The Best Game Controller Maker Is Making Gaming Headsets Now, Too

Illustration for article titled The Best Game Controller Maker Is Making Gaming Headsets Now, Too
Photo: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

Scuf has made some of the best controllers I’ve ever held, and now the company is introducing a new headset that promises customizability, but not in the way you’d expect.

Gaming headsets can be complex. Most have lots of different ways to connect to your console, PC, or mobile device—some will only handle things wirelessly, while others need a specific cable. But the Scuf H1 headset, based on Corsair’s Virtuoso headset, is incredibly simple on that front. There’s just a thick fabric-wrapped 3.5mm cable with inline controls. It reminds me of a good V-Moda cable and feels sturdy, but it’s replaceable so if the cable ever starts poking through the fabric—as it has on just about every fabric-covered cable I’ve ever used—you should be able to replace.

Also replaceable is the microphone. Instead of just one option, Scuf is offering both an omnidirectional mic, which could be good for streaming with others in the room, and uni-directional...which could also be good for streaming with others in the room. The uni-directional mic is intended to better isolate the voice, and if you decide the one you want isn’t the one you bought, you simply unplug the microphone, which connects via what Scuf calls a universal headphone jack. It’s just a mini-USB port that requires a casing of with specific dimensions to fit.

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Photo: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

The microphone included with the H1 Scuf sent me is noticeably—pleasantly—chunky. It looks like it will capture sound well, and it does. When the microphone is positioned right, it records good clean sound. I definitely sound a lot tinnier than with my pro-grade microphone or even a $90 MXL V67G capsule mic I have going through a Zoom H6 recorder, but I don’t sound awful. Putting the mic closer to my face captures an ungodly number of plosives. So you’ll probably have to get accustomed to where your recording sweet spot is if you’re like me and move the mic away from your face when not in use.

Beyond the microphone and the 3.5mm jack, there’s nothing. No power buttons. No volume controls. The inline remote on the cable does include a mute switch and volume controls at least.

But remember how I mentioned the H1 is customizable? Besides being able to switch out the microphone, you can switch the decorative plates on the cans themselves. They’re attached via magnets, similar to the faceplate on the Scuf Vantage PS4 controller. Removing one and replacing it with another is easy (Scuf included a second set of plates with the H1 it sent along). Just pull it off. But the magnets also keep the plates in place. After a three-foot drop onto the floor, the plates were still firmly in place. Scuf says you’ll be able to customize plates, too, in case the options readily available aren’t to your liking.

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Build-wise, the H1 headset is sturdy. The synthetic leather headband reminds me a lot of the one I had on a pair of V-Moda headphones back in 2014. It’s comfortable and premium feeling for now, and I hope it holds up better than the disintegrated material on those V-Moda cans. The hinges for the earphones themselves are a little stiff, but I’ve only been using the headset for a day so I’m optimistic that problem will sort itself out with time.

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When it comes to audio, these headphones are powered by 50mm drivers and sound just really punchy. There’s a good sense of space, which should be useful if you’re listening to actual games through the headset, and bass so solid you’ll touch the cans to see if they’re vibrating. The detail is extremely clean, which should be great for gaming, too. But if you’re primarily looking for a headset so you can hear the people you’re playing with—that’s how I do it, but maybe I’m weird!—then these might be a bit much. Voices and dialogue can sound a little harsh.

But the Scuf H1 headset is also only $130, which is a mighty fine price for a solid wired headset with audio quality this good. Because you can remove the microphone you can even let the headset double as headphones. For a first step into a new space, Scuf has produced a welcome little headset. I can’t wait to see how it fares against more popular brands like Steelseries, Razer, or Logitech.

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Senior Consumer Tech Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.

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DISCUSSION

for 130 i would expect usbc charging, my 35$ soundcore q10s have it. im trying to get rid of all my legacy shit. way too many cables of differing sizes, mini usb micro usb usb a c, still have an old apple 30pin cable for my 80gb ipod classic that i cant bring myself to toss.