Sennheiser X 320 £89.99
1st Dec 2011 | 11:52
Is this Xbox 360 gaming headset really worth £90?
Sennheiser X 320
Wireless? Pah, who needs it!? But seriously, do we really need it for headphones?
Well, actually we do. Sennheiser's latest set of headphones - the X 320 - are designed to be used with the Xbox 360, hence the obvious name similarity. And after a few minutes with them you might just be wishing that there was a wireless option available.
There are no less than three set of wires to contend with: one that goes straight from the headphones to the console, one that plugs into your TV, providing audio, and another wire that you plug into the gamepad to enable voice chat.
At times it feels like the spaghetti junction of wires - you would think Sennheiser might have tried to come up with some sort of smarter integrated solution that didn't involve multiple wire trails.
Thanks to the clear instructions, it's easy to connect everything and get started immediately. The length of the main cable is very long, so you can sit pretty far away from the screen.
The only problem with setting up the Sennheiser X 320 is its use of stereo audio connectors. Not all modern TVs come with stereo inputs, so if this is the case you'll need to buy the optional audio adapter for the Xbox 360.
A serious upgrade
The Sennheiser X 320 is a significant upgrade for those using the standard Xbox 360 headset, which, let's face it, isn't the greatest thing to start with.
They're pretty pricey though, at £89.99 in the UK or $149.95 in the US, but when you compare them to competing Xbox 360 headphones such as the Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Omega or the Tritton AX Pro Dolby 5.1 they seem slightly better value.
However, these other headphones pack a lot of audio technology into their cans, and the similarly-specced SteelSeries Spectrum 5XB is around £20 cheaper.
But, typical of a Sennheiser headset, the X 320 headphones deliver an impressive audio performance in games, as well as in music and movies.
The sound is tight and has plenty of punch to it, and it's very clear. They don't have the sort of enveloping sound that you might expect from a surround headset, but don't let that put you off, because they are excellent.
You can enhance the low end of the X 320's audio on the fly with the use of the Bass boost switch on the in-line control, and you can also adjust the game volume level and mic volume level independently, which is handy when you've got a team mate who's shouting down the line in-game.
You can also mute voice chat quickly and conveniently, simply by lifting the sturdy microphone upwards and away from your mouth.
The only downside to the Sennheiser X 320's audio, much like other Sennheiser headsets, is that the ear cups are open. While this is supposed to keep your ears cooler for longer gaming sessions, in reality it doesn't make that much difference. It also means that you get sound leak, so if you want to game in the vicinity of others they'll be able to hear some of what you're hearing.
They don't do a great job of insulating ambient sounds either, so if you're in a noisy environment then you need to politely ask whoever is making all those noises to hush up while you do some important gaming.
While the sound of the Sennheiser X 320 scores points, the design of the cans is much less convincing. With very little in the way of adjustment, apart from being able to alter the length of the head band, the resulting fit on the head isn't all that great.
If your head was big enough, they would probably sit nice and flush, but for the smaller head they sit sort of bowed inwards, which means the ear cups don't quite sit flat and can be uncomfortable.
The Xbox 360 green theme looks good and they feel quite sturdy, but - you know what - they just feel a little on the cheap side. Thankfully, the great sound of these headphones makes up for any shortcomings, but you'll really need to convince yourself that they're worth £90.