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Drop + Sennheiser PC38X Gaming Headset Review

Where gamers and audiophiles collide

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

The Drop + Sennheiser PC38X Gaming Headset is the second headset Drop has released in collaboration with Sennheiser and the latest in a line of successful audiophile-grade headphones. It builds upon the popular PC37X gaming headset I reviewed last year to become the highest-tier offering in the Drop + Sennheiser PC line-up, including enhanced drivers from the GSP line of headsets. But, this premium package comes with a premium price tag of $169. Are they worth it? Let’s take a closer look and find out. 

Specifications

  • Current Price: $169 (Drop)
  • Headphone Specs
    • Form factor: Over ear
    • Transducer principle: Dynamic, open
    • Frequency response: 10Hz - 30000Hz
    • Impedance: 28 Ω
    • Sound pressure level: 109 dB
    • 2.5 m PC cable, 2 x 3.5 mm splitTRS connector
    • 1.5 m console cable,  1 x 3.5 mm TRRS connector
    • Weight: 8.9 oz (253 g)
    • Weight (with cable): 10.2 oz (290.5 g)
  • Microphone Specs
    • Microphone frequency response: 50–16,000 Hz
    • Pick-up pattern: Noise-cancelling
    • Sensitivity: -38 dBV/PA
    • Microphone technology: Electret condenser
    • Microphone pickup pattern: Bi-directional
  • Included
    • 2 removable cables (PC and console)
    • 2 pairs of earpads (mesh knit and velour)
    • Drawstring travel pouch
    • 2-year manufacturer’s warranty

Watch the Video Review Here:

The PC38X is so immediately reminiscent of the PC37X that you might think one is replacing the other. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The PC38X finds its way into Drop’s line-up as their leading gaming headset, the top rung, taking what the PC37X offered and making it better than ever before. Or so that’s the promise and the rationale for the $170 price tag, a full $50 more than the PC37X. Why it costs more is exactly what makes this headset interesting, however, so let’s take a close look. 

PC38X Unboxing

Like the PC37X, the PC38X takes its cues from the Sennheiser Game One when it comes to looks. It features large oval ear cups with lushly padded cushions, a clearly open back design, and a large, non-removable microphone. The PC38X brings a bit more flair to its design, trading slotted vents for a sturdy metal grille and yellow foam on the back of each housing and surrounding the microphone capsule. This is already turning out to be a polarizing choice among the community. I don’t mind it on the headset itself but the yellow and black braided cables look cheaper than they feel. 

Headband

While the style might be contentious, its comfort definitely won’t be. At 253 grams, it’s lightweight enough to wear for hours at a time. The headband now has two smaller cushions instead of one long pad, which helps alleviate hotspots at the top of your head. Drop is now also including two pairs of removable ear cushions: velour and mesh-trimmed. The mesh pads come pre-installed and are very breathable, but I’m a sucker for the pillow-like warmth of a nice pair of velour pads. They don’t seem to impact sound signature in a noticeable way, though true audiophiles will likely be able to identify some variations I struggled to hear. 

The drivers have also received a major upgrade, drawing from Sennheiser’s GSP family of gaming headsets. I’ve used every GSP headset and they’ve each offered outstanding sound, without exception. The problem, thus far, has been their heavyweight and distinctly “gamery” look. While the black and yellow of the PC38X might be contentious if you’re planning on using it for Zoom calls, it’s hard to argue that it’s not massively more understated compared to the cyborg inspired GSP-550 and 670. I’ll take bumblebee over cyborg for $100, Alex.

While the drivers are fully as capable as those more expensive headsets, Drop’s tuning is what really sets them apart. The PC38X offers enhanced bass and has been tweaked to deliver extra detail in both the mids and highs. Practically speaking, this means things like footsteps and enemy callouts pop out in the mix, which can provide a real competitive advantage in games like Call of Duty: Warzone.

The headset also features a wonderfully wide soundstage thanks to its open-back design. Playing PUBG, you really feel like you’re in the middle of a wide open space, all without the need for virtual surround sound.

Directionality is likewise superb. One of my biggest gripes with virtual surround sound headsets is that they often become echo-houses in enclosed environments, making it hard to tell where enemies are coming from or even differentiating their footsteps from your own. That was never a problem here. The PC38X is enough to make you wonder why so many headsets need virtual surround. 

The headphones don’t begin and end with gaming, though. Their tuning is wonderful for music and games. I wouldn’t describe them as the most accurate — they’re far from neutral — but they definitely fall into what many people consider “fun.” If you like bass for big cinematic moments and low-end heavy music, but don’t want to sacrifice details to find it, this is your headset. 

Microphone

Finally, we come to a couple of points I’m not a huge fan of. The first is the volume wheel on the right earcup. The positioning is excellent but doesn’t have great resistance. Oddly, it won’t actually mute your audio either: the lowest point on the wheel is quiet, but still clearly audible. Second, the microphone appears to be the same one used on the PC37X. On the surface, that’s fine. It’s a good microphone that does a good job of cancelling out background noise without overly compressing your voice. Since the PC37X released, however, we’ve seen a number of really great microphones released and its star doesn’t shine as brightly as it once did. It’s very good, but I wouldn’t call it great anymore when even some wireless headsets are offering competitive results.

Final Thoughts

Taken as a whole, the PC38X is a great headset. It’s comfortable, sounds great, and offers tangible benefits to competitive gamers, all without relying on software-based surround sound. The color scheme will be hit or miss, especially for video conferences, but it’s got the chops for business and play. At $169, it’s a good chunk of change more expensive than the PC37X, but the enhancements to comfort and overall sound make it feel like a worthy investment. Pick up one for yourself and support the site by clicking this link.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Purchasing through our link will generate a small amount of revenue to support MMORPG.com. Drop did not advise, ask to review, or otherwise influence this content. They are viewing it the same time you are.
8.5Great
Pros
  • Excellent sound quality - lots of bass without sacrificing detail
  • Definite comfort improvements from the PC37X
  • Wide soundstage and great positionality
  • Two pairs of ear cushions to tailor feel
  • Lightweight fit that avoids hotspots
Cons
  • Polarizing color scheme
  • Volume wheel doesn’t feel as good as the rest of the headset, doesn’t mute audio
  • Microphone isn’t as impressive as it used to be


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight