Drop + Sennheiser PC38X Gaming Headset Review

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Mar 26, 2022.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    I'm just going to announce after d'ing around with over a dozen gaming headsets that the PC38X is the one to get above all others. The only exception would be if one needed closed headphones, of which I do have a recommendation (it also happens to be second place), which I will discuss later. I've tried Turtle Beach, Hyper X, SteelSeries (yuck), etc. All of this is stuff is basically garbage made by OEMs in China. I need to check out more EPOS / Sennheiser stuff, but I suspect it could be reshelled variants of PC37X and PC38X.

    99257fb3-abc2-49af-9987-7edc852bf968.__CR0,0,970,600_PT0_SX970_V1___.jpg

    The PC38X is an update to the PC37X reviewed here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...nnheiser-pc37x-review-and-measurements.11072/ All of the great things I've said about the PC37X apply to the PC38X. The PC38X appears to be a tweaked PC37X that brings up the mids. This is a good thing for gaming because I felt the PC37X mids were just slightly recessed. The PC38X has less of that Sennheiser broad bass bump too.

    The PC38X doesn't do everything the best, some gaming headsets offer marginally better imaging and localization, others may have flatter microphone response, but no other headset, at least ones that I've gotten my hands on, has the PC38X beat when it comes to the complete package. The PC38X has a good microphone that extends well into the lows and doesn't sound tinny. The localization is pretty good while the slanted drivers and cup design provide for a deep headstage for immersive type games and watching films. The low-distortion is a step above off of its competitors (I mean Sennheiser does make real headphones, not throw away crap). The microdetail retrieval and resolution (we aren't talking about nasty peak oversharpened) is two steps above all others. Finally, the ergonomics are three steps better than the typical gaming headset. Got big ears, no problem - they won't touch the slanted baffle. Got a big head (or small head), again no problem - huge amount of adjustability here. Need to slide the microphone away - just flip it up (it stands up and out against the cup, parallel to the headband. The headphone is also super lightweight without feeling cheap. The balance is great without excess weight shifted to the cups. If one finds the clamping force too much, just do the HD6xx trick: extend cups all the way out and gently bend outward. The only thing we won't get with the PC38X is that boom and sizzle that some kids seem to love, so if you like this presentation, feel free to go somewhere else.

    As a public service message, the PC38X is dirt cheap right now on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Drop-Sennheiser-PC38X-Gaming-Headset/dp/B08TX6GQTB The PC38X is also better sounding as a hi-fi headphone than this piece of shit which was once called the "new standard" by YouTube losers: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ser-hd560s-review-the-new-standard-not.10040/
     
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Drop + Sennheiser PC38X
    Frequency Response
    upload_2022-3-26_11-23-17.png

    LOL, typical Sennheiser. Excellent consistency.

    Drop + Sennheiser PC38X
    CSDs
    FPC PC37X L.jpg
    FPC PC37X R.jpg

    Drop + Sennheiser PC38X
    Harmonic Distortion (D2, D3, D4) ~104dbSPL
    upload_2022-3-26_11-28-7.png
    upload_2022-3-26_11-29-7.png

    Not the best, highish second harmonic, but low third harmonic (which is crucial because it sounds worse). Distortion is consistent across the spectrum.
     
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  3. Inoculator

    Inoculator Friend

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    I liked the PC37X for gaming but the slanted baffle was a deal breaker for me because it hit my ear and was painfully uncomfortable. I never had the problem with the slanted baffle in the 598 when I used it for gaming as it was upside down in comparison to the PC37X.

    Does the PC37X have the same slanted baffle configuration?
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    One thing I forgot to point out (another reason why the PC38X is so better than other gaming headsets out there), is the sliding wheel thingy on the right cup.

    upload_2022-3-26_11-34-30.png

    It's basically a volume adjust for when mommy or daddy comes calling you for dinner or chores. A quick rotate does the trick to reduce the volume, but it comes with a twist: the volume in the bass gets lowered less the the rest of the range. Just in case someone is shooting Javelin missiles are you while you in the tank simulator.

    PC38X
    Effective of Volume Adjust Dial
    upload_2022-3-26_11-37-44.png
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2022
  5. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    It's exactly the same. The baffles slant outward allowing plenty of room for the tips of my ears. With respect to other headphones, my pinna touched the fazors of Audezes equiped with them, the SteelSeries gaming headsets were awful - my ears were squished against the baffle, Turtle Beach were almost supra-aural on-ear. The HyperX (not reviewed yet) did seem to provide for the most space inside the cup. If you have issues with ears touching on PC38X, then the HyperX gaming headset would be the only one I could think of that wouldn't give you a problem.
     
  6. Inoculator

    Inoculator Friend

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    Thanks, maybe the issue is I never eased the clamp force as you suggested. Was only an issue on one side for me and I don't consider myself to have particularly large ears. Bummer it sounds like these will not work for me either. I largely have just switch to porta pros for when I game. Thanks for detailed review, despite my issues with them I have recommended these sennheiser gaming cans to lots of folks that have been very happy with them.
     
