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  1. Table of Contents
  2. Intro
  3. Design
    1. Style
    2. Comfort
    3. Controls
    4. Stability
    5. Portability
    6. Case
    7. Build Quality
    8. Breathability
    9. Cable
    10. Front
    11. Angled
    12. Side
    13. Rear
    14. Top
  4. Sound
    1. Bass
    2. Mid
    3. Treble
    4. Frequency Response Consistency
    5. Raw Frequency Response
    6. Soundstage
    7. Imaging
    8. Total Harmonic Distortion
  5. Isolation
    1. Noise Isolation
    2. Leakage
  6. Microphone
    1. Recording Quality
    2. Noise Handling
  7. Active Features
    1. Wireless Range
    2. Latency
    3. Battery
    4. App Support
  8. In the box
  9. Conclusion
  10. Q&A
Reviewed on Dec 21, 2017 , Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Gaming Headset
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.1
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Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.5
Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.1
Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
6.3
Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
5.6
Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
6.8
Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition are well-built and comfortable gaming headsets with a great mic. They're a good option for gaming and watching videos due to their low latency wired connection, but won't be as convenient as some of the other wireless gaming headsets we've reviewed. On the upside, you can also use them as casual headphones thanks to their outdoor-friendly design and decent isolation.

See our recommendations for the best Gaming Headphones.
Test Results
Design 6.7
Sound 7.0
Isolation 6.8
Microphone 8.7
Active Features 3.4
Pros
  • Negligible latency.
  • Good audio reproduction and microphone.
  • Well-built and comfortable design.
Cons
  • Slightly bulky design.
  • Mediocre software support.

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6.7

Design

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Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Design Picture

The Creative H5 have a versatile design that looks great for gaming and casual use. They're one of the few gaming headsets with a control scheme that also works for mobile devices. You can remove the mic to make them look like common over-ears, and they're sufficiently stable to jog with. They have a durable build quality and the heavily padded ear cups fit well around most ears making them quite comfortable to wear for long listening sessions. Unfortunately, the headband doesn't extend far enough, which may cause some fatigue for some listeners, and the slightly rigid design is not very portable.

Style
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Design Picture 2

The Creative SoundBlasterX H5 Tournament Headset has a style reminiscent of the HyperX Cloud II and some of the Beyerdynamic headphones. They have a wide and well-padded headband and a metal frame that highlights their build quality and makes them feel a bit more premium. The ear cups are large and also well padded and you can remove the mic which makes them look more like casual over-ears that you can wear every day. The color scheme is not too flashy, unlike other gaming headphones which makes them look and feel a bit more professional and high-end.

8.0 Comfort
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What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
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What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
1 lbs

The SoundBlasterX H5 are comfortable headphones. They're a bit tight out-of-the-box but thanks to the excellent padding on the ear cups and headband, the pressure is well distributed. They're not ideal for very long listening sessions as they tend to get a bit hot. Also, some listeners may experience a bit of pressure since the headband doesn't quite extend far enough to accommodate all head shapes and sizes. However, for most users, they're comfortable and decently lightweight considering their size and build quality.

8.0 Controls
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What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Controls Picture
Ease of use : Above-average
Feedback : Average
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : Yes
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through : N/A
Additional Buttons : Multi function

The Creative SoundBlasterX H5 have an efficient and versatile control scheme that works for gaming and casual listening. They have an inline remote with an on/off switch for the mic, a volume dial and a call/music button to change tracks on mobile devices. The call/music button doesn't have the best feedback but it's a welcome addition that's not always available on gaming headsets.

7.0 Stability
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What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Stability Picture

The Creative H5 headphones are stable enough to use while jogging but are not ideal for high-intensity sports. They're still somewhat bulky gaming headphones but thanks to the comparatively compact design and flat ear cups they do not sway much under physical conditions. The cable also disconnects if it's hooked by something but not as easily as some other more casual everyday headphones.

2.7 Portability
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What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Portability Picture
L : 7.8 "
W : 7 "
H : 3.9 "
Volume : 212 Cu. Inches
Stand required : USB

The SoundBlasterX H5 are still too cumbersome to casually carry around on your person despite being more compact than typical gaming headphones. They do not fold and the ear cups do not lay flat so they're not very portable. Unfortunately, they also don't come with a case or pouch to carry them in, which is a bit disappointing.

0 Case
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What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

8.0 Build Quality
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What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Build Quality Picture

The Creative H5 have a good and sturdy build quality. The earcups are dense and the headband is flexible and reinforced with a metal frame. The materials used in their build also looks and feels premium and since they have few moving parts, they're not as susceptible to wear and tear. Unfortunately, the audio cables connecting the ear cups are exposed and could get damaged if they get hooked or tangled on something.

