Recently, I was in attendance at Stompfest covering the action for Techgage. For those of you that do not know, Stompfest is one of the largest LAN events in the Midwest. At Stompfest there were rules, just as there are everywhere. One of these rules was no speakers. If you wanted to hear the games you were playing, you had to bring headphones. Should you want to communicate with your team, a headset was the way to go. I opted for a headset and fortunately for me, I had just got in a Sennheiser PC165-USB headset.
Sennheiser has been around for a long time. 61 years to be exact. In that time, they have became one of the leading manufacturers of audio equipment. Known for their high quality products their entrance into the computer gaming world was a no brainer. Today we are taking a look at their flagship PC gaming headset, the PC165-USB.
The 165s came to me in their retail packaging. There isn’t anything over the top with their packaging, but rather just enough information.
The back of the packaging gives up all the information that you will need to know about the 165s and in many different European languages too! This information can be found on the Sennheiser website but I will include it here for anyone interested.
Once out of the box, there are a few things that I notice off of the bat. The first being the USB adapter. Sennheiser had made this adapter for anyone on the go. There are many times that you might be at a computer without a soundcard. Either this card is not accessible or the PC you are working at just does not have one. My PC at work is a perfect example of this.
With the included USB adapter, you are able to take your 165s anywhere you go and connect them to any PC that you are working at with an available USB port. This is because there is a small sound card in the adapter itself. The option to take this headset anywhere with you is nice but how does the integrated sound card stack up to my onboard sound and especially my Audigy 2 ZS.
The PC165s are not a huge headset. In fact, they are quite small when compared to the Razer Barracuda HP-1 headset that we reviewed a few weeks back. One thing I notice is that the velour padded ear buds are not designed to go over your ears. Sennheiser describes these as being XXL but still, they are no match for my enormous ears.
As you can see, and the picture does not show this, is that the 165s were designed to have the microphone on the left side of the gamers face. The microphone pivots roughly 105 degrees from a vertical position to one that places the microphone just to the side of your mouth. The microphone can be bent into a better position should you need the mic closer to your mouth.
At the top of the headset, there is a thick pad that runs along the inside of the headband. This adds to the comfort of the 165s, allowing a more comfortable, longer gaming session.
Along the length of the 3.0m (approx 9 feet for all us yanks) is an in-line volume control with a microphone mute switch on it as well. This comes in handy when you’re in a game and need to adjust your volume. It’s as simple as that.
Gaming, Music and Movies. Oh My!
It’s obvious that these headphones were made for gamers. Sennheiser even had gamers help develop the 165s so if anything they should at least game well. Before we get into my reaction to the performance of the 165s, I want it to be known that I worked with these headphones both connected to my PC via the USB sound adapter and with them plugged directly into my Audigy 2 ZS sound card. I will provide my opinions on both of these methods near the end of the review.