Sennheiser G4ME Zero over-ear PC gaming headphones
Gaming headphones which tick all the right boxes for a realistic experience
- Detailed, crisp and clear sound
- High volume output
- Volume management
- Comfortable for long use
- Noise canceling design creates warmth
- Minor loss of clarity at high volumes
The Sennheiser G4ME Zero over-ear headphones are a gamer’s delight. They are capable of reproducing highly detailed, crisp and clear sound, which combine with a comfortable noise-canceling design and high volume output to offer an immersive gaming experience.
Price$ 400.00 (AUD)
Sennheiser’s G4ME Zero over-ear PC gaming headphones have been created in partnership with game developer, IO-Interactive, and they tick all the right boxes when it comes to sound quality. They are capable of producing highly detailed, crisp and clear sound, and do a great job of managing volume and the direction of the sound within games. They are padded well enough for long-term wear, and sit lightly on the head, but have a noise-canceling design that can make your ears feel warm.
Design and user comfort
The G4ME Zero headphones’ weight distribution, earcup size and shape, and padding ensure they can be used comfortably for long periods. I’ll admit I managed to get through several four- to five-hour sessions of EA’s Battlefield 4 without experiencing the discomfort, irritation, or pressure produced by many competing devices.
The headphones’ earcups cover the ears completely, enclosing sound with thick but very soft “tailored leatherette double-layered memory foam”, which sits against the side of the head. The noise-canceling seal this creates stops day-to-day ambient sounds (such as chatter) from entering. If volume is above 50 per cent (note: my source was set to 100 per cent volume), the headphones create a particularly immersive experience. This proves very helpful if you’re participating in a LAN and want to drown out the opposition in the room and focus on listening to teammates speaking on Ventrilo/Teamspeak. The design also reduces noise leakage.
While this approach is appealing, the design has one slight flaw: it prevents air from entering the earcups, meaning your ears will become warm over time. This is not a major setback and doesn’t cause discomfort, but you will notice a difference in temperature when you take them off. The issue can be eliminated by removing the headphones every half-hour for a few moments.
Sennheiser has kept the earcups simple, adding nothing but a volume wheel to the right earcup, and a microphone to the left. The microphone has a mute function, which is triggered when it’s rotated upwards from a horizontal position; this means that even if you accidentally tap on your push-to-talk button, the microphone will remain inactive. You will hear a distinct click when the microphone switches between active and mute.
The G4ME Zero’s headband is built to offer a generous size adjustment so it will likely fit heads of all sizes. Like the earcups, the headband has thick but soft padding for comfort. Its C-shape bends enough for a comfortable and stable fit, but not so much as to clamp the earcups to your head with too much pressure. This fit promotes balanced weight distribution, which makes the 312g headphones feel light.
The headband is connected to the earcups via somewhat of a T-joint which allows the earcups to pivot a full 90 degrees so that they can sit flat on a tabletop (the supplied hard case stores the headphones in this position). This is convenient if you, like me, still use a desk with a dedicated sliding keyboard tray. The T-joint also lets you fold the G4ME Zero headphones inwards for compact storage in case you aren’t a fan of the supplied case.
There’s no beating around the bush with the G4ME Zero headphones. At the end of their 3m cable are two 3.5mm connector sockets (one for sound and the other for the microphone), and once you’re plugged in, you’re ready to go; there is no software accompanying the device, so no need to worry about installations. On the flipside, the lack of native software can be frustrating for users who want to use different profiles for different purposes.
I tested the headphones using a desktop running both IO Interactive’s Hitman: Absolution, and as previously mentioned, Battlefield 4. During my testing period, I found them capable of consistently accurate and clear sound. They reproduce extensive detail in conversations, gunfire, explosions, movement, character breathing, and environmental sounds (such as grass rustling beneath the avatar’s body when setting up to snipe).
The G4ME Zero’s ability to manage the constantly changing volume levels within both games creates depth, allowing you to distinguish from which direction sound is coming, as well as the distance between your avatar and the sound. As you turn in a game, you will also notice the smooth migration of sound between left, right, front and back. This was particularly helpful when sneaking through buildings in both titles, and determining how long it would take for enemies to enter the same room.
These elements combine for a three-dimensional, surround sound experience. For the most part, sound was dynamic and reproduced with the appropriate levels of echo to match the in-game scenario. Within Hitman: Absolution, for example, there was a major difference between the delivery of voices and gunfire within small rooms, larger halls, alleyways, and loud environments. There were some moments when sound was flatter than I would have liked, but this only occurred with very deep tones.
The G4ME Zero headphones also have huge volume output. With my source between 80 and 100 per cent and in-game volume at full blast, I found myself leaving the G4ME Zero’s volume wheel at just under the 50 per cent mark, and even that was sometimes overwhelming, especially with the explosion-friendly nature of Battlefield 4. When I did dare to go the full monty, detail was preserved, but the combination of a multitude of sounds did chip away at the crispness, resembling slight distortion.
Related: Here are our thoughts on Sennheiser's G4ME One headphones.
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