Gigabyte’s AORUS brand has long been known for manufacturing beautiful and reliable gear. From motherboards to headphones the company strives to deliver the best for gamers. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent quite a bit of time familiarizing myself with the AORUS H1 Gaming Headset. Built from the ground up with gamers in mind, this headset is packed to the earpiece with features and function. After running the H1 through a gauntlet of tests and games it’s time to weigh in on just how well these headphones hold up. So grab that coffee, kick back and enjoy our review of the AORUS H1 Gaming Headset from Gigabyte.
- Headphone: Virtual 7.1 Channel
- Microphone: Unidirectional
- Driver Diameter:
- Headphone: 50mm
- Microphone: 4*2mm
- Headphone: 32? ±15%
- Microphone: 2.2K?
- Frequency Response:
- Headphone: 20Hz~20KHz
- Microphone: 100Hz~10KHz
- Cable Length: 2.2m
- Weight: 290g
- Connector Type: USB2.0
Sleek is Chic
The AORUS H1 headset works hard to establish itself as both a sleek headset as well as a functional one. The all-black design is accented more by textures than colors. The only markings are found on each earpiece; the falcon logo in white stands in stark contrast to the rest of the headphones.
Circling the logo is an RGB ring light tucked away along the outer edge. When not in use it’s barely noticeable but once fired up creates a nice accent of color for the headphones. The lighting is a nice touch and offers a few different prebuilt color patterns to choose from. If you’re hoping to lock in your favorite color, though, you’ll be a bit disappointed. Outside of the aforementioned presets, there are no other options for customization.
The outer headband is made of matte black finished metal that connects the earpieces together. An inner band made of soft leather rests on the user’s head and has a flexible band inside to allow it to seamlessly adjust to the wearer’s head effortlessly. It’s exceptionally comfortable to wear for long periods of time without any real pressure put on your ears or head.
The padding for the earpieces themselves is made of soft durable leather. Its oval shape encloses the ear without putting any pressure on the earlobe. Even when gaming with glasses on, the H1’s are comfortable to wear for extended periods.
My only real complaint in regards to comfort is that the padded leather isn’t as breathable as I would have hoped for. This does result in it getting a bit warm around the ears during those long play sessions. It’s definitely better than some leather earpads I’ve used but still not as breathable as a mesh cloth material.
A connected microphone extends down from the left earpad. This Environmental Noise Cancellation microphone (more on that later) is housed in a flexible casing that not only feels durable but is pretty rugged based on my testing.
Finally, the 2.2 meter USB cable houses an in-line audio controller. This little remote controls system volume, RGB settings, and the ENC function. It works great and is fairly easy to access while in the midst of a gaming session. Overall, the build and look of the AORUS is solid and speak to the quality of its design and manufacturing. It’s functional, comfortable, and nice to look at.
Turn It to 11
Looks are only part of what the H1 has to offer. It comes equipped with a pair of 50mm drivers that output some serious sound. The drivers sound a little warm but not to the point of the bass feel muffled. In fact, the bass tones that these drivers can produce are rich and full.
The mids and highs also sound nice and clean. I ran the headphones for about 15 hours before running any tests and was impressed at how clean and crisp they continued to be. After about the 20-hour mark, they began to warm up and the bass really began to fill out. Interestingly the highs and mids continued to sound clean and clear.
Frequency testing (done around hour 30 of use) revealed that the H1’s easily maintain a clean sound all the way down to 20 Hz with only a slight buzz at the very bottom. On the high end, I started to hear a little bit of distortion just above the 15Khz mark but nothing that caused major concern. 17KHz seemed to be the high limit on what the drivers could produce for sound during my tests. Much like the bass warming up after 20 hours, I imagine I’ll see a similar result with the high end once I get some real mileage out of them.
We Are Surrounded
Not only do these headphones sound great in stereo but they also sound amazing in virtual 7.1 surround sound. The drivers had no problem emulating each of the zones during my tests and seamlessly transitioned between them. I was impressed at just how clean and crisp the test sounded coming out of the H1’s.
