A while back I sat down and took a look at the GSP 300’s from Sennheiser and ended up giving them our Top Honors award because they performed extremely well while still being priced under $100. This put them in line with the few other gaming headphones that I consider to be good quality. My only issue really was their small earcup size because I prefer a larger over the ear design. Well, I have been testing the Sennheiser Game Zero’s, Sennheiser’s over the ear headset design. They are significantly more expensive, but I was curious to see if going higher end will finally really give you that audiophile experience in a proper gaming headset. But fist let’s check them out before I talk about how they performed. 

Product Name: Sennheiser Game Zero

Review Sample Provided by: Sennheiser

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

Color

black

white

Wearing style

Headband

Impedance

Headphones: 50 Ω

Connector

2 x 3.5 mm for desktop/laptop

Frequency response (Microphone)

Microphone: 50 Hz - 16,000 Hz

Frequency response (Headphones)

Headphones: 15 Hz - 28,000 Hz

Sound pressure level (SPL)

Headphones: 108 dB

THD, total harmonic distortion

Headphones: < 0.1%

Ear coupling

Headphones: around-the-ear, closed acoustic design

Cable length

3 m (PC/Mac) & 1.2 m (Console)

Weight

300 g

Pick-up pattern

Microphone: Noise Cancelling

Sensitivity

Microphone: -38 dBV at 94 dBSPL

 


Packaging

It's funny, Sennheiser shipped the Game Zero’s at the same time as the GSP 300’s and when I saw the boxes I assumed the larger box was the Game Zeroes due to their larger overall size. Well, I was completely wrong, the GSP 300’s were actually in a larger box and the Game Zeros shipped in a very compact package. On the outside is has a bright white theme with a light blue stripe along the bottom with their branding on it. The cover has a photo of the Game Zero’s taking up most of the space with the model name up top and the 2-year warranty highlighted in the corner. Then with these being gaming focused they have small icons showing PC, MAC, Mobile, and Console uses over on the left. The back of the box follows the same theme only it has the Game Zero’s blown up, showing the driver inside and with lines pointing out a few other key features.

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Opening up the box, well actually sliding off the cover then opening up the box under the cover inside is a carry case. The reason for the small packaging is because the headset ships with the earcups flat inside of a hard carrying case. So the packaging itself doesn’t need extra padding or protection, the case does that for them and you get to keep it.

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Photos and Features

The carrying case has a zipper around it and when you open it up you will find the Game Zero’s folded up in a very specific way to fit inside of the case. Each earcup has its spot designated by a raised area in the case and then, of course, it has a soft lining. There is a pouch on the left to hold extra cords and to keep them from falling out when you open everything up.

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In addition to the PC compatible cord, that carrying pouch houses the mobile/console cord. This has just a single jack on both ends to transmit both audio and voice where the PC cord slips that up into two connections on the one end. Both are long but the PC cable is significantly longer as it needs to reach a PC that might be under your desk, not just a controller in your hands or a mobile phone in your pocket. Both cords have a heavy duty sleeving used on the outside of the cord as well.

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So the Game Zero’s are available in both white and black, Sennheiser sent over the white model for our testing but they look good in both colors. They are a full sized headset and they share a lot of their shape with Sennheiser’s traditional headphones only they have added a microphone. For the white model they still run a black headband and the outside of the earcups also have a touch of red, given their love for blue in their branding and with the GSP 300’s I was surprised with the red accent but it looks good and adds just a touch of color.

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The earcups have an oval shape, the same shape that Sennheiser likes to use on all of their full sized headphones. The earcups are sealed but you can see the venting from the Game One’s are filled in with a plastic panel for the Zero’s. Then in the middle of both cups are the Sennheiser logos. On the left earcup, the microphone is mounted, it articulates up and down on a pivot point and if you look closely there is a note When you flip the microphone up and out of the way it mutes for you. The right earcup looks the same only in place of the microphone they have a dial for volume. The left earcup is also where you plug in the detachable cord, it needs to be detachable to swap between the PC and mobile/console cords but it also lets you replace a damaged cord or get your own shorter or longer cord if needed.

