Sennheiser GSX 1000 Review

Sennheiser GSX 1000 Review

First appearing back in August, the Sennheiser GSX 1000 amplifier is finally showing up on store shelves.  At $229, the smallish accessory might seem a bit pricey.  However, gamers and casual listeners alike could benefit from its features.

Sennheiser GSX 1000 Review

Sennheiser GSX 1000 Review

The GSX 1000 comes packaged in a simple box with a micro-USB cable and a guidebook.

On the front of the unit, there are inputs for the USB cable, a pair of headphones, a microphone, and speakers.  The volume wheel on the top of the unit also features an backlit touchscreen panel that will display volume and playback settings.

Comprised mostly of plastic, the GSX 1000 features a kickstand panel on its underside for angling.

While extremely lightweight, this amp still seems sturdy.  The volume wheel especially appears well-crafted, without the clunky cheapness I would expect from a gaming amp.

Specs

Frequency Range:  0-48,000 Hz
Recommended Headphone Impedance:  16-150 ohms
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD):  0.005%

As we can see from these specifications, the GSX 1000 has a very wide frequency range – so  getting enough detail shouldn’t be a problem.  Sennheiser recommends using headphones between 16-150 ohms, but I’d feel confident going with an even higher impedance – the amplification is pretty intense even with a 100 ohm headphone.  Distortion is remarkably low on this amp, too – something I found refreshingly surprising.

Sound

It should come as no surprise that the GSX 1000 has a tendency to impart some extra contrast and clarity to the sound of your headphones or speakers.  The manufacturer has gone to great lengths advertising the 7.1 Surround Sound capability, and there is a noticeable sense of depth to everything that I’ve put through the GSX 1000.  While I was moderately impressed by this feature, it will still be mostly hit-or-miss with some listening setups.  Obviously, for those users who are currently using a headphone without much soundstage aren’t going to benefit as much from the added depth.

For best results regarding depth and soundstage, a higher-end gaming headset from Sennheiser or Audio Technica may be in order.  Or, for those who want to take full advantage of the interface on the GSX 1000, an audiophile headphone could be paired with a stand-alone microphone plugged into the front of the amp.

Compatibility

While not optimized for consoles, the GSX 1000 is compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems.  While I don’t use a Mac for reviews (sorry, Hipsters), I can vouch for the easy plug-and-play experience with Windows; I plugged in the unit and 20 seconds later, I was revelling in the sound.

As mentioned above in the Specs and Sound sections, performance will largely hinge on the peripherals you use.  The amp can definitely handle any impedance between 16 and 150 ohms, so don’t sacrifice your sound quality for something that was designed to be used with your smartphone.  (Or do that and let us know how it sounds.)

Other Observations

The overall quality look and feel of this amp is probably reason enough to purchase it.  Plugged into my laptop, it’s one badass little accessory.  The touchscreen is also a nice feature.  Usually my amps and DACs fall apart at the switches and dials because I adjust settings like crazy.

For movies or games, the sound is phenomenal, but even for casual listening, the extra sharpness and crisper sound improve headphones by leaps and bounds.  Even with a 50-ohm in-ear model, the results are impressive.

Final Analysis

While not the stuff of audiophile obsessions, the GSX 1000 is a head-turner.  As a dedicated amplifier for gaming and video applications, it more than holds its own, and even provides clear benefits for the casual  listener.