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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? Are these headphones going to stack up against our Logitech G930 wireless gaming 7.1 Dolby surround headset review? Are these the best gaming headphones available now? 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? Give the LucidSound LS40 review a read to compare it with a different gaming headset. Or you could read our Microsoft Xbox stereo headset review. If you are one of the many people who have to wear glasses, be sure to read our article on how to wear a gaming headset with glasses to stay comfortable while gaming.
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 want to buy a new headset. If you want to read about another high-quality headset, you might also be interested in our Razer Tiamat Elite 7.1 surround sound gaming headset review. Is the new AKG GHS-1 gaming headset able to compete well in terms of sound quality? Unfortunately for Harman on this one, they’ve sold themselves short. If you want a wireless gaming headset, check out our Creative Sound Blaster Recon 3D Omega wireless gaming headset review instead.
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. Compare this with the Turtle Beach Ear Force XO seven pro gaming headset if you primarily game on X-Box. 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 new 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. If you’re still not sold by these headphones, take a look at the SteelSeries Arctis 5 gaming headset review too.
On the new AGK headsets, 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. For another comfortable pair of headphones, with true 5.1 sound, take a look at our Psyko Carbon 5.1 review instead.
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. Or, if you prefer a microphone that is not attached to your headphones, you can check out our list of the top mic for PC gaming. If you consider yourself a part of the gaming elite, you should also read our review of Sony’s DR-GA500 headset: is for the gaming elite.
Listening to music on the new 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 they perform adequately when dealing with just stereo sound. The bass is notably low no matter what you’re listening to, though (probably 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 where good design is all it has going for it. And whether you buy this headset or one of the many others available, grab a great headset stand to make sure they don’t get messed up while you are not using them.
You can pick up the Harman AKG GHS-1 from Amazon for $69.00