QPAD QH-85 Headset Review
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QPAD QH-85 Headset Review

January 22nd, 2014 James Leave a comment Go to comments



The QPAD QH-85 will be the third headset that we have seen from Gaming peripheral manufacturer QPAD. The previous headsets (QH-90 & QH-1339) received Gold & Silver awards, will the QH-85 make it three awards in row?

The QH-85 is exactly the same as the stereo, circumaural QH-90 model tested back in February featuring the same 53mm Drivers and detachable microphone, as such the headset has pretty much identical Specifications. The difference here is that the QH-85 is an Open-Back headset compared to the Closed-Back of the QH-90. What does this mean?

  • The ear-cup of the headset is effectivley sealed, no sound is allowed to escape from the cup, this also tends to provide a richer/warmer sound with more pronounced bass.

  • OPEN BACK (QH-85)
  • The ear-cup of the headset is open to air allowing sound to escape, this allows the speaker within to produce a brighter/crisper sound, normally with less emphasis on bass. The downside of this is that what you are listening to can also be heard by others.


    QPAD-QH85 - box front QPAD-QH85 - box back


    The headset came in a smart predominately white box, with a large picture of the headset on the front. Also featured on the front of the box is a list of the QH-85′s special features, as listed below.

    • Pure HI-FI
    • 53mm Driver
    • Open Cup
    • Velour Ear Pads
    • Detachable Mic
    • Allround (Gaming, Music, Film)
    • 3.5 mm Plugs
    • 2 Year Warranty

    On the back of the box there’s a list of the headphone’s features (see below) in various languages and some thoughts on the QPAD QH-85 Pro Gaming Headset.


    QPAD-QH85 - box (side)

    Also highlighted on the side of the box we find a list of additional features of the headset:

    • Solid aluminium construction
    • Super soft leather headband
    • Open ear cups
    • Detachable microphone
    • Comfortable Velour ear pads
    • 53 mm Hi-Fi capable drivers


    QPAD-QH85 - inner box QPAD-QH85 - inner box (open)


    With the outer box removed we find a cool black inner box, with the following statement: QPAD brings HiFi to the GAME

    Inside the lid of the box is a Congratulations statement from QPAD founder Crister “MrMouse” Kornback. After reading this it’s likely that we should really be looking at something really rather special here, fingers crossed. It’s also apparent that the QPAD QH-85 has been lovingly packed; with the headset protected by tissue paper (not shown), foam and its own plastic bag. This is some of the nicest packaging I’ve seen in a while (well since I unboxed the QPAD QH-90!).


    QPAD-QH85 - box contents QPAD-QH85 - Quick Start Guide


    In the box we also find the following items other than the headset itself:

    • Carry pouch
    • Quick Start Guide
    • Microphone boom
    • Control box with 100cm cable
    • 200cm extension cable
    • 10cm iPhone cable

    At the time of review the QPAD QH-85 is retailing for approximately £70 and comes with a 2 year warranty, please also note that the headset is available in Black or White.



    courtesy of QPAD

    • Hi-fi capable 53mm drivers for supreme audio quality
    • 15-25.000 Hz frequency response
    • Detachable microphone (quick and easy to plug/unplug for music-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 natural Hi-Fi audio with a minimum of sound leakage

  • Headphone
  • Transducer type Dynamic Ø53mm
    Operating principle Open
    Frequency response 15Hz-25KHz
    Nominal impedance 60 Ω per system
    Nominal SPL 92±3dB
    T.H.D < 2%
    Power handling capacity 250mW
    Sound coupling to the ear Circumaural
    Ambient noise attenuation approx.10 dBA
    Headband pressure 5 N
    Weight with microphone and cable 350g
    Cable length and type 1m + 2m extension + 10cm iphone
    Connection Mini stereo jack plug(3.5MM)

  • Microphone
  • Transducer type Condenser(back electret)
    Operating principle Pressure gradient
    Polar Pattern Cardioid
    Power supply AB powering
    Supply voltage 2V
    Current consumption Max 0.5 mA
    Nominal impedance ≤2.2 kΩ ± 30%
    Open circuit voltage at f = 1 kHz 20 mV / Pa
    Frequency response 100 – 12,000 Hz
    T.H.D 2% at f = 1 kHz
    Max. SPL 105dB SPL (THD ≤ 1.0% at 1KHz)
    Microphone output -39±3dB
    Dimensions Ø6*5mm
    Length mic boom 150MM(include gooseneck)
    Capsule diameter Ø6mm

    * Additional details available here


    First Impressions


    First impressions of the QPAD QH-85 are obviously the same as the QH-90 so to prevent me from repeating myself, as nothing has really changed, here’s the words from the original review: First Impressions are nothing short of excellent from the packaging, to the headset and the included extras. The headset is just a joy to look at, it appears to be well engineered with all of the materials used being of a very high standard. Everything about the QH-85 seems to shout quality.




