Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (11/10/2017: Sennheiser GAME ONE added)

Discussion in 'Video Games Discussion' started by mad lust envy, Jan 17, 2011.
  1. illram
    You can use Atmos for headphones or Windows Sonic via the optical out also.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  2. EsaT
    Has anyone experience how Beyerdynamic's Amiron Home and/or DT1990 compare to some listed headphones?
    Like AKG K712 or Beyerdynamic DT990/Sennheiser HD595/8.
    Currently have DT990 and "tape keeping pieces from dropping" HD595...

    Can definitely confirm that neutral bass is best for distinguishing footsteps etc, but for "fun factor"/immersion it leaves rather "empty feeling".
    (especially with CMSS-3D which "pre-kills" bass... though Dolby Heaphone isn't bass shy)
  3. PurpleAngel Contributor
    I'm going to assume the Dolby Atmos on the xBox One X is processed (headphone surround sound) before the audio signal is sent out the optical port of the xBox One X, to the Astro Mix-amp.
    So if you leave any headphone surround sound feature on the Mix-amp disabled, the Mia-map should act like a DAC/amp, 2-channels of digital audio sent (thru optical) into the mix-amp and 2-channel of analog out sent out the the mix-amp, to the headphones (HD558).
    You might get better audio quality if you replace the Mix-amp, Hifimediy sells a DAC with optical input, for $59.
  4. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    SURPRISE!!! I'm here to give you guys a review of the Sennheiser GAME ONE open-backed gaming headset. Hope you guys enjoy it.
    A few things to note:


    Sennheiser GAME ONE Review added

    1.. It has come to my attention that the GAME ONE in build and sound quality is the exact same as the PC37X, which can be found for $120 in Massdrop, making it an even better bargain. I won't put that into the review itself as I don't have the PC37X on hand, but keep that in mind.

    2.. A huge thanks to @Evshrug for pretty much forcing me to review these, so make sure to thank him from bringing me back from the dead. :wink:

    Anyways, HERE'S THE REVIEW:


    Sennheiser GAME ONE


    As of November 2017: $179.95 (GAME ONE Black version)

    Where To Buy: Amazon (GAME ONE)

    It seems fitting that Sennheiser would be the manufacturer to bring me back to at least one more review. Throughout the years, Sennheiser has been a dearly beloved company near and dear to my heart for bringing me amazing headphones like the HD650, PX100-II, PC360. Even some I haven't reviewed, yet still own like the neckband style, imported PMX95, which finds daily use in my home.

    I was approached online by fellow Head-fier, and Sennheiser online rep, @Evshrug to review the GAME ONE. As adamant as I was against reviewing again, I eventually caved, and agreed I'd take a look into the GAME ONE. One reason for reluctance is that I had already reviewed the PC360 and felt the review said all that needed to be said, I could just update to account for the differences. However, I did consider this being more of an 'updated' review to my later style and standard, which the PC360 review was far from.

    To my surprise, Evs told me that the voicing had been changed a bit from the PC360, and as such, felt it was a good enough reason to jump back into it, IF the Game One was worth reviewing. Thankfully, there was never really a concern that Sennheiser wouldn't deliver yet another compelling product.

    Build Quality:

    If the name hadn't already given it away, the GAME ONE, in all its white glory definitely gives off a vibe of being headset aimed directly at gamers. Personally, I prefer the muted dark colors of the black version (as well as those of the PC360), but there is a charm about a headset that is easily identifiable and contrasts my general black/grey decor. The white version's subtle selection of colors blend together nicely, which is more than can be said of most gaming headsets out there. Even entering a party oriented for gamers, Sennheiser knows how to arrive well dressed.


    The GAME ONE's headband is the only section that is kept strictly business, akin to the PC360. All matte black plastic, with only some silver 'Sennheiser' lettering on the top left section of the headband. The underside holds a generous amount of velour padding to rest directly on the top of the head. The extension arms are thin but sturdy, with plenty of length for all head sizes. There are clicks when extending, but no notches to count, so it may not be the easiest to get both sides to end up perfectly equal in size, if you find that type of thing massively important.


