QPAD QH-90 Review
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QPAD QH-90 Review

February 22nd, 2013 James Leave a comment Go to comments



This review will see a couple of firsts both for myself and pcGameware as this is the first product that we have seen from gaming gear specialist QPAD, it also happens to be the first White headset that we have seen too! QPAD was started in 1992, with one goal in mind, to create computer gear especially designed for gaming purposes. QPAD’s product line now features headsets, keyboards, mice and mouse mats. This new headset the QPAD QH-90 is one of two available, this is the white edition, black is also available.

The QPAD QH-90 is a closed back, circumaural, stereo headset with detachable microphone.


QPAD QH-90 - box front QPAD QH-90 - box back


The headset came in a smart black and 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-90’s special features, as listed below.

  • Pure HI-FI
  • 53mm Driver
  • Noise Isolating
  • Leather 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-90 Pro Gaming Headset.

QPAD QH-90 - box side

Also highlighted on the side of the box we find further features of the headset:

  • Solid aluminium construction
  • Super soft leather headband
  • Closed ear cups
  • Detachable microphone
  • Memory foam leather ear pads
  • 53 mm Hi-Fi capable drivers


QPAD QH-90 - inner box QPAD QH-90 - inner box (lid)


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…


QPAD QH-90 - inner box (open) QPAD QH-90 - extras & Quick Start Guide


Once inside the inner box it’s apparent that the QPAD QH-90 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.

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-90 is retailing for approximately £85 and comes with a 2 year warranty.



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 leather padding on cups
  • Closed cup design on QH-90 for enhanced bass-reproduction and sound leakage

  • Headphone
  • Transducer type Dynamic Ø53mm
    Operating principle Closed
    Frequency response 15Hz-25KHz
    Nominal impedance 60 Ω per system
    Nominal SPL 98±3dB
    T.H.D < 2%
    Power handling capacity 150mW
    Sound coupling to the ear Circumaural
    Ambient noise attenuation approx.20 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
    Power handling capacity 150mW
    Nominal impedance ≤2.2 kΩ ± 30%
    Open circuit voltage at f = 1 kHz 20 mV / Pa
    Headband pressure 5 N
    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-90 are nothing short of excellent from the packaging, to the headset and the included extras. The headset is just a joy to look at (assuming you’re OK with white, that is), it appears to be well engineered with all of the materials used being of a very high standard. Everything about the QH-90 seems to shout quality.


    QPAD QH-90


    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 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 QH-90 - left ear-cup QPAD QH-90 right ear-cup


    Each of the Closed-Back ear-cups feature real leather 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!). Due to the design and the closed back nature of the ear-cups a degree of noise isolation is in-built into the QPAD QH-90.


    QPAD QH-90 - leather ear-pads with memory foam


    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 that the headband will snap (this can happen when the headband is made of plastic!). 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. As the inner part of the band is completely covered, it should help with the overall comfort level of the headset.

    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 it’s smallest setting, is extremely small indeed. In fact it seems to fit my 3 year son rather well (at least he’s happy)…


    QPAD QH-90 - headband QPAD-QH-90-extended


    The microphone boom is detachable, as can be seen from the image below and is approximately 150mm in length. Unusually (actually never seen before!) the end of the mic features a Windscreen (that’s what I think it’s called anyway!), this foam bobble 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…


    QPAD QH-90 - detachable mic


    The microphone connects to the left ear-cup, by way of a small 3.5mm socket. This socket has small white cover/plug that can be used when the microphone is not in use. See images below for more detail…


    QPAD QH-90 - mic socket (closed) QPAD QH-90 - mic socket (open)


    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 QH-90 - microphone connected (straight) QPAD QH-90 - microphone connected (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!?


    QPAD QH-90 - control box (mobile phone button & volume control) QPAD QH-90 control box (mic mute switch)


    Hardware Installation


    The headset was tested using a SoundBlaster X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty Pro dedicated sound card.


    SoundBlaster X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty Pro


    The SoundBlaster Audio Control Panel’s mode was set to ‘Game Mode’ and the Speakers to Headphones. The FlexiJack was set to Microphone and all other settings were left at their defaults.

    Installation of the QPAD QH-90 headset is a simple case of plugging into the speaker-out and microphone ports of your chosen soundcard. In my case it was necessary to use the optional 2m extension cable that came with QH-90, this gave an overall cable length of approximately 4m.


    QPAD QH-90 - connections


    Testing Methodology/Setup


    The QPAD QH-90 headset was tested using my rig as a platform; running Windows 7 64bit (service pack 1) with all necessary Drivers installed. As no software is supplied or required for full functionality of the QH-90 headset no fresh install of Windows was performed.

    The following games were used during testing:

    • Blacklight Retribution
    • Far Cry 3
    • Dead Space 3
    • Battlefield 3
    • 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-90 headset, of course this is somewhat subjective.

    The easiest way to describe the audio performance of the QH-90 is excellent, as good as any headset that I have heard, in fact I think I might say that it’s the best Stereo based headset that I have heard to date (I guess I’ve said it now!). Why, is somewhat more difficult to describe, but let’s start with some basics that I like. There’s a real honesty about the QH-90 as there’s no Surround Sound, no Virtual Surround Sound, no software and no sound processor! What this means is that there’s very little in the way between your soundcard and the 53mm Drivers at the ends of the cable. Maybe this is a placebo, but the headset sounds honest too, there’s not too much or to little of anything, each individual sound seems to get faithfully reproduced.

