Sennheiser GSP 300 Gaming Headset Review

Maybe the Best Gaming Headset? Maybe.

Sennheiser has a long and storied history in the audiophile world. They carefully tune all of their drivers to achieve a sound signature many folks swear by. They have a materials lab to test different components for each of their headphones, all the way down to the low-end models. And they have a gaming lineup with good mics…that can get a little spendy.

At the end of last year, Sennheiser refreshed their gaming lineup with the GSP 300 and the GSP 350, new more affordable offerings meant to capture the spirit of their higher-end products.

I thought at first that the HyperX Cloud Alpha was simply trying to be an improvment over the Cloud II…but now I realize it may also have been directly targeting the Sennheiser GSP 300.

OVERVIEW

Sennheiser’s GSP 300 is a $99 wired gaming headset available in a few different colors. The different colors actually have slightly different model numbers (300,301,302 etc). There’s also a 350 model that’s $139 and includes a USB connection, removable cable, and built-in Dolby Headphone support.

But today I’m focusing on the 300, because that’s what I bought. It is a no-nonsense wired gaming headset with a non-detachable boom microphone and non-detachable 2 meter cable. Sennheiser claims it has their iconic sound tuning, excellent durability, a broadcast quality mic that matches their earlier offerings, and best-in-class comfort and isolation.

These are not small claims. Not at all. In fact, they’re basically claiming superiority over every other gaming audio product at this price point.

Do they deliver?

The headset is a little bulky, but still small enough to tuck into my laptop backpack.

SOUND QUALITY

Simply exceptional.

Bass is well-extended, deep, and fun…but without any muddiness or bloated thump whatsoever . The bass here mimics the flavor of other popular gaming headsets, but with added precision. It’s not going to pound your head, but you can cleanly hear every low note and big rumbly moments in your favorite games/movies/music will make you smile. If you’re used to other gaming products, it might seem a little flat, but I like it a lot.

Midrange is impressively forward, vibrant and clean, as are the highs. In fact, if you’re used to other gaming or consumer audio products, you might be startled at how clean the higher tones are in this headset. They can be a little harsh and bristling on first listen, but I never found them too fatiguing.

That’s great for a gaming product, because that extra detail allows things like footsteps to shine through perfectly.

These are a great pair of headphones regardless of what you’re listening to. I instantly adapted to using them for my regular music listening needs, and they’re wonderful for gaming/movie use too. Although they don’t quite do the weirdly specific aural things I’d want out of a studio/pro headphone, I’d happily mix some audio in a pinch on these too.

I know this all seems a little hyperbolic. But these are exactly what I expected when I heard “Sennheiser made a $99 gaming headset.” The Sennheiser sound isn’t for everyone but this has enough of their usual quality sound-wise that if you’re a fan, you’ll really like them.

Everything is natural, clean, and accurate…with just a slight dollop of sculpted fun on top.

Soundstage is exceptional for a closed back design. The drivers are angled such that sounds seem to emanate from a position slightly away from your head. Sennheiser has always been good at angling drivers. Sometimes they even come up with goofy trademarked names for it.

The only other gaming product at this price point that I’ve liked the sound of this much is the HyperX Cloud Alpha. If you forced me to pick between their sound signatures, it’d be a toss-up.

If you ever wondered what people who loved Sennheiser audio were going on about, these deliver enough of it for you to understand. They’re well above the bar for what I’d consider “great audio quality.”

The ear cups are deep, angled, and plushly padded. They shouldn’t run into your ears or cause you any other sort of discomfort, other than some warmth from their impressive seal. The coffee shop I’m writing this review in is inexplicably freezing, so this warmth was actually appreciated!

COMFORT/ISOLATION

Sennheiser uses a ton of memory foam in this headset. The only other gaming headset company that comes close to this level of memory foam is HyperX.

HyperX’s products use common designs, with oval ear cups and big plush headbands.

Sennheiser has reinvented the wheel a little for the GSP 300, and I think they made the right call.

The ear pad openings are ear shaped!

This happens so infrequently in headphone design that it’s kind of hilarious. I mean, wouldn’t you expect a thing designed to fit over an ear to be shaped like an ear, but larger?

The ear cups are nice and deep, and you won’t have anything touching your ears inside these while wearing them.

The headband is rather large, with a split design that’s only a little more common than ear-shaped pads. Sennheiser famously uses an adjustable split headband on their HD25 headphones, and while the one here is not adjustable, it still gets the job done. And then some.

The large headband allows for more contact surface area, meaning that the light weight of the headset is distributed more evenly across your head. The padding on the headband is big and plush, another area that some companies skimp on. I have to wear it almost fully extended, but I’ve got a couple extra clicks, so most heads should fit into it okay.

The result is a comfy headset you can wear for hours and hours and only barely notice. When I’m wearing it, the slight clamp of the ear cups is noticeable and that’s about it. My ears do warm up a little bit from the leatherette covering the pads, which isn’t quite as soft or heat-resistant as the amazing leatherette on the HyperX Cloud Alpha. But I don’t mind this so much.

