If you’re looking to up your game from a cheapo headset and crappy mic, you might be looking to more expensive headsets like the Sennheiser Game One. But will it be a trusted item in your inventory, or will it let you down? Let’s find out.
Editor’s note: this article was updated on April 3, 2020 to update information on gamers wearing glasses, and what to look for in a gaming headset.
Who is the Sennheiser Game One for?
- Gamers who listen to lots of music will find a capable ally in the Sennheiser Game One. The sound quality is a cut above, and the flat frequency response lends itself well to rhythm games, RPGs, and any game where you need to be able to pick out subtle sounds.
- Gamers who wear glasses will also find a capable ally in the Sennheiser Game One, as the velour earpads don’t catch acrylic or metal glasses.
What’s it like to use the Sennheiser Game One?
Like many other gaming headsets, the Sennheiser Game One has a very specific aesthetic, meant to appeal to those about to quest at the computer for a few hours. Thankfully, this headset isn’t clad in RGB lighting or extreme branding, but for Sennheiser the red accents are a little out of place. That’s not to say that it looks bad (it doesn’t), but it’s very apparent who this was made for.
The headset itself is a little utilitarian, with a few nods to the casual user. For example, the padding is all matte black velour: great for those wearing glasses. Additionally, the matte black plastic—fingerprint prone—does not get scuffed or schmutzed up quickly.
Where the Sennheiser Game One is different than most gaming headsets is that it is of the open-back variety, so it won’t offer any isolation to speak of. If you’re gaming at home, this is a good thing. However, at LAN parties and events: you’re going to want to leave this guy at home because you’ll be able to hear everything around you. The upside here is that this type of headphone design lends itself better to the reproduction of 3D space, and that can give you an edge in deathmatch, RPG, and FPS games.
What does the Sennheiser Game One use for connection?
The Sennheiser Game One uses a split TRS cable with one termination for the microphone and another for the headphones themselves. If you want to use this for the Nintendo Switch or a PC with only a headphone/headset jack: you’re probably going to want to grab a TRRS adapter to combine the microphone and audio signals. It’s inconvenient to be sure, but it isn’t the only headset we’ve run across with this design. Check to see if you can connect these to your source before buying.
If your computer has both a microphone port and an audio out (pink and green, respectively), you can forgo the adapter and just plug in. However, you’ll probably find that you want more gain on the microphone than a motherboard will usually provide—but more on that later.
How does the Sennheiser Game One sound?
As one of the best gaming headsets out there, the Sennheiser Game One naturally sounds great. A neutral frequency response means that the headphones themselves are going to give you the sound that each game intends. The headphones won’t make anything sound louder or quieter than it should. This is great because it allows you to equalize your music any way you wish without much trouble.
If you’re used to Turtle Beach or Razer headsets, you may feel like the Sennheiser Game One lacks bass, but that’s not really true. Sure, there’s a slight de-emphasis—but it’s much more reasonable than the models most people experience with cheaper headsets. It’s just one of those things that you’ll get used to, especially given the fact that your audio will sound a whole lot “clearer” than it does on other headsets.
This type of sound is really good for RPGs, first-person shooters, and any game where music plays a pivotal role.
How good is the microphone of the Sennheiser Game One?
I’ll be honest, the microphone of the Sennheiser Game One leaves a bit to be desired. The problem is that it requires a fair bit of power—which isn’t really ideal when you consider that entry-level gaming headsets are meant for as little futzing as possible. If you don’t know how to boost gain in software, or if you’re soft-spoken, you may find yourself yelling a lot at the computer with the Sennheiser Game One.
Additionally, bassy-voiced gamers like yours truly will seem a little hollow over the mic because of a de-emphasis in the low ranges. It’s not uncommon for microphones on gaming headsets to do this because it’s so very hard to get good mic quality from units so small. Depending on what headphones you have already, you may instead want to look for a standalone gaming mic to pair with your current headphones.
Here’s a sample to illustrate what I mean.
If you want to solve this issue, I was able to get a workable result by:
- Open the “Sounds” menu in Windows by right-clicking the volume icon in the tray
- Open the “Recording” tab, and right-click the output the microphone is connected to. Click “properties.”
- In the resulting window, open the “levels” tab move the gain up to around +5-10dB
It’s a little complicated, but no gaming experience is truly complete without dialing your settings, right? The same is true with the Sennheiser Game One. But thankfully: you’ll only have to do this once.
Should you buy the Sennheiser Game One?
I would say so, if you’re a PC gamer or you don’t have an unnaturally bassy voice. If you don’t have a several pack-a-day habit, this might be the headset for you.
Not only is the Sennheiser Game One great with audio reproduction on a budget, but it’s comfortable over long sessions, easy to adjust volume on the fly, and can even be used for monitoring if you want. It’s a rare gaming headset that offers all these pluses in one package. However, the main tradeoff here is that the Sennheiser Game One doesn’t isolate you from your surroundings. If you need some peace from your kids, neighbor, or street noise: get the HyperX Cloud Alpha instead.