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Sennheiser PC 373D 7.1 Dolby surround sound gaming headset review

Methodology

To test the Sennheiser PC 373D surround sound headset, I used it for a period of two weeks as my day to day headset. That involved playing a number of games from different genres with it, as well as listening to music and watching a couple of movies. All the while I noted it for its audio capabilities, including placing sounds in a 3D space, its comfort and build quality.

Gaming audio and surround sound

Considering Sennheiser is not particularly well known for its gaming hardware, you might expect this headset to be more capable when it came to music listening, rather than the sounds and noises of your average game. You would be wrong though.

This pair of cans sound absolutely fantastic in every game we threw at them. In big, explosive shooters, there was a great sense of presence in the audio field. The surround sound effect, though virtual, was impressive to say the least, letting you hear bullets as they whip past you, or explosions that rock the floor from somewhere behind you.

The same was true in virtual reality titles, where positional audio is incredibly important. It can go a long way to making you feel immersed in the scene and especially in smaller scale experiences; hearing something behind you rather than sort of, omnidirectionally (as is the case with stereo headsets) can make a big difference in how realistic the scenes feel.

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Hearing this guy roaring away in the distance is always terrifying with a good headset. Source: TreyNutz

While surround sound enthusiasts or those that want a truly accurate headset for Esports or VR gaming may prefer a real surround sound speaker system, or a multi-driver headset, the PC 373D does a great job with what it has. Indeed it does a much better job than most other virtual surround sounds we have tested and even sounds better than a couple of real surround sound sets too.

When you are not so worried about knowing exactly where your enemies are coming from, the Sennheiser PC 373D is equally impressive. The headset delivers booming explosions and a strong representation throughout the frequency range to make sure everything from in-game dialogue, to subtle changes in environment noises are captured and broadcast at crystal quality to your ears.

You know you have a good headset on when you hear something new in the sound mix that you did not pick up on before.

If I had one complaint about the Sennheiser PC 373D headset during game testing, it is that I occasionally wished for a little more volume. Even with the headset at its maximum and my system likewise, there were times when I wished for a louder boom, or a more terrifying roar from some alien entity.

For most gaming situations it is plenty loud and you can of course use in game controls to give yourself a little added oompf, but I would have liked a little more raw power too.

Music

Music wise, the PC 373D’s do an excellent job of reproducing all sorts of sounds in a variety of different genres. It has a wonderfully full bodied sound, with extremely well represented parts of the spectrum.

The bass is heavy and thick and these cans easily reproduce the punchy bass that is common in a lot of dance tracks, as well as that ulra low rumbly bass. Better yet, at full volume there is no change in the crispness and clarity of the audio, which is not something you can say for most headsets.

There are also no obvious weak points in the mix. The mids are just as powerful as the bass but highs come through without being buried by their counterparts at other frequencies.

My only criticism is that again, I wished for a little more volume. There is plenty for listening to music comfortably, as with the game playing, but it would be nice to occasionally be able to turn these cans up to 11 and that functionality just is not there.

Comfort

The fit of these headphones is very sturdy. The earphones sit very snuggly against your head, which might feel a little odd to start with, but it is far better than having the ultra-loose, slide-off-your-head feel of headsets like the ASUS Strix set we reviewed recently.

The padding in the earcups and on the headband is excellent and cushions your head in a manner that means you can play or listen for hours upon hours without difficulty. My head never felt like it became too hot, or that the headset might slip from it. Likewise my ears were never crushed by overly aggressive foam and the whole fit was sturdy, but far from heavy.

These headphones have an excellent fit.

Microphone

The microphone sounded fantastically clear, much more so than most gaming headsets I have tested in the past. This is something that could be of a major boon to those who are regular team players, as making sure people can hear what you are saying is very important.

I liked how the microphone mute was built into the boom’s movement, clicking the mic on as you bring it down, or turning it off as you raise it.

Software

One area I did have a few problems with the PC 373D headset was with Sennheiser’s software. Although it worked initially, I soon found myself incapable of even opening it. While the headset still functioned, I had to spend a lot of time uninstalling, reinstalling and fiddling around with it to bring it back to a working condition.

This could have been a fluke with my particular hardware set up, but it is not something I have encountered with any other manufacturers.

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When it was working, the software was simple and effective, but did not offer anything that really made it stand out.

There are simple EQ presets, as well as the ability to turn on and off microphone noise cancelling. It’s not the most impressive feature set, but it offers some basic customisation.

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