6.3 Breathability
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What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Breathability Before Picture Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.2 C

Cable
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 7.5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

Front
Angled
Side
Rear
Top
7.0

Sound

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What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Frequency Response

The Creative Sound BlasterX H5 is an average sounding pair of closed-back over-ear gaming headsets. They have a deep bass, a consistent mid-range and a very good treble. However, their bass is boomy and prone to inconsistencies across multiple users, their mid-range is muddy and recessed, and like most other closed-back headphones, don't have a open and spacious soundstage.

7.7 Bass
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What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Bass
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.42 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
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What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-3.41 dB
Mid-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.36 dB
High-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
5.07 dB

Good bass range performance. Low-frequency extension is at 10Hz, which is excellent. But low-bass, which is responsible for low-end thump and rumble is lacking by 3dB. Additionally, high-bass is overemphasized by about 5dB, making the bass of these headphones noticeably boomy.

7.2 Mid
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What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Mid
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.67 dB
Low-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
4.57 dB
Mid-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.07 dB
High-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-3.51 dB

Average mid-range performance. The 4dB bump in low-mid, which is the continuation of high-bass overemphasis, makes the mid-range of Sound BlasterX H5 cluttered and muddy. The 5dB dip around 1KHz on the other hand, pushes vocals and leads to the back of the mix.

8.0 Treble
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What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Treble
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.41 dB
Low-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.36 dB
Mid-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.94 dB
High-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-3.58 dB

Very good treble range performance. The response is rather inconsistent, but overall, the treble is on the bright side. The narrow dip around 4.5KHz, will have a small negative effect on the detail of vocals/leads.

5.6 Frequency Response Consistency
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What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Consistency L Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.14 dB

Sub-par consistency performance. The Sound BlasterX H5 is prone to inconsistency in their bass delivery across multiple users, especially if they are wearing glasses. We measured a maximum deviation of 12dB at 20Hz. In the treble range, the consistency is also below-average, with about 6dB of deviation around 2Khz.

4.8 Soundstage
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What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
PRTF Error
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in Pinna-Related Transfer Function of the headphones, compared to that of a loudspeaker. Whether the soundstage is perceived to be unnatural, located inside or in front of the head, is dependent on this quality. The more the headphones activate the HRTF resonances of the ear (similar to what loudspeakers do), the more the soundstage will be pulled out from inside the listener's head. This quality affects both stereo and mono content.
When it matters: When a natural, in-the-front soundstage is desired, similar to that of a loudspeaker.
Good value: <5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
6.89 dB
Openness
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What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality affects both stereo and mono content. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score.
When it matters: When an open, wide and roomy sound is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
4.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
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What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones takes some of the characteristic of its environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality affects both stereo and mono content. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: When an open, wide and roomy sound is desired.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
2.6
Correlated Crosstalk
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What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

Poor soundstage performance. Due to the close-back and enclosure design, the Sound BlasterX H5 doesn't have an open and spacious soundstage stage.

8.0 Imaging
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What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Phase Response
Phase Error
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in the phase, from the ideal flat response.
When it matters: When an accurate and transparent imaging is desired.
Good value: <60°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
33.24 °
Driver Mismatch (Amplitude)
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What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <0.3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.52 dB
Driver Mismatch (Frequency)
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What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.48 dB
Driver Mismatch (Phase)
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What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <90°
Noticeable difference: 30°
:
58.99 °

Very good imaging performance. Phase error is minimal and mostly concentrated in the bass range, which makes it less audible. Additionally, we measured some phase mismatch in high-treble, but due to the very high frequency nature, their negative effect on imaging will be quite subtle.

7.6 Total Harmonic Distortion
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What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.055
Weighted THD @ 100
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
3.077

Good harmonic distortion performance. The amount of harmonic distortion in the bass range is rather elevated, but within good limits. In the treble range, there are some sharp peaks in THD which could make those frequencies to sound a bit harsh.

6.8

Isolation

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Score components:

The Creative H5 isolate well enough for commuting. The ear cups create a good seal around your ears that doesn't leak much even a higher than average volumes. It also prevents a decent amount of ambient noise from seeping into your audio. They won't be as suitable for loud environments, like some of the noise canceling headphones we've reviewed, but they are one of the most isolating gaming headsets that we've tested so far making them versatile enough for outdoor use.

6.5 Noise Isolation
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What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
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What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-15.23 dB
Bass
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-0.43 dB
Mid
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-14.46 dB
Treble
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-32.13 dB
Self-Noise
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What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0 dB

Decent isolation performance. The H5 doesn't have active noise cancellation, and therefore, don't isolate in the bass range. However, the achieve about 15dB of isolation in the bass range, and more than 32dB in the treble range. Both values being good.

7.4 Leakage
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What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
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What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
37.58 dB

Above-average leakage performance. The significant portion of leakage sits between 2KHz and 6KHz, which is a narrow range. The overall level of leakage is not very loud either.

