audio/Microphone Splitter Cable (1.2m)
- Quick Start Guide
- 1-year Limited Hardware Warranty
The Sound BlasterX H5 don’t look all that different from the H7 headphones, and at a glance, they look almost identical with a few minor differences. The headband on the H5 headphones is just as comfortable, although the leatherette finish feels a bit different and they don’t have the Sound BlasterX logo spread across the top. The headband is capped on either end with a high quality feeling plastic cap which has the letter L or R on the inside depending which side it’s on.
The earcups themselves are attached to the headband with a reinforced adjustable steel arm which sports a gunmetal finish. The earcup plates are also brushed metal, an improvement over the non-Tournament Edition Sound BlasterX H5 headphones, and the Sound BlasterX logo is printed on each one. The rest of the outer side of the earcups is housed in the same black plastic as the end caps on the headband. A dimpled look on the outer areas of this piece adds a stylized look to it. While the earcups aren’t on a twistable hinge, there is enough flex in the headphones that allows for a comfortable fit.
The earpads, like other Sound BlasterX headphone offerings, are memory foam cushions wrapped in the same leatherette finish as the headband. The inside of the earpads also has a large L or R printed on it (something missing from the regular H5s), and there’s no mistaking which way the H5 Tournament Edition headphones should be worn.
The braided 3.5mm cable is detachable and is attached to the back of the left earcup. I’m definitely a fan of the braided cables as of late and the one on these headphones is slightly thicker than others. The 3.5mm jack has a nice solid housing around it as well. Roughly 14″ from the top of the cable is where you’ll find the inline remote control. The inline remote is fairly thick, but smaller than the H7 and has a microphone mute button and the red Sound BlasterX ‘X’ on the front. One side houses the volume control, as well as a multi-function button for controlling music playback and phone call functions when used with a smartphone.
Like the other headphones in the series, the detachable microphone attaches to the bottom of the left earcup, simply insert the 3.5mm pole into the jack and it snaps into place easily. The microphone is attached to a bendable arm, while the microphone itself is a small plastic end on this arm.
The Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition headphones are fairly comfortable and definitely have a nice look to them.
Unlike the Sound BlasterX H7s which utilizes the Sound BlasterX Acoustic Engine Pro software for sound customization, the BlasterX H5s use the Sound BlasterX Acoustic Engine Lite version. Interestingly enough, the Pro software can just be downloaded from the Creative website, while registration is required for the Lite version. After registration, you’ll receive an email with an activation code and the link to download the software.
Once the software is installed, activated, and your computer is rebooted, you can use it to select one of thirteen profiles in five categories to use. You can also turn the BasterX Acoustic Engine settings to off. The profiles you can choose from include Adventure and Action, Driving Simulation, First Person Shooter, Real Time Strategy, and Sports. With the exception of Sports, each profile has two games — for example, Call of Duty series or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive under the main First Person Shooter profile — that can be chosen for further sound optimization. Each profile adjusts the Surround, Crystalizer, Bass, Smart Volume, and Dialog Plus levels.
While the effects do a decent job of optimizing the H5s based on the type of game you are playing, there is no option for manually customizing each setting like you can with the Pro software. I’m not sure what the reasoning is, but it would definitely be nice to be able to create custom sound optimizing.
The biggest difference between the Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition and their predecessor are the drivers. The drivers of the Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition have a higher sensitivity, are clearer, louder and sound more accurate in sound production as compared to the Sound BlasterX H5 and Sound BlasterX H5 Special Edition.
The BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition is equipped with the same large, responsive 50mm FullSpectrum™ drivers as the BlasterX H5 that deliver astounding sound. For this edition, the drivers are further tuned for clearer, louder and more accurate sound reproduction to give you an edge over your enemies, so you can be sure to experience a full-bodied impact of every bone-shattering explosion and rattle of gunfire in your gameplay.
While I haven’t had the opportunity to use the Sound BlasterX H5 headphones, the sound provided by the H5 Tournament Edition is definitely loud, clear, and has a decent range between mids, lows, and highs. This held true in gaming, while listening to music, and watching videos.
When used with a smartphone to listen to music, the H5 headphones sounded decent enough with the phone’s equalizer disabled, and sounded just that much better when tweaked a bit with the equalizer.
The microphone on the H5 Tournament Edition has also been redesigned for better voice pick up and noise cancellation in loud gaming environments. I don’t normally game in loud environments but during testing, I did turn the volume on my surround sound system while using the Xbox One and had no complaints about other people in my party not being able to hear me clearly.
The Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition Gaming Headset has an MSRP of $129.99USD. That in itself is a decent enough price for this headset given the comfort and sound, but it’s currently on sale on both the Creative website and Amazon for $79.99USD, which almost makes it a no-brainer if you’re in the market for a gaming headset.
The Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition headset is a decently priced, well constructed, comfortable, and great sounding gaming headset that’s worth the price.