Back in December we gushed and praised audio juggernaut Sennheiser for their impeccable PC 350 Special Edition stereo headphones. They beat out the SteelSeries 7H stereo headset, which was our previous champion in the stereo category. Crystal clarity and superior soundstage across all ranges was what won the day.

Now Sennheiser has cracked the champagne bottle over the bow of their newest set of cans. These are the PC 363D 7.1 Dolby over-ear headset for PC. The PC 363D uses a USB 3D sound card and an included software installation CD to work its virtual multichannel magic. The ear pads and head cushion are pillow soft. You also get a 1.2m USB adapter cord with male and female connections. This is great if you don’t have an available USB slot. But that’s the extent of the included extras. You won’t find any additional ear cushions types or even a carrying case, which was included in the PC 350 Special Edition stereo set.

Getting it up and running takes a couple of additional steps, which were not necessary on the PC 350 Special Edition. The headphones connect via two 3.5mm jacks. The green is audio. The red is for microphone. These plug into the included USB 3D sound card. The other end of which plugs into your PC via USB.  From here you’re just a software installation away from enjoying your new cans. The PC 363 G4ME is a simple installation, which throws an icon up on your taskbar. With it you can select what type of channel audio you would prefer. The offerings are 2-channel, 4-channel, 5.1 channel or 7.1 channel. Make sure your game, movie playback device supports your channel selection.

The included USB 3D sound card is an interesting choice. With the flip of the switch it augments your multichannel audio to enable Dolby Headphone. But that’s it. It holds no other secrets or functions for that matter. The volume dial is found outside of the right earpiece. There is no mute for the sound. To kill it, you will need to dial the volume all the way down, which is not ideal. However, you can mute the mic by simply flipping it up until  you hear a faint “click”.

I found the Sennheiser PC 363D to be an exceptional pair of cans. The overall soundstage is richer and more all-encompassing than the PC 350 SE. Bass is slighty deeper. Yet it’s the clarity of individual sounds, which are made to sound more distinct, that impresses the most. The USB 3D sound card does an amazing job recreating 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby audio. There were a couple times I thought the sound was also playing through my speakers because it seems to come from so many directions… It’s hard to believe it was all coming out of the PC 363D. I would appreciate more volume, however. They get loud with no distortion whatsoever. But I feel the volume should have a higher ceiling.

We ran the Sennheiser PC 363D set through hours of games and movies. Wow was that fun! Games really shine. Explosions in BF3 erupts with crackles and sparks that I had only heard in the Tiamat’s from Razer. Plus the mic is outstanding, and effectively cancels out ambient noise. Players on the receiving end complimented the clarity and had no problem hearing me clearly. The PC 363D opens up a lot of unheard audio sounds and effects for those hampered with lackluster stereo cans. The clarity even surpasses the Creative Recon Omega3D Wireless, Astro Gaming A50 wireless and the Razer Tiamat. Yet users should know, at the highest volumes there is some sound bleed. So be conscious of sleeping housemates.

These are the new undisputed reigning champs of the multichannel arena.

Pros

·  Masterful audio reproduction

·  5.1 and 7.1 Dolby

·  3D USB sound card adds versatility

·  Soundstage reveals all

Cons

·  No audio mute

·  Some sound bleed

The Sennheiser PC 363D 7.1 Headset  is available at Sennheiser.



Shawn Sanders

 
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.