Sennheiser PC 360 Gaming Headset

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Product: Sennheiser PC 360 Gaming Headset
Provided By: Sennheiser
Price: Find Lowest Price Online

 

Introduction: 

Today we are taking a look at the Sennheiser PC 360 Gaming headset.  This headset is geared for gamers that demand great audio quality.  It's not the cheapest headset around, and the specifications look pretty impressive.  With all of that being said however, we will be taking a look at it and finding out if lives up to the hype and performs as we hope.  Sennheiser makes some pretty stellar products and all of them demand a premium price tag.  Stay tuned as we find out if the PC 360 can live up to our expectations.

The PC 360 is an open design stereo headset that has a couple of nice features - including extreme comfort and a great microphone.  One of the nice features of the microphone is that it will mute if you position it in the "up" position.  The volume control for the audio is also very intuitive and really completes the whole package.

Box Front
Box Front

Box Back
Box Back

 

About Sennheiser:

Sennheiser has been around for over 65 years and they know audio.  They have pioneered some great audio technology over the years and have positioned themselves for a long and healthy future.  Below is some information from their site that better explains a few aspects of their vision.

Integrity
We apply the highest ethical standards, exhibit honesty and fairness in everything we do, and honor our commitments. We take personal responsibility for our actions and treat everyone fairly and with trust and respect.

Respect
We treat our team members, clients, partners, and suppliers with respect and sensitivity and recognize the importance of diversity. We respect all individuals and value their contributions.

Box Top

Entrepreneurial Spirit
We believe in developing a sense of entrepreneurship in each and every employee with regard to their work, projects, and roles. We all strive to be proactive and take an active interest in Sennheiser’s business. We continuously strive to improve efficiency, quality, and cost control. We encourage innovation, new ideas, and opportunities for improvement.

Empathy
We carefully consider all perspectives and consequences in our decisions and acknowledge our responsibility for the things we do. We work towards solutions that are optimal for the company, considering all stakeholders’ input.


Excellence
We strive for excellence in everything we do. This includes, but is not limited to, serving our clients in the best possible way, managing our internal processes and people as well as focusing on financial performance.

Passion
We do business with our full energy and commitment for the industry we work in. We take pride in our job and draw satisfaction from excellence.

Curiosity and Openness
We support and foster a climate of innovation in the things we do. Innovation is a key element of our success, be it in our products and services as well as in the way we do business.

 

We've reviewed quite a few gaming headsets over the years - most recently the Roccat Kave 5.1 headset.  The Psyko Audio Carbon headset is also a good gaming headset, but both of these have a positional advantage as they are 5.1 headsets.  The Thermaltake eSports Shock headset is probably about the most similar headset that we can compare to, but the price difference puts them in a separate class.

This is a basic (although high quality) stereo headset from a company that wants to turn the heads and ears of serious gamers.  For the price of $200, it will have to deliver a pretty solid experience to end up on a gamers short list.  The PC 360 is Sennheiser's flagship headset that aims to trump everything else they make.  If you want to save a bit of money, you could choose one of their mid-range products - but they are trying to impress with the PC 360.  Let's take a look and see if they can impress us from the get-go.

 

Closer Look:

Right from the start this Sennheiser headset is built and packaged to impress.  The exterior packaging and even the way they layout the unboxing shows that they want to impress.  Opening the PC 360 is a lot like opening an Apple product.  The whole experience shows off the product and the brand from start to finish.

In The Box
In The Box

The headset is not all that small as you can see in the pictures below.  The microphone boom is quite large as well but the whole thing is nice and light.  When the microphone is in the "up" position, it automatically mutes and you can hear a soft "click" when it engages.  Hopefully the switch they used in the arm is built to last as there is no other method to mute the microphone.


