When you’ve tested a lot of gaming headsets over the years, there’s not a lot that can surprise you. But the latest line from Danish audio company EPOS has put a lot more thought and research into the human hearing and listening experience than what we’re typically used to – with a series of intriguing, practical innovations designed to assist your cognitive functions, and improve your gaming sessions and performance
Key to the EPOS H6PRO and EPOS H3PRO Hybrid is something the company has termed ‘EPOS BrainAdapt™.’ It isn’t one particular feature or technology, but a group of pioneering technologies that work together to improve cognitive performance that encompasses the EPOS ethos towards improving its audio products – a science-based approach that considers how humans hear audio – or rather, how brains process audio.
EPOS has taken the relevant steps in its latest headsets to make sure the process of getting your brain to process sound is as streamlined and efficient as possible. The result is that, when used for gaming, EPOS headsets attempt to reduce the amount of friction and mental fatigue caused by your brain translating that audio information, getting you to process it faster and more easily. By minimizing mental fatigue EPOS headsets free up brain capacity for gamers to spend 35% less listening effort and offer you 10% better memory recall.
It definitely sounds like complete magic at first, but when you break the tangible ideas behind EPOS BrainAdapt™ down, it starts to make a lot of sense.
The science behind listening
Driving the data that’s formed EPOS BrainAdapt™ is EPOS’ owner – the world-leading hearing technology group Demant. Based on more than a decade of psychoacoustic research through the Demant Group, EPOS has the data on how and when the brain performs best – and designs audio solutions with unique algorithms and acoustics to provide the best conditions for the brain.
The academic research centre focuses on studying all aspects of the way humans hear – things like personalised audiology (understanding different personal hearing needs between individuals), intent-based hearing (how your brain might focus on a sound), and intent and hearing effort compensation (understanding the cognitive processes that lead to auditory fatigue). Needless to say, Demant knows a lot about how people hear.
The benefit for the end-user is that headsets built on EPOS BrainAdapt™ technology are better tailored to support the way the human brain processes sound, and improve your cognitive performance. After all, the ears are just the entry point to sound – your brain is what actually translates it all for you.
EPOS says by focussing its technologies on optimizing brain performance, they’ve been able to create innovative and genuinely useful headsets, like the H3PRO Hybrid and H6PRO, which results in faster reaction time, better in-game decision-making and improved communication.
EPOS BrainAdapt™ in practice
So what does that science and methodology actually look like in a product?
A feature in both the EPOS H6PRO and EPOS H3PRO Hybrid headsets (wired and wireless models, respectively), is that the high-quality sound stage is tuned in a way that is more conducive to having your brain absorb audio information quickly.
These headsets keep the midrange frequencies relatively flat, with the reasoning that the human brain is very sensitive to sounds at these ranges and even small changes perceived by our listening system. The goal is to make sure the gamer’s brain does not spend energy on processing artificial audio by making it as natural for the brain as possible.
There is a reduction in high mid-range & treble as it can be a bit sharp and harsh to listen to compared to the lower frequencies, and quickly lead to listening fatigue. EPOS headsets attempt to create the most natural sound profile possible so your brain will experience less cognitive load, less fatigue and improve your performance in-game.
The physical design of the headset also plays into this, especially when it comes to the shape of the earcups and the role they play in passive noise dampening.
The EPOS H6PRO, for example, has its earcups designed so that the speaker plates are angled to prevent pressure on and contact with parts of the ears that may otherwise cause discomfort. The thick memory foam earpads not only provide comfort and spacing for your ear, but also provide a good seal to work together with the earcup to provide just the right balance of game sound and the outside world. Your ears won’t be completely trapped in cacophonous chambers, but it’s still easy to hear and process the details in the audio.
The wireless EPOS H3PRO Hybrid also has the benefit of active noise cancelling which is designed to remove the boost of low frequencies from either the surroundings or from vibrations made by your skull when talking. The ANC will reduce these low frequencies and relieve your brain from clearing out that noise and make it easier for you to follow a conversation. Furthermore, it will improve your pronunciation of words, as you will be able to hear yourself more clearly and sound more natural.
Together with the design of the headset, and its acoustic seal eliminating ambient noise, the H3PRO Hybrid delivers an immersive experience of enhanced noise cancellation.
And if you’re fortunate enough to have a gaming room all to yourself, you can also get that more natural sound (as well as the ability to hear the world around you) with the open acoustic model of the EPOS H6PRO. Open-back headphones don’t have to deal with the problem of sound bouncing around inside an earcup, of course, and are a more cost-effective option if you can’t splash out for active noise cancelling. In addition, the design also allows you to hear your own voice when you’re chatting, instead of having to hear it played back through the headphones, and will generally keep your ears cooler and more comfortable for longer.
Smart tech, smart design
Technology aside, there’s a lot to be said about the smart, mature style of EPOS headsets. The ear cups are connected to the headset’s headband on a two-axis hinge, and work wonders in assisting with a good fit, as well as long-term comfort.
We’re also big fans of the large, ergonomic volume wheel on EPOS headsets, situated on the right earcup. It feels incredibly natural to make volume adjustments without even thinking about it. It’s like turning the big volume dial on a hi-fi stereo system – inherently satisfying, and an infinitely better solution than searching and poking around for the physical volume adjustment buttons – a common solution on other headsets.
Another notable feature of the EPOS H6PRO and EPOS H3PRO Hybrid are the high-quality boom mics. These mute themselves when you lift them, of course. But what’s really neat is that the microphone is attached magnetically on both models, and can be removed easily, then replaced with an included cap. On the H3PRO Hybrid you will also find a second microphone on the earcup that can be used when the boom arm is detached. It lets you use EPOS headsets as regular headphones out and about without getting any strange looks, meaning they’re a good solution for both gaming and non-gaming purposes.
That’s particularly great since both models, in addition to being available in black and white finishes, come in a fetching racing green and gold colour option with a chrome-like finish. It just looks cool. It’ll make you feel like a mecha pilot, and has a touch of national significance if you’re Australian – in fact, Australia’s Commonwealth Games esports team donned these very headsets.
But style aside, the sound is really what matters, and EPOS is taking a very smart approach to how it’s improving its headsets for real, human usage. Hearing and listening shouldn’t be an exhausting process for your brain, so treating yourself to the most effortless audio processing experience possible, without compromising audio quality, should be a no-brainer for your personal comfort and long-term well-being. The fact that they’ll also give you an edge in competitive games is also very welcome, too.
Buyers can also purchase both models on the EPOS website.
This article is brought to you by EPOS.