It’s hard to do an internet search for cheap gaming headsets without discovering the EKSA E900. This relative newcomer to the gaming peripheral space has lit up the sales charts with its combination of a low price and styling that’s brazenly borrowed from HyperX.
Back in May, which feels like a lifetime ago at this point, EKSA cold-emailed me and asked if I would like to review their headsets. I didn’t get back to them at the time, because I like to try and buy headsets on my own if possible unless it’s an unreleased product I’m receiving under press embargo. Plus, things were rather hectic back then as I was only just settling-in after the extended chaos of the sudden work-from-home transition.
The E900 comes in two flavors, the standard model and the “Pro/USB” model, which is the one I bought for this review. Both models regularly sell for under $50, so we’re firmly in budget territory. In spite of that, the feature set here is truly remarkable, packing in things I’d normally expect to see on more expensive headsets, and a certain type of USB port that will please the connector elitists among you.
If the sound signature were less of a throwback to the gaming headsets of 6+ years ago, I could recommend it without hesitation.
The EKSA E900 Pro is a closed-back, wired gaming headset with both USB and 3.5mm connection options, detachable cables, a detachable noise-cancelling microphone, and a nice carrying bag. The USB connection port on the headset is USB-C, something that countless other expensive headphones and headsets haven’t yet upgraded to. Also, unlike other gaming headsets with a USB mode, there’s no dongle present or required. The DAC/amp circuitry is built right into the body of the headset.
It sells for $49 dollars normally but is on near-constant discount for an even lower price. I bought mine for $39 on Amazon. Here is a link to EKSA’s official page for this headset. None of the links in this piece are affiliate links, so I earn zero money for your clicks. I don’t personally believe in that practice.
The standard model of the E900 is usually about ten dollars cheaper, but it has a permanently-attached cable, no USB mode, no ear cup lighting, and worse ear pads. I’d absolutely recommend the small price bump up to the Pro if you’re considering this headset.
In the early days of gaming headsets, almost every model had a boomy, aggressive, bass-dominated sound that emphasized explosions and impact at all costs. They got a poor reputation for having muddy, inaccurate audio as a result. It wasn’t until the launch and massive success of the original HyperX Cloud that gaming headsets started to widely experiment with cleaner, more accurate sound signatures.
Unfortunately for fans of neutral sound, the E900 Pro has that old type of boomy gaming headset signature. On first listen, I was struck by how dark, muddy, and a bit indistinct it was. It has a nice bass slam but everything else is withdrawn and distant-sounding. The mid-range is thickened up because of the boost in the bass, with an over-warm character applied to most game sound effects and female vocals.
Treble doesn’t fair much better, and although it doesn’t roll off as much as I expected it to, it’s still more gentle and laid back across its entire range than I’d like. In games, this makes positional audio cues harder to hear, as they get covered up by the bass.
So, from a top-level perspective, the sound here isn’t great at all as far as accuracy goes. However, they’re not a complete mess. The bass is very fun, and in single player games where positioning isn’t as important as general feedback and immersion, I still enjoyed using this headset. Most music is a little too muddy through them for my tastes, but any bass- dominated genre does shine, in the same way that older Beats models used to make certain types of music fun to listen to.
This headset is a good cheap barometer for deciding if you’re a “basshead” or not. If you listen to these and don’t mind that they’ve sacrificed detail for bass slam, then you’ll quickly know that’s your personal listening preference. If you’re the sort of listener who demands perfect accuracy and wants to pick out footsteps and other positional indicators above all other things…this sound signature couldn’t be more wrong for you.
I still had a good time listening to this headset over the last several days even though it’s a bit muddy and unrefined. Its sound reminds me a lot of the original Razer Kraken models, and it’ll surround you with powerful bass whether you want it to or not. This was a fun throwback to a bygone time for me, but you might just find them to sound bland and muffled depending on what other headsets you’ve already experienced.
My friend Andy said the sound profile reminded him of the era of PC speakers like the Cambridge SoundWorks series, where a number of 2.1 speaker systems with powerful subwoofers dominated gaming audio, and that’s also an apt comparison. The bass here will impress you right away, but the rest of the sound doesn’t have much to recommend or even talk about.
The EKSA E900 Pro has the exact same C-Media sound hardware built into it as the Redragon H510 Zeus I recently reviewed, to the point where the drivers are inter-compatible and my system couldn’t distinguish between the headsets. The EKSA driver control panel is blue, and the H510’s is red, but they’re otherwise functionally identical.
That also means that like the H510, the virtual surround included here is a silly and terrible implementation. The actual device shows up as stereo to Windows, meaning that games won’t output their 7.1 audio tracks at all. You can turn on a simulated surround that tries to gently expand that stereo data, and you can also use the “7.1 Speaker Shifter” to make the stereo channels slowly rotate around your head for who knows what reason.
Fortunately, the stereo side of the USB function is great. And you can use Windows Sonic for surround.
You get both a digital volume control in Windows, and an analog volume wheel on the side of the headset. The volume gets very loud using the included amp, and the headphones are also sensitive enough to get loud out of a PS4 controller if you use the standard audio cable.