    Typical to most Sennheiser headphones I've reviewed, the cups are oval in shape. There is minimal swivel (just enough for secure fit), but plenty of vertical pivot in the cups (45 degrees if my calculations are correct). Aesthetically, the cups are white with a glossy fisnish, with some subtle, red accents. The outer cups both yield the grills which are more like horizontally slotted lines, they being the only means for the sound to escape. Inspecting them, you would think these slots are much too small to give the GAME ONE an open sound, but they are definitely enough to fulfill that very purpose.

    The outer right cup houses the volume dial which I find slightly insensitive in terms of travel to volume change ratio. This is a good thing, as miniscule tuning of volume is easily made with the Game One's volume dial. From my testing, it appears the volume dial doesn't mute the audio completely, yet goes low enough to allow for your attention to be diverted to the outside world.

    The outer left cup holds the lengthy boom mic which has a black matte rubbery portion in the middle to allow some bending. Positioning the mic upwards mutes the mic as labelled on the cup itself where the mic is attached. The bottom of this cup is also where the cable input is located. Looks to be 2.5mm, and only needs the detachable cables to be pushed in; no twist and lock mechanism. I find this perfectly adequate, and more versatile if cable swaps/mods are something deemed worthwhile.

    Ear Pads:

    Dense, if a little plush black velour oval pads, which breathe easy, are generously large, deep, and ultimately top notch in comfort. They snap off the headphone easily, where you can see a plastic ring permanently attached to the underside of the pads which snap back onto the small 'teeth' on the driver housing. This is one of the easiest attachment/removal designs I've seen on any headphone.


    The GAME ONE comes with two cables in the package. A lengthy 3 meter cable which terminates into both a 3.5mm audio plug, and 3.5mm microphone plug. The cable is moderately thin but well made, sleeved, and light.

    The other cable is a short 1.2mm cable with a TRRS plug. It's the same quality as its longer counterpart. I see this as a cable to be used for devices close to you, such as a PS4's dualshock 4 controller with audio input, or a mobile device.

    I would have liked to seen a Y cable adapter for the longer cable that joins both audio/chat together into one TRRS plug, for people whose devices are considerably further than 1.2m.

    Final Build Impressions:

    The GAME ONE, like the PC360 is made of highly durable plastics that I feel will take moderate abuse without any major issues. The white gloss finish is considerably more prone to fingerprints, but outside of that, there's really nothing bad that can be said of the build quality here.


    The GAME ONE is barren of any accessories. Just the headset, and the two detachable cables, that's it. As stated earlier, I would have liked to see a Y cable into TRRS plug, as well as a 1/4" (6.3mm) adapter, because we can't have too many of those, and some people may like to use the GAME ONE with their amps.

    Other than those omissions, I'm perfectly fine with sticking to the bare necessities for the sake of saving on unnecessary material wastes and items I'd store away and forget about anyways.



    At 300g, the Sennheiser is far from heavy, though not the lightest pair of headphones I've used. It falls somewhere in the middle, which I find adequate and far from cumbersome. It feels generally fine. Weight isn't really a pro or con here in terms of comfort.


    The GAME ONE's headband, like the PC360, has its wonderfully velour padded underside which rests comfortably on the head. I don't feel any hot spots, sore spots, or any other form of indescribable spots coming from the headband. Generally excellent all around.

    Ear Pads:

    Large enough to fit most ear sizes, and deep enough to keep your ears from bottoming out and pressing against the driver enclosure. The pads are soft velour, if a little dense. I can wear the GAME ONE for hours and not feel the need to take them off due to trapped heat (though I do have to taken them off for another reason described below). They are excellently cool to my ears. The pads are a source of comfort, and I can see why Sennheiser hasn't changed this design in many years. Don't fix it if it ain't broken.


    This is the one debatable area in comfort for me, as it tends to be with most Sennheiser headphones. The GAME ONE isn't exactly heavy on clamp, but it is moderate and enough for me to feel the need to stretch out the headband a bit. I do feel some unwanted pressure from the area around my ears due to the clamp. Not much, but enough to remove the headphones at random intervals to relieve some of that pressure. It's really no big deal, and something you grow accustomed to with Sennheiser headphones. The upside is the very secure fit you will always have with the GAME ONE.

