Gaming audio hardware have been very sporadic recently and with gaming headsets being big business, a lot of brands have started taking a stab in the market. While many of them are trusted name brands in the PC industry, only a few have struck gold and actually delivered a decent product to the market. There is a certain portion of the market though that is a bit more discerning and these those interested in the absolute best audio possible. Audiophile gamers swear by their gear and if its up to them, there is not a single gaming headset in the market right now that will even be on the shelves when quality is being screened. This is where the big boys of audio join in.
Sennheiser is a highly respected professional audio equipment brand, creating everything from your daily music earphones all the way to the microphones that Adele uses in her concerts. A highly respected name in the audio industry, Sennheiser holds the distinction of being synonymous to premium audio. We’ve taken a look Sennheiser’s gaming offerings before including their original PC360 and its evolution the Sennheiser GAME One. We’ve remarked how outstanding these upper-range products are and how they live up to the Sennheiser name but we’ve noted also how they are somewhat out of reach to the masses. Well fast-forward a bit and now we have Sennheiser stepping into the entry-level gaming audio market with an array of products.
In this review, we’ll take a look at the Sennheiser GSP 300 gaming headset. An entry level product that aims to welcome discerning gamers to the world of high-quality audio without breaking the bank.
The Sennheiser GSP 300 is packaged in Sennheiser Gaming’s signature white packaging with a glamor shot of the product at the front. Marketing bullets are lightly adorned on the front with a holographic print of the model name. A 2-year warranty badge can be seen also which is a big plus for this product. Flipping the box over we get to see some detail breakdown of the GSP 300’s feature in multiple languages.
The Sennheiser GSP 300 is shipped inside a molded, plastic clam shell to protect it during shipping.
Inside the package is the GSP 300 headset itself, a Sennheiser PCV 05 Y-splitter and a user guide.
The Sennheiser PCV 05 Y-splitter is intended for TRRS ports including phones and consoles giving the GSP 300 excellent flexibility.
Here we have a shot of the front and back silhouette of the GSP 300. From this angle, only the microphone tends to stick out but everything looks uniform. The silhouette is a bit more utilitarian rather than stylish so this isn’t something we’d recommend hitting the streets with.
The side profile gives us a better look at the new design approach that Sennheiser is taking with its gaming series. This gives Senny’s gaming line a more distinct look compared to their mainline counterpart.
The GSP 300 features closed-back, oval ear cups padded with leather-lined XL memory foam.
The GSP 300 features a headband with a split down the middle. This is designed to reduce both weight and evenly distribute pressure on the top of the head. The mesh fabric cushion that lines that headband gives additional comfort and its lighter material makes it very breathable making it friendlier for longer gaming sessions.
The cups on the GSP 300 are connected to a ball hinge that allow them to swivel around for the perfect fit. Headband sliders give you over seven clicks of adjustment and the flexible band allows to accommodate most head sizes.
A signature volume wheel is found on right ear cup with large notches. This is a nice touch and has been a signature of Sennheiser Gaming products which adds that extra touch of functionality without messing up the design.
The microphone is non-detachable and swings up and down. When folded up, the mic is automatically muted for convenience. The boom also flexes in the middle for adjustments.
User Experience & Conclusion
For this review, we tested the Sennheiser GSP 300 with a LG G6 smartphone featuring 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad-DAC and via a Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 5/Rx audio card. The unit was burned-in for 100 hours prior to any impressions being made.
The Sennheiser GSP 300’s new look certainly gave me a few concerns upon first look. I loved the HD598 and GAME One designs and going from velour to leather was something I was not expecting from Sennheiser. Upon first wear, you’ll realize these are a light pair of cans and despite its more mechanical look, it’s light materials help make it an easier fit and can easily be rocked for hours on end making it friendly for extremely long gaming sessions. The ear pads are soft and gives good seal, there’s almost no leakage unless you’re driving these things on max gain. The GSP 300’s headband also feel good on top of the head and doesn’t warm up easily.
Comfort on the headset part is mostly excellent and the GSP 300 feels natural. Sennheiser adds to this with some great usability feature like the tilt-to-mute microphone and on-ear volume knob, removing the need to fiddle on the cable. Speaking of cable, I’ve always liked the non-sleeved cables and the GSP 300 uses soft, non-braided cables which make the wiring easier to manage and not as stiff as braided options.
Listening and Gaming
While we did test this headset on some decent hardware, you’ll be pleased to know that the Sennheiser GSP 300 is easy to drive and most modern integrated audio chips will go well with it especially the currently popular ALC1220. Most mid-range motherboards will include some level of modification to the ALC1220 including some brands integrating ESS SABRE DAC. If you’ve ever wondered how to best experience that “gaming audio” from those solutions without busting for high-end cans, the GSP 300 is here to deliver.
Despite being a closed-back design, the GSP 300 has larger sound stage than similar products. A very common trait of Sennheisers, this is due to the distance of the drivers to your ear. And for gaming this is actually good, positional audio rendering is more accurate in the GSP 300 compared to say the HyperX Cloud or ROG Strix Fusion 700 as sound distance isn’t as closer as they are in-game. The GSP 300 is also quite detailed. It’s easy to pick-out layers of audio like chatter during gunfire or footsteps over rustling debris in realistic games like Rainbow 6 Siege. If there is a game that absolutely demands attention to sound, Rainbow 6 Siege is that game.
Moving over to sound character, Sennheiser has tuned the GSP 300 to be punchy on the bass for a bit of extra oomph during clashes. Mids are clear and highs are crisp. Even on max gain, the frequencies don’t spill over each other and bass doesn’t go distorted. Coming from higher-end audio cans, I’m a bit used to a little more separation of details in my listening and while the GSP 300 does have detailed audio, its not as precise as its more expensive brothers. Do note though, the GSP 300’s detail rendering is very good as it is and those who are stepping into this territory for the very first time will be surprised at the difference of the GSP 300 from their traditional “gaming” headset. Going back to audio, vocals are very forward on the GSP 300, clear and clean. Speaking of vocals, talking about the microphone, it’s great. It’s decent enough for voice chat and streaming but you’re not recording a live concert on these things. Add to that the easy, flip-up to mute feature and you got a well-rounded microphone offering.
The Sennheiser GSP 300 is the company’s first entry-level gaming headset. At $100, its in direct contention with the miracle baby of HyperX, the HyperX Cloud. Both are very good in terms of audio quality and it will most likely boil down to looks as the final deciding factor. Ultimately though, while audio may be subjective, its going to swing to Sennheiser’s favor once you factor in the usability features of the GSP 300. The auto-mute mic boom, volume knob on the ear cup, signature Sennheiser audio… it’s simply tough to beat those creds in a purely functional standpoint.
There is a but though. I really feel this headset is over-engineered in the looks department. There’s just something about the look that really may put off some people especially those used to the sleek, uniform look of Sennheiser’s mainline cans. Understandably, this is a gaming product and its edgy look may have its fans but at the end of the day, performance is what counts.
All in all, the Sennheiser GSP 300 is an excellent piece of hardware perfect for those that seek excellent gaming audio above all but are not ready to plunk down $200 for serious audio gear. We highly recommend the GSP 300 for gamers playing mostly realistic games like Rainbow 6 Siege, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and similar games that add a level of realism with its audio.
Sennheiser backs the GSP 300 with a 2-year warranty. We give it our B2G Best Value Award and B2G Silver Award!