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The top headband is a traditional design with padding built in. It is black on both model colors and it has the Sennheiser branding on the left side. The padding for the headband is extremely thick and is covered in leather like material, I can never tell when its real or fake leather these days.

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Both earcups are attached to the headband with a full motion mount. The pivot left and right and tilt as well to get a good seal up against everyone's head. The headband itself extends out about 2 ½ inches on each side to also cover a range of head sizes. Then to make sure you get your stereo correct both sides are labeled with a large L and R on the chromed pivots. Of course, the microphone along should be a good indication if you have the headset on correctly, if you have them on backward the microphone would be sticking out behind your head.

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The microphone on the Game Zeros is larger than the average gaming headset. Sennheiser used that additional space to fit a high-quality microphone because most gaming headsets have the worst microphones. It is noise canceling but they don’t mention anywhere what the actual pickup shape is, the boom is open on the inside facing your mouth and the outside for the noise canceling. For frequency range the microphone picks up anything between 50 Hz - 16,000 Hz. This is a little higher than the GSP 300’s on the high end but the GSP 300’s were rated to go as low as 15Hz. This is much better on both ends compared to the 100Hz - 10000Hz of the Arctis 5’s but the Modmic in Omnidirectional mode still is a little better. The mic is rated-38 dBV at 94 dBSPL for sensitivity as well. Both the end of the microphone boom and the beginning are hard plastic and match the white headset, but there is a rubber area in the middle.

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In the earcups, the Game Zeros have 35mm drivers, which is a little small, especially for a large headset like this but they do have a good frequency range of 15 Hz - 28,000 Hz. That is better on both ends than any of the other headsets I’ve had come in to the office so we don’t need to judge too quickly on the smaller drivers. The earcups have thick leather padding and inside another touch of red for styling. I personally would have preferred a nice velvet padding material over the leather, but with these being a sealed design the leather does help keep things sealed.

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Audio Quality and Performance

For testing, I have been using the Game Zero’s off and on all the way back to after our GSP 300 review. In that time I had to chance to use them in a few different types of games, while watching movies, and listening to music. I also had multiple instances where I wore the headset for extended periods of time, sometimes all day other than breaks. All of my testing had the Game Zero’s hooked directly to my Creative Labs X7 DAC for the best possible performance as well.

For me, comfort trumps everything else and if a headset or pair of headphones aren’t comfortable I will never keep them on long enough to care about how good they sound. So this was my first priority when I started testing the Game Zeroes. Being a full sized headset, they were already at an advantage because that is my preference. I like when a headset is large enough to go around my ears and not push on my ears at all and they did that well. The earcup padding was comfortable and extra thick keeping them comfortable, even in extended sessions. The sealed earcup design, however, did get a little warm when wearing them for a while, I think I would prefer the open air design of the Game Ones for that reason. The leather they used for the padding also added to the heat. Now the top headband was much better than most traditional headband designs and was rarely uncomfortable. The large design also had a lot of room for adjustment, helping keep things fitting correctly as well. They fit my wife’s smaller head fine and when on my big head there was still room to expand if needed.

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For audio testing, like I said I tested the Game Zero’s in game, with movie, and while listening to music. Frankly, I didn’t find a situation that they didn’t sound amazing. Bass was crisp and even when pushing the limits with something like Rap God, a song that most gaming headsets struggle with on the lows, sounded great. The smaller drivers that I was concerned with originally didn’t give us any trouble here. I could hear footsteps in my shooters with good directionality and movies were crisp and clear. Bass wasn’t overbearing but it was still there. As someone who prefers to not mess with the EQ too much and hear things the way they were produced, I was very happy, if you are expecting the Game Zero’s to rattle your glasses off from bass you will be disappointed. Nothing I’ve tested comes close to these for pure audio performance.

