A shocking amount of audio performance for $50
I had never heard of the Redragon H510 Zeus until I stumbled upon it one night browsing Amazon store pages. At first glance, it looks like a different re-badge of the Takstar Pro 80 headphones which also serve as the basis for HyperX’s iconic Cloud series.
However, on closer inspection, so many little details were different that I realized this wasn’t a Takstar-derived product at all, but rather a budget copy of an already-affordable headset. The H510’s overall package also seems too good to be true at first glance, including several small perks and features you normally don’t see until you’re quickly approaching the hundred dollar mark.
Indeed, aside from a few trivial complaints, this is one of the most competent gaming headsets I’ve reviewed in the last year, and its ~$50 price is about half of what I’d expect to pay if a different company’s name were printed on it.
The Redragon Zeus H510 is a closed-back, wired gaming headset with a detachable cable, a 3.5mm PC splitter, detachable microphone, and optional included USB DAC/amp combo. They claim that this dongle is a 7.1 device, but it only supports stereo input from your PC and its virtual surround functions are questionable at best. However, it still produces great stereo audio. The dongle includes inline buttons for adjusting volume and muting the mic and audio output. Rounding out the package is a simple carrying bag and some instructions pointing you at the software download for the dongle.
It sells for a standard retail price of around $55, but is on near-constant discount through partners like Amazon, where I bought mine, so you should have no trouble finding it for just under $50. Here’s a link to the official product page. I get zero money if you click that, as I don’t believe in using affiliate links.
I was actually sent the “Zeus 2” bundle, which is a slightly newer model that seems to be nothing more than a cosmetic/branding refresh, so don’t be alarmed if the branding on your box doesn’t perfectly match the product naming online. I’ve seen updates like this across other budget audio products in the past.
When I first held the H510, with its boxy design and massive plush ear pads, I expected the sound would be a fun throwback to the boomy bass-driven gaming headset days of the past.
I was entirely wrong.
The H510 has a balanced, detailed sound with a slight emphasis in the upper mid range and treble. It’s brighter and more treble-focused than the HyperX models it takes so many design cues from, and although it can sound a little brittle and harsh at times, I found it agreeable within just a few minutes of listening.
Bass is still present here, and in an amount I’d personally define as flat or neutral, but it’s laid back and pleasant rather than boomy or thumpy. It never gets in the way, it never overwhelms, and it never overtly impresses. It’s just down there in a good accurate amount, doing its job competently.
Both the mid range and the treble can sound a bit cold, harsh, and “crinkly”…not unlike the treble on the Bose QC35. It sounds like there’s a slight dip in the lower mids and like the treble response further up is a bit ragged. As a result, it’s not the most refined or detailed gaming headset I’ve ever heard, with occasional grain and imprecision that stops short of outright sibilance.
Honestly though, for a fifty dollar gaming headset…these sound amazing. That this doesn’t have a v-shaped nightmare signature and isn’t a monster bass cannon is really impressive. The headset has more balance and detail than I could have reasonably expected, and sounds good enough to compete with any of the $99 gaming products out there right now as long as you don’t mind a little extra edge in the highs.
If you want to push the highs even further for some reason, you could remove a small piece of foam sitting under each ear pad in front of the drivers, but it makes everything sound less balanced and also hampers comfort a little bit.
In this same price range, the JBL Quantum 200/300 has a warmer, more “pleasant” sound with a more impressive bass response, and the HyperX Cloud Stinger and Astro A10 both provide a more aggressive v-shaped “fun” signature. But honestly, the H510 is closer to a true representation of the raw audio coming from your game, music, or movie than every other sub-$50 gaming headset I’ve heard in the last few years since the ancient RIG 400.
Soundstage is a little wider than I expected too, with accurate imaging and extremes that float just past the left and right sides of my ears.
The sharp and detailed presentation here makes this a wonderful choice for gaming. Footstep hounds should have no trouble locating enemies, and with Windows Sonic enabled instead of the awful included surround I had a great immersive single player experience too. There’s enough detail that your music tracks won’t be unnecessarily boomy or muffled. You will get a cleaner, warmer, slightly more natural sound out of the Cloud Alpha…but it’s tough to say whether that’s worth an extra $50 especially once you look at the rest of the features package here.
