Sennheiser G4ME ZERO Headset Review
Here we have a first for pcGameware, a proper Gaming headset by firm audiophile favourites Sennheiser, the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO (506064). This particular Sennheiser headset is one of a pair in the new G4ME range and features a circumaural (over the ear) closed-cup design (to make sure the outside noise stays out), tailored leatherette memory-foam earpads (for perfect comfort), Sennheiser transducer technology (for clarity and accuracy), Pro noise cancelling microphone (raise the boom to mute) and as an added bonus it is also pretty good looking. Of course this all comes at a premium and an SRRP of £199.99, yep that’s right, these cans place themselves in a similar price bracket to the Beyerdynamics MMX300, Qpad QH-1339 (ok, so both nigh on identical), the Astro A50, Creative Sound Blaster ZxR or even my long time favourites the Creative Sound Blaster Recon 3D Omega.
Featuring Sennheiser’s “Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement” technology, the G4ME ZERO delivers the ultimate in sonic accuracy and clarity. The updated closed design provided by the custom-made painted steel ear cup grids lets you hear even the faintest detail of your game.’
Ok, so it’s expensive, isn’t wireless and only offers 2.1 support and no virtual surround sound. So what is there to make the Sennheiser G4ME stand out from the crowd?
The Sennheiser G4ME ZERO arrived in a rather smart and bright predominantly white sleeved box. On the front of which we have an artistic depiction of the headset, the model, Sennheiser name and logo a couple of prominent statements ‘Professional noise blocking PC Gaming headset’ and ‘Supreme Comfort. Acoustically sealing memory foam earpads’, it also highlights a two year warranty.
Flipping over the box shows the model name again, a rather cool looking disassembled photo of the G4ME ZERO and a breakdown of its features (as listed below).
- Extremely accurate game sound reproduction with “E.A.R.” technology.
- XXL leatherette ear pads and cushioned headband.
- Integrated Volume Control on ear cup.
- Collapsible design and carrying case
- Pro noise cancelling microphone – raise boom to mute.
- Sennheiser transducer technology – for clarity and accuracy.
- Closed design – Outside noise stays out.
- Tailored leatherette memory-foam earpads – For perfect comfort
The top of the box once again shows the model name and brand, but also shows the box contents (shown below).
Underneath the box shows very little. We have a holographic sticker of authenticity, part number and serial number,
The left side of the box is predominantly black with grey writing, it tells us the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO is collapsible, describes that it features Closed Sound and Perfect Acoustic Isolation, then goes on to describe the following:
‘Professional Noise Blocking Headset‘
‘The G4ME™ ZERO Professional Noise Blocking headset is the no compromise headset. When you need outside noise blocked out. When you seek nothing but pure, clear gaming sound, and when you want the best fit a closed gaming headset offers, this headset is for you. Featuring Sennheiser speakers, leatherette memory foam earpads, lightweight design and pro noise cancelling microphone. You’ll have the best headset for your game.‘
The right side is styled exactly the same, features the Sennheiser web address, the two year warranty and the G4ME mission statement as follows:
‘The Sound Games Are Made Of‘
‘Game time is your time and every Sennheiser gaming headset comes with a built-in mission: to deliver pure immersive audio excitement.
Game developers use Sennheiser recording equipment and Sennheiser headsets to develop game audio. This headset has been engineered to bring the same high-level of detail acoustical quality, the game developers intended you to hear.‘
Upon opening removing the sleeve and opening the box, we see that the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO doesn’t seem too well packaged and seems to only have a simple cardboard bumper to prevent damage, but inside a clear plastic bag is…..
A rather nice fabric carry case with the Sennheiser brand logo on the side.
Unzipping the case reveals the inside to be well padded and moulded to fit the headset whilst also covered in a velour type fabric to help prevent the ZERO from being scratched or damaged. More importantly it shows off the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO for the first time!
- G4ME™ ZERO Headset
- Carrying Case
Which for approx £200.00 of your hard earned pounds, doesn’t feel like a lot.
