The Drop + Sennheiser PC38X gaming headset is a sequel to the legendary PC37X that garnered a ton of praise back in the day. Drop, formerly known as Massdrop is a company that collaborates with bigger brands like Sennheiser to create sort of specialty or limited edition variants of existing products. In this case, Drop and EPOS Sennheiser to craft a variant of the EPOS Game One Open Acoustic Gaming headset. The result is one of the best sounding gaming headsets I’ve ever heard. Hell, its one of the best headphones I’ve ever heard.
Drop + Sennheiser PC38X Gaming Headset
Retailing for US $169, the PC38X is a refined version of the Game One, looking slimmer and more streamlined than its predecessor. It’s lighter for one, weighing 253g which is a 50g drop in weight. It doesn’t look much different from the PC37X either which is to say, it looks like old-school Sennheiser gaming headsets that were quite frankly over the top. What’s worse is that it looks and feels so plasticky which would work against it if you judge books by their covers.
Additionally, Drop didn’t carry over EPOS’s new, magnetic removable boom arm which is a damn shame because that is one of the best things about the new headsets. That said, the microphone sounds pretty decent and will work perfectly for game chat and Zoom calls. Voice is clean, crisp without sounding compressed or nasally like most headsets. Here’s a quick sample.
Comfort is great with just enough clamping force to keep the large oval ear cups in place while giving enough seal for the sound. The headband has soft memory foam cushion and a little gap in the middle to alleviate pressure at the top of your head. I can testify that I never had any discomfort even with all day use.
The ear cups use a similar memory foam wrapped in either a soft cloth or mesh-knit fabric. Swapping them is just a simple pull to remove and click to place. Neither are remarkably comfortable but they are good enough for several hours without heating or bruising your skin. If you prefer leather, you can buy optional Dekoni pads from Drop for $40.
As a wired headset, there isn’t much in the way of controls except for the flat, volume disc on the outside of right ear cup. The design of this disc is more tactile and easier to use than the indented ones on the EPOS H3 headsets. There’s also no mic mute button because that’s built into the flip-up mechanism of the boom arm. On the left ear cup is the 3.5mm audio cable port and the PC38X comes with a braided cable that’s sturdy and durable. It’s a little stiff though and prone to getting kinks but otherwise unintrusive to the listening experience.
The PC38X is designed to work with any device be it a powered DAC/AMP system or just plug into a console controllers. This makes it a truly multiplatform headset that you just plug and play — no software or dongles required. Drop has dropped(pun intended) the driver power requirements to just 28 Ohms which means this headset will work with pretty much anything and still sound great.
And sound great it truly does. So good in fact that the PC38X almost matches my professional studio-grade Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X which are simply in another league. Even more surprising is that the PC38X utilizes similar drivers to the EPOS GSP 500 which I originally found quite underwhelming in my review.
That headset was very clean and airy as an Open back should be but severely underwhelming in the bass department — even when connected to the GSX 300 amplifier. The PC38X is a totally different beast and I was immediately blown away by the sound imaging, powerful bass, rich mid-tones and crisp highs.
As a result, games sound more realistic, detailed and immersive. The combination of open back and unique angled drivers results in excellent imaging and positional accuracy. While these aren’t surround sound headphones, the soundstage is so expansive that I often caught myself taking off the headsets to be sure what I was hearing wasn’t in the real world.
Playing games like Red Dead Redemption 2 with it’s intricate and detailed world is such a pleasure. Hearing the clop-clop of your horse or the massive boom of a shotgun or listening to the various conversations happening as you walk around town. In Destiny 2, I could clearly hear enemies running around and point out where they are just by the sound of the gunfire, footsteps or Super activating.
Even plugging in the PC38X to my Playstation 4 controller to play Ghost of Tsushima still delivered an incredible audio experience that made the game even more awesome than it already is. Every slice of my Katana or the gentle sound of the guiding winds rustling through the trees. Everything was so clean and detailed.
And yes, as open-back headsets you still very clearly hear the real world around you but I actually liked that. This is similar to my DT 900 Pro X but as a work-from-home Dad, I am grateful that I’m still able to hear my kids and wife speaking around or to me without having to interrupt my listening experience.
The Drop + Sennheiser PC38X is an easy recommendation for anyone looking for the best gaming audio. I’ve reviewed dozens of gaming headsets over the years and nothing comes close to the prowess of the PC38X. The legend is truly well earned. The only issues I have are purely aesthetic. The PC38X just looks so plasticky and old-school in it’s design compared to the far cooler EPOS H3 and H6 designs. And that non-removable microphone doesn’t help things. But none of those issues is enough to stop me from declaring these one of my top three gaming headsets ever.