Reviews

Sennheiser G4ME Zero Headset Review – Why Would You Call It That?

square_louped_G4ME-ZERO---Shoot-01

Before we delve into this review proper let’s clear something up; G4me Zero is a stupid name for any product, and from now on for the ease of typing I’ll just be referring to them as Game Zero. This headset comes from Sennheiser gaming range, offering stereo sound with a sizable price-tag attached to it. A good set of headphones is an investment every gamer should seriously consider, so are these worth the cash?

Upon first placing the headset atop my noggin two things became immediately clear. The first is that’s a pretty comfy headset to wear, even for extended gaming sessions. The earcups have enough space that the ears don’t feel squeezed in while the padding along the headband and on the earcups themselves is quite generous. The material that Sennheiser have opted for seems to be memory foam of sorts clad in pleather, and feels brilliant. The only caveat is that it can get quiet hot after a while of gaming. Adjusting the headband reveals a smooth action that feels easy to use with a total of 55mm of travel on both sides, which should be enough to fit the biggest of heads, and the earcups themselves can swivel to lie flat on your chest.

The second thing that is immediately noticeable is that the Game Zero is very effective at cutting out ambient noise. As the owner of a 6-month white German Shepard puppy I’m used to hearing the pitter-patter of paws coming up the stairs to see what I’m doing, and most of the time even with a headset on I can still make out the sound of an incoming lick attack. However the Game Zero’s were so good at noise cancelling I got several frights as my beloved pup’s nose suddenly appeared on my lap. They don’t quite sport the best noise cancelling I’ve ever heard, but for a gaming orientated headset they are impressive. Indeed as an extra test I took them downstairs to my electronic drum kit where it’s easy to hear the dull thud of wood on plastic with cheaper headsets. While they didn’t block that noise out completely they did an admirable job. Hat’s off, Sennheiser.

square_louped_G4ME_ZERO_-_Shoot_02

There’s not a whole lot to say about the aesthetics that you can’t figure out for yourself from the pictures. The Game Zero comes in either white or black, and I have to say I much prefer the black over the white headset I was provided for testing, but that’s all personal preference. At 312g the headset is on the heavier side, but you don’t notice that when it’s sitting on your head, a testament to the headband’s padding and the level of support that the ear cups provide. The build quality appears solid aswell with a nice plastic used for the shell that doesn’t feel cheap or tacky. On the right earcup you’ll find a volume control wheel which spins a shade over 180-degrees which is preferable to the in-line remote we often see that leaves you scrabbling madly to turn down the sound.

On the opposite cup resides the 175mm long boom mic, a sturdy, large beast with relatively stiff movement. The black rubbery plastic located about halfway along the mic’s stem allows for a small amount of adjustment so you can position the mic itself closer or further away from your mouth, though the amount of movement available is quite limited compared to many other headsets out there. Having said that it really doesn’t need to sit very close as it picks up audio without a problem. A nice touch is how the mic is automatically muted or activated if pushed upwards or downwards far enough, a handy feature if someone comes in the room and you don’t want to flounder around for the mute button. The mic produced decent quality audio that was quite clear, though it did alter my voice more than I would have liked.

Below the mic is a 3m long braided that ends in a standard 3.5mm stereo connection and 3.5mm connection for the mic as well.  The cable is of good quality and doesn’t look like it should cause to many problems in terms of getting tangled up with itself, and seems very durable. With 3m of cable to play it should be more than enough range for anyone, and there’s an included cable tie so that you can hide the excess wire. The downside is the cable isn’t removable, so you can’t replace it should you need to. Not a huge problem, but one worth mentioning.

But let us get to that lovely, juicy audio, shall we? The lower end of the scale is definitely missing a bit of punch as the Game Zero doesn’t pack a whole lot of bass, a slight disappointment in a gaming headset as it removes some of the oomph from explosions and gunfire, while also meaning it’s the best for certain types of music. It should also be stated that while I found the bass to be lacking just a touch, it’s still perfectly adequate for most uses and is also somewhat subjective, since many people don’t like considerable bass. Meanwhile the rest of the range is just beautiful, and the level of clarity is impressive, delivering crisp clear sound which also makes it quite good for positional audio, provided you utilise something like Razer Surround to recreate a surround sound experience. Without the use of third-party software the positional abilities of the Game Zero are obviously limited to its stereo nature, but what it does manage to provide on its own is actually rather good. Listening to some drum tracks the Game Zero’s clarity was outstanding, and provided a clear upgrade over my own Steelseries H Wireless, which I often connect to my PC in stereo mode. There is a slight hollowness to the sound in certain instances which nagged me a touch, a blemish in otherwise outstanding audio delivery.

g4me_zero_driver-e1401995404958

So yeah, it sounds pretty damn good. Is that enough, though? Allow me to explain by comparing the Game Zero with my own personal headset which I use everyday, the Steelseries H Wireless. You see, the Game Zero retails for around the £200 mark, which is pretty expensive for a stereo headset, and that price point puts it in roughly the same cost price bracket as the H Wireless and many other offerings, including the beloved high-end Astros. But here’s the catch; by using the included 3.5mm connector I can plug my Steelseries H Wireless into my PC and turn it into a stereo headset which sounds pretty good. Not as good as the Game Zero, but still quite good, and then once I’ve finished using my computer I can then use my H Wireless as a surround sound headset with my Xbox consoles and Blu-ray player where it delivers outstanding audio quality. Furthermore, something like the H Wireless allows users to connect via optical cable to their PC as well. In the case of the H Wireless that would let me use the decoder for surround sound, and have the headset wireless. That’s a good amount of versatility compared to the Game Zero.

Where the problem perhaps stems is the different things that audiophiles and gamers tend to want, which isn’t to say that you can’t be both, but generally speaking there are differences. For playing games positional audio is hugely helpful, thus surround sound headphones are often seen as favorable, as is an ability to mix game and voice chat, plus adjust audio to better bring out certain sounds. Audiophiles, though, tend to aim for something that replicates the sound as accurately as possible. In the Game Zero it feels like the creators were attempting to meld these two together, but the result is mixed. The headphones sound great, there’s absolutely no denying that, but they lack any way of modifying the audio, a voice/game mixer and surround sound options, unless third-party software is used. They are not as versatile, to put it simply, as other headsets on the market, but counter that with lovely audio.

I’m truly torn when it comes to the Game Zero. I love the quality of the sound and they are very well-built, both things I would expect from a company with the reputation that Sennheiser holds. They are truly, truly superb headphones, yet if you asked me to choose between them and my current headphones I’d stick with the H Wireless simply because for my gaming needs they are better suited, though the musician in me would demand the better stereo quality of the Game Zeros. Of course I’d rather just have both, the H Wireless for my consoles and blu-ray player and the Game Zero for PC. So, if you’re interested in the Game Zero carefully consider your requirements and hardware situation, something which really goes without question. I’d also highly recommend a sound card in order to get the best out of them.

The Good:
+ Outstanding audio quality.
+ Comfy!
+ Good build quality.

The Bad:
– Slightly lacking bass.
– Occasionally sounds hollow.

The Verdict: 4.5/5
Thus far the best stereo headset I’ve tested

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s