Rating: ★★½☆☆

Harman and AKG are names that have been long associated with high end stereo equipment (AKG has been around since 1947, Harman since 1953), so it was a real shock to me when I saw they were making a gaming headset.  Could this be the start of something revolutionary?  Could one of the world’s top audio companies have finally realized the potential money they could make from the legions of gamers out there?

One of the things that is touted about the Harman AKG GHS-1, is that it won a Red Dot award for having outstanding product design, and while it’s true the design is really nice, it’s the sound that makes you makes you want to buy a new headset.  Unfortunately for Harman on this one, they’ve sold themselves short.

With all the leaps and bounds that Harman and AKG have made in advancing the field of speakers and sound, it’s sad to see that they’ve stayed so basic when it comes to their first round of gaming headsets.  While they may not have wanted to compete with the likes of Astro, Tritton, or Turtle Beach, they’re barely competing with the other low-end manufacturers.  Granted, the AKG GHS-1 is incredibly comfortable (so much so that it’s very easy to forget you have it on), and it collapses into itself to make storage a breeze.

The ear cups themselves are what is referred to as “supra aural”, which is just a fancy way of saying that they rest on your ears rather than around them.  I’ve heard people complain that supra aural headsets put too much pressure on the ears, and that they become really uncomfortable to use however the Harman AKG GHS-1 have a decent amount of padding on them – I never ran into an issue of the pressure being unbearable.

Another point of contention is the mic – it’s literally molded into the left ear cup, so there is no way to move or adjust it.  It picked up most of what I said, but it did have trouble when I was trying to be quiet because people were sleeping.  This could just be because the mic is extremely small and stubby, and as such not very close to your mouth at all – maybe a future design revision will elongate it to be more reliable.

Listening to music on the AKG GHS-1 was a bit better than using them for playing games – I was actually using them more to listen to my iPod than to play games.  Trying to make out voices and such on these while playing Crysis 2 was tedious at best (maybe I’m just too used to 5.1 headsets), but when dealing with just stereo sound they preform adequately.  The bass is notably low no matter what you’re listening to though (more than likely due to the small drivers).

All in all, I have to give Harman’s AKG GHS-1 a rating of 2.5 out of 5, because there are just too many good headsets out there to settle for one that all it has going for it is a good design.

Pros:

  • Award-winning design
  • Fairly comfortable
  • Compact storage

Cons:

  • Poor sound quality
  • Bad mic placement
  • Many better options at it’s price point

You can pick up the Harman AKG GHS-1 from Amazon for $69.00










Staff