MSI is one of the biggest names in PC building. This year, they’ve refreshed their line of accessories in a big way. We’ve looked at all three tiers of their gaming keyboards and were impressed. Today, we’re taking a close look the new GH60 Immerse Hi Res gaming headset. It promises high fidelity audio at only $99, but is it able to deliver? Let’s find out.
- MSRP: $99.99
- Connector: 3.5mm headphone jack
- Cable: Gold Plated and Braided / 2M Length / Low Resistance
- Driver Unit: 50 mm Neodymium (Hi-Res Certified)
- Speaker Sensitivity (SPL): 96 dB ± 3 dB
- Speaker Impedance: 32 ohm
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz ~ 40 kHZ
- Microphone Pick-up Pattern: Unidirectional
- Microphone Frequency Response: 100 Hz ~ 10 kHZ
- Microphone Sensitivity: -40 dB ± 3 dB
- Microphone Impedance: 2.2k ohm
- Also includes: Headphone/Microphone splitter, carrying pouch, replacement earpads
Hi Res audio is becoming the new key feature in gaming headsets. We saw it first with the Khan Pro from Roccat and most recently with the Arctis Pro series from SteelSeries. As one of the key players in the PC outfitting world, it’s not surprising to see MSI take up the challenge and deliver a Hi Res headset of their own. As a trend, this is a very good thing and we can only hope it continues.
Standard gaming headsets (and, indeed, headphones in general) feature a 20Hz - 20,000Hz frequency response range. This approximates the range of human hearing and is a good baseline to make sure your headphones are going to reproduce everything the artist/designer intended. Headphones featured Hi Res Audio certification need to double the upper frequency response, up to 40,000Hz. The Immerse GH60 does exactly that with a response range of 20Hz - 40,000Hz.
The question is, why; if you can only hear up to 20,000Hz anyway, what’s the point? The idea is twofold. First, by extending the range of the frequency response outside the realms of human hearing, you’re ensuring that whatever you can hear is produced with the utmost clarity, free from any kind of distortion from being pushed too far. Second, Hi Res certification is a guarantee that the headphones will be prepared for complex, high-bitrate files. If you’re not clear what that means, don’t worry, because those files typically have to be sought out in the first place.
Turning to the GH60 in particular, we find a headset that puts sound quality foremost, so that’s how we’ll tackle it in this review. For $99, these headphones sound very good, easily better than the average “20-20” gaming set. I love the tuning of headsets of this caliber. They vary, don’t misunderstand, but almost universally that extended upper range brings out the small details in music and games that get lost in the mix. It’s difficult to put into words because these details tend to be so small - the pings of tank treads in Battlefield 1, the texture going underwater in Guild Wars 2 layers onto the everything, the oscillations of the synth bed in PVRIS’s White Noise.
On the other hand, this is very much a case of not knowing what you’re missing until you are. Making the jump to Hi Res for the first time leaves a lot of focus wondering what the big deal is. When you go the other way, however, that’s when you start to notice what you’re missing. Put another way, a headset like the GH60 is going to reveal more of your music and games that you’ve probably realized is there, it will just reveal itself over time.
Turning to the rest of the headset, we find two pairs of exceptionally deep earcups. The set that comes pre-installed features a quality leatherette which works well to isolate outside noise. Like all leatherette, it will trap some more heat but occasional venting does a good job of prevent sweat and fatigue. The second set is a more breathable cloth with a red inner mesh. I prefer the leatherette for the sound isolation, but the cloth set is undeniably comfy.
The Immerse also features a self-adjusting headband, which allows it to sit lightly on the head. The downside here is that you lose the ability to make adjustments yourself. I have a smaller head and found that they sat a bit loosely for the size of the pads and housings. If I turned my head too fast they tended to shift out of place but never actually fell off, even when leaning over.
Above the padded band is a stainless steel frame. It looks good and a bit industrial. The Achilles’ Heel of the GH60 is that anything that taps this frame rings out directly into the earcups. A couple of well-placed dampeners would have gone a long way toward solving this problem but none were included in the unit I was sent.
Another reason the band may be so resonant is that the driver housings are a lightweight plastic, so there’s nothing to really damp it there either. The design of the housings follows the overall red-and-black, sharp angles theme of the rest of MSI’s line. The GH60 is undeniably a gaming headset, so you won’t be wearing them out of the house hooked up to your smart phone (though, you could since it features a 4-pole adapter and a splitter for use with PC). Given the performance of the headset, I would have liked to see a more subdued design so you could comfortably use them on the go and make the most from your investment.
Lastly, we have the microphone. It’s mounted on a flexible gooseneck that hides well inside the left earcup when not in use. Comms are clear and it isolates noise fairly well, but it does apply some compression to your voice to achieve this.
MSI’s Immerse GH60 is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s sound quality is great, and I love the inclusion of the second set of ear pads and carrying case. On the other hand, that steel frame leads to unwanted pings that reverberate through the whole headset and I wish the earcup design was more subdued to be used outside of the house.
- Lightweight, good for long gaming sessions
- Hi Res makes a clear difference in audio clarity
- Lows aren’t overwhelming
- Includes replacement earpads and carrying case
- Too much lightweight plastic
- Headband transfers too much noise
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.