Sennheiser PC38X Gaming Headset Review – They Made it Even BETTER!
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One of the best gaming headsets in the market just got better: Meet the PC38X by Drop and Sennheiser. The PC37X is still up for sale and it’s $50 cheaper, so you do have to pay an additional premium for the PC38X. That price hike on the new pair is because of some driver improvements and some additional accessories, but the PC37X is still a fantastic pair that has a slightly different sound signature and it’s still my recommendation in the $120 USD price point.
At $170 USD I would say the PC38X is still worth it, because there is nothing really out there that is open back, that is this comfortable, and that delivers this type of audio and microphone quality combined. The good thing with this launch unlike the nightmare that was the RTX 3000 series is that it’s available to buy today. Let’s see what the hype is all about.
Differences & Accessories
First let’s do a quick physical overview, the most significant difference you would notice would be slight redesign of the ear cups. There is now mesh on the ear cups, a new yellow colour, which by the way is some sort of like fabric on the interior. It looks pretty sweet through a macro lens. There are some yellow accents on the microphone grill as well, so colour cohesion is here. It’s not my favorite choice of colour, but it does give you a good distinction between this gaming headset versus everything else on the market that is black and red, black and blue, and black and white.
Some additional value-added goodies with a PC38X include a carry pouch and dual cables. One cable features a 3.5mm angle jack – a four pole connection which you can plug into a controller or your mobile phone – so you can use this headset and the microphone together with other mobile accessories. The other cable is a standard splitter cable for your PC or for your sound card, whatever, and it is braided and coloured in black and yellow just like the rest of the headset.
In terms of weight and build quality, it feels identical to the PC37X. It’s all-plastic body, super lightweight, and with a really good extension mechanism. You can wear this headset for 8 hours a day without any pressure fatigue on the ears or the headband as it is designed very well. One of the reasons why I have recommended the PC37X so much is because of the comfort. The only difference with the PC38X is the double padding on the headbands versus a continuous piece on the PC37X, and also the padding material is now different. The PC38X comes with both velvet and a sport mesh material, the mesh does trap a little bit more bass and it’s not as soft as the velvet material. Nevertheless, the fact that the ear cups are swappable is awesome. One really cool detail about the new ear cups is that they have a kind of double lining. On the interior there is a velvety soft material, so if your ears do make contact it’s super comfortable, while the exterior has a more coarse and condensed material. It doesn’t attract as much skin particles or hair as the velvet ear cups do, and they do produce a slightly different sound profile too.
Design & Comfort
Design and comfort wise this is my number one headset versus every other gaming-related headset that I have ever tested. Not only is it low profile, but the ear cups are deep enough so that my ears don’t make contact with that internal angled wall. The clamping force is not too tight, not too loose, it’s just right. The size extensions are absolutely massive, so this would fit anything from really small heads to massive heads because of how tiny they can collapse into and how much they can expand. This is so much more comfortable than the GSP 500 or GSP 600 combined x 1000. The PC37X and PC38X are just the benchmark to beat when it comes to gaming headset comfort, and it’s awesome because I loved the sound quality and the drivers of the GSP 500/600 and now you can find those drivers in this new headset thanks to Drop/Sennheiser. The one minor warning I will say about build quality is don’t press into the mesh too hard because it might bend inward, and there is no way to like bump it back out.
The microphone body and the capsule are identical to the PC37X, which I would say is a good thing. It is muted when in the upright position with a distinct click, which should give you that mute confidence when you are on a call. It’s also great that you don’t have to do it through software. The mic arm is quite flexible too, so you can position it as close to your mouth as possible. On the right ear cup we have a volume dial, it’s the same volume dial so not much resistance, and it does have the hard stops for minimum and maximum volume.
As for microphone quality, based on the specifications and to my ears the PC38X sounds identical to the PC37X, which I have considered to be a really good baseline for $120 USD. So no difference here, and this is a more expensive headset in the gaming arena, but you do get much better built-in drivers. When compared to the $59 Razer Blackshark V2X both headsets sound really close in terms of microphone quality, with similar clarity, loudness, and natural bass pickup, so that’s pretty impressive for the cheaper Razer headset. Just as a fun comparison, I also tested the Logitech G733 in blue, which is a wireless pair so it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it is a $129 headset and I would say it’s microphone quality is quite a bit worse than the $120 PC38X.
The main price premium with the PC38X isn’t caused by accessories – which are nice – but the new drivers, which make a huge difference. The PC37X uses the same drivers as the GSP 500 and the GSP 600, which have so much extra bass and are not as harsh on the high-end as the PC37X. Having a PC37X body with that type of driver is incredible. First the impedance is lower on the PC38X versus a PC37X – 28 ohms versus 50 ohms – meaning you can drive this with a mobile phone, with a gaming controller, no problem. However, the sensitivity on the PC37X is slightly higher, which means it does go louder. When comparing them side-by-side what a difference the driver makes despite being housed in the same body. The PC38X immediately has a lot more body, a lot more power on the low-end, so you can feel the deep bass despite this being an open style design. The PC37X on the contrary has a much sharper high-end with more perceived clarity. The PC38X reminds me a little bit of how the HD58X Jubilee sound in terms of delivering really good bass despite being an open style design, but the HD58X still has slightly warmer base, smoother high-end, and a wider soundstage.
Overall, gaming on the PC38X has been fantastic. SQUAD recently came out of beta, version one of the game is available, and the sound engine does an absolutely incredible job with the weapons and the distant fire effects. Combine that with an open style design that has really great low-end pickup and a smooth high-end – which is appreciated over the sharper sound of the PC37X – and gives you a really nice immersion. Jumping into the world of Mafia with the Definitive Edition, the sound engine here is not as good as other open world games, but hearing water splash underneath your tires while it’s raining or coming out of the car while the metal is bending and changing shape all those little elements are picked up. I will say the PC37X is actually slightly better for Mafia in particular, because there are little details and the treble is more pronounced with the sharper high-end of the PC37X versus the slightly smoother high-end definition of the PC38X. Overall though, I still prefer the PC38X over the PC37X in basically all games, even competitive stuff where I need that treble and don’t really care about the bass. The bass on this model is super defined and just impressive for what it can deliver with open ear cups. It doesn’t trap everything in there, so they have done a really good job.
In terms of audio quality versus something cheap like the $59 Blackshark V2X – which I would 100% recommend at this price point – you can definitely tell the difference. The PC38X is more premium, more defined, with tons of extra detail in the background, beautiful soundstage expansion, and so much extra defined bass compared to the Blackshark V2X.
For my conclusion, at $170 this new gaming headset is totally worth it if that’s in your gaming budget. We get the high quality drivers from the GSP 500/600 in a G4ME ONE PC37X body, which is awesome. The colour scheme is not for everybody, but I like that it is going to be quite distinct moving forward and perhaps this opens up opportunities for games specific colors or different colors altogether. For $50 less the PC37X is still worth it in my books, even though you don’t get the same rich, low-end pickup and bass isn’t as defined here. However, the PX37X is more sensitive so it is slightly louder, and it does have a sharper high-end so it’s a very bright headset in comparison to the PC38X. If you prefer a bright sound signature the PC37X is an easy choice. I know it’s too much to ask to have a removable microphone on this body because it’s not a headphone that is designed for outdoor listening – you can hear everything that’s happening in your environment and your audio will be broadcasted to the world – but still it would be awesome to have a modular approach to a gaming headset.
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