I have to get something out of the way: the virtual surround sound implementation on the H510’s dongle is atrocious. The dongle shows up as a stereo device in Windows, so it has no proper support for 7.1 audio tracks in games. The included virtual surround options are a basic stereo expansion tool that sounds similar to the virtual surround on the Cloud II dongle, and a “7.1 Virtual Speaker Shifter” that allows you to place the simulated virtual channels around you in a room or set it to a ridiculous mode that makes the channels constantly rotate in an ever-moving circle.
Why would you want to do that? I have no idea. I’ve never thought to myself “this middling virtual surround would be better if the channels were constantly spinning in a clockwise direction around me.” But that functionality is present here, if that’s your personal dream.
Fortunately, the core audio hardware inside the dongle is good. It’s using basic DAC/amp combo circuitry from C-Media alongside their “Xear” software package, and it’s limited to a sampling rate of 48khz. Fortunately, that limit means that the dongle also plays nice with Windows Sonic, which is a far better option for virtual surround that will properly process surround audio in games.
Also, the dongle gets loud. Far louder than you’ll ever need for the easy-to-drive headset. I never needed to turn it up much past 40 percent, as I otherwise would have killed my ears with harsh treble and monstrous volume.
All of the controls for the dongle are on one side of an in-line plastic box, which I think is also where the hardware itself lives. The box is thick and chunky, and far enough down the connection cord that it’ll sit in your lap. At least in your lap the weight of the controls won’t tug on the headset itself. The buttons are sturdy and rubberized, and have a good solid response to them. You can control volume, mute the mic, and mute the sound playback altogether, though there’s no option for game/chat balance.
Hilariously, the middle of the dongle has a prominent status LED that will blink when audio is being played. I’ve never seen this before and I don’t know why anyone would want this, just like the rotating virtual surround channels. It’s a silly feature and it might annoy you if you’re not a fan of superfluous LED lights.
Redragon claims that this headset uses a premium memory foam, but it’s rather quick to rebound and not all that different from the standard foam I’ve seen on other low-cost headsets. Fortunately, the headset wins some points back by using a ton of it.
The ear pads are large and plush, with wide openings and enough foam that your ears shouldn’t run into the back wall inside the cups. If they do touch for some reason, that back wall is padded with a soft foam that helps control the treble. The ear pad foam is also thick enough to provide a solid amount of passive noise isolation, and although I can’t currently do my standard “loud coffee shop” test, it was adequate for both muffling the sound of the leaf blowers outside my apartment, and keeping my weird parade of music test tracks from bothering my girlfriend who was about fifteen feet away during my music listening tests.
The headband also doesn’t seem to use a slow memory foam, but it has a good amount of soft padding and caused no hotspots or comfort issues for me over long listening sessions. The clamping force is right in that sweet spot where they’ll stay put on your head under use but don’t feel like a vice.
A slower rebounding foam would seal a little bit better over glasses and differently-shaped faces, but my thin-armed glasses still had little impact on the seal here so that’s great. Adjustment wise, on my large head I had to wear these extended to within one click of maximum just like the Cloud II, so if you’ve had trouble on the larger end with headsets before this might not be best for you.
The leatherette on the pads does trap some heat over time, although it has a wonderfully soft texture to it that reminds me of the soft padding material used on the first revision of the Cloud Alpha. So, it feels very comfy against your skin even as it slowly heats up.
The design of the H510 owes a great debt to the Takstar Pro 80, HyperX Cloud II, and Soundblaster H5. It’s a classic look with two aluminum forks attaching the ear cups to the headband, a partially-exposed cable connecting them, and a subtle studio profile.
Redragon has tweaked this design with rectangular ear cups and a minimal use of bright red along the underside of the headband. Their logo is subtly embossed into the top of the headband, and represented through shiny stickers on the sides of each cup. Unlike the cheap decals featured on the Logitech G Pro X, these are quite sturdy and have a metal-like ribbed texture to them.