The GSP 300 has better isolation than the Cloud Alpha, and I believe Sennheiser’s claim that it’s the best in this price range. In fact, the GSP 300 is one of the better passive isolating headsets or headphones that I’ve ever used. It handily passed the loud coffee shop test. The pads and closed-back cups isolate about as well as the famous HM5/XPT 100 headphones.

These stick out quite a bit from the head, but that does allow room for VR headsets. It also helps ensure the cups hit your head at a good flat angle. And yes, the mic is always more or less sticking out like that.

DESIGN/BUILD

Okay, so Sennheiser’s design here is a little goofy, at least visually.

This is their first stab at a new gaming product design in a while. Their previous famous gaming headsets were more or less just repurposed pairs of other Sennheiser headphones with microphones slapped onto them.

Not so with the GSP 300. It’s a fully bespoke, deliberate product. Its sharp angles and bold accents call to mind other current gaming products. The sides really stick out far from your head, which looks a little goofy…but does seem to help with the fit, and also allows plenty of room to wear a VR headset if that’s something you want to do.

Build quality is exceptional in spite of a predominate use of plastic. I’d expect nothing less from Sennheiser. As I alluded to above, they do all kinds of hilariously in-depth materials studies for all of their products, and the results show here.

The frame is flexible and sturdy. It doesn’t creak at all. The adjustment mechanisms on each side are ratcheted nicely, and I feel precisely zero cheapness anywhere.

The cable doesn’t detach. The mic doesn’t detach. It’s a little angular and funky and big. But it’s built very well. It feels just as sturdy as the Astro A10.

MICROPHONE

Sennheiser has a good history of putting excellent mics on their gaming products. In fact, it’s kind of hilarious just how many streamers and Youtube personalities out there have come to depend on the Game One, a headset that’s been kicking around for a number of years.

Fortunately, with the GSP 300, Sennheiser didn’t reinvent the wheel and just used a variant of their classic gaming microphone. The boom can be flipped up to mute the mic. It’s also flexible but it doesn’t hold its shape, really, so you’re kind of stuck with the angle Sennheiser set it to. That’s okay though, I’ve found this angle works pretty well.

Sound quality is natural, resonant, and truly versatile. You could easily use this for podcasting or streaming if you wanted to, and it’s overkill for game chat in the best possible way. Background noise cancellation is also quite good.

Is this the best mic on a $99 headset? It just might be.

I think the Arctis 5 and the G433 compete well with it, and I think that the recent HyperX Cloud Alpha has similar noise cancelling but a more tinny, processed sound.

This is a really great microphone. Here’s a link to my mic test on my other site, since I can’t upload audio files here.

The included 4 pole adapter is decent, and has no noticeable effect on sound quality. Which is good.

OTHER FEATURES/EXTRAS

The cable on the GSP 300 is 2 meters long, rubbery, and non-detachable. It’s a little bit more springy and tangle-prone than I’d like, but not bad. It ends in separate mic and headphone plugs. Sennheiser includes an adapter in the box so you can use the headset with 4-pole devices like a phone, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, etc.

On the right ear cup there’s an incredibly smooth, incredibly delicately-stepped analog volume wheel. It doesn’t totally mute when you turn it all the way down, but it does have enough control to it that you could set your digital volume high and solely use this wheel for volume control, if you wanted to.

I detected some very slight channel imbalances at a few points in my headset’s volume wheel. But that’s a pretty common issue with analog volume controls, and you probably won’t really notice it.

The volume wheel and the adapter are nice touches…but this isn’t the most feature-rich gaming headset at this price. HyperX and Logitech both have it beat, in terms of raw stuff that comes in the box.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a wonderful thing.

The GSP 300 has amazing sound quality, great comfort and isolation, great build, a really nice microphone, a nice volume wheel…and a design that looks sort of goofy. But that’s really the only knock I could levy against it. I don’t even dislike the design. I just know that it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

Do I wish that it had a removable cable and mic? Yes I do! Are these dealbreakers? No! Is a removable cable enough to make me spring for a $139 GSP 350? Probably not! I already have Dolby Atmos and I don’t really need their USB dongle.

When the only thing bad I can think to say about a headset is that I think the look of it is a little funky, then it’s pretty darn good. This is priced right, sounds great, fits great, and does what it claims to do. The other positive reviews I saw on launch last year were right, and I shouldn’t have slept on this for a year.

The GSP 300 now sits proudly alongside the HyperX Cloud Alpha as a must-buy must-hear product at the $99 price. I know that the more traditional look of the Alphas will appeal to some folks more…but Sennheiser has the better mic, fit (thanks to deeper ear cups), and isolation.

These are so good. Turns out all of Sennheiser’s crazy claims were true.

Find Me: Medium, Twitter, www.worldbolding.com