At the time of review the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO Headset is available in two different colour combinations (black and red or white and red), retails for £199.96 at Amazon or £189.90 from OverclockersUK and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of Sennheiser
G4ME ZERO features an all new ear pad design, which we have further developed from our professional pilot headsets. Our ear pads are made from thick leatherette and triple-layered memory foam. The base of the ear pads are thicker, to ensure that the headset closes all around the ear. This will prevent sound from escaping and will keep you un-disturbed while playing.’
‘FOR IMMERSIVE GAMING
The combination of new design, padding materials and memory foam to close out any gaps under the ears, ensures that the G4ME ZERO is our most quiet gaming headset to date. No outside noise enters the headset and you can rest assured that those around you won’t hear your game either.‘
‘GERMAN ENGINEERED TECHNOLOGY
The two transducers in the G4ME ZERO have been developed at our labs in Germany. They are optimized to provide an extremely accurate reproduction of the gaming audio, no matter what type of game you play. Every single unit is mechanically and acoustically tested.’
With volume controls integrated onto the right ear cup, your reaction time is cut down as you won’t have to spend time searching the cable for the controls. The G4ME ZERO also features a convenient microphone mute function too. Simply lift the boom arm and you’re off the air.’
‘COLLAPSIBLE DESIGN AND CARRY CASE
To ensure your headset is not scratched while you bring it to your LAN event, the G4ME™ ZERO features a unique foldable design which allows you to completely fold it up and store it in the supplied hard carry case.’
‘A PERFECT MATCH
Sennheiser is the only audio company that makes both the precision microphone equipment your games are recorded on, and the headsets you use to play them. So why would you go for any other gaming headset brand?’
|Colour||Black (Article No. 506079)
White (Article No. 506064)
|Impedance||Headphones: 150 Ω|
|Connector||2 x 3.5 mm for desktop/laptop|
|Frequency Response (Microphone)||Microphone: 50 Hz – 16,000 Hz|
|Frequency Response (Headphone)||Headphones: 10 Hz – 26.000 Hz|
|Sound Pressure (SPL)||Headphones: 108 dB/td>|
|THD (Total Harmonic Distortion)||Headphones: < 0.1%|
|Ear Coupling||Headphones: around-the-ear, closed acoustic design|
|Pick-Up Pattern||Microphone: Noise Cancelling|
|Sensitivity||Microphone: -38 dBV at 94 dBSPL|
- TAILORED EAR PADS – The first ever gaming headset to feature multiple layers of fitted ear padding.
- SENNHEISER TRANSDUCER TECHNOLOGY – Extreme clarity and accurate, developed at our own labs.
- “ERGONOMIC ACOUSTIC REFINEMENT” – The Sennheiser technology delivers ultimate sonic accuracy and clarity by channeling signals directly into your ears.
- XXL EAR PADS – Plenty of space around your ears for best fit and comfort.
- NOISE-CANCELING MICROPHONE – Professional-grade noise-canceling microphone with intuitive mute function.
- CLOSED DESIGN – The closed design blocks out all outside noise allowing you to focus on your game.
Ok, so now it’s out of the box and in my hands, the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO price tag suddenly starts to make sense……. The build quality is typically German (phenomenal!). The review sample we received was predominantly gloss white (it’s also available in black), with a matte black headband, black leatherette cushioning, red felt inner-cups with various metallic red accents and a matte white rubber texture on the external ear-cups. The headset does make me think of late seventies sci-fi, but that doesn’t prevent it from being the best looking headset I’ve ever laid my eyes on!
As you can see from the photo’s above, the G4ME ZERO features ear cups that rotate approximately 100°, this is to help put them away for storage, but more importantly to help them fit comfortably on your head (not everyones bonce is the same afterall). The cups can also fold in by approx 90°. The movement of the cups is surprisingly fluid and very smooth (this of course made taking the photos a right royal pain!).
The right ear-cup is mainly a high quality gloss white plastic, the centre of which is the Sennheiser logo and surrounded by a white rubber texture, this is then bordered by a metallic red hoop of sorts. Beneath this is and rather unusually for a PC headset is a volume dial.
Switching cups to the left and we see the basic design is the same, except instead of a volume dial, we have a huge Mic boom. Something else you’ll notice is that the ear-cup joints have large chrome end caps with L and R moulded on them to help those less fortunate amongst us to work out their left from their right.
