Not everyone has the luxury of living by themselves and being able to crank your gaming system at all hours. General roommate courtesy dictates that you be aware of your cohabitant and allow them for their own time and their own sleep. So when your drunk roommate is complaining about the gunshots radiating through the house, one must seek refuge in alternative audio outputs. The Sennheiser PC 350’s say “pick me, pick me”!
Sennheiser is a reputable company in the music production arena, that has taken their penchant for quality pro-audio products, and parlayed it to the ever blossoming video game industry. The Sennheiser PC 350 SE (a newer model) is a gaming headset for PC gamers. Though I wish that these headphones could be used for console gaming, they can only be used on a PC as they require inputs for two separate 1/8th inch plugs, one for audio out, and one for microphone in. Oh well! The first thing I noticed upon taking the 350’s out of the packaging was the rock solid construction. Your fat friend from high school could easily smother these things on your futon, and I’m sure that the futon would break first. I went to the mirror as soon as I put them on and I swear it was like I was looking at an Iron Eagle 3 poster minus Lou Gosset Jr! That is a good thing, I promise! I also noticed the quality of noise reduction as they totally cupped to my ears. They really fit to my head and felt very snug, and I wouldn’t see any problem wearing them for hours on end. In fact I did just that.
The great thing about Sennheiser is they put a lot of focus on sound quality, so we needed to check if the PC 350 SE matches up to expectation. To test the audio quality of the 350 SE, I tried a couple of different scenarios, including some that had nothing to do with gaming, because I was interested in how they’d perform as everyday headphones. The PC 350 SE headphones are marketed as gaming headphones so we’ll start there. I played Command and Conquer with a buddy of mine on my MAC as I felt that it would either be a Real Time Strategy game or a First Person Shooter that players would use the PC 350’s for. The bass presence in these headphones was competent while not being overbearing, as explosions were received with a subtle grace and bloom. I am a huge fan of really round bass frequency spectrum, and I felt that the PC 350’s could have used a little more balance. The bass response just seemed very separate from the rest of the mix, like it was tucked away. I also found the treble to be a little shrill at times, where the gunfire and other higher spectrum sounds being a little harsh, but nothing too bothersome. Although the 350 SE microphone isn’t detachable, it was easily the best and most quality feature of the PC 350’s as they responded with precision and accuracy. My friends voice was crystal clear, and was presented well in the mix and there wasn’t any hiss or other noise present. After Command and Conquer, I played Fallout 3 on my Xbox 360 just to get another perspective on sound quality, and things sounded better than they did with Command and Conquer, though I didn’t test the microphone. I also tried them with my MPC 1000, which is a music production sampler, and they were weak in comparison to Sony MDR-7504’s, just really flat. Lastly I tried them in an online audio chat, and they sounded great when the audio was limited to just voices. Other features of note include a microphone mute switch, an always desired cord clip to alleviate any drag due to the weight of the cord, and a volume knob that lowers the volume but doesn’t cut it off completely? Not Having a volume mute function is a bad design choice indeed.
As with any set of headphones or speaker system there are many variables involved when it comes to the final sound of the product. The source material in this case is obviously video games, so it’s going to depend on the game itself, and whatever sound card and internal PC EQ you are working with. I left them raw so I could accurately judge them for what they are. I have read reviews on Amazon stating that with some tweaking they can achieve some desired sound settings, so it’s all up to you and your “other” gear!
The Sennheiser PC 350’s are a competent while not perfect addition to your gaming set up, although it is slightly apparent that Sennheiser could do some retooling in regards to overall balanced sound reproduction. I would never opt to wear headphones if I didn’t have to, but If I did, the 350’s are certainly a viable option! Sennheiser also makes other gaming headphones that may be worth checking out as well.
- High end design and construction
- Comfortable fit for extended use
- Fairly accurate representation of audio field
- Unbalanced bass and treble response
- Not very versatile across multiple scenarios
- Volume knob just lowers sound, but doesn’t turn off
Buy them for $130 here
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