Profile
Profile
Mic Profile
Mic Profile

 

The microphone on this headset looks pretty impressive.  As we'll cover on the next page, it has some pretty nice specifications as well.  Although the finish of the PC 360 is all done in plastic, the mic of glossy and matte makes it quite appealing in my opinion.  Sennheiser doesn't waste any area when it comes to branding it with model, logo and name.

Mic Extended
Mic Extended
Mic Up
Mic Up
Mic Close
Mic Close

 

The cans are nice and spacious for my medium-sized ears. They are nice and light and with the open design they do help keep your head and ears quite cool.  The downside to this is that they leak your game audio and in turn allow noise to reach your ears.  The benefit to this is a cooler experience, and the ability to hear your team-mates if they are sitting beside you at a LAN.  I usually use closed design cans, but after using these extensively for the past month, I have to say that I prefer this style now.  The volume control on this headset is located on the right side of the headset - right on the ear.  This is a great idea and it works very well.  It is quick and simple to adjust volume and you don't need to hunt for an in-line control.  I love this.

Inside Ear Cups
Inside Ear Cup
Volume Control
Volume Control

 

As is pretty common with non-budget headsets, the connectors for the headphones and microphone is gold plated.  This doesn't really add a lot of value or anything, it just shows that they are following through with the entire scope of their product.

Connectors

 

On the next page we'll take a look at the features and specifications from Sennheiser before we jump into testing.


 

Overview:

As we carry on through this section we are pulling a bunch of the information from the Sennheiser product page.  For all of the details, please check out the product page for up to date information and all the details.  The information below has been posted for your convenience.

The preferred headset
We spared no expense in developing this headset, and perhaps that is why the PC 360 gaming headset is known as a preferred headset for professional gamers throughout the world.

German-engineered speaker technology and a top-notch noise canceling microphone deliver outstanding hi-fi performance. The PC 360 features our “Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement” design, developed for high-end hi-fi headsets to channel audio signals directly into your ears. But it’s the open acoustics and intuitive controls that will really get your pulse racing. The PC 360 is an open-designed stereo headset, which means that air can pass in and out of the ear cups to ensure that you sweat less during the game.

For gaming professionals
Thanks to close cooperation with top e-sports team mTw in the development of the PC 360, we have integrated the volume control on the right ear cup – unlike other headsets which feature it far down on the cable. That way you have more intuitive, and therefore quicker and easier, access to controlling the sound settings. Because in the heat of the game, isn’t the volume button the last thing you want to look for?

Intelligent systems
The PC 360 also features the best microphone we have ever developed for a gaming headset. Fully flexible, so you decide where it should sit and how close to your mouth you want it to be. We have also given it top-quality noise cancelation – and to top it off, an automatic microphone mute, which you activate simply by raising the boom arm.

The PC 360 is made for serious gamers who value professional sound, comfort and features – speeding up your reaction time so you can focus on the game, not your headset.

 

Features:

  • High-end, around-the-ear headset with Sennheiser’s “Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement” technology for outstanding sonic accuracy and clarity
  • Open design – lets in fresh air to keep your head cool
  • Innovative design – channels audio signals directly into your ears
  • Professional soundscape – delivers a natural listening experience
  • Noise canceling clarity – the microphone reduces ambient noise for crystal-clear conversations
  • Ultra-comfortable – thanks to XXL velvet ear pads and a cushioned headband
  • Convenient microphone mute – automatically mute the microphone by raising the boom arm
  • Intuitive design – the volume control is integrated on the right ear cup
  • Only one cable – so you can turn your head without getting in a tangle
  • 2-year warranty

 



Wearing style Headband
Connector 2 x 3.5 mm for desktop/laptop
Cable length 3 m (9.8 feet)
Weight 300 g
Color black


Headphones


Frequency response (headphones) 15 – 28,000 Hz
Impedance 50 Ω
Sound pressure level (SPL) 112 dB
Ear coupling around-the-ear, open acoustic design


