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Massdrop by Sennheiser PC37X Limited Edition The Gaming Headset Slayer with Chops! __Intro__ I've been reading and writing about headphones to use for gaming for a long time, and the rule of thumb has been "Headsets are for chumps, save money and get better quality by buying audiophile music headphones, and a separate microphone." Almost every headset on the market was black with bright color accents, had short-term durability, a very colored sound to "Enhance footsteps!" or "Deepen the immersion!" A cheap Koss KSC75 or Creative Aurvana Live! would handily beat any Turtle Beach or Astro headset (especially the wireless ones) for technical quality, and the legendary Audio Technica ATH-AD700 had such amazing soundstage and imaging that brought me the closest to the "not wearing headphones" sound while also cutting bass a bit so explosions and rumbles wouldn't distract me from being hyper-competitive. The Sennheiser PC350 and Beyerdynamic MMX300 were the exceptions because they actually sounded good, but still, they were basically HD555 and DT770 headphones with a microphone, and $10 could get a lapel mic and adapters to accomplish the job well enough. The PC37X Limited Edition, by Sennheiser in collaboration with Massdrop, are going to disrupt the status-quo: mature looks, mid-fi audiophile sound for gaming AND music, great comfort, AND a strong value at $120 + Shipping. __Sound Signature__ I love song suggestions, so here's a "Playlist Pairing" of songs great to listen to on this blacked out headset: The treble is a standout positive of this headset, but overall it has a balanced and full u-shaped frequency response. There is some treble emphasis with nice air and sparkle but not hot or irritating, some bass emphasis but shy of basshead territory, with a nice full sound that doesn't bleed through the mids, and while the mids aren't emphasized they don't feel recessed to the point of making vocals seem like backing vocals or hard to distinguish. There is an old music engineering trick, where the sound engineer/producer will lower the mids a little, because mids are where the vocals are. Human's listen for the vocals, we like the words, so we set the volume based on the mids and then the bass and treble become relatively louder and more exciting. I say u-shape because this tuning is subtle and not far from linear, but it's enough of an effect where the PC37X has a very engaging sound. The PC37X also has some interesting sound characteristics among the things audiophiles listen for. The clarity of this set is very good, switching off from a Beyerdynamic COP or a Creative Labs H7 seems to clear away a slight veil, the Sennheiser bringing details to the forefront with very little blur or muddying of one tone over another. The PC37X responds with quick lively transients that seem to have addressed any sensation of sluggishness that I have experienced with Astro and Turtle Beach headsets (and Bose, and pretty much every basshead headphone), but not so aggressively sharp like the DT880, which was a headphone that quickly got fatiguing for me. I can listen to the PC37X for a long time, four + hour sessions have been no problem. Soundstage size is good and positional imaging even better. Sized almost as wide as the elite (for this price range) AD700 and K612, but the PC37X comes in 3rd for soundstage depth for front/back cues (still very good for mid-fi). It doesn't fool the listener into believing they are listening to speakers on a desk in front, but still easy to picture relative distances and immerse in the experience. Imaging is even better, with positions smoothly sliding from left to right, and with virtual surround it is easy to hear the difference between frontal and rear cues. Overall, the PC37X has a clear sound that is very good for competitive gaming, but surprisingly infectious when listening to music too. Does it beat AKG's K712 or K7XX? Neeeeeeeh... no. Those are slightly more detailed and can extend the soundstage more, and scale up higher on hi-fi signal chain gear, but the PC37X does nothing wrong and so much right to make it super competitive among headphones in the sub-$200 price range, not to mention headsets. This is the best Headset I have ever heard. Oh wait, the PC37X is a headset? Sometimes, it's easy to forget. The microphone is unidirectional and noise cancelling (No, those aren't EXACTLY the same thing!), so it did a decent job of being sensitive to where I angled the mic boom arm and quieting things with more distance away from me. The PC37X was doing a great job of not letting my PSN chat buddies not realize they were talking to me the same time my wife was talking to me last night. It didn't sound as rich or lively as my Blue Microphone's snowball, but it definitely did a better job quieting background noise and totally eliminating the sound of my air heater. I regularly get compliments on how I sound in chat, and even suggestions that I start a YouTube channel (even though I don’t feel particularly entertaining or insightful, hah!). With a good sound card or ADC, this microphone is clearly nicer than a $10 lapel mic. Chat-ideal, little tame for laying down a music demo. __Tech/Benefits__ As a Headset, it's easier to integrate game and chat audio than a standard headphone and braiding