Sennheiser is stepping their (video)game up
At gamescom 2016, Sennheiser Gaming had a booth were they displayed their upcoming line of dedicated video gaming sound peripherals for you to test.
When you say Sennheiser, you know you are getting top notch audio quality. It’s one of the top brands when it comes to headphones and microphones. Video gamers know that a good game becomes instantly better with proper audio output.
Sennheiser already dipped their toe in the pool by releasing two stereo headsets: Game Zero and Game One. This year they added the impressive 7.1 Dolby Surround, open shell, XXL ear cups headset PC 373D. All headsets come with a price tag of around EUR/USD 250, these headsets could be considered on the pricey side, -although gamers know that good sound comes at a price-.
The GSP 300
Right off the bat of Gamescom , Sennheiser dropped a surprise for the gamer on a budget: the GSP 300. It has all the qualities you’d expect of a Sennheiser headset for a lower price: EUR/USD 99. So where did they cut the price? I mean if the flagship headset is around 250, how can they make this one for 99? Rest assured, they are not cheating you by giving you reject components or the B choice. It still has a broadcast quality noise-cancelling microphone. That minimizes background noises, like your kids fighting or your spouse yelling at you, but loud enough that you can hear your baby crying so you know it’s feeding or diaper changing time. Its short boom makes sure you’re not a creeper by cutting out that heavy breathing of yours for clearer in-game communication. Sennheiser’s famed acoustic quality, makes sure you hear every gun shut and bomb dropping, while also adding a little amped up bass. The difference sound wise, is the frequency response range. The Game Zero/One and PC 373D are between 15-28.00 Hz, while the GSP 300 is 2000 less (15-26,00 Hz).
I have tested the Game One and GSP 300 with No Man’s Sky at the booth. I must say that to my untrained it ears, they sound more or less the same. As for comfort and finish, that’s were you can feel the difference and that’s where they cut the price down. The Game One has nice XXL ear cups, which is great for a bespectacled geek like me. After more than 4 hours of hardcore emersion in a video game, my ears start to hurt, with the cups and my specs pressing on my ears. With XXL cups I can imagine this not being the case. The ear cups have a plush velvet finish and soft cushioned headband. Add the open design ear cup design to the equation and you have a recipe for NONE sweaty ears when you are done. Hold up, this does not mean that putting on the GSP 300 is a torture. Au contraire mon ami, the split headband divides the pressure on your head for a more comfortable fit. The ear cups or a bit smaller, but still XL with memory foam for that nice snug noise cancelling fit. It’s also a closed acoustic headset, meaning better noise isolation to improve total focus while raiding that dungeon.
Gaming Amps, yeah buddy!
Enough headset talk, during the Gamescom, Sennheiser released something that I am really looking forward to. *drumroll* Gaming Amplifiers! Yes ….. GAMING AMPLIFIERS!
The GSX 1000 and the GSX 1200 PRO. The main difference between the two is that the GSX 1200 PRO is designed for the competitive eSports. You can connect up to 8 GSX 1200 PRO amps for hard wired lag free communication with your team. Other that than it’s the same beast. And what a BEAST it is. I will start of by saying that I love the design of this little amp. It has this hover over activation ability, meaning that the red on black display dims down when not in use, and lights up as soon as it senses your hand is near. The corners of the amp let’s you save up to four of your favourite settings. It has a LED touch panel and aluminium volume ring. The touch panel lets you: adjust the loudness of your voice in the headset (and mute it), switch between equalizers for various use, switch between headset and speakers. It also lets you switch between stereo 2.o and Sennheiser’s own 7.1 Virtual Surround Algorithm, which according to the Sennheiser dude was developed with the pro gamer in mind. Yo I’m taking his word for it, but I can say it sounds stunning. I got to test the GSX 1000 together with the GSP 300, you could definitely hear the difference between the 2.0 stereo sound provided by the headset and the surround sound provided by the amp. It made the sound come more alive. What the GSX 1000 amp essentially is, is a sound card without having to install a sound card. It was designed to be the beating heart of your gaming sound and has a dedicated DAC chip that requires no additional drivers. It plays right out of the box.
After spending a half hour fiddling with the with the new headsets and (my personal fave) the GSX 1000, these are certainly products I would like having. IF… I was a PC gamer. Alas my drug of choice is the console (the Playstation 4). Unfortunately the added bonuses these products give don’t really work on the console, it’s not their fault. I blame Sony and Xbox. So I’ll end this post by saying:”Dear console makers, please make it so that Headset creators can use the functionality of your USB output so I am not stuck with crappy Stereo Sound and Chat Audio that is a pain in the behind to adjust. Us console gamers deserve a Sennheiser headset to work they way the maker intended it to!”
The GSP 300 as wel as the gaming amplifiers will be released in October 2016. GSP 300 will be available at EUR 99, the GSX 1000 at EUR 229 and the GSX 1200 Pro at EUR 249.
For more information on Sennheiser’s gaming line of which they say are: ‘The Sound Games Are Made Of’ just click here.