review

Edifier K815 Headset Review 2020 Version With USB Connector

Friday, September 18, 2020

RGB lighting, Bluetooth connectivity, ambient noise mode and ANC are great features to have in headphones but, when you don't need them why get the works? The Edifier K815 is the perfect starter headset for those who just require a headset that does the basics well for live streaming, Skype meetings and occasional gaming. 
The Edifier K815 has a 2.8 meter long headphone cable, which is non-detachable and permanently fixed to the left earcup. The cable integrates inline a large status led unit that measures 7cm long, 3cm wide and 1cm thick, and weighs 24 grams. This inline unit houses a large status led that feedbacks power and microphone mute status. The unit has a deep Edifier engraving on the backside and a smoke semi translucent fascia that lets the led light shine through.
The status led unit is entirely made of plastic and has a slimline profile with a rectangular shape. The unit does have a decent amount of weight to it, which can be felt when the unit dangles in mid-air. Luckily, this unit has been positioned 58cm down the cable so, it's far down enough that you can rest it on the desk while playing games, or keep it laying it on your chest when chilling on the couch. There are no button controls on this unit, other than the mentioned led.
Since there aren't any control buttons, the Edifier K815 headset has no microphone mute switch or volume control. To control the volume and mute the microphone, you have to manually do it from the Sound settings of your computer. 
The Edifier K815 integrates a boom arm that measures 13.5cm long and 1.5cm wide and features an unidirectional microphone at the end of it. The boom arm is nondetachable and it's fixed to the front side of the earcup. The boom arm has a high gloss finish too and can swivel up and down. Being made of solid plastic, the boom arm microphone is naturally not flexible; hence you cannot bend it. 
Some computer headsets have this rotating boom arm microphone, while other headsets have a detachable boom arm microphone like the GM3SE gaming headset. Some headsets even have a retractable boom arm microphone, which reels in and out. A detachable microphone is probably the most popular type because it can be replaced should it break and, it can also be interchanged with a potentially better microphone. 
The K815 stock unidirectional microphone has noise cancelling so, it has one microphone on the front (for talking) and another microphone on the backside of the boom arm designed to suppressed sound coming from the back. Since unidirectional microphones naturally reject sound from the back, the side noise cancellation works good, especially at reducing plosive sounds. The noise cancelling feature is a saving grace because the K815 boom arm does not flex backwards and with unidirectional microphones it's not ideal having the microphone so close to the mouth.
Some headsets with rotating microphone also integrate the mute function within the boom arm, allowing you to mute the microphone when rotating the boom arm microphone all the way up. The Edifier K815 rotating microphone does not integrate this feature and since there is no mute button on the headset, the mute function has to be controlled from the computer.
When connecting the Edifier K815 headset to a computer, it is recognized as "USB PnP Sound Device"; hence the computer automatically configures the headset without you having to install any drivers.  . You will have to select this option and make the K815 headset the default sound device for your computer. 
As far as why the computer recognizes the K815 headset as "speakers", it can be due to the type of sound card in a computer and/or the fact that the K815 headset uses a generic audio device driver; hence the computer has no way of knowing whether it's speakers or headphones you're plugging into. Because the computer recognizes the K815 headset as "speakers" rather than headphones, the default volume will be automatically increased to the max; hence you need to adjust the volume accordingly before listening to anything. 
As far as sound, the Edifier K815 are closed-back headphones; hence there is naturally less sound leakage than with a pair of open-back headphones. That said, some closed-back headphones leak more than others and the Edifier K815 is one of them. This is obviously most noticeable at max volume. If you keep volume at 75%-80% volume, sound leakage is reduced. If you're someone who likes the sound turned all the way up, sound leakage can potentially be an issue for people sitting nearby.

Along with good audio dynamics (101dB sensitivity), the Edifier K815 40mm drivers deliver balanced sound; hence the drivers have been tweaked to balance the bass, midrange and treble so, neither of them sound louder than the other. Some headsets have more emphasis on the bass or treble, making them bass heavy (good for electronic dance music), or more bright sounding, which is good for non-bass driven music like rock. The Edifier K815 stereo reproduction delivers good enough soundstage and imaging for locating footsteps in-game, although it's not as dynamic as 7.1 surround sound, which the Edifier K815 isn't equipped with.
The K815 headset has a glossy finish on the earcups and matte finish on the headband with the words "A Passion For Sound" laser printed on top of the headband. The inner hole of the earpads measures 6cm high and 4.5cm wide with 1cm depth to the driver; hence fairly shallow for those with protruding ears. The drivers are covered with a thin layer of fabric. The outer dimensions of the earpads are 9cm high and 7.5cm wide. The foam padding in the earpads is 1.5cm thick and has adequate cushioning. 
The Edifier K815 is very lightweight, weighing 212 grams (264 grams with the cable) and has good padding under the headband so, the headset is comfortable to wear for several hours without discomfort. That said, the earcups do not tilt or rotate, which can be a problem for large and odd-shaped heads. The inside of the earpads also doesn't have breathable mesh like the W855BT headset does for dissipating heat and sweat build up. This is more notable on a warm environment than on a cold one though.
Edifier does make an analog version of the K815 headset with a 3.5mm terminal and an inline remote control. The K815 model with the 3.5mm connector appears to be the original version released in 2015; whereas the K815 model pictured on this review appears to be the newest 2020 version, although Edifier doesn't seem to have a buy link for it yet. The 3.5mm version of the Edifier K815 is available to buy from amazon though and, there is also the P841 headphones worth taking a look at. If you like headphones with more bells and whistles, check out the W860NB ANC headset.
Gadget Explained disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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