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In my youth I’d go through headphones quite frequently. The early Call of Duty years (Modern Warfare and World at War in particular) were a dark, competitive and testosterone fuelled time for me. In my exuberance to ‘poon’ and notch up a respectable K/D ratio I’d fuel myself with an excessive amount of Tangfastic and caffeine to become ‘roided’ which resulted in some, shall I say, unnecessary roughness with my peripherals. By the time Black Ops was released like Dr Banner I’d learnt from my anger and, aided by the purchase of some quite expensive Limited Edition 7.1 Surround Sound Black Ops branded Tritton’s, try to not get mad …bro. These headphones subsequently lasted me 5-years, a record to date, however they’re now sadly taped up to high heaven, have a control box needing to be at just the right angle to not crackle and I’ve people telling me my mic sounds like I’m announcing delays on a train station Tannoy. Every time I’ve gone to replace them I’d found that due to my age I’ve been quite picky; The Turtle Beach headphones I’d been gifted one Christmas were uncomfortable and had a constant hiss (which the company and community advised was “normal”), my usually trusty go to Sennheiser’s didn’t last long with a young minion running around the house and even had to result to use Peppa Pig headphones for a period of time. I’m not proud of that …but in all honesty they sounded better than the Turtle Beach!

When the opportunity arose to check out a brand I wasn’t overly familiar with I jumped at the chance. Although I was aware of Swedish company QPAD producing some high quality gaming keyboards and mice for many years I’d never contemplated checking out the headsets. When I did I learnt them to be widely well reviewed and used in a growing number of competitive gaming events. My fingers and ears were crossed.

Upon frantically unboxing the QPAD QH-85’s I was presented with quite a luxurious aesthetic, satisfying number of connectors and even a ‘thank you’ letter from the founder of the company himself. A good start indeed. More companies should thank me. I like it. Amongst the package itself I found the white or black QH-85 headset (naturally), detachable and super bendy cardioid (microphone), control box attachment, 2m of extension cable, snazzy pouch to carry everything in and an iPhone/TRRS converter lead.

QPAD QH-85 Key features:
• Hi-Fi capable 53mm drivers for supreme audio quality
• 15-25.000 Hz frequency response
• Detachable microphone (quick and easy to plug/unplug formusic-only purposes)
• Solid aluminum construction for durability and stability
• Super-soft padded leather headband and velour padding on cups for maximum comfort
• Open cup design on QH-85 for natural Hi-Fi audio with a minimum of sound leakage.

Inspecting them as you’d expect the headband is fully adjustable to fit all noggin shapes and sizes but the padded leather portion was also very flexible and amazingly durable giving plenty of cushion. So durable was the headband I’d even given them a twist finding them to spring back vary satisfyingly. I’m sure they’ll bend quite far before buckling – but not confident to try.  The headset is not too weighty or cumbersome to sport and the velour pads are as pleasant on the head as the cool side of the pillow. When wearing them they feel very springy and not snappy like cheaper models that clamp down cutting off circulation to your brain. The product is finished with the QPAD logo and some solid aluminium sliders.

The universal 35mm jack means the QH-85’s will work with any TV, console, computer handheld or tablet. The included converter allows the kit to be hooked up for some portable gaming in addition allowing you to make and receive calls through it. If you do wish to use this function the control box included has a mobile phone button making device control simple or you can just access to the usual volume wheel and manual mic mute switch.

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The QH-85’s are my first open headphones in many years. Traditionally I’d go for closed headphones as I’d prefer the immersion and isolation of a gaming experience but as I’m aging like an old gent/git, I now prefer a few finer things in life – like comfort, quality and clarity. Thankfully these are dished out in spades. Open earphone technology, for those that don’t know, offer a more natural sound as air is allowed to pass through the cups into your lug holes rather than swirl around in a closed environment. Breathy headphones give clarity but the downside is that more external noise is allowed in and vice-versa as sound will bleed into the outside world. Billed as “pure hi-fi” I can 100% agree with this statement. Too long I’ve lived with both software powered or actual surround sound headphones and forget the ear feel of a good clear pair of stereo high fidelity lovelyness.

As I say traditionally it would have been all about that bass, but with the QH-85’s I get a harmonious amount of clear bass, mid and high tones. The bass is a trade off, don’t get me wrong, so if you do prefer the boom and vibration to the crystal ting you may want to look at the closed QH-90’s. Driven by a set of beefy 53 mm drivers, on par with the Turtle Beach Ear Force Z’s, they give an outstanding frequency response with pitch perfect clarity allowing you to detect the smallest footstep and deliver enough gusto when you’re amongst the action and levolution. Like the output, input via microphone is crisp and natural. The mic itself will bend to your will or can be fully removed if you just wish to play casual or listen to some music. Open ear is also preferable for local events. Being no stranger to a LAN party be it competitive (Battlefield of Call of Duty) or casual (Minecraft) this headset is designed with the unique demands these bring. Open headsets allow you to hear enough going on in the room and not have to, as I did before, sport the one cup off ear look to join in with conversations of who’s teabagging whom.

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My only negative on the design, and this is being really picky, is I’d quite gotten used to a corded cable to prevent unnecessary tangles. As a PC’er my headphones can be run quite neatly around my desk to avoid getting caught up, however at times it’s been a big help. I’d envisage a few issues for my console brethren when sat on the sofa but on the flip side the amount of cabling provided in the box should allow a length to suit all (fa-nar), plus the cabling is very thick and strong so will no doubt stand up to some good wear and tear.

Overall both sound and build quality are great. The QPAD QH-85’s produce some natural and clear output and are comfortable enough to wear for long periods without getting that unpleasant ear clamminess. This headset is perfect for those seeking excellent audio quality and/or enjoy playing locally with others. If you’re in or keen to take part in some eSports, these are certainly for you. A highly recommended headset indeed.



Author

BetaDaysUK

Computer and games fan from child to man (man-child if you wish). Gaming since the Atari 2600 all the way through ZX Spectrum, Amiga 500 and now PC. Keen observer of all things Early Access and in Beta (hence the name).