Whenever talk turns to audio, Sennheiser is a name that inevitably comes up. And with good reason -- we've sampled several different Sennheiser brand headsets and earphones over the years, and more often than not, we end up liking what we hear. Will that trend continue into 2015? Time will tell, though in the meantime, Sennheiser is talking up a big game at CES with several new and expanded headphones in the pipeline.
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Sennheiser is a name most audio enthusiasts are already familiar with, though it's not all that often that the German maker of audio gear specifically targets gamers. Now with the help of Io-Interactive (part of the Square Enix group and creator of games like Hitman and Kane & Lynch), Sennheiser has gamers directly in its sights with its new G4ME ZERO and G4ME ONE headsets.
Sennheiser needs no introduction in the audio space, so we'll skip right to the chase and share the fact that Sennheiser has just added a pair of headsets to its PC gaming line. The new models include the PC 323D with 7.1 "super-realistic" surround sound, and the PC 310, the latter of which is a more subdued headset aimed at entry-level gamers, with a price tag to boot ($60).
It’s an audiotastic kind of day at CES; if the Scosche headsets we mentioned earlier don’t quite tickle your fancy, Sennheiser’s also let loose some information about a pair of new, high-performance headsets coming in March. Like most Sennheiser headsets, the new ones look like they’ll definitely satisfy audiophiles – but that high-end audio comes with a high-end price tag.
The Sennheiser brand is one that's well known in the audio community, and one we're plenty familiar with, having reviewed a handful of Sennheiser earphones and headsets through the years. In a weird sort of way, Sennheiser could take it as a compliment that its brand has sparked a booming counterfeit market, but really the company is just pissed and out for blood.
Sennheiser isn’t a name you usually associate with gaming headsets—the company hasn’t, after all, traditionally been a player in that market, and its entry into it hasn’t come with much fanfare. All the same, we were pretty psyched when our review unit of the company’s new G4ME 333D headset came in.
Sennheiser's probably best known for its line of high-end earphones primarily for listening to music on the go, but the company also offers a line of gaming headsets. That line got a little larger today with the introduction of a handful of new units, including the new flagship PC 360.
The PC 360 is the followup to the PC 350. It combines open-air speaker technology with a noise canceling microphone into a headset that's purportedly comfortable to wear with "velvety-soft ear pads and large ear cups."
There's also the PC 163D with virtual 7.1 channel, 360-degree audio, the slightly larger PC 333D also with virtual 7.1-channel sound that adds Dolby Headphone technology into the mix, and the PC 330 G4ME featuring closed acoustics with a flip-up design similar to a DJ's headset.
The PC 360 ($300), PC 163D ($210), PC 333D ($240), and PC 330 ($160) are available now.
If you’re at all serious about the sound you feed your head, you’ve already replaced whatever craptastic headphones (aka earbuds, earphones, or in-ear monitors) came in the box with your digital media player of choice. Now you’re ready for another upgrade, and with the economy in turn-around mode, you can afford to splurge just a bit.
Type “earbud” into Amazon’s search box and you’ll get more than 4,000 results, so to guide you through the thicket, we picked out six pairs of sub-$100 in-ear monitors from the biggest names in the business: Audio-Technica, Klipsch, Sennheiser, SkullCandy, Ultimate Ears, and VModa. We then created a playlist on a third-generation iPhone populated with songs from a broad spectrum of styles, including classical, rock, jazz, world beat, funk, and techno from artists ranging from old-school (The Beatles) to new-school (White Rabbits) to cool-school (John Coltrane). We also made a point of selecting a mixture of electric and acoustic performances mastered with both analog and digital studio equipment. All tracks were ripped from CD (recordings produced with both analog and digital studio gear) and encoded in Apple Lossless format.
When we played the Cake ditty mentioned above at a family wedding a few years ago, everyone from five to 75 hopped to the dance floor to boogie. Listening to the Sennheiser CX 280’s had the same effect on us: We started boppin’ the instant their lush sound poured into our ear canals. And their $50 street price surprised us as much as our guests’ reaction to that song’s profane chorus.
One of the hallmarks of a great set of headphones is their ability to separate and place sounds in your head. A crappy set will make you feel claustrophobic; a great set will produce a big, wide sound stage. Listening to just about any track from The Who’s Quadrophenia will quickly separate the genuine article from the poseurs; the CX 280’s are the real deal.