EKSA Star Engine E5000 Pro Gaming Headset is so well-built, with its chunky over-the-ear headphones, that it makes you feel like some kind of audio wizard.
With the cups firmly but not painfully grasping my ears, most of the world faded to a barely-perceptible background whisper. I felt like I should be sitting in some glass-fronted producer’s booth, issuing instructions to an increasingly irritated Steven Toast. And that was before I got round to inserting the detachable microphone which is nearly as good as blocking out external noise as the headphones themselves.
After being spoilt by the wireless Trust GXT 391 Thian, having a wire initially seemed like an inconvenience. But apart from the excellent build quality, one of the stand-out features of the E5000 is that it supports connection via USB, USB-C or standard 3.5 audio jack. So, in theory, you can use the headset with virtually any device, just swapping out the cables.
In practice, the EKSA Star Engine E5000 is at its best when plugged into a PC. And if you do have a PC you should absolutely be connecting it via USB, either standard or USB-C. Why? Because the E5000’s Windows control panel (a separate download) gives you absolute control over the headset’s audio settings.
It has the standard headset-mounted volume control and microphone mute button but the EKSA mini-app sports so much more. For a start you can mess around with several equalizer presets: rock, pop and so forth, or create your own custom one. On top of that you can tweak and customise the 7.1 surround sound.
Yes, the E5000 headset supports surround sound and while it’s not going to beat a full set of 7.1 speakers, it still gives your PC gaming an impressive boost, providing the game in question supports it. Even if you’re just listening to music, sound quality is fantastic especially when you start creating your own custom settings for each game/app. You can have multiple custom profiles, so you can find the sweet spot for each game or album.
Use the headset with a console or mobile device, and you’ll still get good audio quality. Of course, the fact that you can’t easily modify settings means you’re stuck with the default profile. Is that a disaster? No, but there were a few times when I could tell the range wasn’t quite as as spectacular as it was using the tweakable PC driver.
The E5000’s ear cups look like they should turn your ears into pools of sweat but, despite using them for hours on end without removing them, they remained comfortable. They light up green if they’re plugged in through USB, but it’s not as spectacular a light show as some other headsets. Not that it’s an issue; with the E5000 delivering top quality PC performance, it doesn’t need that many bells and whistles.
My one non-audio related gripe is that it doesn’t ship with a USB-C to USB-A cable in the box. The headset has only a USB-C connector on it, so connecting it to a standard USB port means using an adapter cable (which is supplied in the box). USB-C to USB-A cables are dirt cheap, so picking one up is not a problem, but it’s just a shame one isn’t thrown in the box for convenience’s sake.
Speaking of cheap, the EKSA Star Engine E5000 Pro Gaming Headset will set you back £48.37/$57.99 which is a great price if you’re looking for a powerful, excellent quality PC headset. It’s still good value if you’re going to be using it with a console, so by all means by it for that. But if you really want to get every last scrap of performance and quality out of the E5000 (and can live with a wired connection), you can’t go wrong making it your go-to PC gaming headset.
The EKSA Star Engine E5000 Pro is available to buy from EKSA’s website. A unit was kindly provided for the purposes of this review.