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Sennheiser PC 155 USB
(hx) 02:18 AM CEST - Jun,19 2004

Well, I am not going to lie, I have never been a fan of headphones, gaming in stereo versus surround really bites. But many gamers, including myself, find themselves gaming and listening to their music during late night gaming sessions. That's why many folks prefer optional headphones which are optimal for allowing you to hear the audio while everybody else can go about their normal routines, whether it's mid-day while others are trying to work or midnight while others are trying to sleep. Of course, there are many options available and there are also many different price ranges. Today I take a look at Sennheiser PC 155 USB, a new USB based PC gaming headset with microphone and built-in sound card.

Specifications on the product:

Well ok, there is more data than that available on them, from www.sennheiser.com For those that are too lazy, here the full specs:

    Description

  • USB-adapter - no need for a soundcard
  • XL ear caps for max. surrounding noise block-out, mega-concentration and ultimate wearing comfort
  • For IP-based communications incl. online gaming and internet telephony/voice recognition
  • Adjustable, bendable and pivoable microphone
  • In-line volume control/microphone mute switch
  • Single-sided cable will keep neck and chin free
  • Can be used with CD/DVD/MP3 player (detachable USB adapter)
  • Compatible with Win 98 SE (or above) and Mac OS 9.04 (and above)

    Headphones

  • Frequnecy response: 18 - 22.000 Hz
  • Impendance: 32 Ohm
  • SPL (at 1 kHz, 1 Vrms): 114 dB
  • Cable: 3,0 m

    Microphone

  • Frequnecy response: 80 - 15.000 Hz
  • Pick-up pattern: Uni-direcional
  • Sensitivity: (1 V/Pa at 1kHz): -38 dB
  • Impendance: ~ 2 kOhm

The construction is well made and feels solid. The headphones are foldable and click-adjustable - the adjusters reside right at the bottom of the band by the cones. The sides of the band hang inwards, giving the headphones a horseshoe look with the overhead pad made of the same felt-covered foam as the ear caps on the cans themselves. Those caps provide minimal sound leakage even though they sit on your ears instead of surrounding them. Also, the quality noise-cancelling microphone does a decent job of blocking ambient noise and sending through crisp, clear voice in the heat of battle. Make sure that you place the microphone below your mouth and you will be fine. There's also "in-line volume control" and the microphone mute function.

The cable length is a generous 3 metres but unlike other headphones, you're supplied with an oval cable spool to keep it under control and the USB connector actually extends this by 0.5m. The USB converter is fairly small and works for other headphones as well, so you can use your Hi-Fi headphones for digital listening, of you want. Also, you can also detach the USB to have MIC and headphone 3.5mm outs which is very convenient if you have a good soundcard.

You'll probably appreciate the fact that you don't have to unplug your regular speakers. When you connect the PC 155 USB to your PC through the USB connector all sound come out through the PC 155 USB. However, once you disconnect the PC 155 USB from your USB connector, your sounds come out through the speakers you had before. If you will keep PC 155 USB connected, you can also switch between the headphones and speakers in control panel.

Three main areas were tested; movies, games and music. For movies, I watched the Kill Bill vol.1 and Once Upon A Time In Mexico. In both cases, special effects performance was stunning. For music, I tested out the headphones with a few MP3s I had lying around (some death metal, psychedelic rock and hip-hop). I found the sound quality of the PC 155 USB to be well above average, yet not quite in the same league as some of the Sennheiser headphones designed specifically for music. I have no complaints here. Gaming is where the PC 155 USB headphones really shine. For most users, it will probably be the main purpose as well. I tested the headphones with Call of Duty, Thief 3, Unreal Tournament 2004, Painkiller and True Crime LA. The headphones provided pretty good playback, while the noise-cancelling microphone was very useful for voice recognition in Unreal Tournament 2004, which has its own voice chat feature. There's no doubt that voice communication is so much quicker, better and easier than having to try and type and play at the same time.

Overall, I think the Sennheiser PC 155 USB headphones are amazing and would be perfect even for hardcore / professional gaming. Also, the PC 155 USB is not strictly for gaming use, but can also be plugged into CD/DVD/MP3 players through a detachable USB adapter that reveals 2 x 3.5 mm plugs. Priced around 125 Euro (roughly US$ 150), the headphones are a bit on the pricier side, but definitely worth the money. Purchase the PC 150 model if you do not need the USB feature - the only difference between the PC150's (75.95 Euro ~ $90) and the PC155's (124.95 Euro ~ $140) is the USB adaptor.

Highs: Good quality sound for gaming use, built-in sound hardware (no sound card needed!),  pretty good noise-cancelling microphone, very easy installation (no drivers are required for WinXP), comfortable designs, in-line volume control, USB converter is quite small and works for other headphones as well

Lows: No Bluetooth, Cables are not replaceasble, The headphones sit on your ears instead of surrounding them, price

Thank you IndiWEB for making this review possible.



developer: Sennheiser
publisher: IndiWEB

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