Sennheiser is one of the most respected names in the audio business. They are known for making extremely well-regarded headsets that span from consumer-grade to the professional, and have more than a few that are lauded in the audiophile community. But what happens when they try to make a gaming headset for only $99? The GSP 302 is here to answer that question.
- MSRP: $99.99
- Compatibility: PC, PS4, Smart Devices (3.5mm, 4-pole connection)
- Ear Coupling: Circum-aural
- Frequency response (Headphones): 15 - 26,000 Hz
- Frequency response (Microphone): 10 - 15,000 Hz
- Impedance: 19 ?
- Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 113 dB
- Pick-up Pattern: Noise-cancelling
- Microphone Sensitivity: - 41 dBV/PA
- Connector: Dual 3.5mm w/4-pole adapter
- Cable: 2m, PVC
- Weight: 290g
Sennheiser’s GSP 300 is a lush headset. Putting it on for the first time, I was struck by how comfortable the memory foam cushioning was on the ears and how much sound they blocked out. The faux leather they’ve used to line the pads is quite nice and of an obviously more durable than most other gaming headsets, even better the HyperX Cloud Alpha I was impressed with last week. There’s a thick layer of padding along the headband also, although this is a stitched fabric lining.
The rest of the headset is similarly well built. It’s plastic, but the usual points of breakage all feel well developed. The headband is one single piece and flexes without any worrying stress; no creaks or cracks! The band attaches to the driver housings in a one-point hinge, padded to prevent noise from transferring through. The joints feel tough. I flexed them harder than any normal gamer would and they never felt close to breaking. The housings themselves are dense and rigid.
Interestingly, the volume wheel really looks like anything but. At first, I confused the large, cog-like roller for an attachment knob on the driver housing. This was before I plugged it in, of course, but it’s odd to see a feature like this stylistically overstated. Once you realize what it is, it actually looks pretty cool.
This construction amounts to a headset that feels fairly average in weight and distributes itself well once it’s on your head. After they’re seated and tightened, they rarely move. They stayed in place even when I shook my head trying to displace them! The padding on the ears also makes for great noise isolation. This is definitely a headset that will prevent you from hearing the outside world once game audio kicks in. The downside is that there is definite heat build up inside that padding, so you’ll need to let your ears breathe from time to time. Noise bleed isn’t terrible at lower volume levels, but since the GSPs get loud anything over 50% is pretty audible to those around you.
The one thing I don’t like about the construction is the cable. It’s PVC coated, so there’s no braiding, and has an awful memory for the way it was packaged. See?
The actual audio on is great for gaming. The frequency response, 15 - 26,000 Hz, is well outside the range of human hearing, meaning that the lowest and highest frequencies able to be heard should come through easily and without distortion. In practice, the drivers have been tuned to favor the low end. In the middle of a game, it creates thunderous moments. Since the GSP 302 uses a 3.5mm jack, and has a breezily low impedance, it can deliver these experiences on the PlayStation 4 and smart devices as well.
That low end flavoring makes for a less interesting musical experience. The bass becomes a bit overpowering during intense avalanches of sound, clouding out some of the mid- and high frequencies. An amplifier, such as the GSX 1000 we’ll be looking at later this week, helps with this but doesn’t completely overcome it. Creating a custom EQ profile is necessary to get the most out of the GSPs. When dialed in, they can sound great, but that’s an extra step before they’ll be reach their full potential.
The soundstage is also one of the more limited we’ve heard. In games, spatial separation isn’t a big issue due to the post-processing that occurs in-game. In music, though, it sounds more constrained than I would have liked.
What I absolutely did like was the microphone. Functionally, it’s mounted on a non-detachable boom arm and auto-mutes by moving it vertical. But the quality! Listen for yourself:
See what I mean? It’s crisp and clear and has one of the best bass responses I’ve seen on a gaming headset. That’s an exceptionally good headset mic and far better than some we’ve seen on much, much more expensive pairs.
The audio tuning we found necessary with the GSP 302 don’t make it a bad headset. In fact, it’s nothing short of good. What it does mean is that, out of the box, they’ll be at their best when gaming. The powerful low end and smaller soundstage hinder some of the clarity and spaciousness we would have liked to see. What the GSP 302s do offer - lush, noise isolating padding, a high quality build, and one of the best headset mics you can buy - are what really set it apart.
- Excellent stereo sound
- One of the best headset microphones available
- Lush padding
- Great noise isolation
- Plastic body
- Hot ears!
- That kinky wire
The product discussed in this review was provided on a loan basis by the manufacturer for purposes of review.