  7. donunus

    donunus Friend

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    Two questions:
    1) Does anyone know for sure if this is exactly the same headphone as the black epos one?
    2)Is this an overall better sounding headphone than the hifiman he400se/he-x4
     
  8. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I’d be curious to see the distortion profile of high amp output and low headphone volume vs high headphone volume and low amp output.

    Quick adjustment is nice but I think a lot of people would likely use it as a primary volume control not really knowing the difference.
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    1. I'm almost positive no. The reason is that Massdrop works with Sennheiser / Epos to tune the frequency response. I'm pretty sure Drop re-tuned the PC37X. See below. The Epos H6Pro Open also look to have thicker pads from the photos. I should grab the H6PRO and compare.
    2. Overall about on the save level from a strictly listening headphone point of view.. The main differences are traditional dynamic vs planar. The PC38X sounds more balanced to me. There's a bit a lift around 2kHz, but that's fine for gaming and to be honest, it didn't bug me with music either. The HE400se extends lower but suffers from a mid-treble peak. The PC38X has a much better headstage though.
    PC38X (YEL) vs. PC37X (GRN)
    Frequency Response
    upload_2022-3-28_9-19-30.png

    That would be a fun learning opportunity. To look not only at distortion, but transient response, between high Z and low Z amps, or toob and solid state. I'm addicted to science and learning!

    LOL, with respect to quick adjust dial on the side of the cup, it was noticeable to me that I started hearing the bass more than the other frequencies!
     
  10. seerious

    seerious Rando

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    Very keen knowing what this is.
    I have open headphones coming out of my ****ing ears. But finding a good closed pair is a PITA.
    My MH751's are okay - but not a drop on my PC38X.
     
  11. Greg121986

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    Fully agree with this based on my own experience. I have tried several gaming headsets and the PC38X is by far the best overall. What I like about it the most is that the microphone and drivers appear to be isolated in some way. I don't know why/how but it seems as though they do not share a ground. One can plug the headphones into an amplifier and the microphone into your PC for example, and you will not have any nasty ground looping issues. All other headsets I tried have ground looping issues when using different source/input devices.

    I sampled all of these gaming headsets in 2020 for an extended period of time. The PC38X and Beyerdynamic Custom Game are remarkably good with proper source gear.

    • Drop Sennheiser PC38X (The best one and overall preference)
    • Beyerdynamic Custom Game (Amazing. Different flavor than PC38X, but must be considered by all. You will choose the Beyer or PC38X guaranteed. Cannot split mic/headphones without ground loop, so I went with PC38X)
    • Sennheiser EPOS GSP 350 (Bright and gross)
    • Sennheiser Game One (Pretty OK. Better than most anything else)
    • Sennheiser PC37X (Great if you haven't heard Beyer Custom Game or PC38X)
    • Audio Technica ATH-G1 (One of the worst audio experiences I've ever had)
    • HyperX Cloud Alpha S (Fine if you have never had anything better)
    • HyperX Cloud Revolver S (Awful)
     
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    Last edited: Mar 30, 2022
  12. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    I didn't realize that grounds of mic and headphone were often the same; but thinking about it now, it does make sense because that's one less wire in the cable to the headset if a shared ground is used.

    Here below I confirmed grounds are separate. 0.L means infinite resistance. This should be a test going forward for gaming headsets.

    PXL_20220330_142821805.jpg

    I will check out the Beyer. The best closed one I've heard so far has been the HyperX Cloud (regular). It's decent, as to what you said, if you have not had anything better. However, it's pretty far behind the PC38X. The excuse it gets is that it's a closed headphone. So next on my list should be the Beyerdynamic Custom Game and Epos H6PRO closed.
     
  13. Gazny

    Gazny Friend

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    How is it on a Fulla e?
     
  14. donunus

    donunus Friend

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    Oh by the way, which pads were used for the measurements here? The velour or the rougher one?
     
  15. Alondite

    Alondite Acquaintance

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    Anyone had a chance to compare these to the Audeze Penrose? Price delta is pretty significant, I know, but I might invest in a pair if performance is similar. Otherwise I'll probably just go with my original plan and stick a Modmic on my Clears, but that setup currently requires me to swap some cables around whenever I want to use it, so it's not ideal.
     
  16. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

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    I’m guessing the only way these work on an Xbox Series X is to plug into the controller? Which would be a deal breaker as the audio jack on the controller is garbage.
     
  17. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Have a couple friends looking for gaming gear that could pass as audiophile approved headphones and this looks to be a great contender. I'm pretty much sorted with what I have but these are neat-looking. Subjectively how much glare and hardness do they have relative to a stock HD600? The distortion looks like it could be a step up in the lower end and upper mids as well which is pretty impressive.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    None. They sound HD600ish to me.
     
  19. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    That’s too bad about the ATH-G1. I was looking at the ATH-GDL3 and your mention is giving me doubts

    I don’t know about the Xbox but I know the Modi worked on the PS4. Had to use a complicated series of adapters to isolate the mic from the controller and the headphone to plug into an MM stack.
     
  20. Goodie

    Goodie Rando

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    These just went on sale for $30 off on Drop. I'm switching from the 560s to the px38x. 560s imaging was soo good but I cant stand the highs in those things, felt like the frequency response stayed in my ears if I wore them for more than a few hours.
     

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