The outer headband is a slightly textured matte black plastic with Sennheiser in matt silver printed to the left side. Nothing to shout home about, but simple enough to look stylish and lend that overall touch of class.
The inner band features memory foam cushioning covered in a black leatherette, the headset model and serial number are just to the left of this.
The G4ME ZERO features the very same memory foam and black leatherette cushioning for the ear-cups, one nice little touch which I’ve never come across before, is that Sennheiser have decided to make the cushioning twice as thick at the bottom of the cup. I’m sure they aren’t the only company to implement this idea, but it is really something everyone should be doing, it makes the headset fit beneath your ears so much better and also helps to give sound more quality and depth. The cups themselves are ellipsoid, encompass the ears and pretty big (10cm w x 15cm h), and are very well described by Sennheiser as XXL. Inside the cup is a fairly thin blood red fabric. Whilst this isn’t going to be viewable whilst the headset is in situ, when off it adds a really nice contrast to the white and black G4ME.
On the right ear-cup and rather unlike PC headsets I’ve used in recent memory, lives a volume dial. I must admit I prefer this method to the typical in-line remote (how many times have you been left scrabbling around for the volume in the middle of a fire fight or been deafened after booting a game up?!?).
Taking a closer look at the left cup reveals the 175mm Mic Boom (ok, it’s pretty damn big and pretty hard not to notice!). The Boom itself non-removable and like the recently reviewed Mionix Nash 20 features an auto mute when swivelled into an upright position. Approximately half way down the boom is a hard black rubber section, this allows you to bend the Mic into a suitable position, it is pretty stiff, but allows just the right positioning to prevent you from eating it.
Beneath the left cup is a fixed audio lead. The lead is 3m in length (plenty enough for anyone) and has a very soft, flexible and high quality braiding.
One feature that will apply to most of you, but will be very important to a select few out there, is the amount of play on the adjustable sliders for the G4ME ZERO. With 55mm either side these cans will fit literally anyone!
So far I’m very impressed with the G4ME ZERO, the design and build is in my mind second to none. We best find out if the sound performance is enough to match up!
The Sennheiser G4ME ZERO has Premium price, backed up by a Premium design and build, but does this headset deliver premium sound? To find out it will be paired up with the on-board audio of our Test Motherboard the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING, which features a Realtek ALC1150 chipset with MSIs Audio Boost technology.
The Sennheiser G4ME ZERO simply connects to the motherboard audio via the two (headphone/mic) 3.5mm Jack plugs.
The Sennheiser G4ME ZERO was tested using our Intel Test Rig, running Windows 7 64bit (service pack 1) with all necessary Drivers installed. No further software is required for full functionality of the headset, hence none was supplied or installed!
The following Games were used during testing:
- Survarium (beta)
- Far Cry 3
- Payday 2
- Metro Last Light (benchmark)
- Unigine Heaven (benchmark)
The most important attribute of any headset is of course its audio performance and the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO Headset performs nigh on flawlessly. The sound has incredible accuracy, everything is crisp, clear and just feels natural. I kid you not, the detailed accuracy of the noise is easily up there with the best pcG has tested to date, with enough treble to send a shrill shiver down your spine and a bass at exactly the right depth so as to not drown out the detail whilst still packing punch (despite what other reviews may say!).
In one of our most commonly used benchmarks Metro Last Light, the shrill sound of bullets flying around really comes to life (you can even clearly hear the firing of the gun that takes down the vehicle at the end), yet the build up to the explosive entrance has enough rumble and depth to make you grimace. Whilst fumbling my way through the enviroment in Far Cry 3, the jungle literally sounds alive (as proven while I was eaten by a large stripy feline menace…..). Our other commonly used benchmark, Unigine Heaven, may seem a little old hat by now, but you can’t deny that it’s pretty impressive both graphically and audibly (we also use it for nearly every hardware benchmark so even if the audio was played backwards we’d probably still recognise it!), the music starts off with the haunting strings, then opens up and gains momentum with the thumping tribal bass, feels more natural and organic.