So many little design and build touches are exactly right on this headset, which is really surprising considering the low price. The adjustment sliders have a firm click in each position. The non-proprietary 3.5mm connection isn’t recessed at all, meaning it’ll work with any third party aftermarket cable. There aren’t any creaks or squeaks even if you twist the headband in extreme directions. The ear cups are rubberized and the plates on the back are aluminum.
Also, one time during my week-long review process, I didn’t properly secure the headset on a shelf in my closet and it went on a journey. The bag it comes with is a little slippery and I had put it on top of some papers on the top shelf. It slipped off of its perch after I shut the door and thudded down the inside of the closet against the door about ten feet to the floor. When I looked inside to see the damage, only the included bag had a few tiny white scuff marks on it. The headset was unharmed.
This headset is built better than some of the more expensive headsets I’ve tried recently, including the JBL Quantum 300. It has a build I’d be happy with on a $100 headset. And it has a detachable non-proprietary cable in spite of its low price point, proving that this is possible for anyone to implement. A few of the seams on my personal model aren’t perfectly smooth, and there’s a small piece of cardboard debris permanently stuck inside the tubing sealed around the microphone’s adjustable bendy arm, but other than that there’s nothing here build-wise to suggest the low cost of the headset.
If a fifty dollar headset can hit this level of build and not lock you into a proprietary cable system…shouldn’t they all be able to?
Okay, so it has to go wrong for the H510 somewhere right? No. Not really.
The microphone on this headset is largely wonderful. It has a clean, natural, smooth tone to it with a good amount of sensitivity and clarity. It won’t do the best job of acoustically cancelling out background noise, but other than that I’d place its sound in the top third of gaming mics I’ve used in the last five years.
I had to turn on the mic boost option in the included software to get a good recording volume out of it with the dongle, but it’s still loud enough that it should also work fine on a console. The dongle also has a nice mic monitoring feature, and while its volume is sadly tied to the overall volume of the headset, it still gets loud enough to use for monitoring at lower levels and it correctly presents the mic audio in real time.
Aside from the little weird piece of cardboard that’s permanently vacuum- sealed to the side of my personal mic’s bendy arm, this is a wonderful microphone, and just like other aspects of the headset this is the new baseline standard that everyone should be trying to clear.
You get a healthy compliment of decent extras in the box here, which again, is wild considering the low price. A nice braided 1.2m TRRS 3.5mm cable and PC splitter are both included if you have your own sound hardware you’d rather use in place of the dongle. The dongle has a braided cable as well, and its control box feels much more premium than the cheap nightmare included on the Audio Technica G1…a headset that costs three times as much.
The only extra that isn’t great is the included bag, which is a basic polyurethane thing that almost feels like its meant to be recycled after shipping. Even so, it has enough of a protective quality that it kept my headset scuff- free when I stupidly placed it in my closet and it fell.
For the price it’s not common to receive any extras, but here you’re getting the same compliment of features you’d expect on a $100+ product. Remarkable.
The Redragon H510 Zeus is a $50 headset with impressively balanced sound, a build that surpasses higher-cost pairs, and a good microphone. Its virtual surround feature is comical and stupid, but the non-proprietary cable system means you can use this with any hardware you’d like if you want to toss the included dongle. In stereo mode that dongle sounds wonderful and loud, and the fact that it’s here at all is impressive in this price category. The cushions are large and thick, and overcome their lack of high grade foam with soft long-term comfort that again mirrors what more-expensive pairs are doing.
There’s…there’s nothing all that wrong with this headset. Usually, in the sub-$50 gaming category, you’ll get a few of the perks from the costlier pairs, but you’re then forced to live with compromises like a permanently-attached cable or microphone, or a basic build quality. With the H510, there just aren’t any of these obvious compromises. I had to take pictures of some slightly rough seams in order to complain about something.
The H510 is my new recommendation at the low end of the gaming audio market, and if you like its styling and don’t mind a little zing in the highs, then it also competes well against headsets two or three times its price. Its design principles and components may be recycled off-the-shelf ideas, but they’re all executed at a remarkable level for this low price point. Recommended without hesitation!