If you recall, awhile back I did a review for the Sennheiser PC 350SE gaming headset, and thought it was pretty bomb-diggity. Well today I’ve got the big brother to that headset for you; the Sennheiser PC 363D Gaming Headset.
Though the headset is considered a higher-end model from the 350SE, please note that these headsets are totally different beasts. More on that in the First Impression section.
Same elegant design that the 350SE had here, with the blue on the bottom and a nice shot of the PC 363D on the top. Here is where they start the first difference between the two headsets. This one supports 7.1 Surround Sound, along with Dolby Pro Logic II and Dolby Headphones. Same standard 2 Year Warranty, which is about common for the industry these days.
Swinging to the left side gives us Sennheiser’s shtick about using their headsets because most games are recorded with Sennheiser microphones. (Sounds legit to me)
The right side gives us more details about the headset, which is also where we find a list of the biggest changes between the PC 350SE and the PC 363D. The 363D is an open design, which means that it lets sound escape out, as well as using velvet for the ear cups and headband, which is just so darn comfortable.
On the back of the box is three different lists of features.
- 15-28,000 Hz Frequency Response
- Headband Style
- 2 + 1.2m Cable
- 2 x 3.5mm Mic & Audio Connectors
- USB 2.0 3D USB Sound Card
- 280G Weight (converted, that’s… Light)
Though the PC 363D doesn’t come with a handy hard case like the PC 350SE, it does come with some other cool stuff, like a driver CD and a large Quick Start Guide.
This here is the reason why this headset is 7.1. No, it’s not true 7.1, it’s virtualized by this handy little ’3D G4ME1′ sound card that comes bundled with the headset. By simply plugging in the two 3.5mm cables into the sound card, and plugging the sound card’s USB into the PC, you’re now on your way to 7.1 bliss.
Note that this is dark when Enhanced Dolby Headphones is not on. By sliding this piece to the left, the Engaged logo will light up bright blue, letting you know that the enhanced sound is enabled. This is separate from the virtual options available on the PC, so I figured I better point it out.
There she is. Design wise, the PC 363D is practically identical to the PC 350SE, except for the already mentioned differences, and the differences of a thick headband and non-collapsible ear cups. Also, don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure that the ear cups are a bit bigger as well, at least they feel bigger.
A close-up on the velvet ear cups. Super, super soft is the only way to explain velvet. The headband adjustment looks plastic, but going off what Sennheiser told me about the PC 350SE, I’m going to assume that it’s actually metal.
From the side here, you can clearly see the adjustable microphone, along with the ear cups that ventilate extremely well. Again, going to assume these are aluminum like the PC 350SE. Color scheme wise, the PC 363D is identical to the PC 350SE, with the black and gunmetal grey colors for the headset, and the bright orange top on the microphone. But then again, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, amirite?
Darn you blurry image.. The top says Sennheiser.. On the right side is the volume wheel. Like the PC 350SE, it’s a bit rubberized/textured with the Sennheiser Logo raised, making locating it and utilizing it extremely easy.
The cable is quite long and braided, with gold-plated connectors, giving you better connectivity to the sound card or your PC. With the length of the cable coupled with the foot of cable on the sound card, and the extra USB extender that is included, Sennheiser made sure that you would be able to use this headset from as far away as you wanted!
First impressions are everything, and the PC 363D didn’t disappoint. From the moment I pulled the headset out of the box, I knew it was a quality piece of tech, made by a highly reputable company. Strapping the headset to my head didn’t change that opinion.
Installing the drivers and setting up the software was quick and easy, and I was up and running in 7.1 mode in no time. Some helpful information for some of you, if you’re getting static from the headset every once and awhile, make sure you’re using the correct drivers. I actually had this exact issue, and it delayed the posting of this review as Sennheiser and I worked to troubleshoot it.. Come to find out, the software was the issue, and I needed to uninstall it and reinstall it.
From what I’ve seen online, this is NOT a common problem, so I’m going to assume it was just a fluke issue. Comfort wise, this headset ranks right at the top. You can barely feel it on top of your head, and the ear cups breath extremely well, leading to long gaming sessions not requiring a cool-down period for my ears. Note that this type of design WILL cause sound leakage, so those around you can hear what you hear depending on how loud you have the sound turned up.
