Reviewing gaming headsets are always fun, because they further immerse you in gaming experiences. I was excited when Sennheiser agreed to send a pair of their headsets to review and discuss during broadcasts. Many people, including myself, hold Sennheiser products to high regards, but the question remains: Can the GSP’s tempt us away from other offerings?
Presentation: Hardware aesthetics can be subjective, specially when one considers expectations in regards to gaming headsets. Although Sennheiser’s GSP 300’s can be considered a little chunky when compared to a few other “lifestyle/music” headphones, most gaming headsets are known for their larger size to accommodate extended gaming hours. The GSP’s have a somewhat understated, non-obtrusive aesthetic about them that I can certainly appreciate, but also doesn’t visually blow me away.
The grey and blue ensure that the headset stands out just enough from the standard black headsets, but they don’t scream at you when displayed. With that said, Sennheiser has also been known to explore “funkier” designs, and these follow a similar trend with their other offerings, cementing a unique footprint on the gaming headset market. The outside box is well built and has a nice smooth texture on it, and the inside packaging has an interesting “blotted” texture that I didn’t expect. It was a cool, interesting addition to the unboxing experience.
Functionality: There are three things that I consider paramount to an optimal audio experience for gaming. Those three things are, driver audio range, microphone quality, and comfort. We’ll delve into the details of each of the categories as we assess how these headsets perform regarding those aspects.
[As a disclaimer, I’ve primarily used all headsets with and without the Astro mixamp 2011 model. This includes switching to audio jacks on ps4 and xbox controllers, using the audio jack on a blue yeti microphone, to my HTC 10 phone with an audio DAC, and a 2011 Macbook Pro]
Regarding the driver audio range, I’ve noticed something that was a bit disorientating at first- These headsets are balanced, but perhaps to a fault for my personal taste. There’s a slight “hollowness” to the sound when compared to some other headsets, mostly due to the “lows,” or the bass being set to a lower value than what I’m used to across other headsets and headphones. This is particularly noticeable in action oriented games that rely on explosions, gun shots, and beefy thuds to help players feel a sense of impact. I also noticed this effect when listening to one of my videos on youtube through my macbook pro at work- I was a bit taken back at how different I sounded on these vs the Vmoda crossfades I usually use at work where you could more clearly hear the lows in my voice in comparison. I may be spoiled in that regard though, whereas the crossfades are of course intended to be used differently, but on the flip-side, those headphones are really uncomfortable over time. Whether that makes the experience less impactful is up to the listener, but there’s no question as to the clarity of the audio itself. Fire crackles, foot steps crunch on the snow and grass, and the punches sound visceral; that is to say there are always clear distinctions to what you’re hearing and seeing, and you’ll quickly come to a realization that these cans sound awesome.
To many gamers, a high quality microphone is incredibly important. Many of the games I play are on PS4, which means my yeti mic is connected to my PC that I run my recordings and livestreams on, and the microphone on my headset is what I use to communicate with other gamers. Some of the other Black Oni Collective members also like to have me in their videos, which means that my audio to them is routed through whatever microphone is on my headset. In order for them to maintain high quality content, my microphone needs to be on point. This microphone provides a high quality, clear output, and the video review includes example of the top microphones I use for recording and how they compare to a few other offerings. [Quicktime player on Imac.] You’ll note that it comes in just a tad lower than some other mics, without any degradation to quality.
The last thing I consider paramount to amazing audio experiences is comfort. The aforementioned elements don’t matter if the headset physically hurts while wearing them. The lightweight construction, memory foam ear cups, the adjustable sliding arms, and soft padding under the band ensure that users have a pleasant experience using them. There have been several times that I’ve forgotten they were on. The only other brand I’ve used that has achieved the same has been Astro Gaming with their a40’s and a50’s. Only time will tell if that continues to be the case, and I’ll update you all during broadcasts on my thoughts if that does change.
Noise isolation is pretty good, though there is no active noise cancelation on board with these headsets. For the price, that’s totally understandable, and also commendable that they cancel out noise as well as they do without an active system in place. My home gaming environment isn’t too noisy to begin with, but I don’t hear much of what’s going on outside of my gaming experience when I use the GSP 300’s. I often times miss alerts when I get new followers, or hosts while wearing them, so to that, I say it totally works.
Also worth noting, is the dial on the right side of the headset, which allows you to control the volume. I’ve found myself using this a few times, even though my mixamp allows me to adjust volume as well, simply because I don’t have to reach as far to access the headset volume controls. While it would have been great to have on-set audio profiles or equalization options, it wasn’t a deal breaker by any means. Not many headsets do that, especially at this price.
Price: At the time of writing this review, the GSP’s can be purchased for $95 on amazon. With regards to some other gaming headsets on the market, that’s a very competitive price, undercutting even more expensive headsets while providing comparable audio experiences.
Lasting Appeal: I’ll need to spend more time and try other headsets out before I can definitively say these are the best headsets around at the price, but if I’m being honest, there’s very little to complain about here. Although they may not be as sleek as some other headsets, or have an extensive feature set, the price and quality of the audio is excellent. The comfort can’t be understated, because as gamers, we can sometimes spend 10+ hours playing or broadcasting, and having a headset that you can literally forget about, is a huge plus. I was surprised by these- You’d be hard pressed to find much to complain about.
- High quality audio driver experience
- Competitive price
- Good quality microphone
- Slightly hollow, less “boom”
- Design may polarize
- No additional equalization features