Sennheiser GSP 303 ‘Need for Speed Payback’ Headset Review
Sennheiser has made a new edition to their GSP 300 Series of Gaming Headsets. This one, categorized as the GSP 303 Headsets, is made with recent release Need for Speed: Payback in mind. Grab the headsets, grab your steering wheel, and prepare for a race to the finish in style, comfort, and immersion.
Vroom, vroom! Racers, I have something for you to hear about. Or rather, I have something for you to hear with. Sennheiser has a headset out that was meant for you to wear while cruising down your favorite highways, city streets, alleyways, and off-road paths at breakneck speeds. Through your television screen or gaming monitor of course. Drive responsibly in real life, but if you want to blur the lines between reality and video games, headsets are a must have in regards to immersion.
While I firmly believe the Need for Speed franchise needs to get back to the roots of Underground and Carbon days, one thing that has changed over the years for the better has been my personal preference for using headsets. Back on the days I wouldn't have imagined using headsets as much as I do now. Even throughout the Xbox 360 days, I only used a headset when I needed to talk with friends in party chat. To give you a better image, my headsets only reached as sophisticated as the wireless one that wrapped around one ear and had a two inch or so long mic. It wasn't until this gen that I started going through my various brands and headsets, but I now have a collection of a dozen or so. Ranging from Turtle Beach (several as they are my favorite), to the Sony PlayStation ones, and even Roccat.
These headsets fall in that medium price and quality range for gaming headsets. They offer an over the ears style, connected by an adjustable connecting piece above that rests on the top of the user's head. A microphone placed on the left ear piece, hard in nature rather than the flexible and adjustable ones that can be find in others, will enable you to converse with other gamers or friends (but more on that below). If you've tried any other headsets in this same category of price and quality, little is different, but the main take away is that these are light.
This is quickly and easily noticeable by how efficiently cut the design is. The top piece that rests on your head has a large gap in the middle, which sheds a slight amount of weight that would otherwise be another piece of plastic, wiring, and cushion. It sacrifices a little bit of structural integrity though, which I can't say 100 percent I am a fan of. Don't get me wrong, I have not had any issues with them since I have been using them, and I have used them a couple dozen hours. My experiences in the past with many headsets, regardless of the brand, is that sooner or later that above-the-head piece is what gets the first crack, followed by the ear pieces as they disconnect from said above-the-head piece.
Anyone who has headsets knows though, even the slightest amount of extra weight can really wear you down during a long gaming session, so it truly just comes down to personal tolerance and how gentle you naturally are with your headset hardware. The ear cushions are XL memory foam and are covered by a soft pleather that feels almost as strong as leather, but much softer and less sweat inducing. Overall, the light weight and ear cups make up for the off and on discomforts that will come from the headband not being made similar to a top-of-the-line gaming headset. Sennheiser does offer a two-year international warranty for all of their headsets, which alleviates many stresses.
The audio is where the best qualities are found. The frequency of drivers are 15Hz – 26KHz, stretching outside of average. Where some headsets fail to deliver an appropriate amount of highs, mids, lows, or any combination of, these headsets hit the mark for all three. Especially for those out there looking for something to couple their racing adventures, the deep rumble and growling from the vehicles are accurately and clearly available for listening to here.
Any over-the-ears headset will give you that extra advantage in regard to competition and immersion, but luckily you can find a product here that takes that opportunity and really emphasizes why even the smallest of noises are crucial to gaming fun and success. They can be used on a computer or amp, with the separate audio and microphone wires, but can be used on console controllers thanks to the Y-cord that turns them into a 3.5mm jack. If you are a user of the Sennheiser GSP 300, not much will be different outside of better ear cup comfort and branding/coloring.
The microphone provides a great amount of clarity when talking with my friends online, but don't go into phenomenal territory. I recently reviewed the Turtle Beach Pro Elite headsets, and my level of expectations for microphones have significantly gone up. Granted the Turtle Beach ones were due to the USB amp, my point is simply that the quality here is great, but not the best on the market. Then again, quality will come with price, regardless of what the product or service is, so that's not a big deal.
While my opinion on the Need for Speed Payback game is that it fails to deliver anything above average, the Sennheiser GSP 303 headsets are a cut or two above expectations and what I would consider average for a headset. The headband feels a bit weaker in design than other headsets on the market, and are not exactly of great comfort during long gaming sessions, but the comfort the ear cups provide is extensive and satisfying. The audio, which is arguably the most important part, is great.
Crystal clear audio that strikes great levels for the high and the lows, coupled with a microphone that prevents a good amount of pop offers great all around audio quality. The microphone muting when in the upright position is a cool feature in gaming headsets, but personally I don't prefer the hard design of the microphone; I personally prefer a flexible one that I can adjust whenever and however. Overall, I'm more than satisfied with this product, and would encourage race enthusiasts who haven't yet purchased the latest Need for Speed title, to consider this bundle.
+ Great audio quality for highs, mids, and lows
– Headband feels a little weak and uncomfortable
+ Clear microphone
– Need for Speed Payback is a hit or miss title in itself