When it comes to gaming headphones you want at least three things: incredible sound, comfort and something I can use when I’m not gaming (like listening to music). In this review we’ll take a look at the Creative Sound BlasterX H5 gaming headphones (or headset, whichever you prefer) and the G5 DAC and Amp. If you’re looking for the best gaming headset/headphones at or under $100, you can’t ignore this combo.
The H5 headphones aren’t going to disappoint gamers in the features department, that’s for sure. On the inside the H5’s are rocking 50mm drivers which will let your favorite soundtracks thump your eardrums and these drivers are actually tilted a bit which produces an acoustic chamber for some added clarity which I’ve really gotten used to and will miss as I move on to try other headphones.
There’s also a detachable mic which is great for when you want to take a break from schooling your friends on Steam or Xbox Live and listen to music. That’s an awesome feature that makes these headphones a lot more versatile than some of the competition.
These aren’t wireless — the best gaming headphones usually aren’t — but the cord here is woven which helps reduce tangles and will definitely last longer than other plastic cords.
On the cord is a rather large remote that lets you control the volume, hit play or pause or take calls or mute and un-mute the mic.
So let’s talk about the sound. I feel like these headphones deliver a velvety, maybe more balanced sound that doesn’t overemphasize the low end. And because of the tilted drivers you really do end up with more clarity which I think serious gamers will really like and come to rely.
And on the music front I thought these headphones were good but I’d probably prefer listening to music on the u-Jays I reviewed recently.
These headphones get really loud — even without the Amp — and I wasn’t able to pick up any distortion as loud as I could stand listening which is great.
Now in terms of comfort these are some of the lightest headphones I’ve ever tried on gaming or otherwise and that translates into very little ear fatigue. And that’s super important if you could potentially be wearing these for several hours at a time.
There’s a really thick layer of cushioning on the headband and the ear cushions are nice squishy. And when you combine those features with the fact that these fit over the ear, this is a definite recipe for comfort.
When I first realized how light these headphones were, I sort of immediately suspected they might feel a bit plasticky and cheap but that’s really not the case. There is some plastic but it’s sturdy and the metal frame that runs throughout really has an incredible amount of give and flex. So overall this product feels sturdy and like it will last for a long time, despite being made out of super light weight materials.
In terms of design I’d say these headphones are just ok: they definitely have a very “gamer” feel to them but these aren’t the kind of headphones I’d want to wear outside the house. I really liked the materials used on the Feenix Arias I reviewed not long ago, but I very much appreciate the thinner and more manageable profile of these headphones and that they don’t stick out like a sore thumb.
So overall these are high-quality headphones with some unique drivers that produce a nice, balanced and accurate sound which I’d call perfect for gamers. But everything that’s good about these headphones only gets better when paired with the G5 DAC and Amp.
If you’re unsure what a DAC is it basically lets you get the most out of your headphones. I’m not going to do a deep dive into how that works here in this video, but suffice it to say that this audiophile-grade amp delivers high-resolution audio playback of up to 24-bit/192kHz. Long story short: if you have the right kind of input or source it’s going to sound amazing when it’s run through the G5.
So the G5 works with PCs and consoles but on the PC side of things you’ll benefit from immersive 3D audio which is a really nice touch. But one of my favorite features is the ability to produce a virtual 7.1 channel surround sound experience which really gives you an advantage in terms of positioning and accuracy when gaming.
A few cool features to mention: there’s a backlit volume knob which is great for people who game in low light situations and there are a few buttons along the side that will let you tweak things like the gain or switch between different hardware accelerated audio enhancements on the fly. So if you’re playing a first-person shooter and then switch to a driving game this will let you easily switch to an optimized sound environment.
If you’re into hifi audio or just want to take advantage of every possible upgrade that might help you beat the competition this is not going to disappoint. The difference between audio coming out of a normal headphone jack and audio piped through the G5 is truly pretty astounding.
One final detail: there’s a bit of foam on the bottom of the G5 that will help to keep it from sliding around so much and also prevent certain surfaces from getting any unwanted scratches or dings.
So the H5’s paired with the G5 can actually get as loud as some Bluetooth speakers. The combo is louder than you’d ever need it to be — ever.
Should you spend $100 on this particular pair of headphones and another $150 on the DAC and Amp? If you’re serious about gaming I’d say definitely. If you just want great audio from your PC I’d also say go for it.
Alright that’s it for this video… if you’re interested in my complete headphone buying guide which is brand new this year make sure to check that out — links in the description. Otherwise I’ll catch you guys in the next one. Later.