Sennheiser PC 363D gaming headphones

Excellent detail, great stereo sound, and a great microphone

Sennheiser PC 363D
  • Expert Rating

    4.75 / 5

Pros

  • Excellent stereo separation
  • Comfortable open-back design
  • Excellent detail from boom microphone

Cons

  • Slightly inferior build to previous model

Bottom Line

Sennheiser's latest gaming headphones are undoubtedly its best. The PC 363D headset is extremely comfortable, seems well built and has all the bells and whistles a PC gamer could need.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    TBA (AUD)

We’re unabashed fans of Sennheiser’s PC 360 G4ME headset from 2010 — it combined notoriously high quality headphone drivers from the audiophile-grade HD 595 with a clear, versatile noise-cancelling boom microphone.

That headset has been around for ages and has enjoyed a great reputation, but it has now been superseded by the new PC 363D, with some small but important changes.

Sennheiser PC 363D: Design, construction and features

The PC 360 G4ME design largely continues in the PC 363D: they’re over-the-ear headphones, with super-soft velvet ear-pads and a sturdy plastic body. The headband telescopes over a wide range, so the headphones should fit small and large heads alike.

The left ear-cup is where the PC 363D’s 3.2m fabric-wrapped cable terminates; it’s also got the swing-down, auto-muting, noise cancelling boom microphone that turns this from a pair of headphones into a headset. The right ear-cup has a circular volume control dial, with a 270-degree range of motion that means it’s easy to make small adjustments to how loud the headphones are.

You can’t twist the ear-cups to store the PC 363D headphones flat, but there is a small amount of vertical adjustment in the hinges, so they’ll conform to the sides of your head well. Combined with the soft ear-cups, this makes the PC 363D comfortable to wear for extended periods. We’ve had them on for three or four hours straight in the office without complaint.

Being an all-plastic (and foam and velvet) headphone, the PC 363D does feel slightly less impressively built than its predecessor. Our main concern is how these headphones will last over years of marathon gaming — our PC 360s have performed excellently, and we hope the 363D is similar.

The boom microphone built into the PC 363D's ear-cup is among the best we've used on a gaming headset. It's clear, with good ambient noise cancellation, and blows cheaper models out of the water when it comes to the range of frequencies it can pick up — the usual failing of microphones built into headsets.

Sennheiser PC 363D: Sound quality

After burning the PC 363D in with around 50 hours of moderate volume music in a variety of genres, we gave them a critical listen with that same wide variety of music, as well as a few games on PC: Battlefield 3, BioShock, The Walking Dead, and Super Hexagon.

Since they’re apparently made for pro gaming, we thought we’d give PC gaming the majority of our attention. With the appropriate 5.1- or 7.1-channel surround sound options set in each game and the matching Dolby surround sound option on the bundled 3D G4ME1 USB sound card (more on that later), we tried out the PC 363D headphones with each title.

Battlefield 3 is a game with frankly excellent sound effects — whizzing bullets, clinking bullet casings, rattling tank treads, and so on. In non-Dolby mode, the PC 363D headphone have already excellent stereo separation — it’s a breeze to tell where gunfire is coming from in a 360-degree arc. Switching on the Dolby Headphone mode emphasises this: sound becomes hyper-real, very slightly exaggerated but still very detailed and effective.

BioShock has excellent environmental sound as its killer feature, with dripping and rushing water and the sound of rising bubbles an ever-present part of the player’s journey through Rapture. It doesn’t take combat to show off the PC 363D’s detail, and we were more than happy to just stand still and listen to the sounds of the world reverberating. Again, turning on the surround sound emphasises positional audio effects without making them comically overblown.

The Walking Dead is an interactive-movie-esque adventure title that’s a great blend of sound effects and ambient music, and we really appreciated the increased soundstage of the Dolby Headphone surround mode during our play-through. It’s not necessary for any kind of quick-reflex gameplay — that’s not what TWD is about, anyway — but it lends an increased sense of realism to an already-eerie world. There’s one particular scene involving an arm and a hacksaw that sticks in our memory...

Super Hexagon is an arcade game through-and-through. Catchy chiptune techno music and an ever-present, smooth female voice sound great in the standard stereo mode, but switching on the faux-surround sound legitimately immerses you further in this addictive twitch-fest.

Each one of these games already sounded great in the standard stereo mode, but we really have no complaints about the additional aural boost that the surround effects bring.

Music is another story — we generally preferred listening with the spatialisation effects disabled. Vocals can get a bit too echoey and airy, especially if they’re already quite separated in the stereo channels. Lana Del Rey’s Paradise EP sounds wonderfully detailed with great mid-range response and plenty of detail in higher treble notes, and Frank Ocean’s Orange has smooth bass that feels strong without reverberating.

The Sennheiser PC 363D is very detailed and open for a set of gaming headphones, which can often sound more claustrophobic than their equivalent open-backed hi-fi counterparts. The PC 363D is essentially an upgrade of the open-back PC 360 G4ME, so we’re extremely happy that there’s been no loss of the expansive sound that we liked in the previous model.

Sennheiser PC 363D: 3D G4ME1 USB surround sound

One big selling feature of the Sennheiser PC 363D is its bundled 3D G4ME1 USB sound card. It’s a Dolby Headphone adapter, with selectable Dolby modes for faux-surround stereo, 4-channel quadraphonic, 5.1-channel surround, and 7.1-channel surround sound.

Like any USB headphone adapter worth its salt, it’s got headphone and microphone jacks, and an onboard switch to enable or disable the Dolby Headphone processing. With the Dolby processing disabled, it’s got more than enough power to amply supply the relatively low-impedance PC 363D headphones, although it’d likely be trumped by a high-end discrete PC sound card like the Asus Xonar Essence STX.

Where the 3D G4ME1 comes into its own is when the Dolby mode is enabled. These are best used in conjunction with a game that’s already got good positional audio. We booted up Bioshock and Battlefield 3 for most of our testing, since these titles have excellent sound.

The Sennheiser PC 363D’s 3D G4ME1 card doesn’t disappoint. For the majority of our listening, we found that the 5.1-channel mode in cojunction with 5.1-channel audio output from Bioshock and Battlefield 3 gave the best aural representation of in-game sounds — as an example,h gunshot and explosion positions in BF3 were far more obvious and emphasised through the PC 363D headphones in this mode compared to non-Dolby stereo.

Music sounds good through the 3D G4ME1’s amplifier, too — we generally preferred to have the Dolby mode disabled, although live recordings do get a bit of a soundstage boost from the 2-channel stereo Dolby Headphone interpolation.

One note - using the 3D G4ME1 USB sound card required downloading and installing software on our test PC, with Windows drivers not automatically installing — this may change with retail versions of the headphones, but at the moment it’s an extra step necessary to get the selectable surround sound modes working.

Sennheiser PC 363D: Conclusion

High-end gaming headphones are few and far between, and ones with good surround sound modes are even rarer. We’re pleased to report that the PC 363D exceeded our expectations, and if they prove to be sturdy enough to stand up to continued day-to-day wear, we’ll have no complaints at all.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?