    The left ear-cup features a non-detachable audio cable that is about 100cm in length and also a socket for the detachable microphone, the right ear-cup has no specific features to speak of.

    The backs of the ear-cups feature a soft touch rubber type coating that’s got a particularly nice quality feel to it. The ear-cups have a small degree of horizontal swivel and a far larger degree of vertical swivel, ensuring that comfort levels remain high and that the ear-cup sits snug on the side of the head. A single wire on each ear-cup connects the cup to the headband.


    QPAD-QH85 - left QPAD-QH85 - right


    The leather clad headband features a very nice embroidered QPAD logo in grey. The headband itself is made from aluminium so there’s no reason for the headband to snap (this can happen with plastic headbands!). The foam used on the inner section of the headband does not appear to be memory foam, but it does appear to be relatively soft. And as the inner part of the band is completely covered, it should help with the overall comfort level of the headset.


    QPAD-QH85 - headband


    The headband is adjustable by approximately 36mm per side, this is not much adjustability and I have concerns for those with a larger than average head size. This is brought about not by the adjustability per se but by the fact that the headset, at its smallest setting, it is extremely small indeed!


    QPAD-QH85 - extended


    Each of the Open-Back ear-cups feature velour ear-pads with memory foam and within each cup you will find a 53mm Driver (the largest Driver we have seen to date in a headset!). Of course the open-back design of the QH-85 means that sound will escape from the ear-cups themselves…


    QPAD-QH85 - ear-cup (cushion)

    The noise-cancelling condenser microphone, found at the end of a very flexible boom (pipe-cleaner style) features a windscreen (foam bobble) at the end. The boom is, somewhat obviously detachable, as can be seen from the image below and is approximately 150mm in length. The foam bobble at the end helps keep unwanted noise and moisture away from the microphone, so things like breathing, a slight knock, even sniffing are less likely to be picked-up. Seems like a good idea to me…

    The microphone connects to the left ear-cup, by way of a small 3.5mm socket. This socket has small black cover/plug that can be used when the microphone is not in use.


    QPAD-QH85 - microphone QPAD-QH85 - microphone socket


    The flexibility of the microphone boom is excellent and is one of the best I’ve used, the microphone can be placed exactly where you want it, and more importantly, it stays there!


    QPAD-QH85 - microphone attached QPAD-QH85 - microphone (bent)


    The in-line control box (the headset will function without the control box, but some functionality is obviously lost) found at the end of the separate 1m cord features a volume control wheel on one side and a microphone mute switch on the other. Atop the control box we find a ‘mobile phone button’, this seems rather strange to me as this is a Gaming headset, yet a ‘mobile phone button’ seems to take pride of place on the control box!? Hmm, they’ve still not fixed this issue yet, I’m hoping they will though…

    There’s also a couple of extra cables, the first of which is a basic 2m extension cable for the headset, the second allows the headphone out and mic to be combined into a single 3.5mm Jack plug. The Quick Start Guide suggests that this is primarily used for iPhones…



    Hardware Installation


    As the QPAD QH-85 would be classed as a mid-range headset it will be paired up with the on-board audio of our Test Motherboard the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING, this MB from MSI features an Realtek ALC1150 chipset with MSI’s Audio Boost technology.


    MSI Z87-G45 GAMING Motherboard - IO MSI - Audio Boost


    The QPAD QH-85 headset was simply connected to the on-board audio via the two (headphone/mic) 3.5mm Jack plugs.


    QPAD-QH85 - connections


    Testing Methodology/Setup


    The QPAD QH-85 was tested using our Intel Test Rig, running Windows 7 64bit (service pack 1) with all necessary Drivers installed. No software is supplied or required for full functionality of the headset.

    The following games were used during testing:

    • Battlefield 4
    • Metro Last Light
    • Shadow Warrior
    • Lego: Marvel Super Heroes
    • Remember Me
    • Metro 2033 (benchmark)
    • Unigine Heaven (benchmark)
    • Unigine Valley (benchmark)


    Hardware Performance


    • Headset


    The performance of a headset is predominately based upon what it sounds like, therefore what we have here is my opinion on what I think about the audio performance of the QPAD QH-85 headset; of course this is somewhat subjective.

