Sennheiser’s New Flagship Gaming Headset
Can this high-end brand compete in the gaming world?
Sennheiser is one of the most respected names in the audio world and especially with headphone users. Almost five years ago, they released the GAME ONE headset and set a new high water mark for PC gaming audio. In late 2016, the company began reshaping its gaming line with a new “GSP” series, first with the entry-level GSP 300, which is still one of the best headsets you can buy for under $90. This year, they’re taking on the other end of the spectrum and releasing a new gaming flagship: the GSP 600. With an MSRP of $249, it doesn’t come cheap, but is easily one of the best headsets in its class.
- MSRP: $249.99
- Color: Black
- Wearing Style: Headband
- Impedance: 28 Ohms
- Connector: 2 x 3.5 mm (3-pole connectors) 1 x 3.5 mm (4-pole connectors), 2.5mm connection to headset
- Frequency Response (Microphone): 10–18,000 Hz
- Frequency Response (Headphones): 10–30,000 Hz
- Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 112 dB SPL @ 1 kHz, 1V RMS
- Ear Coupling: Over-Ear
- Cable Length: 2.5 m PC cable / 1.5 m Console cable
- Transducer Principle: Dynamic, Closed
- Pick-up Pattern: Bi-directional ECM
- Microphone Sensitivity: -47 dBV/PA
- Weight: 395g
- Warranty: Two-year
Starting with packaging, the GSP arrives in a simple, elegant box. I appreciate that it’s not covered in gamer-marketing. The name Sennheiser carries esteem and respectability that would be diminished by slathering the box with over-stated logos and aggressive art. The packaging is in line with many of Sennheiser’s consumer audiophile headsets, which is in keeping with what they’re trying to do here.
Inside the box is the headset itself and two detachable cables, as well as the usual warranty card and basic instruction manual. The GSP uses an analog stereo connection, so there’s no built-in USB sound card here. Each cable is braided in nylon fiber and connects to the headset with a 2.5mm jack. The longer cable of the two is 2.5m and ends in a Y-splitter with separate headphone and mic connectors, clearly meant for use with PC. The shorter cable is only 1.5m and ends in a 4-pole connection, suitable for use with consoles.
The cables aren’t thick but find the perfect middle-ground to feel durable but also lightweight and easy to move without cable drag. A side benefit is that they unwind nicely with no memory from being packaged, making cable management easy right off the bat.
The design has also seen a refresh. Sennheiser has gone with an eye-catching colorway with bright orange metallic accents around the left volume wheel and boom arm. The tilt supports follow these industrial hints in metallic silver and rafter-like design.
The volume wheel on the right earcup rolls smoothly and with a pleasant resistance. There’s also enough throw to allow you to fine-tune your volume without being touchy.
On the left, the boom arm features the same resistance, though its purpose is to keep the microphone in place in front of your mouth. It’s also flexible which allows for better positioning and mutes when upright.
The padding on the GSP 600s is simply phenomenal. The ear pads feature a suede-like material where they meet your skin to cut back on heat and sweat but are surrounded by high-quality leatherette for noise isolation. It works, maybe even too well. These headphones block out outside noise better than any headphone I’ve ever used with Active Noise Cancellation. They immediately cut the volume of the outside world and with even minor audio coming through, they block it out entirely.
This can be a good or bad thing. Using these during the day, I found myself facing an irritated wife who had been calling me from the next room, only about ten feet away, and I couldn’t hear her at all. I started using them slightly offset so I could hear my family or if someone was at the door. At night time, I loved them for games like PUBG where that isolation and excellent positional audio seemed to give me the advantage other gaming headsets had promised.
You’ll notice, however, how much these headphones angle in. They apply a good amount of pressure to pull off that excellent occlusion, pressing the pads against your head. Coupled with a moderate 395g weight, they can cause some fatigue after several hours of use.
If you do find the grip to be too much, you can use the new tensioning system in the headband. I’d last seen a system like this on the Turtle Beach Elite Pros I reviewed back in December. While there I felt that the difference was minimal at best, here it makes a dramatic difference. Moving the sliders all the way out reduces the pressure enough where even gorillas could comfortably use these headphones. The headband itself also feels very durable and offers a lot of flex without any worrying creaks.
Sound Impressions and Microphone Quality
The GSP 600s feature the same warm character Sennheiser headphones have been applauded over for years. For games and movies, this is perfect as it makes the lower frequencies pop. Playing Battlefield 1, the rolling of tank treads or thud of a heavy LMG chaining through rounds just bursts, making it very fun and immersive to experience. It’s not all about the low end, though.
The GSP 600s feature an extended frequency response range of 10 – 30000 Hz. To put that number into perspective, the generally accepted range of human hearing is 20 – 20000 Hz. By extending these ranges, Sennheiser essentially promises one thing: clarity across the entire frequency spectrum. While the low-end frequencies are tuned to “pop,” the upper register cuts through the djinn and noise, presenting clear audio cues to provide a more immersive audio experience.
The headphones don’t feature surround sound, but instead, feature excellent positional tracking through a wider-than-average soundstage for a closed-back headset. That omission might be a deal breaker for some, but I found the positional audio to be better than most virtual surround solutions I’ve tried, including heavy hitters like DTS Headphone: X.
The excellent audio output also makes them a perfect fit for other kinds of content. Like I’d hoped when receiving this headset, the GSPs are simply an excellent pair of headphones with a microphone attached. Music shines, particularly EDM and metal where punchy bass and drums steal the show, but the high-end clarity makes them performers for lighter styles of music also.
When it comes to the microphone, the Game One and Game Zero headsets defined a new standard for gaming headset mics, and I’m happy to say that the GSP 600s continue that pedigree. The mic provides a very good capture that preserves the natural bass in your voice, unlike most gaming headsets. It isolates your voice fairly well, too, but you’ll still want to keep it clear of your mechanical keyboard or use a noise gate.
With such a high MSRP, this clearly isn’t a headset for everybody. For the money, though, you do get one of the best gaming headsets on the market today. The lack of surround sound may give some gamers a moment of pause, but the stellar positionality and clarity on offer do a good job of making up for that smaller soundstage. For $249, the GSP 600s are an impressive set of cans that leave me even more excited to see what Sennheiser’s midrange option might look like.
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How product was obtained:||The product is on loan from Sennheiser for the purpose of this review.|
|What happens to the product after review:||The product remains the property of Sennheiser but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.|
|Company involvement:||Sennheiser had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.|
|PC Perspective Compensation:||Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Sennheiser for this review.|
|Advertising Disclosure:||Sennheiser has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.|
|Affiliate links:||This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.|
|Consulting Disclosure:||Sennheiser is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review.|