    Overall Comfort Impressions:

    The GAME ONE falls under the list of headphones I can wear all day with a few breaks to relieve some clamp pressure. That's a win in my book, and I consider the GAME ONE to be generally comfortable overall. If I were to give it one of my old system ratings, I'd say "Very Good".


    As an open-backed 'acoustic' design, the GAME ONE isn't for those who want supreme noise control, isolation, and leakage kept to a minimum. It's not the loudest open design out there, but you definitely don't want to use the GAME ONE at loud volumes in quiet settings. Behind a closed door, there shouldn't any major issues disturbing others, however. External sources of noise can easily be heard through the headphone, so you may want to consider a closed-backed headphone/headset if external noises bother you.


    This is where it gets interesting for the GAME ONE. I, and I'm sure many of you who read this review would think this to be just a rehash of the PC360. But truth be told, the GAME ONE has something the PC360 lacked: musicality. While it has been quite a long while since I've heard the PC360 (within a year, as one of my close IRL friends owns one), one thing remains: It's a very balanced, safe headphone that isn't immediately engaging or musical. It presents audio in a fairly even manner, but doesn't do it any favors in terms of engaging its audience. In that sense, the PC360 is a stellar gaming headphone in that it gives you the sound you need to hear for better or worse. It makes for an excellent competitive gaming headphone where your primary focus is the action, and the audio relative to that action. Not so much for the immersion or enjoyment factor.

    The GAME ONE on the other hand is more 'romantic'. More visceral, more impactful. I believe this is due to a tuning further south. More bass, particular in the sub bass regions which was a bit dry and lacking in the PC360 in comparison. To go further into detail, let's start with just that, the bass.


    The GAME ONE, isn't a bass reliant headphone. You may have received this impression from what I said earlier. What I meant is that unlike the PC360's mostly linear, if boring approach to the sound as to not emphasize any particular aspect, the GAME ONE sounds, enhanced in the lower regions, tastefully, to give it a sense of existence. A presence, a body that the PC360 lacked. Emotional weight to bass. Where you could 'hear' bass in the PC360, you can 'feel' it in the GAME ONE. Ultimately, I prefer the GAME ONE's rendition of bass over the weightless PC360's presentation of bass.

    One of my favorite tracks to test for sub bass is Synthetic Epiphany's Submerged. After about one minute and a few odd seconds, depending on how well a particular headphone does sub bass, the song can either be very quiet with almost nothing happening down low, or it can drive a powerful, emotive, deep sea trench-like levels of subterranean rumble which mixes perfectly with the ambient atmosphere of the track. The GAME ONE is one of the very, very few open-backed headphones that accurately depicts the dark, liquid depths of this track.

    Into the specific details: the GAME ONE goes as far down as 30hz in terms of appreciably audible rumble, with decent texture and volume at 35hz up, with 45hz being a great sub rumble point. Mid-bass at 60-120hz is audible and never over-intrusive, and high bass to low mid being well presented without overwhelming the midrange.

    I feel attention was paid to how the GAME ONE delivers sub bass performance, which I feel was something headphones like the HD650 lacked. There is a gutteral rumble to the sound that just isn't there on the PC360 and HD650. It fills out the body, weight of the sound, enveloping the sonic atmosphere in ways those headphones lacked a bit in. Again, it isn't a basshead level headset. It is, however, a more flavorful, quality selection of 'meat'. There's more to chew on here. Think of it like the darker, deeper signature of AKG's K712 Pro compared to the classic, leaner AKG 701. Not so much, as the PC360 and HD650 are both generally warm to begin with, but there's an additional infusion of lower end weight added.

    Mind you, the GAME ONE is still classic Sennheiser, and I'm not saying it's night and day different vs the PC360. But there is a tilt south that wasn't there on the PC360.

    In terms of quantity, the GAME ONE is enveloping the sound with it's sub-levels of bass, but not overindulgent in mid bass over the rest of the frequencies, so I'd put it as present over the mid and treble ranges if just a bit.

    In terms of quality, I feel it is good for an open dynamic with some textured rumble, and average speed decay. It's not the fastest in terms of speed, or the clearest, most textured bass I've heard, but it does generally well in those regards.

