Sennheiser PC320

These PC-only headphones get straight to the point with a minimum of fluff, delivering a solid sound experience that lacks any excitement.


7.0
CNET Rating

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After delivering quality audio experiences for over 60 years, Sennheiser is arguably the biggest headphone brand in the world. Its range is known for delivering extremely high audio quality with extremely high price tags, and is very popular amongst professional musicians and producers. The PC320 headphones are very different, though, at a fraction of the cost of most of Sennheiser's range. Sadly, it seems as though the company hasn't put as much love into the development of these headphones as it does into its premium products.

Designed for PC users, the PC320s connect via the usual 3.5mm stereo mini jacks, and there's no pre-amp or DSP included. Console users will still be able to use them, provided they've got the necessary amplifier. Unlike every other headset in the round up, Sennheiser has gone for an open-back design. These allow sound to escape from the rear of the cup, which stops the sound waves from reflecting and bouncing inside the cup, delivering a more open soundstage. They're not so good for those who want to game in bed next to their sleeping partner, as the open design lets sound escape. This design also allows more outside sound to be heard by the wearer.

The build of these headphones can only be designed as functional. There's none of the bling of the Razer headphones, and the all-plastic construction feels a little fragile. Having said that, they're definitely the lightest headphones of the bunch, making them very comfortable for marathon gaming sessions. The open design also provides better ventilation, keeping your ears cool, while the velvet ear material stays nice and dry. Basic volume controls are built in to the right cup, but to mute you'll have to swing the arm up — there isn't a dedicated button. The noise-cancelling mic delivers excellent voice quality, and is one of the best that we've heard.

Given the brand's high reputation, we expected big things from these budget headphones. Sadly, the listening experience wasn't anything to write home about. Providing a well-balanced sound, there's nothing here that really stands out. Everything is nice and crisp, but it seems to be lacking any tone or voice of its own — it's all a bit flat and boring. Bass is especially lacking, and fiddling with our soundcard's equaliser simply introduced distortion rather than chest-rumbling bass lines. We also noticed a loss of detail in the middle of particularly hectic battle scenes. Music performance was solid, if not spectacular, and once again, the flat sound left our music collection feeling uninspired and lifeless.

They might be technically accurate, staying true to the sound source, but these headphones lack energy and oomph. Considering that Corsair can deliver a more exciting listening experience, with the benefit of a built-in DSP, Sennheiser really needs to lift its game to compete.



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