Headquartered in Wedemark (just outside of Hannover) Germany, Sennheiser produces some of the top quality headphones to ever grace this planet. Last year, they received five (5) nominations for Outstanding Technical Achievement at the 33rd annual NAMM Technical Excellence and Creativity Awards. I’m actually quite excited, as this is the first headset from Sennheiser that I’ve done a product review on.
Audio: The audio frequency range of the GSP 350 is an impressive 15 Hz on the bass end to 26,000 Hz on the high end. While anything less than 20 Hz on the bass end cannot be hear – it can be felt. What this creates is a 3D sound effect where the user is immersed within the audio, be it a video game with tank shells crashing and firing around you, or in the midst of a marching band with drums all around you. On the high-end, anything above 20,000 Hz cannot be heard, but it’s up for debate if frequencies above the 20,000 Hz range actually enhance the higher sound frequencies, even though you cannot hear them. Regardless, any headset or set of headphones that goes beyond the range of human hearing deserves respect.
Connections: The Sennheiser GSP 350 comes with a surround sound dongle, which uses a micro-USB connector to USB connector – this USB then plugs into your PC. The other end of the dongle has a 3.5mm plug which plugs directly into the left ear cup on the headphones. So that said, WHAT was Sennheiser thinking with this? I’m really confused on the R&D here with this device – By not shipping with a 3.5mm adapter, they limit their audience. When I first saw the 3.5mm plug, I actually thought that was the plug for use in gaming systems and smartphones, but they in turn use the 3.5mm plug to connect to the ear cup itself – weird. Why not use the micro-USB to connect to the headset and then use the 3.5mm to connect to the audio device? Or better yet, ship an extra cable, like in the Steelseries Arctis 5, so the surround sound dongle can allow the user to choose what to connect to – a 3.5mm for gaming/smartphones, or a USB for PC’s? This set-up seems backwards and has left me wondering what Sennheiser is doing. At the end of the day, if you need/want the 3.5mm cable connector, it’s a special order from Sennheiser.
Microphone: The microphone on the GSP 350 is a noise cancelling mic, where it filters out background noises. Sennheiser has branded this a “broadcast quality” microphone, but I really don’t think it comes across like a “professional” mic. It’s still a great quality microphone which picks up frequencies within the range of 10 – 15,000 Hz. That’s pretty decent for a microphone. One thing that Sennheiser did with this mic is they created an auto-mute feature when the microphone is flipped up out of the way. That’s pretty ingenious if you ask me and honestly, I don’t know why other companies don’t do the same. Others will use a mute button on the ear cup, but as you know, any additional electronics such as buttons, dials, and switches are something that can break (and will break) so by having an auto-mute when it’s flipped up out of the way – that’s impressive. Another feature of the microphone is that it’s a noise cancelling microphone, so it reduces ambient background noise. For more information and understanding on how the noise cancelling feature works, check out my post titled Noise Reduction Headphones – How They Work. Unfortunately, just like its competitors, these headphones and their noise cancelling microphones tend to leave the user talking softly online. That said, it’s definitely not the same caliber as a professional microphone for video recording, but it’ll allow you to do “OK” quality YouTube videos.
Cushions: The cushions on the GSP 350 are an oval shape and use soft, pliable memory foam, which is covered with a leatherette material. Because of the softness of the memory foam, they fit your head and ears nicely, however I wonder about the durability. Whenever I’ve had headphones with extremely soft memory foam, they tend to tear and wear quickly. As a comparison, the Razer Kraken uses firmer memory foam and is covered with a similar leatherette material and these have held up “like new” for going on two years now.
Headband & Adjuster: A lot of users feel that the headband on the GSP 350 is designed based on aviation headsets, but if you know anything about Sennheiser, the design is the same as that of their broadcast or professional series headsets by having a split design with memory foam padding.
Everything I’ve been able to research on the Sennheiser GSP 350 indicates that the headband frame is made entirely of plastic, rather than an aluminum frame with a plastic overlay. Initially I thought the unit had an aluminum frame due to its flexibility, but rather I think it gets its flexibility from being a split band.
Lastly, the GSP 350 has a very unique feature unto itself. While the left ear cup holds the microphone, the right ear cup has an outer volume dial. This dial is substantial in size, so you don’t end up fumbling looking for this ¼” volume adjuster in dim lighting. This makes it super easy to adjust the volume on the unit.
Color: The Sennheiser GSP 350, which replaces the older GSP 300 in a black and blue color scheme, comes with a new black and red scheme. Other than the red and black design, there’s no RGB lighting on the headset at all – not even when the microphone is muted (odd).
What I Like
What I like about the Sennheiser GSP 350 is that it’s a Sennheiser. Seriously, Sennheiser makes some of the best headphones in the industry and their audio drivers are top-notch. The audio produced from the headset is full spectrum and easily adjusted with the volume wheel on the right ear cup. I also like that the microphone folds up and auto-mutes. As mentioned earlier in this review, I don’t know why other manufacturers haven’t thought of this.
What I Don’t Like
Unfortunately, this unit ended up being more of a letdown as there was just too many things I didn’t like. The connectors are the biggest downfall here as it limits the usability of the headset. What’s worse is Sennheiser expects you to buy adapter cables at the $20USD mark – this is of course, after you just forked out all your cash for the unit. Due to the Sennheiser brand name, I thought these would have been constructed from the best products in the industry. Soft (weak) ear cushions and memory foam is a bad thing. I honestly don’t think these will last long and a quick Google search shows a LOT of comments from users experiencing tears with these. I’m not a fan of overly-plastic headphones or headsets. While the headset itself is flexible, I was unable to determine (without breaking them) if the headband frame was made from metal and covered in plastic. Nowhere does it state this on the Sennheiser site either. I’d hazard a guess these are fully plastic and likely won’t stand up to taking the units on/off with 1 hand repeatedly.
Verdict – Would I Buy It Again?
For me, having no RGB lighting is not a deal breaker as I could care less about not having that feature. Besides, when I have the headset on, I can’t see the lighting, so who cares? Unfortunately I feel let down by Sennheiser on these with the cheap product quality and lack of cable connectors. As this unit pushes the price tag over its competition, you would think it would come packed with features and scream of quality workmanship – this unit had neither. As such, I would not buy these again.
Detailed Product Information
Product: Sennheiser GSP 350 PC Gaming Headset with Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound
Cheapest place to buy: Amazon
Warranty: 2 Years
My Rating: 5 out of 10