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Sennheiser PC37X Gaming Headset Review: Amazing for Competitive Games

Christopher Coke Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

Based on the legendary Sennheiser Game One and PC373 headsets, today we’re looking at the PC37X. Massdrop, now Drop.com, teamed up with Sennheiser to recreate this fan favorite with a number of modern improvements. It features the same drivers from audiophile-favorite HD598 and HD600, a comfortable design, and a premium vocal mic. For $120, competition is stiff - does it do enough to stand out? Join us as we find out!

Specifications

  • Current Price: $120 (Drop.com Web Store - Affiliate Link)
  • Form factor: Over the ear
  • Transducer principle: Dynamic, open
  • Frequency response 15–28,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 50 Ohms
  • Sound pressure level: 116 dB
  • 1/8 in (3.5 mm) headphone plug
  • 1/8 in (3.5 mm) mic plug
  • Cable length: 10 ft (3 m)
  • Microphone
  • Frequency response: 50–16,000 Hz
  • Pick-up pattern: Noise-canceling
  • Sensitivity: -38 dBV/PA
  • 2-year manufacturer’s warranty 

If you’ve paid attention to the world of gaming headsets over the last few years, then you’ve seen Sennheiser become one of the most major players in the market. Outside the world of gaming, they’ve long been known as a premiere headphone company, delivering some of the most well-known and beloved manufacturers in the world. We’ve reviewed more than a few of their headphones right here, as a matter of fact, and have universally found ourselves blown away by their sound quality.

The downside is that they also tend to be quite expensive, but thanks to a collaboration with Massdrop (now, Drop.com) that’s changed. We’ve spent the last month spending time with the Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37X Gaming Headset, a collaboration between the two companies to refresh and enhance the Game One/PC373. Coming in at only $120, I can confidently say that this is one of the best stereo headsets you can buy right now and is an excellent all-around choice for movies, music, and chat.

One of the biggest changes Drop made in creating this headset is to move to an all black colorway. Compared to something like the GSP-500 with its bright red accents and very gamer-centric design, I find the PC37X much more mature and easy to add to my setup. These days, gaming headset are leaning away from red and black as the “gamer chic” it was for so long and more into sleekness and refinement, and the PC37X is at the front of the pack with its design.

Apart from color, you’ll find the design virtually identical to the Game One. It’s still lightweight with open-back earcups and plentiful padding. The ear cushions are trimmed in comfortable velour that hugs your ears without being too tight and because they’re open back, heat is never a concern. The right earcup features a smooth volume roller while the left houses the boom microphone.

These headphones are stereo and easily outmatch many of the surround sound headsets on the market for competitive advantage. The imaging is excellent and allows you to clearly hear when sounds shift from your right ear, which makes locating sounds easy and natural. Compared to many gaming headsets, like the original Steelseries Arctis 7, the PC37X gives a real competitive advantage by paring down the amount of virtual channels and instead really honing in on letting you hear exactly where those sounds are coming from. This also makes it quite the effective headset if you plan on using Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic.

Because of the open back design, the headphones also offer a much wider soundstage. Soundstage is your sense of space - how big the level feels to your ears - so open back headphones are better when you also need a sense of distance to what you’re hearing. A shot in the distance will sound quieter in the mix using a closed-back pair like the GSP-600s but with the PC37X it actually sounds further away. Combined with the imaging I mentioned previously, this gaming headset becomes one of the very best I’ve heard for competitive shooters and battle royales. 

I was in a game of APEX: Legends the other night in the process of reviewing a new closed back headset. Compared to these, even sounds directly from the left of right also signaled in the center channel (both speakers at once). Even if it was louder from one direction, I had to take that extra second to think, “what direction those shots from?” I had to check my minimap to see where the enemy was sighted instead of turning in the direction of my teammate’s callout. That’s just not something I often had to do with the PC37X. Excellent stereo sound trumps virtual surround any day of the week and this is a key example of that.

On the downside, the open-back design means that sounds leak out and leak in. If you want to disappear into your game world, open-back headphones aren’t for you because you’ll still be hearing everything around you. At the same time, what you’re listening to also bleeds out. At moderate volumes, it’s not bad but if you really crank the volume, people nearby will hear what you’re listening to. It’s a bit like when you’re standing near someone wearing those old Walkman headphones with the volume cranked but a far cry from their acting like a little speaker sounding into the room.

When it comes to speakers, the PC37X pack an excellent pair. It’s the same drivers you’ll find in the Sennheiser HD598 and HD600 headphones, which are well loved by audiophiles around the world. Drop and Sennheiser have tuned them to slightly boost the bass and treble while keep the mids smooth and tame. They’re not overly bassy and the push on the high-end leads to an exceptional amount of detail. This is great for hearing small details many gaming headsets would simply miss - like the tinkling of bullet casings as they hit the ground, the clink of a tank’s treads as it thunders over your trench, the sparkle of falling glass.  Likewise, for music, I found the headset to sound very full but also offering a lot of texture within synths, cymbals and stringed instruments. For gaming, music, movies, whathaveyou, these headphones are excellent “all-arounders” that are able to deliver great sound in a wide variety of situations. 

Finally, we come to the microphone. Like the Game One, it’s one of the best you’ll find in a gaming headset without software enhancements. It has good warmth and presence in the low end without sounding nasally. It’s unidirectional, so does a good job of quieting down background noise, but you’ll still want to take care not to hammer on those Cherry Blues while you’re in the middle of a stream. I also like that you can mute the mic simply by tipping it up and that there’s an audible click when you mute/unmute.

Final Thoughts

Returning to the original questions, does the Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37X do enough to stand out from the pack in the crowded ~$125 price range. Ironically enough, it does and it’s because they leaned away from the usual gaming tropes. There’s no reverb-heavy surround sound. No awkward colorway. No bulky design. Instead, they’ve delivered an excellent stereo headset that offers better positional tracking than most surround sound headsets you’ll find. They’re comfortable, sound great and are perfect for competitive gaming, and have a stream-worthy mic to boot. For $120, they’re a bargain.

Pros

  • Comfortable over long gaming sessions
  • Great soundstage and excellent imaging/positional awareness
  • Fun tuning that’s perfect for different types of content
  • Work great with Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic
  • Cheaper and better than the original Game One

Cons

  • Open-back design leaks sound - not a good fit for every gamer

The product described in this review as provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. If you purchase through our link, we may earn a small commission. No editorial direction was provided by Drop.com or Sennheiser for this review and copy was not sent to them prior to publication. All opinions are our own and writers are not paid via commission from affiliate sales.


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