Cooler Master MasterPulse MH320 Headset Review *UPDATED*

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Introduction & Specifications

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Cooler Master, a stalwart of the peripherals and components industry repeatedly gives us products that are reliable, well built and quite often really well priced. Cases, Mice, Power Supplies, Keyboards, the list goes on. Headsets are a peripheral Cooler Master also have lots of experience with, from the impressive wireless Sirius to the classic Ceres series there have been many great headsets available.

Lately Cooler Master have been promoting ‘Make It Yours’, a big nod to the modding community with many modular and mod friendly components appearing, especially in the case department. We have already seen some MasterPulse headsets in the mid to high end gaming headset market, while I have yet to try those I have been presented with their latest budget offering the Masterpulse MH320.

Aimed at the upper budget segment almost encroaching on the lower mid-range price point the Cooler Master MasterPulse MH320 offers a very similar appearance to the higher priced headsets in this range.

Article Update.

After some issues with the original supplied headset, Cooler Master have sent a replacement retail model, this review is therefore updated throughout to reflect this. As with any product faulty units do filter through occasionally which seems to have been the case here. I have left the original text in place too, this can show the experience and disappointment a faulty product can cause.

Specifications

spec sheet

Well the specifications are very similar to other headsets in this price range, it’s going to be down to build and materials to differentiate this headset.

A Closer Look

CM Masterpulse MH320 box front

Sturdy and functional is the box we get from Cooler Master to house the MasterPulse MH320, the Make It Yours slogan at the top then an image of the headset then model name followed by the fact that its a 2.0 Channel headset so no surround circuitry here. It then says Ultra-soft Leather, however as we saw from the spec sheet its actually PU-Leather, nothing to be ashamed of but not accurate. The self adjusting headband is of a similar design previously used by other brands such as Steelseries and ASUS, not that I am complaining, some of the most comfortable headsets around have this design.

CM Masterpulse MH320 box back

The back of the box is all text, a few languages showcasing some of the features of the headset. Bi-Directional boom Mic is intriguing me as normally you get omni-directional  microphones on headsets like these. Generally pop-filter foam covered bi-directional microphones feature on more expensive sets.

CM Masterpulse MH320 box contents

The box does not contain lots of straps stickers and other doohickeys, sticking to the headset itself and a manual helps keep the costs down. The pamphlet that comes with the headset reads Voice Chat with Crystal Clarity, we shall see, the communications capabilities of this headset will be thoroughly tested in Discord.

CM Masterpulse MH320 headset front

Having a look at a front on view of the Cooler Master MasterPulse MH320, we are met with a familiar design. The big hoops are made of metal just as strong as anything the competition has in this design, the earpads are indeed very soft, the headband adjusts automatically and has a very nice soft material padding it out. The earcups are made of very hard plastic and sound hollow inside, the plastic does feel quite strong, they are fixed at an angle and don’t have the ability to slightly tilt and adjust to headshapes, so its a linear straight out movement to expand to fit. The microphone is on a flexible stem that swivels down, it can only swing down for left handed operation as it stops in the upright position and won’t go any further, the mic itself has a couple of sharp edges under the foam as it’s not a simple shape, this will mean it has to be twisted for targeting towards the mouth.

CM Masterpulse MH320 headset left

The left hand side view offers a pretty serious looking profile, no garish ‘gamer’ features or coloured plastic, just well proportioned with the appearance of high quality especially with the filter foam on the end of the microphone.

CM Masterpulse MH320 headset right

Much the same as the left hand side over on the right, here you can more clearly see the Cooler Master logo which is quite subtle. Here we can also see the angle at which the earpads are fixed.

CM Masterpulse MH320 in line controls

Accompanying the headset is an inline controller for microphone on/off function and a volume slider on the opposite side, this controller doesn’t feel very solid and creaks and flexes when moved around. This might be on purpose to stop the wires breaking the casing when twisted.

Replacement headset update:

The control box on the replacement set is put together much better and does not flex as much.

Performance & Testing

Getting the Cooler Master MasterPulse MH320 out of the box, I have to say I am initially impressed. The all black styling means that it has a more subtle look, the PU-leather cushions and headband are indeed soft and feel very comfortable. The metal arch holding everything together is solid. A little concerned that the earcups being of such a hard plastic sound hollow, I wonder if there is much inside there for creating audio. Time to get them plugged in.

Music

There is a problem with this headset, it will affect all the audio quality reports, the hollow earcups are echoing the sound from the headset speakers along with a ringing emanating from anything that touches the outer metal headband, including vibrations from my own voice. The issue is leading the Cooler Master Masterpulse MH320 to perform poorly at all levels, while vocals are clear the interference from the headset is muddling them up, there isn’t an awful lot of bass to be had. Going through my favourite glitch hop and breaks tunes I am not having an enjoyable experience, I can’t EQ anything or indeed tweak the audio in any way, it’s as if the headset needs some foam or other material inside the earcups. I wonder if Cooler Master could fix this in future batches, I am sure the audio would perform much better with something to stop the ringing/echoing problem.

