If you’re a pro gamer or a streamer with more than five followers, you’ve most likely heard of Scuf. If you play games on Xbox or PlayStation in any capacity then you’ve most definitely seen an ad or two from Scuf. For those that don’t know, if they’re any left, Scuf touts itself as the premier maker of customizable professional grade controllers. For Sony fans, they’re the ones who make controllers with paddles on the bottom that for reasons unknown, Sony refuses to do themselves. They’re the Ferrari of the controller world in every sense of the word. Their controllers are expensive, beautiful, and spend a lot of time in the shop. When they work, the controllers are a joy to use. Emphasis on ‘when’.
I’m dunking on Scuf a bit for good reason. I have an Impact controller. It was going to be part of a review. The ‘X’ button stopped working on the second day of testing. Scuf’s version of customer support is you fill out a web form and they ignore you. Then you shame them on Twitter (@ScufAssist) until a rep promises to DM you and then they get back to ignoring you. It’s a process I refuse to participate in. Up until recently making unreliable controllers was their only product. However, late last year Scuf introduced the H1 headset. So now you can have a matching set of cans to go along with your unreliable controller. How cool is that?
Scuf was acquired by PC component maker Corsair a while back and the H1 product seems to be the first fruits of the acquisition. The headset looks to be based on the Corsair Virtuoso headset with less functionality and more customizability in mind. I tricked out my H1 headset, with the upgraded microphone, ear pads, and lunar surface ear plates and consequently maxed out the price at $172. They arrived in a very nice box. When I opened the box one of the ear pads fell off. Typical Scuf I thought. This time though the ear pad just needed to be locked back into place and has not moved since. I’m happy to report that the headset has not broken or failed at all, which if my math is correct makes it eleventy-billion times more enjoyable and useful than my Scuf controller.
The best thing that can be reported about the H1 headset is that it works and works well. The ear cups are memory-foam like in their squishiness and feel. The construction is solid and they may even be able to handle the occasional rage quit moment where one takes off headset with anger. I haven’t put the H1’s through the rage quit test yet because I’m sane and don’t play Cuphead or Fall Guys regularly enough to become enraged. The H1’s are not wireless and your cans attach to your console or PC via a long fabric sheathed “pro gamer” cable. The cable also has a volume wheel and mute switch controls that are easily within reach. That way when you choke on your drink of choice or want to hide your rage at not making it past the first round of Fall Guys, no one else will be the wiser, unless you have a camera. Overall, the Scuf H1’s I purchased are well made and should last a long time.
The next best thing is that the H1’s have good sound. This is no surprise. They should sound good with their large 50mm neodymium speaker drivers hanging ever so close and snug to each of your ears. If size matters to you, it may be helpful to know that Atrso A40’s only have a 40mm speaker driver “tuned for gaming” and Turtle Beach’s Elite Atlas Aero’s also include 50mm neodymium speaker drivers. You will not miss out on any sound in your gaming experience until having these speakers ever so close and snug to your ears eventually cost you your hearing. The scufs are LOUD. That can be a positive and a negative. In my use, I usually had to keep the volume level well below 20%. If you buy some H1’s I highly recommend you keep the volume low if you want to hear the magical sound of things (or anything) five years from now. Bottom line, you’ll hear everything loud and clear with H1’s but be careful as it doesn’t take much before you it’s too loud.
For Headphones designed to carry through long gaming sessions, the H1’s could be more comfortable. I found the top padding where the H1’s rest on your noggin just right. You won’t notice they’re even there and that’s perfect. Where they fall short for me is the earcups and the squeeze. The H1’s put enough pressure to ensure a snug ear cup fit that the memory foam like outer covering leaves a circular mark on my face where they rest around my ears. After about an hour of use I’m ready to take them off. Your mileage may vary. I let my wife try them out to get a second opinion on comfort. She liked the ear cup feel but said the top padding was uncomfortable and hurt after a while. There may be a few heads out there that the H1’s will fit perfectly. We just didn’t find any in our house.
Oh, the H1’s are customizable. Scuf graciously offers you (for a price of course) all kinds of options to make your H1’s look like your broken or soon to be broken Scuf controller or another color scheme of your choice. I opted to make mine white to match the look of my PS5 with some moonscape ear covers on the outside, because why not? The moonscape colors were a bit darker than what was pictured and when I take them off my kids welcome me back to Earth. Streamers who want to have a theme or a signature style will appreciate the configuration options of the H1’s. If you’ve rather go “Incognito” and stay out of the unflattering eye of the camera spotlight, then all this customization really doesn’t matter. Leaving off all that extra bling will save you up to tens of dollars, which up until a few months ago could have bought you shares of Gamestop stock.
There’s one area where I think Scuf really missed the mark. It’s in the microphone boom. I don’t mean the quality of the microphone. You’ll sound great to all your gaming friends and foes alike. The mic is crisp and clear and yet is permanently attached to a boom that bends but doesn’t rotate out of the way when not in use. The mic boom itself plugs in a port on the left speaker and there it stays. Yes, it can be bent here or there to conform to where you want the mic in relation to your mouth, but much like Darth Vader’s mask or Emperor “Wrinkles” Palpatine, it’s always going to be right there in front of you. During the winter when you want to wear your awesome LDSG hoodie the boom will rub against the mic when you look to the left to yell at the dog. Don’t get me started in the spring and summer when allergy season is in full swing, cause the mic isn’t getting out the way when you sneeze.
The other item that was annoying enough to make into the bad category was ear cup design itself. The ear cups are a circular design which is ‘meh’ in my opinion. The average human adult ears are more oval in shape, unless you’re Prince Charles, so you have to increase the size of the ear cup circle. In the case of the H1’s, it’s my opinion that in having nice big circles to cover your ears they reduced the depth of the ear cups most likely to keep the production costs down and to allow the ear cups to be easily switched out. You know, because customization. Since the cups are shallow, the mesh fabric in the inside of the ear cup is pressed against your ears. Combine that with the H1’s healthy squeeze and you get flattened ears with a circle around them. In other words, you’re left with flatten, sore, auricle targets on either side of your head after an hour or so of gaming. For the casual gamer who doesn’t have more than an hour here and there the H1’s are great. But the H1’s are marketed to “pro” gamers who usually spend more than an hour just customizing their characters and loadouts.
Scuf sponsors plenty of pros, YouTubers, and aspiring streamers and it’s pretty easy to find one of these individuals offering a code for a Scuf discount. I’m reasonably sure that Scuf isn’t going to be offering me a discount code to share with all of you. Mostly because I’m biased. While I’m biased against Scuf as a whole due to my poor experience with my Scuf controller, I’m happy to say that the H1’s that I bought were good, solid and still work. That being said, aside from the larger speaker drivers, my Astro A40’s outshine the H1’s in just about everything else. They’re more comfortable, the boom mic swings out of the way and the sound just as good if not better. True, my Astro’s may not be as loud, but that’s a lot like billionaires complaining they don’t have as much money as Jeff Bezos. Scuf H1’s also have more colors and customization options than my Astro’s. Unfortunately none of the customization options really improve things where it matters. Again, I’m biased. If I didn’t have Astro’s I may have reached the conclusion that Scuf H1’s are the best new headphones ever and everyone should buy some right now. What I can say is Scuf H1’s are a good product. They do exactly what they were designed to do and if you have the right head shape and ear size, they will be a match made in heaven for you. However, I can also say from direct experience there are better options out there.
- Good sound
- The Squeeze
- Fixed boom mic
- Super LOUD