Sennheiser has been contently rated in the top tier of gaming headsets with their GAME series and their more refined PC series. While the GAME headsets are more inclined towards console gamers and some PC gamers with the input jack being a standard 3.5mm. The PC series stands at the top of the line for hardcore players who need precision and top quality sound mapping. The PC series stands above the GAME series because it has the ability to toggle between stereo and 7.1 surround sound. This is possible through the Surround Sound Dongle which takes a digital audio signal from the USB input and converts it into virtual 7.1 surround sound. As always the PC 373D’s microphone is top of the line delivering clear and full vocal quality. This headset also stands alone as a great listening pair of headphones while not gaming, which is something that cannot be said about most other headsets.
Sennheiser PC 373D Review
The PC 373D is an Over-Ear Velvet finished Open Back Headset. The Connector is USB which connects to the Surround Sound Dongle, which processes the input signal into 7.1 Surround Sound. You can easily switch between 7.1 and Stereo by pressing the Dolby Surround button on the dongle which tells you your current format by LED indicators, red meaning stereo and white meaning 7.1. While the PC 373D is not nearly as flashy or LED inlayed as many other gaming headsets I found this to be refreshing. Sennheiser focuses on the core elements of a great headset: audio, microphone quality, and comfort. The Velvet earpads offer long term wear comfort, since it is a cloth finish they will keep your ears cooler during long sessions.
The microphone is the most flashy part of the microphone with a red grill mesh surrounding the unit. The open design of the microphone capsule helps improve the sound quality helping kill the boxy sound of a lot of gaming headsets. The microphone pickup pattern is never specified in Sennheiser’s tech specs, referred to as noise cancelling, most likely a cardiod pattern to help improve noise rejection. The Sennheiser Audio software has a noise rejection setting to help reduce ambient background noise from being picked up by the microphone. Vocal quality is impressive and full bodied.
The PC 373D comes coupled with the Sennheiser Audio program. This software offers EQ, Noise Reduction, and Side Tone options.
The EQ settings offered are Music, Esport, and Game. I found Esport to be an especially useful EQ preset as it offers a bandpass filter around the vocal range to prioritize speech and communication which can be impaired during communication intensive moments. The Music setting takes out some mid range and low end out of the headset. Game Boosts some low end and mid range, while taking out some high end.
Used to reduce background noise from being picked up in the mic, found it more useful to have on than off.
Side Tone is your own voice added into the headphone output. Off, Low, Mid, and High. I only use it at first when I want to hear how my own voice sounds through the microphone.
As the name states the PC 373D is designed for Windows use only. That doesn’t mean it won’t work for other game systems or Macs. The Sennheiser Audio software is designed for Windows, and the 7.1 Surround only works when they can communicate. They function in Stereo while being used on a mac. If you are running a version of Parallels or Bootcamp then the headphone 7.1 function and software will function. For Consoles I was only able to test on a PS4, while they were recognized from the USB port the volume was incredibly low and after adjusting all volume settings in and out of game it was still at an unusable level, the mic on the other hand functioned well. When the Audio Settings are adjusted for Chat Only the headphones output at a usable level. I was not able to test with the Xbox 1 so unsure about the system’s compatibility.
Sound Quality (With Sennheiser Music EQ)
The headphone frequency response without any EQ is based on a very articulated and boosted mid range, where the human voice lives, thus it gives a very boxy sound quality to music being listened to. So for the sake of fairness to the people at Sennheiser I will judge music sound quality with their designed music EQ settings.
The low end on the PC 373D is well managed in detail and power. For a gaming headphone it is not grossly boosted to the point of distortion and muddiness. There is more power than detail in the low end but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering the audience buying the headphone.
The focal point in this headset is vocal clarity and comprehension, thus the mid range is tame and detailed. Vocal cues in games and party chat cut through the mix offering unparalleled quality. Even when the sound field is cluttered with information in the mid range there is still good separation and comprehension.
While not anything special the high end isn’t disappointing either. There is a lack of higher end extension but the quality of the high end present is at a good level and isn’t too airy or bright.
The PC 373D offers a large soundstage when played in stereo, and there is obviously a very large soundstage when in 7.1 that extends out a fair amount when in game. There is a good amount of space for instruments to exists without being overpowered by their counterparts. Reverb tails are given a long time to decay within the soundstage.
You can’t go wrong when a company that makes world renown headphones and microphones combine the two into one product. The Sennheiser PC 373D offers everything a PC gamer needs with great audio, fantastic microphone quality, and extreme comfort. While it is more of a niche market by only having a USB input and software that is only compatible with Windows, it is a top of the line product that shouldn’t be ignored by serious gamers. The articulate soundstage and the ability to toggle in and out of stereo and 7.1 can mean the difference between life and death in game.
If gaming exclusively on PC and have the need to invest into a new headset you cannot go wrong with the PC 373D. This headset series will continue to stand at the top tier of headsets. The headset also doubles as great music headphones when casually playing or just listening to music. It’s an investment with great returns that serious gamers will be able to reap the rewards from.