Microphone


Impedance 2 kΩ
Frequency response (microphone) 50 - 16,000 Hz
Pick-up pattern Noise canceling
Sensitivity as per 121 TR 9-5 -38 dBV/Pa

 


Sennheiser PC 360 Testing:

Testing a gaming headset is pretty simple - and a lot of fun.  The best types of games that demonstrate precision multi-channel audio are usually FPS games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Modern Warfare 3.  I played quite a few different games with this headset including Brawl Busters, Age of Empires Online and more - just to test out the full scope that this stereo headset has to offer.  Please remember that this a stereo headset - not a 5.1 headset so it will not offer as positional audio as these other units.  What Sennheiser attempts to make up for is quality.  None of these 5.1 headsets offer a great music listening experience.

 


Gaming:

Testing a headset is pretty easy, but writing about it is a little bit tougher.  It's hard to convey the fit, feel and sound of any audio product.  Also, because of the size of the headset speakers, it's pretty hard to test them with reference microphones here at BCCHardware.  Most of my "testing" will be mainly my experiences with the headset and what I liked and didn't like.

Before we start I should let you all know that I am not a professional gamer by any stretch of the imagination.  Sennheiser states that these are good for the professional gamer, but when I tried these on, they didn't magically turn me into a pro.  I am more than a casual gamer and have been involved in a gaming clan The Devil's Rejects since the Call of Duty World at War days.  I've played with a lot of pretty nice headsets over the years - including some great 5.1 setups, and other premium stereo headsets.

In the past most of my headsets have been of the closed design and while this helps block out external sounds, it does make it hard to hear other people in your house or at the LAN if you have the headphones on - covering your ears fully.  The solution is to slide the headphones up on one side so you can hear your neighbor, but in doing that you lose the in-game audio from that side of the game.  The solution to find a headset that has an open design that allows you to hear some of the noise in your non-virtual world.


The PC 360 headset gives you the ability to hear generally where sound is coming from.  Again, this is a stereo headset, so don't expect any amazing ultra-precise directional audio.  What it does deliver is ultra-rich, high quality and crisp audio out of two channels.  The quality of the in-game audio coming out of these when connected to a Creative Audigy X-Fi is amazing.  The soundcard can deliver great audio with excellent THD levels and this is all maximized in the PC 360 headset. 

While the headset alone won't make you a better gamer, it does provide extreme comfort, amazing audio and a wonderful experience overall.  During testing time here at the office and even when writing reviews, hunting for news or editing, I've worn this headset for hours on end and I've never found them to be uncomfortable at all.  These clearly are the best fitting, most comfortable headset I've ever used.  Ever.

Profile

Music and Movies:

According to the specifications, the frequency response range of this headset is from 15Hz to 28,000Hz which should make it ideal for pretty much any audio that you pump through it.  Music is - in one word - wow.  I used an SPL meter and measure the maximum audio output I can get from these when plugged into my computer's X-Fi soundcard.  They max out ~106dbi but they start to distort some of the vocals at just over 100dbi. 

How does this translate to end user experience?  They are great.  For normal music listening - and even listening to it loud - they are crisp, clear, clean and offer a lot of bass - where they need to.  They seem very accurate in their reproduction of audio and don't have heavily tweaked bass that ruins the experience.  My subjective analysis is that they are accurate.  Vocal tracks and power ballads are stellar, while guitar solo's and treble charged tracks are crisp.  Bass heavy tracks won't disappoint either.

The same rings true with movies.  They are great and offer a tremendously robust listening experience.  Volume is adequate in every instance that I've used them and the on-ear volume control and on-mic swing-up-to-mute feature are great.

 

Microphone Quality:

On the mic side of things, it is a similar story.  The mic is extremely good.  You don't have to take our word for it though; you can download a recording of the mic in use when plugged into a Creative X-Fi Platinum sound card.  Get the MP3 file here.  I used the Creative audio console to record the audio and then converted to MP3 in Audacity without any tweaking.

