Sennheiser is a company primarily known for making premium audiophile-grade headphones and industry-standard professional microphones. So, we were interested to see how they would approach the gaming headset market.
The open-back design is a complete sidestep to the closed-back design of standard gaming headsets and won’t be suitable for a lot of gamers. But, if you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated gaming room, free of any outside disturbances, it could well be the gaming headset you’ve been looking for.
It’s not cheap, so the question is whether or not it can justify its lofty price tag. So let’s get straight to it and answer that question in our in-depth Sennheiser Game One Review…
Out of the box, it is clear to see that Sennheiser has chosen to go for an understated minimalistic look. This is a departure from most gaming headsets, which usually have an exaggerated gamer aesthetic complete with LED and luridly colored accents.
The Game One comes in either matte black or white, and the only bit of flair present is the red accent around the earcup. Plastic is the predominant material used in construction. It’s everywhere. The earcups, headband, and microphone are all made from it.
Although the plastic seems rugged and durable enough, it’s a little disappointing for a premium gaming headset. We’ve come to expect a more luxurious design from Sennheiser over the years. Still, as a result, these weigh just over 300 grams, making them some of the best lightweight gaming headphones around.
Unusual for gaming a gaming headset…
The Game One is an open-backed design. We’ll talk more about the audio benefits of this later in the review. Functionally, this allows your ears to breathe, thereby staying cooler during marathon sessions.
Bells and whistles are thin on the ground here…
The right earcup is home to a volume dial that’s very easy to use, requiring minimal effort. Volume control on the earcup is preferable as you can always locate it easily. Not always the case with in-line remotes.
Attached to the left earcup is a rather large boom microphone that can be pivoted in line with the headband when not in use. This action automatically mutes the mic, which turns itself back on the moment you lower it. An audible click lets you know it’s working.
The large memory foam earpads are covered in velour material that surrounds your ears. If you prefer, the earpads can be swapped out for leather ones. Although they don’t come included.
Despite the plastic build, it’s hard to be too critical of the build quality. Stress tests revealed the Sennheiser Game One to be surprisingly flexible. It never felt like breaking even when bent to some pretty extreme angles.
It was dropped several times on to hard floors during the month we had them. But there were no discernable effects or visible scratches. So, we feel confident this is one of the most durable gaming headsets on the market. It is a Sennheiser, after all.
No complaints here. The Game One earpads feel plush and rest very comfortably over the whole ear. The same can be said of the headband, which is covered in the same velour material. The headband has a wide range of adjustability to cater to any head size.
The earcups also have a good degree of movement, allowing them to conform to different head shapes and jaw lines well. Initially, the clamping force feels a little too tight, but after a week, they loosen up nicely. Hours of gaming with zero discomfort. You’ve just got to allow them time to break them in.
It’s not that often that you come across open-back gaming headphones. But they have one huge advantage over their closed-back rivals. Open-back headsets have a far wider soundstage, providing a less constrained and larger overall sound.
Whilst gaming, this means you will be treated to a more immersive experience with outstanding spatial awareness. If you’re a fan of multiplayer shooters, the wider soundstage helps in locating your enemies. Furthermore, it’s one of the best sounding gaming headsets out there.
Every sound within your vicinity, including subtler ones, can be heard distinctly and in the correct location. Distant sounds also get the same treatment. This level of awareness really does give you a big advantage over your opponents. It’s a competitive edge that any serious or casual gamer will appreciate.
It’s not just first-person shooting games that benefit from the open-back sound. To go with the precision and detail on offer, the Sennheiser Game One has warm and rich mids with good punchy bass and crisp and smooth highs.
This lends itself well to all types of games. Especially ones that are atmosphere-heavy with lots of dialogue. Excellent separation means you hear everything clearly without any blurring of the frequencies. Regardless of what genre you’re into, Game One will enrich the experience.
Lacks noise isolation…
Considering this, it’s a wonder that more companies haven’t bothered producing open-back gaming headsets. We imagine it’s because the passive noise isolation that you get with this design is virtually nonexistent. If there’s anything else going on in the room, you’ll hear it.
Conversely, everyone will also hear you blasting away. If you’re going to opt for an open-back gaming headset, then you need to have your own private gaming room to take full advantage of the Sennheiser Game One.
The very same attributes that make the Game One such a good gaming headset also transfer very nicely when listening to music. It’s not often that a dedicated gaming headset can double as your main musical headphones too.
The wide soundstage and high level of detail and clarity, especially in the mid and high range, gives the listener wonderful instrument separation and vocal depth. It has a relatively neutral sound profile. Although the bass has nice depth and decent weight, it’s not overemphasized in any way.
Premium sound quality…
This is what makes the difference between an audio heavyweight like Sennheiser and companies that only design gaming headsets. Because the mid-range is so spacious and detailed, there’s no need to boost the bass to mask any deficiencies elsewhere.
You’re left with a very nicely balanced listening experience that compliments most musical genres well. Serious bass-heads might find the experience lackluster, but this will be music to the ears for more refined listeners.
Manages what few other companies achieve…
A seamless transition between an excellent-sounding gaming headset into a quality pair of critical listening HiFi headphones. Like all high-quality headphones, the Game One will benefit from using a good external DAC and soundcard to further improve audio performance.
As any competitive online gamer knows, microphone quality is of paramount importance, especially when playing as part of a team. Fortunately, the Game One is possibly the best microphone performance gaming headset ever made.
Voices sound clear and natural with no distortion or interference. Your teammates will have no problem making out what you’re saying. The microphone performance is so good that you could use it for all manner of different applications. Live streaming, recording voiceovers; this microphone can do it all.
The Sennheiser Game One works with every gaming platform you can think of. As a result, it has a level of compatibility that not every headset in this price range can boast.
A word of warning…
Because of the split 3.5mm cable that has separate jacks for the mic and the headphones, you may have to buy an adapter to use this headset on certain consoles. Considering these aren’t cheap headphones, it would be nice if this came as part of the package. As frustrating as this is, it won’t cost much to buy an adapter.
- Frequency response: 15-28,000 Hz.
- Type: Open back wired.
- Microphone: Boom mic.
- Impedance: 50 Ohm
- Compatibility: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC, Mac, smartphone.
- Audio output: Stereo
Sennheiser Game One Review – Pros and Cons
- Precise and spacious soundstage.
- All-round great audio performance.
- Outstanding microphone quality.
- Light and comfortable.
- Relatively expensive for a gaming headset.
- The plastic design looks cheap.
- Not suitable for use in noisy areas.
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Sennheiser Game One Review – Final Thoughts
Whilst the Sennheiser Game One is certainly not the gaming headset for everyone. But if you are a dedicated enough gamer to have a quiet room set aside for your hobby, then the open-back design adds a huge amount of clarity and atmosphere to the experience.
In certain genres, they’ll even give you a competitive edge. They also double up very nicely as headphones you can use for your musical enjoyment.
Throw in a comfortable and seemingly robust design, and you have a set of gaming headphones that are well worthy of your consideration as long as you can afford the relatively high price.
Until next time, game on.