Cooler Master CH331 Gaming Headset Review
Peter Donnell / 3 weeks ago
A Closer Look & Performance
The Cooler Master CH331 is a good-looking headset, and while I think it’s a little clearer that it’s a more affordable model, it does a damn fine job in its efforts to look like a more premium model. It’s not a particularly unique design though, copying many of the style choices from the likes of the Hyper-X cloud series, or many of the mid-range Corsair headsets. Not that that’s a bad thing though, it’s a nice-looking design.
The Cooler Master CH331’s plastics are a matte finish black, so nothing too glossy and shiny, which would only make it look cheaper anyway. The trim around the ear cup as well as a small Cooler Master symbol in the middle are RGB illuminated too. However, the RGB is either on or off, and cycles through colours on its own, you can not set a custom colour. There’s no other wording or branding though, which I absolutely love, it looks cleaner and more stylish for it.
The build quality feels decent though, and the use of some aluminium mounting arms gives it a more premium look and feel overall. All the other fixtures are durable plastic, but that’s to be expected without spending more than twice the retail price.
The cable is hard-wired, which is a shame, as I like being able to replace worn or damaged cables throughout the lifespan of the headset. However, it’s got a sturdy mount and a rubber stem to prevent the joining point from being damaged.
The microphone is removable though, which is great, as I so rarely use the microphone on my headset, and when I do use a microphone, it’s a separate dedicated one anyway. The only downside is, a removed microphone is so easily lost, but that says more about me than it does about microphones.
The microphone is decent enough though, it’s pretty much the same as every other microphone in this price range, bright and clear, but with basically no noise reduction, so if you are going to breathe like Darth Vader and eat crisps, you should use push to talk or your friends will disown you. Otherwise, though, it’s perfect for a Zoom call or a bit of Discord chatter.
The drivers are 50mm and operate as 20-20,000Hz, so fairly standard stuff overall. However, with this being a USB headset, the soundcard is built-in, and it’s surprisingly potent too. Being plug-and-play it’s easy enough to get up and running though, but you may need to configure some surround settings in Windows as it will default to stereo most of the time.
The CH331 drivers are enclosed, which helps lock in the sound and block ambient noise. There’s no active noise cancellation or anything, it’s all done passively, but it works well enough to drown out most background chatter from my kids at home or some of the general hustle and bustle of a coffee shop.
The padding is plentiful, with a nice memory foam layer covered in a PU-leather. Fairly standard stuff, but it’s soft and comfortable and provides a comfortable seal to further lock in the sound and block out the outside world.
All this combines to great effect too, as the Cooler Master CH331 offers up a punchy sound. It’s got very prominent bass, giving music, movies, and games a satisfying low-end WOMP to the sound that’ll I like to call the wow factor. Is it an audiophile studio-grade representation of the audio? Not really, but I like it, it sound big and beefy.
Plus, despite all its head-rattling bass, there’s a good amount of texture and warmth in the mid-range and the highs are clear without being overly bright and tinny. Overall, it’s a great sound for media and chatter, and there’s a boot full of volume should you wish to sit back and relax with a cold one and a bit of Swedish progressive metal. The CH331 is a good headset for brutal music, the bass is tight and handles the fast bass drum sounds well.
As for the overall fit and finish, they’re surprisingly comfortable. Not that I was expecting them to feel like they’re made of Lego or anything. However, this is a surprisingly affordable headset, so I was expecting more compromise on the overall feel of them, but I’m happy to say, the headset is comfortable to wear for a couple of hours of gaming.
The one caveat is likely the weight though, as it’s just under 300 grams without the cable. It’s not heavy, it’s just on the upper end of the scale for a mid-weight headset. I don’t mind, as the daily headset that I use for 8 hours a day is 340 grams.
The other downside is that the in-line controller feels like a bloody mixing desk, it is huge. Thankfully, it’s not overly heavy and has no pointy corners or anything, so it’s not uncomfortable while you’re working or gaming. However, it could easily be half this size. Keep in mind, the USB soundcard is built-in there too, but still…
It does give you reasonably easy control of the volume, lighting and microphone though. Interestingly, it’s about 50cm down the cable from the headset, so it sits more on your lap than on your chest as we often see. Unless you’re Shaq, in which case it’ll likely hand about mid-chest height.
The virtual surround is spot on though, but that’s par for the course these days, those algorithms have been nailed down well in recent years. I shudder to think of the fake surround gaming headsets had a decade ago, it was mostly just echoes and EQ… But the CH331 gets it right, and playing Skyrim (yes, I’m playing Skyrim again, OK!) sounded great, and I could easily hear where fluffy creatures were frolicking around me, making it easier to spin around and roast their ass with a fireball. Little things too, like the sound of the wind and water around you sounded great too. Overall, a big thumbs up from me.