8.7

Microphone

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What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:

Excellent microphone performance. Speech recorded with the microphone of the Sound BlasterX H5 sounds full, detailed, clear, and will be easily intelligible. However, it could lack a little bit in brilliance and airiness. In noisy environments, the microphone of the H5 is capable of separating speech from ambient noise to a remarkable degree, and should be suitable for use in almost all environments, including a subway station.

8.6 Recording Quality
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What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
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What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
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What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
20 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
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What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
2.58 dB
HFE
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What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
7561.35 Hz
Weighted THD
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What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
0.405
Gain
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What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
33.75 dB

Great recording quality. Low-frequency is extended down to 20Hz, which results in a full sounding recorded speech. High-frequency extension is at 7.5KHz, meaning recorded speech will be easily understandable, but may lack in airiness. The peak around 4KHz, makes the sound of these microphones a bit bright.

8.9 Noise Handling
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What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
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What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
45.08 dB

Excellent noise handling. The H5 was able to achieve a speech-to-noise ratio of 45dB, meaning they are able to separate speech from noise to a great degree.

3.4

Active Features

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What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

Supports the BlasterX Acoustic Engine Lite which offers limited customization options and presets. It's not as personalizable as some of the more dedicated software for other gaming headphones like the SteelSeries Engine with the Arctis 7 or the Astro Command Center for the A50. On the upside, since they're wired they have practically no latency but do not have the convenience of a wireless design.

0 Wireless Range
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What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Score components:
Type
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What it is: The type and version of the wireless network, the headphones use to connect to the audio source. This could either be Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: The Bluetooth version will determine how compatible the headphones are with your Bluetooth enabled devices. Typically, newer Bluetooth versions are backward compatible with older ones but may lack the additional features that more recent Bluetooth protocols provide.
:
Wired Connection
Obstructed Range
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What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
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What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
N/A
NFC
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What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
:
N/A

10 Latency
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What it is: The latency is how long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Base Latency
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What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
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What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
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What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

Wired connection, negligible latency.

N/A Battery
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What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Score components:
Battery Type
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What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
N/A
Battery Life
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What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
N/A
Charge Time
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What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
N/A
Auto-off
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What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
N/A
Audio while charging
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What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
N/A
Passive Playback
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What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
N/A

6.5 App Support
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What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 App Picture
App Name : BlasterX Acoustic Engine Lite
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : No
Windows : Yes
Equalizer
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What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
No
ANC control
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What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Mic Control : No
Room effects
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What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
Yes
Playback control
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What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
No
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : Yes

The BlasterX Acoustic Engine Lite is a decent software that offers mild customisation options for the Sound Blasterx H5. It installs drivers that allows you to select presets for specific games or game genres. This in turn increases the bass or level of simulated surround sound. It is a multipurpose driver configuration, so it will work with any stereo headphones with a 1/8 TRRS audio jack but has specific preset settings for the sound blaster headphones. It's decent but doesn't offer as much customization as other gaming headsets with more dedicated software implementation.

In the box

Creative Sound BlasterX H5 In the box Picture

  • Creative SoundBlasterX H5 Headphones
  • USB charging cable
  • Headset adapter
  • Manual

Conclusion

6.5Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
The SoundBlasterX H5 are a decently versatile gaming headset. They have negligible latency since they're wired and a comfortable over-ear design that you can use outdoors with your mobile devices. They sound decent but won't be ideal for more critical listeners and unfortunately, they're not as convenient as the other wireless gaming headsets since they have a limited range and few customization option via app/software support.
7.1Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Average for critical listening. They have a decent audio reproduction a bit too much high bass which makes them sound a bit boomy. While this is fine for gaming it won't be ideal for more critical listeners. They're also a bit inconsistent with the bass-range, especially if you wear glasses, and they do not have the best soundstage due to their closed back design.
6.3Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Average for commuting. The Creative H5 have a slightly bulky design that doesn't fold, but unlike most of the gaming headsets we've reviewed, they should isolate well enough for public transit.
5.6Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Sub-par for sports. They are stable enough for jogging but a bit too bulky for more intense physical activities. They also make your ears quite warm after wearing them for a while which will be worse if you use them to workout.
6.8Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Decent for office use. They block a good amount of noise and they do not leak much even at higher volumes.
Decent for home theater use. If you're using these headphones with your PC, then the low latency of the wired connection and decent audio reproduction makes them great for watching videos and movies. However, they won't be ideal for all home theater setups, as the cable is not long enough, even with the headset adapter extension cord.
Good for gaming. The Creative H5 have a great mic, a low latency wired design and a comfortable fit you can wear for hours. They also have a decently well-balanced and bass-heavy sound that should work well for gaming. Unfortunately, they're not the most breathable headset, so they will make your ears a little warm after gaming for a while. They have mediocre software support, and the lack of a wireless design makes them less convenient than some of the other gaming headsets we've reviewed.
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