I love that all of the USB audio hardware is built right into the ear cup and that you can access it with a standard cable. That’s the sort of feature I’d expect to see on a $200 headset like the Corsair Virtuoso, and it’s awesome to see that included on a budget $40 thing. Impressively, the cable port is even better placed than the one on the Corsair model, meaning that the cable won’t just slam into your shoulder when connected via USB.
The E900 Pro combines super soft slow-rebounding memory foam ear cushions with a nice squishy headband pad, and as a result it’s impressively comfy compared with headsets of literally any price. The adjustment range for the ear cups isn’t the largest, and I have to wear them almost fully extended, but the impressive ear pads seal well around my thin-armed glasses.
Only a slightly aggressive clamping force spoils the fun a little bit. The ear cups are angled in at the bottom when not worn on the head, and the headband is a little firmer in the clamp department than most other headsets which use this same design. As a result, you may notice it feeling too tight over the first day or so of use.
If you’ve ever seen a HyperX headset, you’ll recognize the design here. The E900 Pro has all the same hallmarks. Aluminum forks hold the cups to the headband, and small exposed wires run to each cup.
Those exposed wires are coiled on this headset, which makes them look a little more premium than they otherwise would. Unfortunately, that’s the only real premium touch on an otherwise basic, serviceable build. The ear cups are coated in a simple matte plastic and feel a bit thin and hollow. The aluminum grills on the back make this look like an open headset, but there’s a layer of plastic underneath them. The aluminum used throughout feels basic and light.
The ear adjustments don’t really click at all, and instead stay put through simple friction. They feel quite rough as you pull them in and out of the headset. And every time I gently pull open the headset to put it on my head, the leatherette and foam in the headband make a bit of a groaning sound as thought they don’t want to move.
Still, for the price, this is a totally functional and acceptable build. Compared side-by-side against a Cloud II, the HyperX model has more heft and more of a quality feel to every part, but for the rock-bottom price, the E900 is adequate.
Just like the Redragon H510, the microphone here is shockingly great for the price. The E900’s mic uses an acoustic noise-canceling capsule which does a decent job quieting the background and my mechanical keyboard keys. During my one long gaming session, I had a fan on in my room and my friend said he could’t hear it at all. The microphone isn’t the most sensitive I’ve used, and the overall tone is a little bit muffled and dark, probably due to the noise cancellation.
Still, this mic is better than I expected for the price. It’s in the top third of gaming mics I’ve used, and proves that it’s possible to get a good mic on a basic low- cost headset.
The E900 Pro shines in the features department. You get both a 3.5mm cable and a USB-C to USB-A cable in the box, and each one has a small sticker explaining the scenarios that you might want to use each one for. Both cables use a basic rubber coating and are a little bit springy, but they get the job done.
Just the mere presence of a USB-C port on the headset here puts several other manufacturers to shame, who have dragged their feet in updating to this latest connection standard. The port isn’t that recessed either, meaning that if you have a USB-C cable lying around that you’d rather use it will probably fit okay.
The 3.5mm headset port is a deeply recessed connection and it uses a proprietary locking mechanism that’s similar to the one found on a variety of Shure headphones. This mechanism provides a comically secure connection to the headset, but I’m not sure why you’d want this outside of a studio environment. The deeply recessed port means that finding replacement cables will be tough.
Both the volume wheel and the mic mute button on the left ear cup are easy to find and they function well. The volume wheel is a true analog potentiometer that works on both the 3.5mm and USB connection, and it has a small channel imbalance at the very bottom of its range that’s common on analog volume controls.
EKSA wins back some points they lost with their recessed analog connector by including one of the nicest bags I’ve ever received with a pair of headphones. It’s a large leatherette bag that has a sturdy drawstring and the EKSA logo embossed into it. Along the bottom you’ll find printed their support information if you need to make a warranty claim, something that OneOdio also does. Just like the 3.5mm port, the included bag is very similar to the one found in the box with the Shure SRH440 headphones. It’s thick and meaty and far nicer than you’d normally want for your $40 gaming headset.
When you plug in the headset over USB, red lights turn on inside each ear cup. You can’t turn them off. They’re the perfect useless frosting on this collection of premium-grade extras.
The EKSA E900 Pro has the ear pads, USB functionality, carrying bag, microphone, and overall feature set of a $200 gaming product combined with the build of a much cheaper one and a sound signature that hasn’t been seen widely since 2013.
If you’re okay with boomy bass then you can’t go wrong for $40.
Stepping up to nicer models will get you a better build and sound that doesn’t feel like it’s being made by a subwoofer inside of a fishtank, but you’ll lose out on the nice extras here. Reviewing both this and the H510 in the same week has made me keenly aware of the ways in which other companies mark up their products to help cover different marketing and development costs, and if you’re even a casual tech hobbyist you’ll probably find something to enjoy about this headset.
The E900 Pro is a downgrade on raw audio performance and build quality if you already own something like the HyperX Cloud Alpha, but the E900 has a much better bag, a comparable microphone, similar comfort, a built-in DAC/amp that gets loud and uses USB-C, goofy red lights in the ear cups, and costs less than half as much. For the low price, I had a great time revisiting this old ridiculous type of gaming sound, because the features wrapped around it are so surprising.