Drop + Sennheiser PC38X Gaming Headset: First Impressions

Table of Contents

Introduction

Sennheiser has been busy with the gaming market, comprising of eleven models split between the GSP and GAME lineups. I’ll be the first to admit that I have never tried a Sennheiser gaming headset before this. Logitech, ASTRO or Razer? Plenty of times. Sennheiser? A relatively rare sight in the gaming headset-sphere. 

However, I have heard of Sennheiser’s PC-series of gaming headsets, in particular the 3XX series. My first exposure to the lineup was probably the PC360, which was then revamped by Drop (formerly Massdrop) into the new PC37X to strong success (53.4k units sold as of this post!).

Now Drop revamps the PC37X once again, this time with the creatively-named PC38X. Can it capture the hearts of the fastidious audiophile-gamer?

Product page: https://drop.com/buy/drop-sennheiser-pc38x-gaming-headset

MSRP: $170

Driver configuration: Dynamic

This PC38X was kindly provided by Drop.

Non-audio opinions

My unboxing posts are pretty much the only times I’ll ever talk about build quality, accessories and the like. I’m not really the person to ask about these things as I don’t really care about them that much.

Accessories

  • Cloth string bag
  • Extra set pads
  • Cable (split 3.5mm audio/3.5mm microphone)
  • Cable (TRRS)

Cable: cloth sheathing. Relatively stiff and higher microphonics than average.

Connection: recessed single-port 2.5mm.

Build: full plastic; not the most premium feeling thing out there (think HD5XX series), seams are significant and may pose as weak points.

Fit: comfortable; ears touch the inner cups. Clamp force on the slightly stronger side.

Isolation: bad (open-backed design).

Initial impressions

Note: I have not heard/tried the predecessor, the PC37X.

  • Very, very well tuned set. I might prefer a bit extra treble and perhaps some extra sub-bass, but overall this is a headphone with one of the best tonal profiles out there.
    • Bass has alright extension but sounds very limp and lacking proper definition.
  • Detail is sorely lacking. Very blunt hits that only barely resolve the most surface-level of details. A shame given the excellent tonality.
  • The PC38X kind of sucks as a gaming headphone. Spatial localisation is pretty basic (nothing much beyond the “3-blob”; left, right, and centre) and the soundstage is extremely narrow for an open-back. Think HD650-tier.
  • If Drop were to remove the mic and drop (heh) the price to $150, this could be a solid replacement for the HD599 (if you don’t want to shell out an additional $50 for the HD560S, that is).

Measurements

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Versus HD600

Comparison courtesy of the the Graph Comparison Tool.

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5 thoughts on “Drop + Sennheiser PC38X Gaming Headset: First Impressions”

  1. This is extremely interesting, many other reviewers have been praising its gaming performance as something that beats most other headphones besides the HD800S. Is your early impressions on gaming based on actual gaming tests or are you applying your experiences while listening to music with them to gaming? The claim many are making is that while soundstage is weak, positional accuracy is phenomenal. Was going to purchase based on these reviews but I’m definitely going to hold off for now.

    1. I’ve done a bit of gaming on it (mostly Star Wars Squadrons) and it was nowhere as immersive as on the HD800. I would argue positional accuracy is pretty weak along with the narrow soundstage and sounds like all cues are on the same plane (same “depth”).

      1. Is there another headphone you’d recommend that has better positional accuracy and soundstage? I looked through the list, but I’m not saavy enough to make sense of some of the info.

      2. Thanks, I’ll probably wait for your final review, but I most likely will not purchase them unless you have a change of mind in the review. I think I’ll just use the savings from avoiding this to purchase the Focal Elex sooner ahaha.

      3. Comparing them in just the headset space, do you think they come out on top or are there any other headsets that come out above it?

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