Hardware Review: Fifine Ampligame H6 Gaming Headset
People don’t often consider gamers to be the kind of people who are also audiophiles. More often than not, the concern is more along the lines of “is the game fun” than it is “am I able to get theater quality audio from a gaming headset.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise the focus is often on the gameplay experience. So long as the game runs at a consistent framerate and the audio quality of the hardware in use doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a literal potato, it can often be seen as an area where gamers can take a hit or two. Gaming headsets are literally everywhere, and finding one that fits your budget and needs can often be a game in and of itself.
If anything, gamers in varying financial situations are more than willing to take concessions where they can and have settled for hardware that is affordable but “good enough.” Personally, when I started using gaming headsets regularly, I too started at the low end. It never really made too much sense to me to drop at least a cool hundo on a gaming headset until I purchased some in that price range. I currently daily drive a HyperX Cloud Alpha headset hooked into my Blue Yeti microphone for streaming and such, but my situation isn’t every gamer’s situation. That’s why some just want to grab something that’s a step above dollar store gaming headsets, but something punching well above its price point.
It’s this niche where I see Fifine’s Ampligame H6 headset trying to fill. Currently available for purchase at a $39.99 price point, the price definitely reeks of something to start out with and hang around with once the user decides to upgrade at a later date.
Out of the Box and Onto Your Ears
Anyone who keeps even a causal tab on discount hardware will often notice the hallmarks of the price point all around. Pulling the H6 out of the box is a decidedly light affair. You’re not getting anything more than the headset itself and a roadmap style instruction manual.
With higher end headsets, you’ll often find hardware included that will help you adapt to your unique situation. Like a splitter for a combo 3.5″ headphone jack, an adapter to plug it into a USB port (or in reverse), or even a flimsy little carrying bag to put it in for travel like Logitech has done for headsets like the G Pro. Obviously, this isn’t the case with the H6, and the aforementioned price point should be an obvious enough explanation for that.
Despite the unboxing experience, the H6 does have a couple tricks up its sleeve given other headsets in its price range. For one, I was honestly surprised to see a detachable microphone. It sports a chonky inline remote control for the usual mic muting, volume control, EQ control, and their advertised simulated 7.1 surround sound. It’s also a surprise that there’s even some mediocre in-headset RGB that also shines through the top of the ear cups onto the headband through the small pre-cut holes. Oftentimes in low-end price range, the RGB is just thrown in as an afterthought with little method of control. With the H6, it’s just a nice value-add that jazzes it up a little. There’s no real way to control the color cycling of the RGB, but it’s nice to see they put some effort in.
Holding the H6 in your hands and wearing it will feel somewhat weird if you’re used to headsets and headphones with a little more heft. While most gaming headsets these days are relatively light to accommodate for long gaming sessions, you can definitely tell the difference between “light but sturdy” headsets and their “cheap and hollow” brethren. The feel of the H6 is absolutely light, but doesn’t feel like you grabbed it from the clearance section of a big box store either. There’s a decent amount of weight for the price point, and the plastics surrounding the ear cups and drivers don’t feel especially cheap. The headband has a decent amount of cushion, though the overall build quality for it is a little goofy.
Actually wearing it doesn’t feel especially bad. With the earcups totally enveloping your ears as a headset like they should, it’s decently fitted for long-term gaming sessions. Holding those earcups together are a pair of metal brackets not unlike the Cloud Alpha I daily drive, which is a nice touch for a headset in this price range. It’s not much of a point to mention that it doesn’t feel like a chore to move your head around, but there’s something to be said about a build quality that doesn’t feel like it’s there at all. Thankfully for the H6, it’s weighty enough to not feel cheap. But it’s obviously lacking the quality you’d expect from headsets on the higher end.
However, it is hampered a bit by the lack of I/O options out of the box. Again, this is something to expect on the low end of the spectrum. With the fact that there’s not any additional hardware, you’re going to be limited to a USB-A connector. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to plug it into any old USB-A port you can find, as it’s limited to Windows/MacOS devices and modern-ish era Playstation consoles (namely the PS4/PS5). If you decided to move with Xbox as your console of choice, then you’ll have to look elsewhere in the vast sea of gaming headsets.
