Price (RRP): $499.95
Video games are not just the realm of kids. There’s a large segment of adults who love to play, and with money to spend. While Sennheiser’s GSP 670 Wireless Gaming Headphones may seem a luxury at a smidge under $500, they’re aimed squarely at those who want to maximise their gaming experience, whether it be for eSports, audio excellence or those who just want the very best.
So, what’s required to be the ‘best of the best’ in terms of gaming headphones? It’s a given that audio quality needs to be top notch, of course. However, they should also have the latest wireless connectivity, a long battery life, quality materials, good ergonomics, comfort and, lastly, high performance. Let’s look at how the Sennheiser’s fared in these areas.
The GSP 670s are wireless and use the latest Bluetooth 5.0 SBC standard. Currently, many PCs and the latest generation of consoles including the Sony PlayStation Pro and Microsoft Xbox One X only support Bluetooth version 4.0. As a result, a special GSA 70 BT 5.0 receiver is included and needs to be connected to a USB port.
Compared to Bluetooth 4.0, Bluetooth 5.0 SBC can transfer eight times the data, over four times the range and at twice the speed. This translates to better audio quality, over longer distances, and less delay or ‘lag’ between sending and receiving. This last point, while not essential for everyone, is essential if you play competitive games, as a fraction of a second’s delay can give your opponent the advantage.
In use, we noticed that BT 5.0 SBC connects quickly, didn’t have any pairing challenges and was quite stable. Keep in mind that it can also connect to mobile devices without the USB dongle, as we were able to sync up our iPad Pro and iPhone 11 Pro without any challenges.
The real standout feature of the GSP 670 is the sound quality, as one would expect at this price point. For comparison, our go-to gaming headphones are a set of wired Audio Technica ATH-PG1s and wireless HyperX Cloud Flights. During our tests, the things we immediately noticed were the excellent passive sound insulation of the Sennheiser’s closed-acoustic design, and SO much more perceptible audio detail. This was especially apparent with background sounds such as non-player-character conversations, subtle musical scores and ambient effects like water droplets, foot falls, wind and other environmental noise. It was almost like the GSP 670s added a layer of immersion that wasn’t there before.
Apart from ambient sounds, the general in-game audio quality is excellent too, with a solid punch in the guts from weighty low-frequency explosions, rocket engines and thundering building demolitions. Mid and high frequencies are well represented, with detailed vocals and musical sound stages, along with loads of bright, punchy tones for sound effects. The GSP 670s also excel at adding loads of realism to frenetic firefights, with bullets and munitions buzzing and crackling all around you.
It should also be mentioned the Sennheisers support 7.1 Surround Sound, and you can tune the audio to your tastes via the EQ settings in the PC-based Sennheiser Gaming control software.
The Sennheiser GSP 670s design includes a movable microphone mast. When you swivel this up and away from your mouth, it automatically mutes the mic, and switches it back on again when moved back down. This is an intuitive and handy feature, and beats fumbling for a mic mute button or switch.
The microphone features noise cancelling technology, which seemed quite effective. Our test environment isn’t all that noisy, and it would be interesting to see how much it helps reduce background noise, such as the animated conversations, blaring televisions, scolding mothers and crying babies that are the bane of many an online gamer’s experience. (There can be some very weird stuff to be heard in the background when playing with random people around the world.) Regardless, our online gaming mates had no complaints with the voice quality from the GSP 670s. We also didn’t notice any sort of audio latency, so no problems to report versus using a wired headset.
The microphone can be used for making voice calls if you’re connected to a smartphone. Also handy is the independently adjustable game audio and microphone volume, meaning you can find the right mix depending on how loud your chat party happens to be versus the sound of your game. You just rotate a dial for each source located on the left earcup. Unfortunately, this is only supported when playing on PCs, and not consoles.
Listening to music
You can, of course, use the GSP 670s for listening to music, movies or video from your phone or other Bluetooth audio sources. For music, Sennheiser’s 70 years of expertise on this front is markedly clear. Our test suite crossed a number of musical genres and styles, from the gritty and earnest Charles Bradley’s Victim of Love, and Changes to the silky-smooth Alaska by Maggie Rogers. We delved into the lower frequencies with Girls @ by Joey Purp, along with a few potent selections from Drake, Post Malone’s Circles and Kanye West’s effervescent Ultralight Beam.
The GSP 670s are rated for 20 hours of running time when using Bluetooth and 16 hours using the low-latency connection via the USB receiver. In use, this is close to what we experienced and should be enough for an intensive gaming session. If you get desperate, there’s a quick charge feature that adds 2 hours from seven minutes of charging. This is certainly what we’d expect from a premium gaming headset, and good to see that Sennheiser has delivered. The only letdown is that the charging cable should be USB-C rather than the antiquated and frustrating micro-USB connector type. Let’s get with the times Sennheiser!
Comfort and design
Some may like the ‘fighter-pilot’ look of the GSP 670s. Some may find them a little overcomplicated. Either way, they’re solidly constructed and use quality plastics, metal hinges and memory-foam. The earcups are thickly padded and adjust on two axis to fit most head shapes. Along with an extendible head band, there are two sliding tensioner controls for how much ‘squeeze’ the cups exert on your head.
Oddly enough, while quite adjustable and cushioned, I still felt too much pressure on the areas around each of my ears. This became uncomfortable after a few hours and was compounded by the considerable weight of GSP 670s. Given that they are 398 grams, and our reference headsets range from 250 to 300 grams, this is far too much in our opinion. Perhaps pairing back on the bulkiness of the design would assist in shedding some weight.