In the past, most of my gaming audio has been played through on-ear and over the ear headsets. That means headsets that are large, bulky, and usually meant to stay at home for use with console and PC gaming. What do you do then if you want pro gaming audio without the bulk? I don’t usually take my gaming headsets mobile because I honestly do not like carrying them around despite the fact that they would provide much better audio for gaming on the go. So what’s a guy like me to do? Well, SteelSeries answers this question with the release of their SteelSeris Flux In-Ear Pro headsets. These are tiny in-ear headsets that offer sound similar to the larger headsets, but in a much smaller package.
Design and Build
Like most in-ear headsets, these Flux In-Ear Pro are small. Unlike most in-ear headsets though, these feature an “arm” extension not normally seen in earbuds. This gives the Flux In-Ear Pro a unique look that may seem strange at first, but they actually make them fit better in your ear and helps keep them in place when in use.
Since I’m on the topic of the ear pieces, that’s what I’ll start with first. Like I said above, the ear pieces have a unique shape to them that make them look like a bent arm or a “v” shape. This may seem strange at first as most in-ear headsets are cylinder shaped or disc shaped but SteelSeries has a reason for making it like this. You see, the Flux In-Ear Pro uses balanced armature speaker drivers that provide clear and distinctly detailed sound. These allow the Flux In-Ear Pro to provide professional-grade audio similar to much larger over-the-ear and on-ear headphones that use dynamic drivers. How does balanced armature drivers work? From SteelSeries’ description, this works because the technology produces clear and distinct audio because its parts and the way they work are extremly rigid, which makes distortion of audio practically non-existent. The means cleaner sounds and the ability to even tell what direction the sounds are coming from.
Each earpiece can be coupled to several differently sized silicone ear tips or to a pair of Comply memory foam ear tips. I highly suggest the memory foam tips as they offer a much more custom and comfortable fit and passively block out outside sounds from contaminating your listening experience. And in case you’re interested, the body of the earpieces themselves are made from aluminum and durable molded rubber. These can be worn in one of two ways. They can either be worn up and around the ear using the included ear hooks or they can be worn the standard way with the cables dropping straight down.
Attached to both earpieces is a tangle-free flat ribbon cable that obviously keeps these from getting all knotted up in your pockets or wherever else you store them. I don’t suggest just rolling them up in your pocket though and instead use the included case as a means of transport and storage.
On the left earpiece cable, there is a built-in Omni-directional microphone. This means you can use the Flux In-Ear Pro to not only listen to music of play games with, you can use them to also pick up phone calls, chat on apps like Skype and Facetime, or use them as a mic for your laptop. The mic unit however only has 1 button on it which is mainly used to pick up a phone call if someone is calling or to use it as a pause and resume button while listening to music. It does not have volume controls on it nor does it have audio playback controls like some others. This is probably the only one negative I have of the Flux In-Ear Pro.
Like stated above, you can actually switch out the bottom connector on the cable. There are two sets of connecting cables included with the Flux In-Ear Pro. There is a single 3-pole 3.5mm connector as well as a dual 3.5mm plug adapter used for PC gaming.
For starters, the SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro are very comfortable to wear. I usually have a problem wearing in-ear headsets because after awhile, they begin to hurt for some reason. This goes for almost all type of in-ear headsets regardless of the type of tip it has. However, with these, because of the way they rest on your ear, I don’t have to push them all the way in to stay on. Instead I can wear them just by just pushing them in just enough to seal my ear and the included ear hooks help them stay in place. Plus, the Comply memory foam tips contour to the shape of your ear hole making them fit better than your standard silicone rubber tips.
On the subject of the Comply memory foam tips, because they contour to your ear hole, they actually seal in the audio better and help keep out the outside noise. I guess you would call this passive noise cancellation. If you get a good seal, you can barely hear what is going on around you while your playing your favorite games or listening to your favorite music.
Now of course the most import thing about a headset is how they sound and the SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro sounds great. I’m not sure if the armature speaker drivers really make that much of a difference, but all I know is that the sound I hear from these are very clean with distinct highs and lows. I tried them out with a few games and they do make a difference. I started hearing a few sounds I never even noticed when using the built in speakers on my iPhone. Something about these make them sound really good and you don’t get that weird feedback or static sounding noise in these that you sometimes get with others. These are definitely one of the better in-ear headsets I’ve used and when combined with the memory foam tips, it offers a sound that really can’t be beat.
Lastly, I love the case they come in. They are made of neoprene I believe so they are quite durable and they allow you to hold both the Flux In-Ear Pro and the extra little cable it comes with.
I’ve been using the same pair of in-ear headsets for the past 5 years, and lets just say they aren’t the ones that come with the iPhone. They’ve served me well and have always sounded great, but the comfort and sound quality of these SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro blows them away. After 5 years, I’m finally retiring my old buds and permanently swapping them out with these. Despite not having volume controls or playback controls, I’m willing to sacrifice those buttons for the sake of superior sound and not having my ears pulsate in pain after an hour of use. The quality of their build is awesome, the comfort is definitely there, and the sound from them is just amazing.
What I really love about these though are the fact that you can use these on both mobile devices and on your PC or Mac, thanks to the swappable cabling system. This makes them very versatile and more useful than just regular in-ear headsets.
The SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro retails for $129.99 and includes the Flux carrying case, multiple ear tips, and 2 connector cables.
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