Sennheiser might be a go-to brand for audiophiles and music lovers but they are a very minor player in the gaming headphone scene. One of the reasons for this might be its reluctance to dress its products up in RGB bling and racy colours. True to its nature this 100-year old German company takes the leisure pursuit of videogaming deadly seriously and has eschewed the flashy design accents and LED lighting of the budget gaming cans in favour of a commitment to pure sound performance.
Look past it's conservative styling and stoic attitude and you'll find Sennheiser's overly-earnest sound engineering smarts has produced a truly high-quality audio experience for the seriously demanding gamer.
It's got unmistakably European lines, but thanks to its extra wide headband and large cups it still somehow manages to look overly chunky. At 400g it is unavoidably bulky.
Sound quality is excellent though, across all music types. The music is always balanced, yet exciting. For gaming audio it is on par with the very best in the industry, with solid directional focus to the environmental sound effects and loads of detail to give you maximum competitive advantage. Voice quality, whether for team chat or voice calls is best-in-class, beautifully clear and consistent.
Multipoint wireless connections means it can connect to two devices simultaneously using a combination of low latency USB dongle and Bluetooth 5. This means you can take a phone call on your mobile while working or gaming or otherwise enjoying multimedia on the PC.
The Sennheiser GSP 670 cost R8,500 making them the most expensive gaming headphones we could find in South Africa. Some online vendors are even charging around R10,000.
By comparison, other flagship model gaming headsets are priced as follows:
- Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless - R6,800
- Astro A50 wireless R6,800
- Alienware AW988 -R5,000
- Logitech G935 - R2,900
While the feature sets differ slightly between these top-end gaming headsets, and most do not offer the same combination of connectivity options, they all deliver pure gaming performance on par with the Sennheiser GSP 670.
The lasting first impression of the Sennheiser GSP 670 is of the sheer bulk of them: the headband is almost double-width and the plush cups seem cavernous. At nearly 400g they're not as heavy as they appear, but they're still amongst the most weighty headsets we've ever worn, and that's an issue for gamers who are engaged in a "lean forward" experience for extended sessions, as opposed to the "lean back" audiophile attitude.
Sennheiser gaming headsets are actually developed by a joint German-Danish company called EPOS, but most aspects of the GSP670 design is unmistakably German. The side arms are a lattice of cast aluminium and look near unbreakable. The plastic cups and headband are made of heavy gauge polymer and not conventional plastic. Even the bendable mic boom seems overly thick and chunky (and indestructible). While its impressive as an engineering exercise in durability it feels like an unfavourable trade off against practical issues like weight and bulk, mobility and long-term comfort.
There is only a single button on the headset, used to activate pairing. We definitely like the large rotating knob which dominates the outside of the right cup; turning it powers up the headphones and adjusts volume. That is matched on the left side by the swivel mount for the boom mic. As with most gaming headsets raising the mic boom mutes it. Otherwise voice volume has its own smaller dial to the rear on the right cup, and cleverly placed out of the way of the other controls.
The cups are decently padded and covered with breathable cloth. While they are luxuriantly finished and extremely comfortable, they can't quite divert attention from the sheer bulk of the headset.
Like the side arms the extra wide headband looks near indestructible and it includes left and right sliders to adjust the clamping force against the head. This is great idea since this pressure against the head and jawbone is what what makes headphones uncomfortable over the many hours it may take to finish a competitive gaming session. Unfortunately, in practice we could barely detect changes in side pressure, and so this feature was rather lost on us.
The extra width of the headband and the sheer size of the cups make it impossible to comfortably rest the GSP670 on the back of your neck, which is another slightly annoying practical limitation.
Drawing directly from Sennheiser's music heritage the GSP 670 delivers superb sound with a wide soundstage and plenty of detail across all frequencies. We tested with a wide variety of music types from EDM to hard rock to classical and delicate female jazz vocal. Across all music types the GSP 670 delivered a wonderfully balanced, but still exciting, sound and managed to make it look effortless. Sennheiser's music mastery certainly pushes it to the front of the crowded field of competitors.
But it's a gaming headset, after all, and what counts is the immersive quality it can deliver here.
This was more of a mixed bag. Engine roar from Forza Horizons was thrilling as were audible gear changes and other ambient sound effects. In first-person survival shooter Rust the directionality of sounds was impressive, pinpointing the crackling sound of the flaming torch I held above my head in my right hand and realistically reproducing sound travelling through underground passages. In Call of Duty different ammunition sounded markedly dissimilar and the ricochet of bullets off metal was far more noticeable than usual, including even the whistling trajectory of the ricochet-ing slug.
But most top-end cordless headset ranges like the Steelseries Arctis, the Turtle Beach Elite, Logitech G-force and the wireless Astros all achieve something similar, and the gaming performance of the GSP670 does not stand out in this competitive field.
However voice quality for team chat, and also for phone calls was nothing short of remarkable. Voices sounded exceptionally strong and crystal clear, even on highly compressed WhatsApp calls, and easily outclassed all competitors. This is perhaps not unsurprising since Sennheiser's reputation was originally built around microphones.
The GSP 670 ships with a separate wireless USB dongle. The dongle (named S70) provides the lowest latency connection, but multipoint Bluetooth 5.0 is also available, which means you can simultaneously connect to the PC and, for example, your phone. You can also connect to the PC using Bluetooth, of course, if you want o save a USB-A port. Whatever combination you use this means you can take a call on your phone while playing a game (or watching YouTube or listening to music or doing any regular workday stuff) on your PC.
In practice this works exactly as expected: sound is stopped in one source when its playing in another, with the dongle connection being the most stable and reliable, and also producing the best quality sound overall, although just marginally so.
The control app is elegant and effective. To tweak the sound of the GSP 670 you can choose from different music, or movie or gaming profiles, and choose 2 channel stereo or 7.1 surround sound, or you can custom build your own profiles setting your own mix of audio frequencies. The voice settings allow you set gain and reverberation, and whether you want to sound warm, neutral or bright. In practice, we didn't notice any massive audio differences between these profiles and other tweaks.
Also, it seems onerous to keep dropping back to the app to switch modes for watching YouTube, playing a game and taking a call, and there doesn't seem to be a toggle switch shortcut. We can't imagine serious techies jumping back and forth to the app for the tiny incremental benefit of changing sound profiles.
We got more than 12 hours of continuous use when connected to two hosts, both the USB dongle on the PC and Bluetooth on the phone, but we didn't test the battery to depletion. Sennheiser claims you can get 16 to 20 hours of use but it seems to us that 12 hours of continuous use is more than adequate for even the most hardcore player.
Should I buy it
Buy them if..
You listen to a lot of music at your desk
Music listening preferences is a very personal thing, but Sennheiser manages to create a superb music experience for just about everyone, right up to classical music aficionados. It's unfortunate that these are built just too big to reasonably carry out of the house, or to wear on the street.
You take a lot of calls at our desk
Work from home means taking a lot more mobile calls, WhatsApp calls and Zoom calls at your desk. You'll appreciate the universal communication system (seamless phone and PC handover) paired with the extraordinarily good voice quality of this mic system.
Don't buy them if...
You want a gaming-only headset
There are gaming headsets that offer similar surround sound and detailed directional effects but cost far less than these.
You choose lightness over durability
These are engineered for durability like a military vehicle and are pretty heavy as a result. They don't look terrible, but they are definitely on the chunky side of stylish.
Olivia Tambini contributed to this review.
- An earlier version of this review was posted with an incorrect star rating. This has now been rectified.