But even with the lack of support for Xbox, you’re going to find yourself limited by the choices offered by the built-in I/O. This isn’t a headset you can just plug into your 3.5″ audio jack on your DualShock 4 or DualSense, unless you track down a (probably clunky) adapter elsewhere. This headset is more for those with desk setups that don’t have to worry about pesky things like cord length or complex streaming setups. This is reinforced by the fact that you can plug the headset directly into the console and use the console’s own audio controls to adjust your levels. The same can be said for macOS and Windows, as Fifine expects you to use either OS’ default audio controls to adjust your levels. This is definitely not a living room headset, unless you’re looking to sit relatively close to your console with the admittedly long 6’+ cable.
Regardless, you’re going to have to evaluate your own personal use case for this headset. Those with setups the accommodate the cord length and I/O of the headset should be just fine. Otherwise, it’s not exactly a convenient option outside of those parameters.
Punching as Hard as it Can
If you’re used to picking up any pair of wired headphones on the extreme low end, the compromises made to get to that price point can and will affect the user experience as a result. However, you can find some hidden gems on the low end. Sometimes you can get by with a cheap pair of wired headphones that are good enough for listening to music and taking calls that the recipient can actually hear. A lot of this due to the fact that they’re wired, which does carry a signal far better than Bluetooth can at the moment. Since the H6 is also wired via USB, the audio experience is decent for the price. Though there are some compromises.
While the headset does get decently loud, sometimes you will find a little bit of distortion on the treble end of things, while also feeling a bit muted on the bass side as well. The latter does get punchy at times, but it doesn’t always have the impact you’d expect from higher end headsets. Audio quality in the middle (vocals, etc) are what most people notice when they listen to music, and being decent here often helps soften the blow on either end. “The mids” are absolutely passable, though they do pale in comparison to more robust headsets.
Things are slightly complicated when you take the included EQ controls into account. There are modes for music, games, and movies, though the mixing is a bit underwhelming. Music mode puts the focus more on the ends and kind of leave the mids in the dust. Games tend to emphasize the more punchy moments in, say, a shooter. Movies mode is good for dialogue, but not much else.
This is complicated further with the simulated 7.1 surround sound built into the headset. I’ve never relied on this for a good listening experience with headsets, simply because actually achieving that kind of experience is best listened to with the proper amount of speakers in the right arrangement in a decently sized room. It tries to emulate some sort of surround sound, but it’s hardly worth considering. It’s not a terrible overall listening experience when you look at the asking price, but it’s absolutely in the realm of “good enough” for everyday use and not much else.
Microphone quality is surprisingly decent. While the specs for this headset tout it as an omni-directional mic, the fact that it’s as clear as it is over USB is impressive for its price range. It’s not uncommon to see headsets in this space end up sounding like you’re in a barrel stored in some dank storage dungeon or something. That’s not the case with this mic. It’s surprisingly clear and could easily pass as a streamer’s first mic. This is one consistent advantage that wired audio equipment like this often has over its wireless counterparts. This isn’t always the case, but it seems that Fifine was able to source a decent microphone. Probably wouldn’t hurt to buy a pop filter for it, though. It’s by no means professional quality, but using it for chatting with your buddies on Discord or other party chat is a perfectly cromulent way to put it to good use.
Overall, the H6’s audio experience is a confusing mishmash of decent highs and puzzling lows. The listening experience is passable with some concessions, and the features that are supposed to enhance the experience doesn’t always stick the landing. But I was honestly surprised that the mic sounded as good as it does. It’s a strange monkey’s paw of an experience, but it’s an experience that I wasn’t expecting from a headset that you can order on Amazon.
It’s In the Name
I always find it somewhat amusing when I set my expectations low for something that is priced like a low-end product and those expectations end up getting smashed in the process. The Fifine H6 is not an overall terrible headset, but it nestles itself in between pulling off a couple of cool tricks while also bearing the marks of its price point. This might not be a bad choice in the “in a pinch” category, but it’s by no means something I would daily drive.
Just because I wouldn’t personally use these on a daily basis doesn’t mean that this is a bad product. Far from it, in fact. The H6 wanted to occupy the “decent for the low price” category and can be a good fit for your financial situation and use case. So long as you don’t expect the world from it, it’s something that I could see someone using as a backup or a little brother headset.
In between the decent build quality and the passable audio experience overall, the H6 succeeds at being the Mendoza Line of entry level gaming headsets. Which is to say, it’s average. But that’s fine by me. Sometimes you just want something that gets the job done at an affordable price, and the H6 definitely succeeds on that front. Just be ready to temper your expectations or figure out your use case before you pull the trigger.
Review unit provided by Fifine for review purposes. Photos taken by reviewer. Featured image courtesy of Fifine.