Dolby 7.1 surround sound headsets are often quite expensive. But with that price comes the surreal experience of playing games whilst being able to pinpoint the origin of every sound. The PC 373D is the best of Sennheiser’s products when it comes to a Dolby 7.1 surround sound gaming headset, but alas, the price tag may deter quite a few people. Luckily for those people, they have the option of getting the Sennheiser GSP 350.
When it comes to the design of the Sennheiser GSP 350, the German company has once again laid down its signature refined look. And much like the PC 373D, Sennheiser have nailed the colour scheme. The matte black plastic headband and earcups clash brilliantly with the red accents seen bordering the volume dial and along the microphone boom. The microphone boom has a two-tone design, with a matte black band placed between the lighter grey seen on the pivot and the tip of the boom. The tip of the boom houses the usual grill inlet, however, said grills are sadly absent on the earcups themselves. If anything, in terms of design, the GSP 350 is a spitting replica of the Sennheiser GSP 300.
Just like its predecessor, the GSP 350 employs the split headband design that’s supposed to relieve pressure off the top of your head. However, I still found it to dig in, especially when I have one the of the earcups behind my ear; something people do to be aware of their surroundings. While the hinges allow the headset to bend to the configuration, it results in the forward of the two headbands to dig in slightly, despite the red velvet underlining the headband. When it comes to the earcups, Sennheiser has gone with the usual. Memory foam, the XL size and the circum-aural design ensures that your ears never feel any pressure, even when wearing spectacles, which is an added bonus (read my PC 373D review for a lengthy talk about the woes spectacle-wearing gamers go through!). The GSP 350 is quite good in terms of comfort, though the split-headband may cause some discomfort after a few hours. Furthermore, while the cicrum-aural design is quite comfortable, I still yearned for an XXL earcup design to give my ears a bit of room to breathe.
When it comes to numbers, the GSP 350 is similar to the 300. Impedance, sound pressure levels and frequency response are the same. Sennheiser went the extra step with this headset by stepping up the bass and the result is fantastic. A close look at the Sennheiser website shows that in terms of acoustic performance the 350 and 300 are the exact same, they even copied the same description – as a result, I did the same with my previous sentence about the bass. So far the GSP 350 has sounded much like its predecessor, the GSP 300 – it even weighs the same at 290 grammes – so where exactly does it differ? Surround sound immersion is the answer. Sennheiser packs a USB Surround Dongle cable as well as an extension cable. With the addition of surround sound dongle, the Sennheiser GSP 350 quickly leaves its predecessor in the dust.
However, before you can start getting immersed in games, you’ll need to download the companion software which activates the surround sound part of your listening experience. Once you do, your gaming experience changes drastically. Games that rely heavily on audio cues and positioning such as CS:GO and Overwatch are transformed, letting you hear from which direction danger is approaching long before you see it. To be honest, I did feel a bit guilty having the obvious advantage, but being accused of hacking due to the GSP 350 speaks volumes about the device’s surround sound performance.
The strength of the Sennheiser GSP 350 lies in the companion software which lets you alternate between four different presets, with the “esports” setting giving you the advantage in games. Furthermore, the companion software also lets you enable sidetone and noise cancellation for the microphone.
So when it comes down to the wire how does the GSP 350 hold up? The sad reality is that this headset is pretty much an identical copy of the GSP 300 when it comes to design, comfort and audio performance. The only thing that sets it apart is the USB dongle and companion software which both provide the Dolby 7.1 surround sound performance. These two things set it apart from the GSP 300 and raise the price of the headset to AED 549, which while sounding ludicrous considering the similarities to the GSP 300, is still quite cheap compared to the PC 373D.