    There’s real depth to the sound too, each individual sound can be heard as though the sounds have been layered one on top of the other. The bass reproduction is also good but not outstanding, but again I think that’s a good thing as overpowering bass in a headset can just drown everything else out. Crank up the volume and the QH-90 copes well, in fact the sound takes on a more edgier (is that a word, I think it is!) note, bringing the headset to life even more! At high volumes there’s no real sign of distortion either, thanks to those massive 53mm Drivers. The closed back design of the ear-cups also do a good job of keeping the sound in and ambient noise out.


    • Comfort


    The QPAD QH-90 has proved to be an extremely comfortable headset, due in part to its leather covered memory foam ear-pads and soft leather covered headband. Also the low weight of the headset at just 288 grams helps with the overall comfort especially when wearing the headset for long periods of time (I wore this headset for 3-4 hrs continuously). One thing that is apparent over longer periods is that the ear-cups can get a little hot and sweaty, this is due to the fact that there is no breathable section to the ear-pad and that the memory foam has helped to seal the ear-cup to your head!

    Also as I mentioned in the First Impressions section the headset is kind of small, yes there’s expansion to be found in the headband (36mm per side) but it’s not much. Although the QH-90 fitted my average side head with no issue whatsoever, I would be cautious if you think you may have a larger than average head.


    • Microphone


    The detachable microphone that comes with the QPAD QH-90 headset is also excellent. After getting the microphone settings dialed into our VOIP program of choice (Ventrilo) I had no complaints from my online friends. In fact, the microphone was complimented even further by one person in particular (thanks Charlie), suggesting that this microphone sounded more like Me when compared to others that have been used in the past!

    The boom is particularly flexible ensuring that the mic can be placed not only close to your mouth, but also ensures that it stays where you put it (unlike some we have seen in the past!). The foam Windscreen (I think that’s the right name) also helps filter out some of the unwanted noise too, particularly useful if you’re a heavy breather (Mark!). Overall an excellent microphone with great pickup that was easy to setup with next to no interference or hiss.


    So it’s the perfect headset then? Well it’s damn close…

    But unfortunately I’ve got a bit of a gripe 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!?

    Also as the headset is white there’s a concern about how long it might stay white for. The headset is thankfully also available in black, which might be better option…


    Final Thoughts


    I must admit to being a little surprised by the QPAD QH-90, I thought that it might good, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this good…

    The QH-90 came beautifully packaged with everything individually wrapped, un-boxing it was a little like Christmas. You also get a good set of cables/extensions allowing you to be some 4 metres from your rig should you wish. Also included is the super soft carry pouch, which is another nice touch.

    The headset itself was very comfortable brought about by its low weight at just 288 grams, also aiding comfort are the memory foam ear-pads, ensuring that the cups sealed well against the side of the head. Although this did a fine job of keeping your sound in and ambient noise out, the leather material used on the pads meant that your ears did get a little warm during those long game sessions.

    It’s also worth mentioning again that the headset does seem a little small. At its smallest setting it fits my 3 year son and my average head sees the headset just a couple of notches away from full extension. If you’ve got a larger than average head you may need to look elsewhere, which is a shame…

    The sound produced by the QH-90 headset is excellent and is as good as any Stereo headset that I have heard, in fact it might be the best Stereo headset that I have heard! There’s a real honesty to the sound, there are no bells and whistles here (virtual surround, sound processors etc.) to pollute the sound coming from the sound card, which is something I rather like. The all-round ability of the 53mm Drivers is excellent with all of the sounds faithfully reproduced, as if each sound had just been layered one on top of the other. The bass is very good without being overpowering the mid-range is all there to be heard and the highs just tingle in your ears.

    In fact the QPAD QH-90 is so good, that it pains me to say (even annoys me, only because I like the headset so much!), that in my mind it’s got a bit of a design flaw. It’s that in-line control box; while it’s fine for volume control on the one side, the other side features a microphone mute switch (a slide variety). Now this switch is a little difficult to use because you need to get your finger on one side of it to move it, if your finger’s on the top it’s likely to slip. So if you want to access it in a hurry (impending cough, sneeze or something else!), you’re probably going to fail. Now this wouldn’t be so bad if there wasn’t a nice sized button atop the control box, a button that can just be pushed too. But no (and here comes the rub!), this is a mobile phone button…

    Overall then a great headset and even more impressive is that it’s got a fair price, at approximately £85 at the time of review, the QPAD QH-90 has to be one of the best Stereo headsets out there.




      Design/Quality pcGameware awards the QPAD QH-90 a Gold


    1. Terry
      May 20th, 2014 at 16:23 | #1

      I brought a set of QH-90’s based on this review and thought I’d add some insights I have discovered during my time with them. As James has said this headset is awesome, I’m typing this comment listening to music on them and to say that the sound is rich, detailed and full bodied would be a gross understatement. This headset is just as capable whether you are gaming or enjoying films or music! My main reason for providing this comment though is that when I received my headset, I noticed that the button on the control panel was no longer listed as a “mobile phone” button in the instructions, and in fact in use I discovered that this button will now mute the mic for as long as it’s held down (it’s a momentary switch), this of course is ideal for those times where you can’t easily get to the mute switch, like for instance when you are about to sneeze! Great headset this, I’m very pleased with my purchase.

      • James
        May 23rd, 2014 at 19:45 | #2

        Hey thanks, that’s a top tip there, not even sure whether that’s by design or not, but hey it works! Nice find. 😉 P.S. Glad you liked it, still one of the best Gaming headsets available today…

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