Sennheiser PC 300 G4ME headset
It's easy to think of on-ear phones when choosing a computer headset, but the Sennheiser PC 300 G4ME solution proves that in-ear isn't only for your MP3 player. The first major advantage is that the canal-tight buds make for an excellent noise isolation, which not all headphones can produce. Closed cup headsets are usually pretty good at this but even they don't always provide that complete seal between you and the outside world.
For people with their games consoles and PCs tucked in away in a quiet corner of the house, that might not be a problem but. if you have to share the room with other people - perhaps watching TV or using the phone or just clanking about in the kitchen - then the PC 300s are something seriously worth considering.
As with headphones of all levels, they do the job, so it's really a case of measuring up just how well they do it compared to the money you're asked to spend. If you look hard, you can find them at around the £60-£70 mark and the short answer is that they are indeed well worth the outlay.
They're made of a standard, light-weight, black cable material of 1m in length running from the green and purple colour coded 3.5mm plugs at one end through a volume control, then a microphone and finally to the ear buds set at different lengths with the shorter going to your left ear and the longer heading round the back of your neck and into you right. And, at 7g of weight, there are simply no comfort issues at all.
If that's not long enough for you, the PC 300s come with a 2m extension lead which should span the distance between most console and sofa setups. The build is light but strong, the volume control is smooth and easy to use and the choice of three sets of simple, rubber, black ear sleeves will fit any lug holes they meet. The buds themselves are a sturdy, good looking and not too heavy or cold mix of black plastic and metal with a well-chosen protective gauze over the drivers.
One of the best parts of the design, though, is the unassuming looking professional standard microphone that hangs comfortably away from your face. It has a frequency response of 18-15,000Hz which in real terms means that it effortlessly picks up the full details of whatever instructions you maybe muttering to your Call of Duty teammates and just how you feel about their style of play.
The audio coming in the other direction is no disappointment either. The noise isolation means you get don't get any distortion of the sound from over-amplification and the sound scape is very complete. Although a balance, it doesn't sit right in the middle with all the sections equally represented. It's not supposed to. The majority of gaming noises are at the mid-range and at the bass and, accordingly, it's those that are by far the best represented in the PC 300s. The top end may be a little quiet and without personality but the middle is dead on the money and the bottom end is huge, dramatic, if slightly on the spongy side, but are guaranteed to make you jump out your seat when the in-game action hots up.
You aren't just restricted to computers and consoles either. The phones work perfectly well with an MP3-player by using just the one 3.5mm plug. You'll get better sound quality than a pair that came free with your iPod, but the less interesting top notes mean that a dedicated set of buds of equal value would probably offer a better experience on the move.
To top it all off the Sennheiser PC 300s come with a nifty rubber travel case with a magnetic clasp that you can't help but open and close over and over, so satisfying is the action. Lovely touch, just a shame it's not big enough to comfortably fit the full 3m extension.
They're not the world's cheapest gaming headphones and there's something a little weird about going in-ear at home but the experience is a very, very, good one well worth the £60-£70 outlay. Lots of positives here with not a bad word to say about them at all.
The PC 300s are perfectly acceptable for just listening to your audio tracks too but, if that's a main point for you, then you'd best buy a pair better suited for pure music audio rather than in-game sound scapes. You'll get more bang for your buck on something specialised for that purpose.
The only real question mark above this in-ear headset is whether or not people really want a wired set of phones for gaming and Skype. Regardless of how many metres long the cables are, you're still tethered to a console or PC and ultimately it just means more tangling and more chance of tripping people up. On the plus side, you'll never have forgotten to charge them or run out of batteries during gameplay. So, if you want to go in-ear and you're happy to deal with the cables, then these Sennheisers are most heartily recommended.