I went through my standard battery of tests for the headset, including listening to a handful of different genres of music, movies, and of course games; but the feedback I’ve received from you guys (the readers) asked if I could shorten this section down a bit because individual scores for lows, mids, and highs for each thing was a bit much to read through. Well you spoke, and I have listened, so here’s the new shortened testing section!
Music – 8/10
Music included As I Lay Dying, Fear Factory, the 28 Days Later Soundtrack, and some Dub-Step. The results were nearly identical across the board, with the highs and mids sound amazing. Nice, crisp, and bright, with just enough power to be able to hear the clarity.
Lows were a bit hit and miss. Across the board, the lows were crisp and clear, they just were lacking much of a low-end thump. From what I’ve seen, this is a common trend with the Sennheiser headsets. The way the drivers are tuned when the headset was designed, was to produce crisp, true-to-life sound, not EQ-enhanced boom and thump.
I also found that the music sounded much better in standard stereo mode than in Dolby Headphone or 7.1 mode.
Movies – 9/10
If the bass was lacking for music due to the driver tuning, than it’s obvious that the way they EQ movies is a lot different, because the low-end here is full and impactful. The highs and mids are also clean and clear yet again, but at times I felt that the mids could get a bit muddy when there was too much high-end or low-end going on at one time. We’re talking a minute amount of muddiness in clarity, but just enough that I was able to discern it from the mix.
The 7.1 and Dolby Headphone was a bit of an up and down experience. At times, the mixing of the sound-stage was brilliant, and the sound placement was spot-on, whereas sometimes it just felt distorted, like the speakers were all too close together, which they are.. They’re strapped to your frickin’ head!
Seeing a trend here? As Sennheiser has told me before. Games sound better with Sennheiser headsets because they’re made with Sennheiser microphones. Truth is that it really is that simple. Playing any genre of game on the Sennheiser PC 363D leads to an absolutely delightful experience.
Not once was any of the major ranges lacking in any way. The 7.1 and Dolby Headphone sound placement was spot-on, and led to even deeper immersion in the game-world.
Overall, besides the driver mix-up leading to static, my experience with the Sennheiser PC 363D has been nothing short of amazing. Sennheiser is known for making headsets worth the price of admission, and the PC 363D is no exception.
Whether you want to game or listen to music on this headset, the experience will be great. If you’re looking for boomy, unrealistic sound, go get yourself a pair of Dre Beats or something, because this headset is for those who want true-to-life sound. Sound so natural that you sometimes forget that the sound is processed and compressed..I don’t want you guys to think that this headset is gutless in the low-end for music though, it’s simply based off the mixing and EQ’ing of the album. If you come across a lossless audio track, the listening-experience is nearly euphoric.
Coming at $300, the PC 363D is not cheap by any means — but for those of you ready to join the high-end gaming headset market, this is one of the, if not the best option(s) out there. I didn’t feel a need to include a separate testing section for the microphone because it’s just like the microphone on the PC 350SE headset, with my voice coming through loud and clear. (Even a bit louder than the PC 350SE)
A quick explanation of the award system. We have the main award category with three awards; Bronze (Good Overall Product), Silver (Great Overall Product), and Gold (Excellent/Near Perfect Overall Product) as the highest. Then we have two different Sub-Categories, Internal Hardware Awards for performance; Yellow (Low-End Performer), Orange (Mid-Range Performer), and Red (High-End Performer) as the highest. The third and final Sub-Category is for both Internal Hardware and External Peripherals; Black (Enthusiast/Gamer Qualities), Blue (Exceptional Build and Design), Green (Terrific Dollar To Performance Ratio), White (Innovative But Flawed)
- Amazing Sound Quality
- 7.1 and Dolby Headphones Is Great For Games And Most Movies
- Build Quality Is Fantastic
- Microphone Is The Best I’ve Used To Date
- Price Is Extremely High
- Drivers Were Finicky For Me
- 7.1 And Dolby Headphones Doesn’t Sound Natural With Music
If you would like to join your fellow gamers’ in the high-end spectrum, you can do so here.