There is a war that wages in silence. This is a civil war of sorts where the factions are, for all intents and purposes, family. That family is the endless and global tribe of gamers. The battle: sterero gaming audio vesus multi-channel audio of the 5.1 and 7.1 variety. The winner will be crowned the Regent of headset audio solutions. Dolby Digital and multi channel audio get a lot of praise and kudos. But many professional gamers are happy with a simpler stereo headset for their fragging purposes. Me? I hold no particular allegiance, though on paper multi-channel kicks out more impressive spec sheets.
So why can’t I seem to put down this small bit of ebony ear-excellence from Sennheiser? I’m gushing about the company’s handsome PC 350 Special Edition over-ear gaming headset (headphones and mic) for PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. They come with a 3-meter cord that ends in two 3.5mm connectors. One is for the headphones. The other is for the mic. You also get one of the best boom mics in the biz, which can be muted by lifting it up to where it rests almost vertical. For convenience, the Sennheiser logo on the right headphone is actually the volume dial. And let’s take a moment of silence to appreciate the construction. Strong plastics and bushed metal hinges are used making for an attractive and appealing contrast
For stereo offerings, these things are not cheap. Let’s just get that out of the way from the jump. Yet they are as stylish as they are powerful. PC350SE feature a closed back design which works very well to keep ambient noise from creeping in while also preventing any playback sounds from seeping out. This means folks within earshot are not bombarded with your digital warmongering. These headies are also collapsible for easy transport within the included zip-up carrying case. Plus the unit weighs a light 312grams. After long hours of use you will be thankful for the lightweight. The earpadding goes a long way to help with this and also assists with noise cancellations.
In practice, the Sennheiser PC 350 SE headset’s formidable assets are nothing but! Audio playback is very good across all ranges without particular attention and emphasis on any. Bass is adequate, but I know some gamers will want more punch and thumb to their “booms” and “bangs”. However, a more expensive set of cans is not the answer. There is a reason ASUS paired one their sound cards with an older Sennheiser set of cans. If you give these bad boys appropriate audio power… Stick a fork in it… Pigs are overhead and the Fat Lady is on her encore. You’re done! I’m using a Creative Sound Blaster Z PCI-Express sound card. With a few quick adjustments to bass and the equalizer, the PC 350 SE are now pitch perfect for my needs with enhanced bass and bolstered mid-ranges.
Alternatively you can wait for Sennheiser’s PC 363 headset, which ships with a USB sound card for all those aforementioned enhancements.
On the late night, I can crank the volume higher than I could on the Astro A50 headset and know that I am not disturbing the sleeping household. But volume is not sacrificed. These babies get LOUD. But my family sleeps quietly while I game in complete comfort. Additionally, telescoping headband is more than sufficiently padded. The headband clamps down on your head in a very snug fit. The headies are not slipping off. In addition, the abundance of noise isolating ear padding is like TempurPedic for the ears.
I ran through many games and more music tracks with the PC 350 SE headies. Battlefield 3, notable for it’s accomplishments war-like audio sounded amazing with footsteps and positioning still highly discernible. Again this set of cans is giving more expensive multi-channel audio solutions a grueling run for their money. Music yields similar results. This is what I like about this headset. They don’t force you to settle. Music, movies and games are all handled with with equal care.
I do wish the mic was removable. Also an included sound card would be nice for those of you still pinning your hopes on onborard audio. The price is a bit higher than many will want to pay for a stereo headies but really–let me tell you–this puts many multi-channel offerings to shame. My SteelSeries 7H stereo headset is among them.
Bottom Line: Sennheiser’s new PC 350 Special Edition Gaming Headset is a marvel. They do more than any decent stereo headphones have a right to do. Performance, comfort and looks go without a hitch. Just be seated when the cashier reads back that price.
- Performance belies the stereo audio limit
- Simple and comfortable
- Closed back and virtually silent
- Amazingly comfortable
- Collapsible design
- Pricier than most stereo solutions
- Mic can be intrusive
The Sennheiser PC 350 SPecial Edition Gaming Headset is available at Amazon for $249.95!