 

 

Final Thoughts:

I was pretty excited to get my hands on a good Sennheiser gaming headset.  After reviewing the VMX200 bluetooth headset and not finding it all that impressive, I was hoping that things would change this time around.  They did.  The Sennheiser PC 360 headset is exactly what a stereo headset should be - comfort, quality, performance and good looks.  After our meeting at CES and demo'ing the products there for a short time, it was great to get some quality time with this headset.

As I have mentioned throughout the review, I'm a gaming enthusiast - not a professional gamer.  I am able to hold my own in Call of Duty Black Ops, and a few other titles and enjoy playing a lot of different games that utilize a microphone for team co-ordination.  I don't believe the Sennheiser PC 360 improved my gameplay as I moved from a much-cheaper stereo headset to this unit, but they certainly did improve my enjoyment.  They also improved the ability of my clan mates to hear and understand me as the microphone with this headset is stellar.


I'll try to break down my final thoughts about this headset into a few different sections that will help me determine a final score for this product.

Audio Quality - This is one of the few areas that the Sennheiser headset shines.  The audio quality for music, movies and of course, games is excellent.  All of the aspects appear quite balanced and the only time I tweaked anything was just for testing.  The stock non-EQ setting of my soundcard offers great performance and clear, crisp balanced audio for all of our entertainment needs.  While they may not go as loud as some headsets, the volume is more than adequate at over 100dbi.

Functionality - Right out of the box, the Sennheiser PC 360s fit like a glove and feel like they've been a part of my life for a long time.  That may sound corny, but it's pretty much true.  They fit well and the microphone mute is natural.  If you don't want to talk to someone on Teamspeak or Ventrillo, you usually swing the microphone up and out of the way - this mutes the mic.  Perfect.  If you want to control your volume in-game, you don't have to fumble and find the on-cord control.  The volume control is on your right ear.  Perfect.

G4ME

Gaming - Gaming is what Sennheiser has targeted this headset to do and it did not disappoint.  I love the switch to an open design of the ear cups and look forward to being able to use a pair of these at a LAN without having to remove one side so I can hear my teammate sitting beside me.  The stereo separation is great and while they aren't surround sound, they offer extreme comfort and great quality to complete your gaming experience.

Value - The Sennheiser PC 360 headset is currently selling for about $200 and at this price, it's steep for a lot of casual gamers.  The problem is, this headset is worth the money.  The quality and performance of it make it worth much more than a standard headset and the comfort is also worth a bit extra in my opinion.  I have been using an $80 headset for a while.  That certainly saved my pocketbook, but they aren't very comfortable, the sound quality is mediocre at best and the microphone just plain sucks.  The PC 360 headset changes all of that.  It's comfortable, has great quality and an awesome microphone.  Is that worth $200 to you?  It depends on your budget, but after considering all of these factors, the $200 price tag seems a bit easier to swallow.

Quality - The overall quality of this headset is very good.  The microphone boom seems secure and solid but my only concern is about the switching mechanism to mute the mic.  Hopefully it lasts as long as the rest of the headset.  The rest of the headset build is very solid as well and I can't find anything wrong with the overall design, fit and finish in my opinion.

 

At the end of the day the Sennheiser PC 360 headset is a great product and if you have the budget to bag one of these for your gaming machine, I don't think you'll be disappointed.  The high-quality audio, amazing comfort and intuitive control for volume and microphone mute seem worth the money.  This easily wins our Editor's Choice - Gold award.  If you're looking for a great headset and don't need 5.1 audio, the PC 360's are sure to please.

 

Pros:

  • Excellent comfort (feels like I'm wearing baby bunnies on my ears)
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Great build quality 
  • Intuitive controls

 

Cons:

  • Pricey at $200 (but worth it?)

BCCRating 

Gold

I'd like to thank Sennheiser for letting us take a look at their PC 360 headset.  If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, we'd love to hear it.  Please post it in the forum at the "Comments" link below.