April 14, 2014

Unboxing & Review: Gamdias Hephaestus Gaming Headset

It's been a while since we have Gamdias sending us their products for review but they've pulled through with a flashy comeback with their Hephaestus gaming headset. As usual, the name is derived from a Greek God and Hephaestus is the God of Fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges and the art of sculpture which again sounds like a big shoe to fill. At RM339 SRP let's jump right in to see what the Gamdias Hephaestus has in store for us.

Here are the specifications straight from the Gamdias website


The Hephaestus comes in a half cardboard-half transparent plastic box that divides the headset in half. This makes it very attractive on the shelf but reading the features printed on the transparent sides takes a bit of concentration. Anyway, the Hephaestus has a Blast Source Identifier and Cooler System which is a first for me in a headset.
The specifications, contents system requirements and multilingual description are detailed at the back.

And more product highlights of the features on both sides.
Slide off the cardboard piece reveals the Gamdias logo at the front...
And an illustration of Hephaestus from Gamdias.

The Headset

Taking everything out from the box, you'll find the Headset, two stickers and a user guide booklet.

My first thought of the headset is that it's huge! and in proportion to the size, it's heavier than most headset I've used thanks to the metal heat-sink and the vibration driver system that's embedded on both of the earcups. Constructed mostly out of plastic, the unit does creak a little when handled but it is solid enough and doesn't feel like it'll collapse anytime soon. Note that the Hephaestus can be further extended to about 2cm to cater for more head-sizes.

The headband is encased with a thick soft foam that distributed the weight on the top of my head. On the outside layer is the Gamdias branding.
The Hephaetus connects via USB so one can't use this with a dedicated soundcard or mobile devices. The in-line controller lets users adjust the volume and mute the Mic as usual but notice the extra switch at the side that will allow users to enable the "Blast Source Identifier" which induces vibrations to the headset. Braided cable is of course, a welcomed feature.
Both earcups can be rotated 90 degrees inwards and has limited articulation to them. Padding on the earcups are of the same material as the soft foam on the headband, which is equally thick and prevents my ears from contact with the sound drivers. But these closed back earcups do tend to build up heat around the ears when worn for long durations.

The earcups are removable simply by tugging at the cushions, though but I have yet to find sources for replacements.
Noise cancelling is apparent in the adjustable Microphone but I can't seem to get it closer to my mouth due to the sheer size of the headset.

Plugging in the Hephaestus, LEDs embedded on both sides will light up illuminating the badge and the accented line.

as well as the in-line controller. Note that the LED will turn red when the mic is muted for easy identification. It has a clip at the back but is quite bulky so it's quite noticeable that you have it clamped onto your apparel.


As usual, the driver may be downloaded off of Gamdias's website but having seen the Hera software suite from our reviews of Gamdias peripherals recently, the Gamdias-EOS software for the Hephaestus is a total let down in my opinion. 

For starters, the GUI looks nothing like it's from Gamdias. Launching the software brings you to a standard window 5 tabs. The main setting tab lets you adjust input type and toggle the DSP effects / mode
The Mixer tab are just volume controls.
Effects tab are where you'll adjust the EQ and toggle the environmental sound simulator.
Karaoke / Magic voice tab lets one do key shifting in case you feel like listening to lower keys or speaking in a higher pitch...your choice.
And finally the information tab.

As I've said earlier, the Hephaestus is a big headset with a bit more weight to it than what I'm normally used to so it took me a while to get comfy with it. The soft padding on the earcups and headband sure does help and the clamp is just right as well. USB connectivity means that this is a PC-Only headset and given the size, it's not meant for music on-the-go anyway, but the cable is long enough to cut you some slack when routing behind the PC chassis.

The in-line controller is nice looking but as I've said earlier, it's bulky; not only that, Gamdias have made the volume rocker perfectly flush with the surface so it's hard to adjust the volume without having to look down on the controller itself. Though, thanks to the LED lighting it's easy to tell in the dark where are the buttons.

A switch on the side allows one to enable the "Blast Source Identifier" in two levels of intensity (or off) which induces vibrations to the earcups whenever there is deep bass or in game / movie explosions enhancing listening experience in a rather unique way. A very welcome feature but it's a mixed bag for me. In a run through with BattleField 4, I noticed that the while the vibrations are enjoyable in explosions and moving vehicles, they were missing with gunshot fights and the same is true for Mass Effect 3. The biggest kicker of it all is that the vibrations causes the plastic construction to generate an unwanted and irritating creaking sound on the left earcup. Some tweaking is definitely needed here.

Sound quality is overall good with no apparent cracklings on the high notes and volume but vocals are a bit dull but a tweak on the EQ can be done to improve that. This is a bass-heavy headset but it doesn't overwhelm the music experience, complimentary instruments and in-game BGM can be heard clearly and and the closed back design ensures that ambient noise is kept out. Tested the Microphone on skype and my voice is clear to the listener on the other side but I did need to boost the signal a little for my voice to be audible; probably because I can't get it too near to my mouth despite it's flexibility or the noise cancellation working in overtime. 


You might've gussed by now that Gamdias meant the Hephaestus to be a gaming headset. the design is surely a head turner with the built-in LEDs and by the sheer size alone. One would surely enjoy the vibration effect from the "Blast Source Identifier" in games and action movies but the creaking that comes from the plastic construction is an issue you might find irritating on the long run.

-Stylish design with LED lighting
-Unique "Blast source Identifier" system and "Cooler System"
-Good sound isolation
-Braided cables

-A little on the heavy side
-Plastic construction
-Hard to operate volume rocker via "touch-only"
-Dull driver software

Overall, the Hephaestus deserves a Silver badge from us at for it's unique features and design.