MSI Im­merse GH70

A set of gam­ing cans that can light up your life, but not your ears...

PCPOWERPLAY - - Contents -

PRICE $ 149.00

Out of the box, the Im­merse GH70 is go­ing to turn heads, I’ll say that at least. It’s a very large, very brightly lit, and very ag­gres­sively de­signed head­set – MSI is not aim­ing for sub­tlety here. Rather than fea­ture an ad­justable head­band that clicks to the right size, the GH70 has a sin­gle metal span sup­port­ing a padded, sprung head­band. It looks like it should be re­ally un­com­fort­able, but on your head – and my nog­gin is on the larger side – it sits lightly and com­fort­ably. My work col­leagues were rather… taken aback at the size and gen­tly flash­ing RGB light­ing, so if you pre­fer a lower pro­file look, maybe look else­where. You can turn the light­ing off, of course, but then… why are you buy­ing RGB cans in the first place? The light­ing can also be set to sync with the rest of your PC hard­ware, too.

Ev­ery­thing’s great while they’re on your head, but the large size and metal band mean the GH70s are re­mark­ably un­com­fort­able to have hang­ing around your neck. It’s like wear­ing a neck­brace.

The GH70’s are a USB-pow­ered head­set – you can’t have the fancy light­ing oth­er­wise – and fea­ture an in­line con­trol box for vol­ume, mic mute, and turn­ing the head­set’s vir­tual 7.1 on and off. It’s cer­tainly handy, but for some rea­son MSI’s de­signed the box up­side down; with rub­ber feet, it’s clearly de­signed to sit on your desk next to your key­board and mouse, but leav­ing it prop­erly in­line sees all the la­belling re­versed. Why?!

The true proof to any head­set’s pud­ding, how­ever, is sound qual­ity. For a $150 head­set I’d nor­mally ex­pect slightly bet­ter, but with the HG70s you’re very much pay­ing for more than just sound. Mu­sic is crisp and full­bod­ied, though the mid-range does feel a lit­tle ne­glected, mak­ing vo­cal heavy tracks a lit­tle light on punch.

Get­ting into a game, how­ever, and turn­ing on the ap­par­ently built-in vir­tual 7.1 sur­round sound is… less than com­pelling. That was when I no­ticed the small-print in the Quick User Guide sug­gest­ing I down­load ‘soft­ware’ from the prod­uct’s web­site, where I learn that you need MSI’s Gam­ing Cen­ter soft­ware to get the 7.1 work­ing. This does de­liver an im­prove­ment, but there’s still an echo­ing qual­ity to play­back – even in open game ar­eas – that you don’t pick up with other vir­tual sur­round so­lu­tions. This does work very well for en­closed ar­eas, but ev­ery­where else feels like a dis­trac­tion. The clar­ity of sound is cer­tainly good, and you can pick out all kinds of dis­crete el­e­ments. But that echo… Yeah, nah.

The clar­ity of sound is cer­tainly good, and you can pick out all kinds of dis­crete el­e­ments. But that echo…

There are some other neat fea­tures, like a carry bag for when you take your head­phones on the road, and a very nice set of ex­tra earpads, which fea­ture a cloth mesh rather than the de­fault leatherette pads. But there’s enough dis­tract­ing draw­backs that the GH70s don’t quite make the cut. When you con­sider that you can spend an ex­tra $20 and get the ex­cel­lent Cor­sair HS70 Wire­less head­phones, which are much lighter, smaller, and bet­ter-fea­tured, the Im­merse head­phones look even less of a prospect. DAVID HOLLING­WORTH

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