Replacement Headset Update:

Well this headset is certainly a different beast, the headband while being identical in appearance does not cause the ringing effect, a much more rounded and pleasurable musical experience, still lacking slightly in bass in places but more than acceptable at this price point.

Gaming

The big test in gaming is not just the quality of the audio but how well the microphone performs. I went onto Discord which normally handles voice very well and is incredibly popular at the moment. My friends online asked me if I had a cold, one or two of them said I sounded like I was underwater, I spent a good 15 minutes repositioning the microphone and adjusting audio settings to manage a slightly better sound, this goes the front cover of the manual stating Voice Chat with Crystal Clarity, I am beginning to wonder if I have got a ‘Friday Build’ headset, is this faulty or are they all the same? In game the headset’s problem with audio causes disappointing sound effects, I can however hear players talking to me ok but this headset is not granting me the gaming experience I get from others in this price range.

Replacement Headset Update:

Now that is much better, gaming is great on this headset, footsteps in CS:GO nice and clear, sneaky rustling in PUBG all present and correct, the microphone was still a little weak, however the pop filter took out just about all background noise, which many headsets at this price range do not do. A good thumbs up for the MH320.

Conclusion

Cooler Master usually impress me greatly, it is a shame this headset fails to meet expectations especially considering the tough and competitive market place and price point it finds itself in.

Replacement Headset Update:

The original supplied headset was obviously faulty, something had gone wrong in the build some noise dampening parts or material could be missing from that one because the replacement performs admirably.

Performance

The hollow earcups have confused all of my results, I am sure the 40mm with their 20-20000Hz range are more than capable of producing a good sound, foam insulation would likely greatly improve this headset, it is tempting to have a go at modding them with some packing foam to see if I can solve it, because they are well built otherwise. The microphone could have been great, admittedly good bi-directional microphones are often much more expensive, maybe grabbing a more common budget microphone would have been a better idea.

Replacement Headset Update:

The 40mm drivers came into their own in the replacement unit, and performance is more than acceptable, the microphone judgement can also be altered as the background noise cancellation works better on this new MH320.

Design

You can’t deny that the Cooler Master MasterPulse MH320 looks great, it’s all black design combined with the incredibly comfortable headband setup bring a tried and tested option to the table for those on a budget. Its competitors do however also have comfortable designs and offer much better audio. This design does carry on through Cooler Master’s more expensive headsets and I am sure given the opportunity to test those I would get a better experience, as they have in the past shown that they can make great headsets.

Replacement Headset Update:

Excellent comfortable design, the replacement headset taking away the issues experienced, this one will sit on your head and sound fine for long gaming sessions. The all-black understated styling will still impress those wishing to avoid garish ‘gamer’ features.

Value

At an RRP of £34.99 at launch this headset will appear alongside the competition, with a strong company behind it along with great looks people could be tempted, but considering the Roccat Renga can be had for around £30 at the time of writing, the competition is not only offering better sound but a better price.

Replacement Headset Update:

Competition is still very tough at this price point, but Cooler Master have a contender with the MasterPulse MH320.

Final Thoughts

I feel with the MasterPulse MH320 Cooler Master have cut one too many corners to bring a budget headset to the market with a premium appearance. Many customers have a lot of brand loyalty, with the excellent history of Cooler Master products this could put some people off, considering how good their Keyboards, Cases and Power supplies are for example, many including myself could grab an MH320 online believing that we would be given the same quality. I am unable to recommend the Masterpulse MH320 in it’s current state. This is however not a reflection on Cooler Master’s other products, many of which I am happy to say have served me for years.

Editors Note: Due to the performance issues we experienced, we reached out to Cooler Master directly. They advised us that there was an issue with all media samples that went out and that the consumer units experiencing the issues had been addressed. We look forward to seeing an updated design to re-test in the future.

Replacement Headset Update:

Well, I can certainly change my Final Thoughts on the Cooler Master MasterPulse MH320. Cooler Master stepped up to my initial concerns by supplying a new retail boxed version of the headset, issues in manufacturing of the original review sample have proved to be the reason for just about all the niggles I had with the headset. As such the MH320 can now be recommended alongside others in its price range as a viable option. Have a value award Cooler Master as your good service adds to the entire package.

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  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value

Summary

Pros
- Very Comfortable
- Great styling
- Inline Controller
- Good sound quality

Cons
- Microphone quality
- The competition is tough at this price point

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