Asus Xonar Xense Premium Gaming Audio Set Reviewhardnrg - November 3, 2010
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The headset is a circumaural design with ear cups that can be swivelled 90° to allow them to be stored or stowed flat. This makes it easy to pack them in a bag if you were on your way to a LAN gaming tournament, or just placing them in a drawer at home when you are not using them. The ear cups are closed-back enclosures that have custom text printed on them to let you know this is not the regular edition of the PC 350.
The headband adjusts smoothly on each side, with soft clicks at each of the sizes available. I have quite a large head, and this headset fits without issue, with the ear cups sitting comfortably around my ears.
Sennheiser chose to use a non-removeable microphone boom that can be rotated from about 45° down from horizontal to almost straight up. I really like non-removeable mics on headsets for two major reasons: it means there is one less thing to misplace or forget to bring with you, and you avoid the possibility of a mechanical failure of the mating connectors of a removeable design.
The central third of the microphone boom is a rubber-coated bendable section that allows you to position the mic pick-up closer to, or further away from, your face.
As well as having a grille for the microphone pick-up, there is a grille on the other side of the mouthpiece to monitor the sounds in the room. This allows the headset to negate the ambient noise from the microphone signal, i.e. noise canceling.
The headset cord has an inline volume control and microphone mute switch. The rotary control for the volume has a visual level indicator that increases/decreases as you turn the thumb-wheel, rather than being numbered from 0 to 10. The inline control can be attached to your clothing with the lapel clip and, with the distance from the ear cup being ~65cm, you can actually clip it to your belt or waistband! I found this much more preferable to attaching it to the collar or neckline of my shirt. During hot days in the summer, I would often only be wearing shorts, so with this headset, I could still make use of the clip.
In the first picture, the volume control is at its minimum setting. Rather oddly, this does not mute the headset, and results in a volume level ~25%. I found this to be a bit annoying when playing games, as some of the louder games could not have the volume turned down enough by using the inline volume control. Unless you have volume+ and volume- media keys on your keyboard, you would need to alt-tab or quit out of the game to reach the Asus or Windows mixer volume control if you found the minimum rotary volume position to still be too loud.
So, you might be wondering how the Xonar edition of the PC 350 headset is different to the regular one. Well, it's terminated with 1/4" TRS jack plugs instead of the usual 3.5mm size connectors. This means you have the advantage of the more solid and secure fitment of 1/4" jacks, but the disadvantage would be that you would have to use jack adaptors in order to use the headset with a laptop or onboard audio. High-end headphones and microphones use 1/4" connectors, so it's much more a case of the accepted status quo than a disadvantage. Headphone fanatics out there will be pleased to see that the headset cord uses a very tasty Y-split "cable-pants" part with strain-relief on all three cable exits. This will protect the cord against internal cable breakage at what is usually a vulnerable section of a headphone/headset cord.