Hands-On with FiFine’s AmpliGame H9 Gaming Headset

Peripherals, Reviews

What should a reviewer do when a company approaches with a product whose performance they’re not fully equipped to quantify? One option is to buy the equipment, but with prices that start at over $8k for so-called virtual heads, our normal response would be to ignore that request. But then we saw a customer review that convinced us that the AmpliGame H9 was worth at least a qualitative look.

AmpliGame H9 Specifications
Output Connection3.5mm & USB (through the included USB audio box)
Headset Weight260g (without dongle)/325g (with dongle)
Headset Frequency Response20Hz-20kHz
Headset Driver50mm dynamic
Headset Impedance32Ω
Headset Sensitivity95dB
USB Audio Box 
Power ConsumptionUSB 5V/50mA power
Bit Depth/Sample Rate16-bit/48kHz
Boom Mic
Microphone TypeCondenser
Polar PatternOmni-directional
Microphone Sensitivity-42±3dB
Shipping Weight 0.6 kg

Find it at Amazon

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You see, one of the customer reviews claimed that the detachable nature of the USB audio controller made the package feel cheap: That a sign of “quality” would have been a part that couldn’t shed the unused components when plugged into a headphone jack. But our first thought was to question why anyone who didn’t need the USB audio device would want to drag it along. We see the AmpliGame H9 as two products, a headset for those who have the jack and a USB audio controller for those who don’t. Unwilling to drag around anything that we don’t need, the ability to separate these parts is crucial.

The audio controller includes virtual 7.1 surround that to this reviewer simply sounded like a reverb setting, but we’ll cover more opinions on that in a minute. A ring lights around the 7.1 button when the feature is enabled. Four buttons that encircle it are designed to change the output volume for the built-in headphone amp and the input volume for the integrated microphone, and a slide switch on the left edge allows users to quickly mute the microphone completely.

The back of the audio controller offers a lapel clip that, after considering the lengths of the cables, seemed a bit odd. You see, while the headphone cable is only 40 inches long, the audio controller’s cable is a full 75 inches. After pondering why a company would think that the USB ports of a computer might be over six feet farther away from the user than the headset jack, we finally realize that console gamers are gamers too. So go ahead, sit six feet from your console and when you’re done, just leave the USB adapter behind and take the headset to your PC.

Rather than a microphone stalk that always stick out or one that can be shoved in, FiFine uses a removable condenser mic in a unidirectional housing. We’ll cover that below:

System Configuration
CaseCorsair 2500X Micro ATX Gaming Tower
CPUIntel Core i9-12900KF: 16C/24T, 3.2-5.2 GHz, 30 MB L3 Cache, LGA 1700
Fixed at 4.9GHz (P-cores, 3.7GHz E-cores) and 1.30V
MotherboardAsus B660M Plus WiFi D4, BIOS 2402 (04/20/2023)
RAMG.Skill TridentZ Neo DDR4-3600 C16, 2x 8GB
GraphicsGigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Gaming OC 8G: GeForce RTX 2070
1815 MHz GPU, GDDR6-14000, Maximum Fan
Hard DrivesPatriot Viper VPR400 1.0 TB M.2 SSD
PowerCooler Master V1100SFX Platinum: ATX 3.0 / 12VHPWR, 80Plus Platinum

Our Observations

User 1, a young adult female of average head size, stated that the headphones had nice bass but sounded clearer with the virtual surround disabled. That tracks with our reverb assertion. We weren’t able to get anything more out of her regarding fit than a simple statement that they were comfortable, and since she was acting as an unpaid advisor, we didn’t push.

User 2, a slightly older youthful male with a narrow head, stated that the headphones were more comfortable with his glasses off, that the virtual surround sacrificed some of the bass, and that the “volume could go up a little on the vocal parts during the bass of some songs”. We took this as a suggestion (that the company could put more focus on vocals) until we tried the headphones and decided that he probably meant that the vocals would “go up” during the bassier parts of songs.

User 3, a middle-aged male with a slightly oversized head, is a former loudspeaker builder with over 10 years’ experience in audio before being sidetracked by minor hearing loss. My first impression was that, at 254g with microphone, the headset was very light. Having used professional headphones in the past, I wasn’t expecting very strong punch from these and was unsurprised to find that they sounded attenuated below roughly 160Hz. The speakers provided great mid-bass and smooth tonality across the rest of the range (as tested in multiple songs and audio evaluation tracks) but the virtual 3D further highlighted the bass weakness by further amplifying midrange and treble while also adding reverb. And the headphones also lacked something other than bass: I couldn’t possibly increase volume to an uncomfortable level regardless of how I configured them.

–FiFine’s statement that “Almost no harshness or distortion even if you max out the volume” holds true, as we couldn’t turn the volume up far enough to cause a noticeable distortion increase.–

Cupping the headphones over my SPL meter, the unit only reached 85.9 decibels at max volume on the loudest music track we could find. After trying a few different systems we got an extra 3db from a headphone jack, but that’s still no louder than “regular” concert volume level. Even my computer speakers sound louder, at least when listening at the distance from the back of my desk to the back of my chair, and those are roughly 25-years old.

That’s not to say that 85 or 86 decibels isn’t loud enough to get the point across: This is a gaming headset after all. And when put into that perspective, its low weight and light pinch made it comfortable over extended periods. It even has a deep enough strap to fit over a slightly oversized head, sitting roughly ¼” deeper over my ears than my old SteelSeries gaming headset. And, the SteelSeries that I’ve been using didn’t even include a USB adapter despite its similar price.

Actual Data?

When we said we didn’t have a proper way to quantify the AmpliGame’s sound quality, that didn’t mean that we couldn’t put numbers to anything: As you’ve seen above, we do have a basic sound meter. On one hand, its microphone isn’t aimed directly into the speaker the way eardrums are. On the other hand, the nearly omnidirectional nature of bass at least allows us to see if my observations regarding reduced bass volume are valid.

A-weighted SPL is supposed to represent how humans perceive sound pressure, and it shows sound pressure rapidly depreciating at frequencies below 160Hz. On the other hand, C-weighting is supposed to be a closer representation of what equipment detects, and it shows only a gradual decline between 160 and 40Hz.  If anything, the A-weighted line shows that the headphones don’t amplify bass to match human perception of bass. Based on the A-weighted data, chances are fairly good that anyone who’s listening for bass volume will perceive what this test writer perceived.

Finally, for something you can observe, we did a microphone test.

The H9 Gaming Headset’s microphone did a good job of reducing some of the more annoying tonal qualities of this editor’s voice, which were previously noted after using other microphones while creating Youtube videos.

FiFine AmpliGame H9 Gaming Headset
Fits heads from large to narrow
Lightweight for hours of comfort
Includes detachable USB audio adapter
Available in Black, White and Pink
Insufficient bass below 160Hz
Not uncomfortably loud at full volume
The Verdict:
The AmpliGame H9 appears to be a solid value for a comfortable headset to any gamer who needs its detachable USB audio device.

Whether the H9 Gaming Headset is a good value for you depends entirely on whether you’ll ever use its USB audio controller, but its ability to connect either way makes it a handy thing to keep around our test lab. Just keep in mind that inexpensive gaming headphones won’t produce the punch to which high-end audio users may have grown accustomed.


Find it at Amazon

(click for availability)
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