in a lapel mic wire. The cable is nylon cloth-sleeved for low rubbing noise, definitely 10 feet long, firmly connected but actually removable and accepts the three types of cables compatible with Sennheiser's PC373D, and terminates in separate 3.5mm TRS stereo headphone plug and a 3.5mm TRS plug for the microphone. The mute feature when the boom mic is up works well when you need to slap it away to spare your friends from a sneeze in their ears. The big volume dial on the right earcup is quick to find while wearing and cut the volume, without major detriment to the sound. The drivers inside the earcups are also angled, contributing to the soundstage being better than most Sennheisers (HD700 and HD800 are on another level, but also priced on another level). The earcups are also described as open... and I have no trouble hearing my wife enter the front door or talking to me while wearing them, but the PC37X may well be semi-open because the sound leak is minor and significantly quieter than a Koss KSC75, HD650, or any open HiFiman headphone. The comfort is strong with this one... the plush, thick pads on the earcups and headband are wrapped in soft velour. No sweaty pleather or plastic here! The Headset is also quite lightweight and well distributed. The clamping pressure is pretty strong and the headphones stays firmly in place, but like I said, the pressure on the head is well-distributed among the squishy pads and beauty-pageant weight. They pass the test of not irritating my balding head, but the experience feels like a stuffed animal hugging your head with lots of love. Clingy, but it will loyally never abandon the wearer. I can wear these for 4 hours until I need a break and not getting uncomfortable all the way. __Cool Factor__ The PC37X is quite a likeable headphone. In the face of all the orange, green, silver, blue, and red out there, Massdrop's version is all-matte black, the matte texture making the plastic seem like it was more carefully crafted (and hides rage-quit scratches better). They definitely make the wearer look serious about gaming, but not loud or attention seeking about it. It's also cool that these are a Limited Edition, a sign of collaboration and special requests from Massdrop. Being part of the first $120 drop and having a low serial number, the moment that serious competitive headsets went from "okay" to "great," that'll never happen again even if there are follow-up drops several months from now. __Summary__ Overall, these are great mid-fi headphones bordering on entry-level pricing, and adding that it is a headset makes the package even more appealing. Audiophiles with more expensive, higher end headphones may find less to be outright excited about, but the gamers among them who pick the PC37X up as a dedicated-purpose set will still find plenty to like about the headset. Highly recommended as one of the greats below $200.
Jan 17, 2017
EvshrugThese are LE? There isn't any mention of that nor any numbering in any information Massdrop has provided yet you refer to those points several times in your post and Massdrop has implied there will be more drops of this product. Also you have a couple typos where you have "pc67x" instead of where I think you intened to write "pc37x." It is a great product no need to prime the hype train.
ZatarotYup, probably a few typos, and I know that sometimes I slip into the bad habit of saying "you" instead of just sticking to the first or third person perspective, which I will fix. I got the review sample last Tuesday, but I only had one day off my IT job to really buckle down and focus on finishing this, which is basically a first draft. I'm a slow writer, but I felt it could be helpful to describe what the headset is like and answer common questions before the drop started.
As far as hype train goes, well... I have tried products I don't like, and thus I don't really feel like spending the time to write up a detailed review of them, but they still show up sometimes sprinkled into other reviews as examples of what NOT to do. But when a product is worthy of the hype, and will only be available to those that know quickly, well, I wanted to inform people about these PC37X as soon as possible. Reviewing is partially objective and partially subjective, while I tried to describe the sound character and other aspects of the headset to give people an idea of what the headset is, I also wanted to give it my recommendation. Of course the reader should make up their own mind, and personal taste will be the final preference and should dictate the final decision, but don't say I didn't tell ya we have a hit on the way!
Lastly, besides the fact that it says Limited Edition on the box and is part of the full title of the headphone, I do believe it still fits the definition of being LE because of the reasons mentioned at the end of the review (First release, Massdrop special event and custom colorway/included cable choice, limited quantity, special price that makes it VERY strong against headphones priced close to it).
Sep 29, 2018
EvshrugHello my friend I would llike to ask you about the fx audio x7 amp/dac What do you think about ? These are the specs of the x7
FX Audio DAC chipset: XMOS + CS8422 + AK4490 Amplifier chipset: TPA6120 + OPA2604 Power output: 120 mW
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