I ran the 7.1 surround in Destiny 2, COD: MW and DOOM Eternal. In all three games, the directional sound was clear, crisp, and immersive. The whole audio experience was a lot of fun in-game and added to the already white knuckle experience.
What was also impressive was just how loud the AORUS H1’s can get. One of the first things I do when reviewing is to do is a simple warm-up test. When I first crack open a new pair of headphones I load up an infinite playlist, crank the volume to max and let it run for a day or so. It’s a great way to test the basic durability of the drivers and helps stretch the drivers a bit before any intense tests.
In this particular test, the H1’s were so loud that they could be heard from my office with the door closed while I watched TV at the far end of my Home Theatre room. I actually stopped what I was watching because one of my favorite songs came up on the list. Clearly, these aren’t designed to be a speaker system for your home but the power behind the 50mm drivers is impressive, to say the least.
ABC to ENC
So I would be remiss if I didn’t spend some time talking about one of the AORUS H1’s most interesting features; the Environmental Noise Cancellation microphone. The ENC is designed to filter out unwanted ambient noise and only capture your voice. It essentially works like an audio gate, shutting out frequencies below a certain point. Except, in this case, it’s focused on shutting out everything but your voice.
I have mixed feelings about the system. On the one hand, I am thoroughly impressed at how well it can isolate audio and choose which to keep and which to remove. In fact, I wish I had a plugin that worked as well as the ENC does for mixing podcasts. It might sound like I’m overselling how good it is but check out this audio sample for proof of concept.
As you can clearly hear in the sample, the ENC is impressive at removing that ambient acoustic. This, however, is where I also have some concerns with the ENC. In that sample, you can also hear a modulation change in my voice once the ENC is active. It’s much harsher, with the 7000 to 10,000 Hz range really peaking and causing a hissing sound to my vocals. It is by no means the end of the world and honestly is a huge step in the right direction for gating background noise in audio. However, I’m just not a huge fan of what it does to the voice itself.
In a quiet recording space, the mic itself does a decent job at capturing vocals. It’s clear enough to communicate with others without any major issues. Interestingly though, while using it during a Strike with some friends in Destiny 2, they both noted a downgrade in the overall quality of my audio coming through on discord over the headset mic I normally use. It definitely works for gaming but when compared to the quality of the rest of the H1 it’s a shame to not see that carry over into the microphone.
From Hardware to Software
The AORUS H1 also comes with its own software suite to allow for some nice customization. The software comes with a four-profile EQ table to allow for those custom setups. It isn’t the most robust EQ board I’ve used in a software suite but offers enough to create some distinct audio profiles.
An effects tab allows you to further push your sound profiles by offering simulated room setups such as theatre and corridor. It’s a fun little feature that really just shows off what the software can do. Speaking of fun there is also a voice modulation (or Voice Magic) function tab that does exactly what it sounds like it would do.
There are a couple more functional tabs to work with in the form of a mic, Virtual 7.1, and ENC tab that allow you to push gains on the mic and how powerful the gate is on ENC. The virtual 7.1 tab is a bit more interesting though. It actually allows you to go in and move the virtual speakers around to create a new surround setup. It was actually pretty fun to create some unique 3D sound setups and then rerun the 7.1 tests. Sadly, as mentioned early, there is no tab for customizing the onboard RGB, and really feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. Who doesn’t want more customization in their lighting?
Overall, the AORUS H1 Audio suite is a straightforward and useful tool to help customize your audio experience. Its clean, simple layout makes it easy to navigate and use without having to spend much time learning the software suite. It should be noted that the software is only available for Windows. The AORUS H1’s work great on a Mac but you won’t be doing any additional customizing. That has nothing to do with the AORUS H1, you just shouldn’t be gaming on your Mac.
The AORUS H1 Gaming Headphones sound amazing and are really comfortable to wear despite the padded leather creating a warm zone for your ears. The ENC technology is a great step in the right direction and is impressive to use. It is a bit hampered by some frequency issues. The lackluster microphone also seems out of place with an otherwise great-sounding pair of headphones. Despite these few shortcomings, the sleek but functional design coupled with powerful drivers and a nice feature list makes it a solid offering from Gigabyte. If you're interested in learning more or want to pick up a pair head on over to their website.The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.