As for the microphone, it is in the same range. The large microphone on the semi-flexible boom sets the mark to beat. While I never like hearing my voice it did a good job of picking it up and it didn’t compress the low end like most microphones do. In the past year, a lot of the gaming headsets have improved their microphones but Sennheiser is still ahead. The noise canceling worked well as well, cutting out most of my typing and not picking up the air conditioning very much though it is still loud enough you can’t avoid some of it getting picked up. The microphone itself has some flex to it in the middle but I would prefer a little more adjustment. I was a big fan of the built in on and off switch when you flip it up though, much easier than trying to find the microphone button each time.

Beyond that, there are other aspects to consider. For example, the sealed earcup design did help cut down on external noise. With it being summer the AC in the office is constantly running and having the Game Zeros on did cut that noise down but it didn’t cut it out completely. Storms outside, on the other hand, were completely inaudible, it is going to depend a lot on the tone of the noise. The extremely long cord that was included for PC use is a nice feature but it did leave a mess on my desk. I have my DAC right on my desk so the longer cord wasn’t needed, if you are in a situation like me just plan on using a Velcro wire tie to wrap some of the extra cord up. If you have your PC away from your desk at all though you will be happy, this cord is extremely long!

 


Overall and Final Verdict

Sennheiser is a huge name in high-end audio, a lot of people prefer their headphones and you can often spot them being used on television and in music production. That is important to keep in mind when you thinking about how big it is that they continue to offer a few headsets focused on gaming. The truth is a lot of the fluff that you see on normal gaming themed headsets and products, in general, doesn’t amount to anything when it comes to actual performance. Sure they look cool, have your favorite team on them, or have vibration effects but do they sound good? On average the gaming headsets on the market haven’t really been top tier though I will admit that I think SteelSeries and Logitech have made big improvements on audio and microphone performance recently. But for those of you who have spent more on your entire PC setup than some gently used cars the options on the ultra high end have been very slim. You can go with a ModMic and a pair of headphones with there being a good chance those headphones are Sennheiser's or you can pick up one of their gaming options. So today that is what I have been testing, their Game Zeroes.

With everything I said about Sennheiser in mind and having already taken a look at their cheaper GSP 300’s and their PC-350’s YEARS ago it is safe to say that the Game Zero’s are a good headset. But are the worth the money? First off, the audio quality is as good as you can get in any gaming headset, same goes for the built-in microphone. The performance was well above even my favorite headsets. The large earcup design is comfortable, even when wearing them for extended periods of time and the sealed design did cut out a lot of the background noise in my office. Not an easy task given how loud the window AC is and with 3d printers running. But I did have issues with my ears getting warm, I think their Gaming One’s would be a better choice if your ears heat up like mine though I would have to test them to be completely sure. I also never thought I would complain about a cord being too long but it did end up being an issue for me. For most people though the long cord is most likely a benefit.

So with the Game Zero’s sitting at $280 for the MSRP are they a good buy? Not really, they are amazing but spending three times what a good headset cost is hard to justify. That said you can pick them up on Amazon for just under $170 as of publishing this. When I originally got them in they were $178 so the price has been dropping. At that price the top of the class performance actually makes a lot more sense and starts to really compete with wireless headset options as well. If you want the best possible performance, I’m all about the Sennheiser Game Zero’s to match your upcoming Threadripper/x299 build or for anyone who wants audiophile performance in a gaming headset without having to add your own microphone to a good pair of headphones.

fv5tophonors

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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VaporX's Avatar
VaporX replied the topic: #38392 14 Jul 2017 20:35
Wish I had this model. I have the original Game Zero that was 150 ohm impedance. This means I need a great onboard sound solution with amp or an external. However it is so worth it the some is fantastic. Like you the price is a turn off, especially since the HyperX Cloud (the original only please) can be found for under half the price. Now lets be clear the Sennheiser has better sound, no doubt, but not enough better to justify 2x pricing.

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