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2.27.2013

Sennheiser PC 333D G4ME Headset Review


First order of business.  I need to say I’m super sorry that this review has taken so long to get posted.  I’ve been meaning to post this review for a long time, and life, various technical issues, and a few lost files got in the way.  So, starting over from scratch here is my review of the Sennheiser PC 333D GAME (or G4ME) headset/mic. 
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If you don’t know Sennheiser, they are a huge player in the pro audio industry and in the mid to high end headphone space.  Folks who get their headphones from the phone/MP3 isle at Target or Wal-Mart may not have run into them before.  Sennheiser has been making really good headphones for a really long time.  They make some of the best audiophile headphones out there.  This means they have a big portfolio of patents and designs for very good drivers and headsets.  The PC333D is what happens when Sennheiser takes some great tech and repurposes it for a new market.  They used some of their great headphone elements and the HD205D DJ headphone design and spun off a new version for gaming.  
Fit & Features:
The PC 333D has good build quality, it’s made of sturdy plastic, and doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy.  Metal parts would be a bonus, but this headset feels solid. (and I’ve had some metal headsets that are totally flimsy and bend or kink)   Finish is nice, the chrome elements are a nice touch.  The top of the headband and earpieces are nicely padded and cushy.   The headband is adjustable for size.  I have a rather large noggin and this headset fits fine.  The inward pressure of the headset is a little more than I care for, but I can wear these for 1-3 hours before I really feel like my ears are getting squeezed against my head. Smaller headed folks would probably be more comfortable.  This type of fit is pretty typical for supra-aural headphones that sit on the ears instead of circum-aural headphones that fit around your ear.   The mic boom swings down from the left side.
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There is a clever bit of tech in the left earpiece that mutes the mic when you fold it upright.  This has been very handy when I want to talk to someone in the room and not broadcast it in game.  The mic sounds good, and works great for game chat.  It has a noise canceling feature built in so it cancels out ambient room noise.  The signal from the mic comes through loud and clear, no need to artificially boost it in the control panel.  The right earpiece has a small circular ring on it with a dent for your finger.  Rotating this ring adjusts the headset volume.  I love this feature.
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I just keep my laptop volume to medium and do all the volume adjustments on the headset. The right earcup also has a DJ rotation feature.  You can swing that side forward or back to uncover your ear.  I wear the headset this way during LAN party nights or when my kids are in the room while I game. 

Sound:
This headset sounds good.  You’re not going to miss that these are high quality drivers.  They have a pleasantly bumped up bass response, with just enough thump to make explosions sound good in game, but not so much as to make music sound unpleasant.  High end and mid range are clear and crisp…If I didn’t look like a dork wearing a chat headset at work, I would use these more often as my music listening headphones.  The headset includes a USB to Dual 1/8” sound card / Dolby Headphone expander.  IMG_5211
This little guy is a USB audio interface.  It tells your computer that you have a multichannel audio device hooked up, then takes that 5.1 or 7.1 audio stream and encodes it on the fly into Dolby Headphone.  The surround effect is very nice, and believable.  It’s not true surround like headphones that have multiple discrete drivers.   It’s more of a very wide very clear stereo field.  Where normal headphones give you a stereo effect that feels like it’s in front of you, this Dolby Headphone effect feels like surround effects spread 180 degrees from ear to ear.  You can turn the effect on and off by sliding the top of the USB dongle.  I have had true 5.1 headsets with their tangles of cords, and while the sound was more directional…they generally sounded pretty tinny and not so great.  I now prefer the Sennheiser drivers and Dolby Headphone effect.  I can still tell where the baddies are in games like Left 4 Dead and Skyrim from their placement in the soundstage.  The USB dongle is way less cable mess, and much easier to move from computer to computer.  The only setup needed is installing a small driver on each machine.  The headset still has the normal 1/8” mini connectors for mic and headphones, so you can use the headset with non USB devices too. (sans surround feature).
I’ve been using these phones for more than a year now and I’m very happy with them.  I’ve logged countless hours in Skyrim, L4D, and TF2 using them.  The only minor minor gripe I have is with the tight fit, and I blame that on my big head…not on the headset design.  It’s still something I can totally live with.  I have no hesitation recommending them as your primary gaming headset.  I'm happy to see a company like Sennheiser putting a lot of thought and care into designing a product for the gaming market.  If the price tag of this headset seems too much for you, evaluate whether you need a mic, surround, or volume control.  If you don't, you should consider the HD205D II headset, same good audio quality, but as headphones only.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    I was searching a nice headphones for gaming purpose. Thanks for sharing the complete review of sennheiser PC 33D Game Headphone.

    ReplyDelete