    To sum up the bass, I'm in favor of the changes, and feel it makes the GAME ONE a better, more versatile headset over the generally safe bass levels of the PC360 which translate well into competitive gaming, but lacks a bit for immersion, engagement, and non-gaming instances, such as music playback. If bass is a factor for you, I'd definitely choose the GAME ONE over the PC360. It's just ultimately a more fun, enjoyable experience. I can easily rock out with the GAME ONE. I could not say the same for the PC360, as great a headset as it was.


    While the PC360 kept everything generally even and well balanced, nothing too forward, or too behind in the sound, the GAME ONE's slightly deeper bass levels have pushed some midrange forwardness back at times. Consider yourself sitting a few rows further back from the front of the stage, unlike the PC360 where you're mostly in the middle seats.

    In terms of frequencies, there seems to be a few dips at around 1.6khz, and 6khz, while the rest staying a very good level relative to the rest of the sound. Its strongest/loudest point is 5khz, and even then, there is no overwhelming levels of brightness anywhere in the sound. Overall, the midrange is well reigned in, and generally silky smooth.

    The act of putting the midrange a few rows back may not be ideal to some people, but it helps to add a sense of space between you and the sound, making the staging larger, which aids gaming purposes quite well, where things aren't typically in your face. Remember, this is a gaming headset first, musical headphone second.

    Don't get me wrong, the midrange isn't recessed in the way, say a Beyerdynamic DT990 is. It is still well balanced and present. It's just placed a smidge further back. Not so in your face.

    In terms of vocals, male vocals don't seem to suffer in the least bit, and feel as ever present as expected. Some female vocals may sound further back in comparison.

    In the end, I feel the GAME ZERO's midrange is placed on an even level with most of the midbass and treble ranges, only playing slightly second fiddle to a slightly stronger presence of sub bass, and only when music places a focus on sub bass to begin with. There is plenty of music where sub bass is sparingly used, and so midrange is as present as the rest of the sound.


    The GAME ZERO's treble is free of any harsh sibilance, harshness and other glaring flaws. There is audible presence at 12khz which is far from a problem area generally speaking. 10khz seems about on par with the rest of the sound, which means the GAME ONE's tonality ends up warm, mostly smooth with a hint of sparkle. There is no veil here, though the lower treble at 7.5khz does have a noticeable dip that smooths out any problem that could arise from that area of the sound.

    The GAME ONE may not be the sparkliest, airiest tonality sound out there, but it still manages to give off a large sense of space.

    The treble range is free of bothersome characteristics and will keep your ears fatigue free through extended periods of use.


    I tend not to focus much on soundstaging in terms of stereo music listening as most headphones I feel keep things close to the ears, the GAME ONE being no exception. Outside of some planarmagnetic headphones which do amazingly well in terms of soundstage depth and imaging, I feel most headphones keep things in an horizontally longish oval shape between my ears.

    It isn't constricted and kept inside my head, but I'm not one to think that sounds just outside my headspace is considered huge. It is with virtual surround DSPs like Dolby Headphone, and Creative SBX where I can gauge how well a headphone or headset can fool me into thinking sounds are coming from around me as opposed to inside my head. In that regard, the GAME ONE like the PC360 throws out a FANTASTICALLY large soundstage with a great sense of space and directionality. The GAME ONE for virtual surround gaming is an absolute treat. There is clear distance between positional cues in a 360 degree front to back circle. This means the GAME ONE is in the upper echelons of headphones/headsets tested for positional accuracy when gaming.


    Despite the smoother, warmer tonality of the GAME ONE, it isn't a veiled or subdued headphone in terms of clarity. It isn't as crisp and vibrant as an AKG K702, Audio Technical AD700, or Beyerdynamic T70, but for a warm headphone, it is among the clearest I've heard, and shouldn't be considered lacking in this regard. You definitely want to feed it high quality files. Questionable quality material may sound muffled and veiled.

    The bass isn't intrusive to the rest of the sound, even if its ambience is ever present.

    The midrange clarity is pretty good, if only a little pushed back at times.

    The treble range despite being smooth has some sparkle in a non-fatiguing manner.

