MSI Immerse GH61 Virtual 7.1 USB/3.5mm Gaming Headset
Gaming Headset (Wired)
When you think of MSI
you’re definitely in the PC hardware space -- be it one of their graphics cards
, or even laptops. Naturally this extends to peripherals -- as seen here with the MSI Immerse GH61
gaming headset. Which, as a wired offering, is fairly stacked in terms of features whilst also falling into a price range that puts it well into the affordable realm.
And in terms of stacked we’re referring to a couple of audio specific partnerships that go beyond things like 7.1 surround. The drivers, aka speaker technology, comes from Onkyo
- the well known and respected Japanese home audio specialists that have been around since the days of vinyl and valve amps. Secondly the ESS Sabre DAC
as part of the USB PC connector, is fairly high-end in terms of audio signal and amplification.
In a way these two components are a little unusual for a gaming headset like this, and more in line with a headset or headphones designed for listening to lossless music -- that is premium hi-res digital recordings or remasters. In fact, with the Onkyo drivers and the DAC music was the first thing tested when putting on the MSI Immerse GH61 -- and the results were impressive to say the least. Especially when factoring in the price.
With the Onkyo drivers and the DAC music was the first thing tested when putting on the MSI Immerse GH61 -- and the results were impressive to say the least.
Clean, distortion-free, warm, and with a defined frequency range, the sound may not quite hit the audiophile realm (and really, audiophile headsets cost a lot more than what MSI has priced these) but the sound is more accurate and inviting than many headsets within a similar price-range or budget. And that’s due to the combo of excellent DAC/AMP and drivers.
- Drivers: 40mm
- Frequency response: 20 - 40,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- Weight: 300g
- >Cable length: 3.5mm: 1.0m, USB: 1.2m
- Microphone Pickup pattern: Unidirectional
- Frequency response: 100 - 10,000 Hz
As per above, the frequency response here is tuned for a wide range of audio right up to hi-res music recordings. Paired with the Onkyo drivers that tuning benefits from the Japanese company’s long history in the audio space -- so even though there’s that crispness that you need when looking strictly at in-game audio, the balance is never titled in one direction over the other. Nor does the bass drown out everything else.
That said there have been some sacrifices made, namely with the microphone. Which is fine for regular chat but a far cry from broadcast-ready, so you wouldn’t really stream or podcast with the MSI Immerse GH61. Serviceable is probably the best way to describe the voice quality, and somewhat disappointing when put up against the overall great sound from both the drivers and DAC.
Design and Comfort
Lightweight and comfortable with the option to swap out the faux leather ear cushions with some fabric ones for better breathability, the MSI Immerse GH61 is something of a surprise package. Almost literally as the impressive carry case isn’t something you normally expect to see in this price-range. Clearly there’s been thought and care put into the overall design of the shape and form factor here, with the size of the cups big enough to cover most ears. And the cushiony headband keeps it all feeling great even after a couple of hours of play.
The downside here comes with the overtly plastic build, which is, yeah, very plastic. The headband does feature some metal in the extender but outside of the comfortable and surprisingly soft cushions on the ear-cups it’s all matte and rough plastic. This again points to a situation where MSI has focused or placed special attention on certain aspects over others. Regardless, the GH61s are flexible and do fold neatly, so there’s that.
Connected to a PC (and the MSI Immerse GH61 via USB is Windows 10 only), the sound can be additionally tweaked and tuned via Nahimic for Headset software -- which offers a clean and easy-to-use interface for switching between different sound and surround profiles. Installation is a breeze too with the MSI Immerse GH61 integrating seamlessly with MSI’s own Dragon Center software. Nahimic, although easy-to-use does lack some of the finer customisation detail found elsewhere. Basically you get control over bass and treble boost and a few other things to enable or disable.
Lightweight and comfortable with the option to swap out the faux leather ear cushions with some fabric ones for better breathability, the MSI Immerse GH61 is something of a surprise package.
Now, before we jump into a couple of game-specific examples it's worth noting that the MSI Immerse GH61 sound profile when connected to a PC is ridiculously loud out of the box -- where talking a situation where the volume set somewhere between 10-20 is more than enough for a quiet room. As such, it’s a shame that the headset itself doesn’t feature its own volume slider as this is clearly related (we think) to the USB-DAC and amplification going on. That said, when turned down (and still ‘loud’) the MSI Immerse GH61s impress.
Tested across a range of titles including Cyberpunk 2077, Little Nightmares II, and Call of Duty, game audio is suitably punchy and rich with enough high-end clarity to give both sound effects and soundtracks their dues. Which wasn’t too much of a surprise, a headset with audio good enough for high-quality music is easier to tweak and adjust for gaming versus the other way round. So yeah, in the end the great price and great features make the MSI Immerse GH61 something we can definitely recommend.