The Ultimate Sennheiser Game Zero Review
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When it comes to gaming peripherals, Sennheiser may not be the first company that comes to mind. Despite that, the German company’s background in the field of professional audio allows them to crank out gaming headphones that both sound and look good.
The Game Zero headphones are one of the most expensive pairs offered by the company. The built-in amp, flip around microphone, and sleek aesthetics make them sit right along with every other headset on the market. What sets them aside is the exceptional sound quality, comfort, and passive noise canceling, something that shows Sennheiser’s roots.
|Frequency response (Headphones)||15 Hz – 28 kHz|
|Frequency response (Microphone)||50 Hz – 16 kHz|
|Sound pressure level||108 dB|
|Total harmonic distortion||< 0.1%|
|Cable length||3 m (PC/Mac) & 1.2 m (Console)|
|Sensitivity||Microphone: -38 dBV at 94 dBSPL|
|Price||$199.95 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
Design and Build Quality
Looks can be deceiving, and that seems to be the case with the Game Zero headphones. While the design is perfect for gamers, with enough flair to satisfy, but not too much that they get tacky, the actual build of the headphones leaves a lot to be desired.
The Game Zero headphones are a bit disappointing in terms of build quality overall. The all plastic shroud feels cheap compared to a pair of headphones like the V-MODA Crossfade. The headphones are made completely out of plastic, with only a metal bracing running internally on the headband.
However, Sennheiser includes a carrying case with the headphones to keep them safe during travel. The headphones can be folded down to fit in the case, with small bumps for the ear cups to sit in. The case takes up almost no space, laying flat just like the headphones can.
Inside the earcups are memory-foam ear cushions. The padding works, but it’s not the best I’ve seen. Again, it seems that Sennheiser cheaped out in this area, which is disappointing at nearly $200.
However, the headphones look great. They come in both black and white variations, finished up with matte. Red accents on the ear cups and microphone are enough to give them a gamer feel without ruining the overall look of the headphones.
Overall, the Game Zero headphones look great, but the build doesn’t live up. The subtle accents and matte finish will put you in the gaming mood, just try to be careful when lugging these bad boys around because they may not stand up to the task.
Features-wise, these headphones don’t seem too out of the ordinary. The flip-up microphone and integrated ear cup volume controller have been seen before and, while Sennheiser’s design works, it doesn’t innovate on any previously established variations.
Let’s start with the microphone. The thick piece on the left ear cup can be flipped up or down. A small click right before the microphone rests turns it on and off, making muting yourself a breeze. Additionally, the microphone has a bit of flex so you can position to fit your face perfectly.
The microphone sounds great too. As opposed to just being there for the sake of it, the microphone is clear as day, giving exceptional quality in game. Largely due to the outside noise canceling, the microphone picks up your voice and transmits it with clarity and acoustic accuracy.
One issue I have is that the microphone is completely fixed. It can’t be removed or retracted, making the context on these headphones very limited. After all, no one wants to be sitting and listening to music with a fat, unused microphone sticking out of the side. It would have been nice to see a detachable design here.
Where the microphone is placed on the left side, a volume knob is placed on the right side. The small dial is smooth all the way around, with a small, index finger sized dip for you to easily turn it up or down. I was really impressed with the volume controller. Not scratching or noise when turn up down, making a smooth gradient of operation and volume.
In addition, Sennheiser included two braided detachable cables for the headphones. One has a right-angle 3.5mm plug and the other a Y connector for the headphones and microphones. Having both gives the pair some versatility, so you don’t have an extra cable hanging off in case you want to use them purely as headphones.
While braided cables are good for rigidity, they bunch up too quickly. The length of the cord would often clump up when I was using the headphones, adding to some annoyance in game.
Also, the rubbing of a braided cable on a shirt easily transfers to the earcups, giving an unsettling scrape inside the earcups as you’re using the headphones.
Sennheiser doesn’t add anything different and, while that’s normally not a problem, it knocks the Game Zeros down a tick. The wired design interferes with the listening and gaming experience and the microphone is stuck to the side of the headphones no matter what. While there are pros to both points, the only really exceptional area here is the on-ear volume control.
While the Game Zero headphones have failed in almost every other area, they win big here. Sennheiser’s years of experience in the field of professional audio shows off and shows off big. These headphones are ultra clear, with exceptional imaging and plenty of passive noise cancellation.
The actual frequency response is surprisingly lacking in flubby bass. Most headsets pump out tons of base and compromise the rest of the frequency spectrum because of it. Such is not the case here. The bass is there, but it’s subtle, riding under the surface to provide punch, but not muddying up the headphones.
The midrange is present, but definitely not offensive. Again, mids are another area that can easily take over the entire headphones, or suck live out if scooped. In the case of these headphones, there is plenty of midranges, giving enough to sound full, but not too much to sound boxy.
For me, the highs are what’s truly exceptional, though. The top end isn’t brittle, but incredibly clear. Highs soar above everything else on these headphones but don’t hurt your ears, even at extreme volumes. Instead, they sit right where you’d hope they would.
Sound wise, the Game Zero headphones can best be described “balanced”. Throughout the frequency spectrum, there isn’t anything that sticks out and offends. Instead, these headphones are smooth for gaming and just listening to music.
The closed-back design works well for them as well. While the memory foam ear cushions are nothing to write home about, they do create a nice seal around the ears. This gives plenty of passive noise canceling, a treat at this price.
The Sennheiser Game Zeros have a lot of problems. The non-detachable microphone, lackluster build quality, and clunky braided cables make you feel like you may have wasted your money when first holding the pair. However, the sound quality is better than headphones that are much more expensive, making them still a great choice.
Looks and sound match up perfectly, so, if that’s what you’re after, then these may be the cans for you. Just don’t expect them to stand up to every task or be perfect for every situation.
Alternatives to Consider
SteelSeries Siberia 800 – $239.99
SteelSeries easily makes one of the best gaming headsets out there, and this mid-level pair proves why. The sleek design is complemented by exceptional Dolby 7.1 surround sound. Combine with an excellent (and retractable) microphone and these headphones are a real winner for gamers.
Going further, the headphones are completely wireless, complete with 20 hours of battery life and up to 40 feet of distance. The included transmitter is a nice touch, featured with a large volume knob and OLED display.
Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum – $132.99
These headphones are a little more gaudy, for my tastes at least, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. The G933s sound incredibly, with plenty of RGB lighting to make any gamer excited.
Of course, the headphones feature a ton of programmable macros like any Logitech peripheral. What stands out for me is the Dolby 7.1 surround sound that puts you in the center of the action, complete wireless functionality for up to 12 hours, and fold-away microphone that actually tucks into the headband so it’s not waving on the side on your head.
Kingston HyperX Cloud II – $99.99
These headphones are a classic and come up as a good alternative to almost any pair of gaming headphones. The award-winning comfort and sound quality are the strong suits of these headphones. In true form, they are made for gamers, so don’t expect to use them outside that context.
The microphone is bendable but fixed to the ear cup, the cable is constantly attached, and the headphones are made mostly out of plastic. However, they feel great and sound great and, at this price point, that’s what matters most.