    The QH-85 headset was tested with on-board sound as described above, and the out of the box performance is remarkably good. The QH-85 packs a good punch, producing a good deal of bass without being overpowering. The sound of the building about to collapse in Battlefield 4 is rather intimidating with the QH-85’s on your head (time to get out me thinks!).

    The higher frequency sounds produced by the QH-85 headset are also extremely clear with both the midrange and highs being easily distinguished and well separated. The gun-fire within the Metro Last Light benchmark is particularly shrill, almost sends a shiver down your spine! The voices in Shadow Warrior (ok not the best voice acting I know) are also nice and clear with great definition.

    The QH-85 is very similar in sound to the QPAD QH-90, with the QH-90 offering slighter deeper bass. The other thing is that the clear sound produced by the QH-85 is down to those open-backed ear-cups, meaning that others are going to be listening in a little too!

    The best way to describe the sound produced by the QH-85 is Clear, that’s the first word that comes to mind anyway! They seem so accurate in fact, that they can sound a little clinical, but to be fair I think I’m really just nit picking now…


    • Comfort


    The most comfortable headset yet tested has to be QPAD’s very own QH-90 and due to the fact that the design is pretty much identical, I’m pleased to report that the QH-85 is just as comfortable. Seriously this headset is so comfortable, I’ve debated on just keeping it on, all day! 😉

    Again as with the QH-90, the only possible gripe is that I found the velour cushions had a tendency to squeak when I moved my head, this is down to the fact that I wear glasses (sometimes) and it was in fact the velour squeaking against the frame. I would actually prefer leather/leatherette cushions myself and as these are interchangeable, I may see if I can get some leather ones from QPAD in the future. Overall an extremely comfortable headset!


    • Microphone


    The detachable microphone that comes with the QPAD QH-85 headset is also excellent. The pipe-cleaner style boom, along with its length, ensures you can get the microphone close to your mouth for optimum pickup. The foam Windscreen helps to filter out some of the unwanted noise also, particularly useful if you’re a heavy breather!

    After getting the microphone settings dialled into Windows and firing up our VOIP program of choice (Razer Comms) I had no complaints from my online friends. Overall an excellent microphone with great pickup that was easy to setup with no discernible interference or hiss.

    * OF COURSE THIS HAS BEEN SAID BEFORE: – So it’s the perfect headset then? Well it’s damn close…

    I’ve got a bit of a gripe (yes because hey still haven’t changed it!) with the in-line control box. The microphone mute switch (slide for on/off), it’s pretty awkward to access, especially if you want to try and find it quickly and the operation of the switch is also a little too stiff. This just makes the switch difficult to use; if a sneeze or a cough (or anything else!) is pending, then it’s actually quicker to pull the microphone out instead of trying to find and use the mic mute button. The reason for bringing this up at all (as it is minor!) is that on the top of the in-line control box is a beautifully placed large press button switch. But that’s for a mobile phone! I thought that this was a Gaming headset for Gamers!? OK, rant over.


    Final Thoughts


    QPAD has done it again, there is no doubt about it, the QPAD QH-85 is a damn good headset and offers Gamers pretty much everything they could want. The headset came beautifully packaged, and even for the second time I felt like a little kid at Christmas when opening the box (tissue paper!?).

    There’s so much to like about the QH-85 headset, from the excellent sound reproduction to the excellent comfort levels, this (along with the QH-90) is the most comfortable headset ever tested here at pcGameware. I would say that I prefer the sound of the QH-90 model as it tends to deliver a little more bass, but the QH-85 seems to have the edge when it comes to clarity.

    Of course the big difference between the QH-85 and the QH-90 is the fact that the QH-85 features open-backed ear-cups, this means that while allowing the Drivers within to breathe a little better, it does mean that sound also escapes! Meaning that others can hear what you’re listening to, this myself is something I’m not so keen on. Not because I’m listening to something that I didn’t ought to, but because I’m likely to get it in the ear (so to speak), from the other half! 😉

    It’s great that QPAD offers two models (QH-85 open-back & QH-90 closed-back) with the QH-85 offering great clarity (better for music, IMHO) and the QH-90 delivering that little bit deeper bass, meaning that for me it’s better suited to Gaming.

    But rest assured if you chose either the QPAD QH-85 or its sister the QH-90, you are buying one of the best Gaming headsets out there, especially when you factor in the price. At around £70 at the time of review the QPAD QH-85 is a steal!




      Design/Quality pcGameware awards the QPAD QH-85 a Silver

    Many thanks to QPAD for providing this sample for review


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