The only issues I found was with the volume control. You can turn the volume up, you can turn the volume down, but you can’t turn the volume off? Seems a little daft don’t you think? The only other issue being something of personal preference and more down to the test rig hardware, when testing audio equipment I often max out the volume whilst listening to music in order to find any odd discrepancies or distortion. Even at full 100% volume the G4ME ZERO showed no distortion whatsoever, in fact if anything it gained even more clarity! Yet whilst maxed out, it wasn’t quite loud enough to make your ears bleed (not literally of course). Perhaps I’ll need to pick up a sound card for future tests?
Whilst the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO may rate as one of the heaviest headsets I’ve tested in recent memory at 312g, it certainly isn’t heavy at all, in fact it’s light enough to forget you’ve even got them on after a few hours Gaming! Comfort-wise the G4ME ZERO ticks all the right boxes, the XXL circumaural ear-cups completely cover the ears (or mine at least) and with the aid of the sloped memory foam cushioning, sit perfectly under ear and along the jaw line. Another big plus is that because the way the cups are designed, even the bespectacled of us can game in comfort.
So have Sennheiser designed the most perfectly comfortable headset that I’ve ever used? Very nearly……. Despite the memory foam ear-pads and inner headband being incredibly comfortable, they are let down hugely by the leatherette covering. Whilst it is incredibly soft and feels nice whilst the G4ME ZERO is worn, it sadly doesn’t breathe like real leather, so sadly after a short while hot sweaty ears become an issue (this probably isn’t helped by my lack of hair and a current ambient temperature of 33°C ).
The swivel boom microphone fitted to the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO headset is again high quality. Whilst on Steam Chat or using Razer Comms, the pick up was clear and natural (unfortunately for my on-line friends ) with no recognisable background noise. The oversized boom is plenty long enough to prevent anyone from using it as a light snack whilst Gaming, with the flexibility to be able to position it where it needs to be (near your mouth). It performs very well and I like the implementation of swivel to mute, but I admit I would’ve liked the option to remove it entirely.
The Sennheiser G4ME ZERO arrived in sleeved box with a rather simple, but elegant design. Which is exactly how I’d describe the headset itself, with its gloss white and black combined with the red highlights, the G4ME ZERO has that typical understated German sense of style (even though it was actually designed in Denmark), yet has a a certain flair that you’d want in a Gaming headset. The G4ME ZERO are simply beautiful to look at, of course one could argue that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and somewhat subjective.
More importantly what of the sound? Does it really matter what a headset looks like if it sounds like a drowning cat? Well luckily (or possibly a down to a few years of experience on Sennheisers part ), the G4ME ZERO truly sound phenomenal and certainly very nearly as good, perhaps just as good as the beyerdynamic MMX300 (plus it looks a damn site nicer). The detail and quality of the sound produced is exactly how you’d want it to be with incredible accuracy and detail that you just don’y hear on you ‘average’ headset, it just sounds natural (perhaps even super-natural if the meaning was to be better than?).
With its oversized circumaural ear-cups, cleverly sloped memory foam cushioning combined with it being relatively lightweight, the G4ME ZERO are without a doubt the most comfortable headset I’ve ever worn and would adjust to even the heftiest of heads..
On top of all that you have the immense build quality of the G4ME ZERO, I’m pretty certain it’s solid enough to be dropped down a flight of stairs without landing a mark (I certainly wouldn’t want to put it to the test though!)
So we have premium style and design, premium sound and a premium build quality. The Sennheiser G4ME ZERO is THE best all round headset I’ve ever used, but sadly it also has a premium price……… At approximately £200.00 it is certainly not on the cheap side and unfortunately this also means that despite how bloody good it is, it’s simply out of the price range of us mere mortals.
I have to admit, the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO is the very first headset I’ve ever really wanted, it really is something desirable and special, but would I recommend it at the full SRRP? Not at all, I’d be tempted at £150.00, very tempted at £100.00, but when you can pick up HyperX Cloud, for a little over £60 you’ve just gotta stick your sensible head on at times….. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t want a set.
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Where possible we always use Amazon’s price for Value…
Many thanks to Sennheiser for providing this sample for review