    If I had to rate the clarity, I'd put it as 'Good' particularly for a warm headphone.

    Sound Signature:

    Tonality: Warm, sub bass presence, slightly pushed back midrange. Treble is even with the midrange.

    Bass: Warm, enveloping, ambient. Sub bass is a strength for the GAME ONE. Mid bass isn't overly pronounced and transitions to the midragnge well. Bass is average speed. Good texture.

    Midrange: Warm, medium body, well balanced, a few dips, slightly pushed back. Stronger male vocals, not as forward female vocals. Sibilance-free.

    Treble: Smooth, non-fatiguing, a hint of sparkle, but generally pleasing, even after all day use.

    Soundstage: Wide oval, fantastic size in virtual surround. Plenty of distance.

    If you like a good balance, warmth, and non-fatiguing signature, the GAME ONE has you covered. It isn't bright, piercing, or aggressive, which you may like, and have to look for elsewhere.


    Unfortunately, I wasn't able to extensively test the microphone quality past asking a few people online if my voice clean and clear, which always came back with a resounding yes. As such, I'll consider the microphone quality to be as good as I personally need it to be. Sennheiser knows microphones as well as their general audio, so I have no doubt it's of good quality.


    At 116db in sound pressure level, the GAME ONE can be amped by anything and everything to ridiculously high volume levels. It is a very, very sensitive headset, that is even astoundingly loud off my Noble Audio BTS (bluetooth solution) (thanks to @Stillhart for gifting this to me a while ago). The GAME ONE, needs very little power. The PS4's dualshock 4 can drive it loud, which is more than I can say for other headphones I own which are made with portability in mind. Long story short, do not concern yourself with how well the GAME ONE can be driven. It needs next to nothing.

    I would definitely lean on using a neutral to detail oriented amp, as the GAME ONE has enough warmth by itself.


    The GAME ONE would have to live up to its name for gaming, or Sennheiser would need to rethink its naming schemes here. Thankfully, the GAME ONE delivers.

    The sub bass rumble is a boon for the immersive aspects of video games. Atmosphere, darkness, looming sense of dread. All are represented well with the GAME ONE. Explosive, dynamic, and immediately engaging.

    Soundstage in virtual surround is among the best I've heard heard for gaming, which makes positional accuracy top notch, and that much of an edge over those with lesser headsets/headphones.

    The details are represented well enough with the GAME ONE, all but the strictest of game analyzing can be done without major issue. It may not be as immediately analytical as its older sibling the PC360, but if you do more than just game competitively, I feel the GAME ONE is that much more fun, and versatile. It is a joy to use for all gaming purposes. I would pick the GAME ONE over the PC360 every time, as a mostly casual gamer.

    Personal Recommendation?

    Better than the PC360 in versatility, engagement, and musicality, I feel the GAME ONE is a great all arounder which can be enjoyable for all types of purposes. The romanticization of its sub bass levels really brings out some energy and grit not found in the tonally balanced, albeit a bit safe, and even boring in comparison, PC360.

    General media consumption, as it does most things well, so TV shows, movies will sound great off the GAME ONE.

    Most genres of music, slightly less so female vocal heavy ones, if vocal forwardness is a priority. Gaming first, music second.

    Final Impressions:

    The GAME ONE, is an all-rounder headset through and through. Like the general, all purpose tool that was the PC360, the GAME ONE can be used for all manner of things in audio. The difference is that it adds more musicality, personality, and flavor compared to the linear, if a bit boring PC360. It's apples to juicier apples, so your mileage may vary.

    As of late 2017, while it has been a long time since I've focused on audio, I can safely say that there isn't a headset I'd choose over the GAME ONE. Not the A40, not the PC360, none. It simply has everything I'd need for ALL home purposes. Musicality, deep bass without overly strong mid bass, fairly balance midrange and treble that isn't fatiguing, and amazingly spacious soundstage and positional accuracy, there is little to critique on the GAME ONE. The midrange isn't particularly a strength, but it isn't a detriment either, unless that is where you want to focus. For the main purpose of gaming, I feel the midrange is presented well enough to ever consider it a problem.

    If you're in search of fun headset with great sound quality, not much of a reason to search past the GAME ONE. It's equipped with all you need, really. I highly doubt many will find fault with it.

    Likes and Dislikes:


    Deep bass for an open dynamic
    positional accuracy


    Midrange a little pushed back at times
    Not ideal for poor quality files

    Unfiltered Thoughts:

    Having been gone from the audio game for so long, I wasn't particularly expecting anything coming into this review. I know Sennheiser, and I know they know their audio. I came away as impressed with the GAME ONE as I was initially with the PC360, if not more so due to a more engaging tonality. I like my audio like I like my games: fun. There is a time and place for dry, analytical, sterile sounding headphones, but I feel those are niche with very few reasons to own one over a better, all purpose headphone that may be a little colored for fun. For me, as long as a headphone can retrieve details well enough while still engaging me with its sound, I consider that a winner in my book. The GAME ONE is a clear winner.

    I may have embellished the differences between the PC 360 and GAME ONE so don't think it is night and day, but more like a heftier sounding PC360. The GAME ONE isn't a heavily colored headphone. It is still well balanced. It just has some liberties taken deep down, for a bolder experience. I feel the need to repeat myself again in saying don't expect a sub bass monster, or even a basshead headphone. That is not what the GAME ONE is. It however, is just...better at engaging its audience. Take that as you will.

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  5. Yethal
    The maker returned to bless us with his wisdom!
    Mad Lust Envy likes this.
  6. Fegefeuer
    haaa, back then, many many aeons ago I told you guys that the G4ME One was different from the PC 360. AGES GO.

    ah, nevermind, I get MLE back. That's good enough.
    Mad Lust Envy likes this.
  7. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    Hey guys.

    Had to edit a little since I kept saying Game Zero.

    Before, I spent a lot of time just fixing that mistake quite a bit more before posting, and still missed some, lol.
  8. EsaT
    Well, at least forum software hasn't gone nuts from length of the thread...
    IIRC in few forums thread length exceeding certain limit has caused some nastier problems.
  9. kashim
    your review are simply awesome!!!only one question,i actually have ad700x with modmic you think game one are better for gaming or not?
    i use my headphone for fps gaming and have a 5.1 for single player and immersive games
  10. cskippy
    Whelp. Needed a good mic to talk to team mates on Discord. Ordered a Game One and will have it when it's back in stock. I'll post a review and measurements once I have some time with it. Thanks @Mad Lust Envy!
    Evshrug likes this.
  11. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    The GO is infinitely more engaging than the AD700, though if so you're doing is competitive fps gaming, I don't think you need one unless you want more fullness and musicality.

    I don't think you'll be disappointed. It's a great headset.
    cskippy likes this.
  12. Thatonekidgr
    Hey I’m brand new to this thread and I’ve read thru a good 300 pages from back to front after reading the first page thoroughly, I game competitively on Xbox one in rainbow6 currently just using hd598 with a dss2 is there anyone that can give me tips on better synergy amp+dac for the hd598 or better cans for the game in general with a recommended setup, budget around $1000. Was also wondering if anyone uses Dolby atmos or window sonic for rainbow6 and which one is a better option and just overall throw some knowledge my way, thank you.
  13. Thatonekidgr
    And thanks mad lust envy for the thread and research in general
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  14. themrmikemcd
    Dont you be a tease now... I hope more reviews are coming.. You should set up a paetron to have people donate so you can buy more recent headphones to review! I have bought too many headphones based on your reviews and Im looking to buy more :)
  15. raif89
    Welcome back MLE! Love you reviews, you definitely have a way with words making purchasing easier.

    For anyone:

    I had a pair of Fidelio X1's that I dearly loved for a few years now. The pads ripped and I don't seem to have any way to get another pair, or any pair that fits for that matter. I've got a limited choice of headphones in my country and have narrowed it down to the Fidelio X2 or the AKG 712 pro. Looking for a fun, good bass, musical but somewhat accurate gaming, super comfy (wear these nearly 10 hours a day) set and just can't pick between these.

    Any advice? The x2 is more expensive than the 712 for me by 100$ so if the x2 is just an upgraded better x1 I may just go for it.

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