At Gamescom 2016 in Cologne, German audio brand Sennheiser is at home -- and it's taking the opportunity to launch an entirely new range of gaming headphones, designed for players that want to block out the outside world entirely and focus on the game itself. With aviation-grade acoustic sealing, the new GSP 300 headset will work on PC and Mac, as well as PS4 and Xbox One, and it's joined by two new standalone audio amplifiers that promise the best possible sound sound quality -- both stereo and surround -- during gaming.
The new Sennheiser GSP 300 is built to the same basic design as the company's aviation headsets, with large over-ear earcups and a split headband that distributes pressure over the widest possible area. The earpads are memory foam, and Sennheiser says they offer the best seal of any headphone in their class, and each earcup articulates separately on a ball joint to maximise comfort during long gaming sessions. What the company calls a "broadcast-quality" noise-cancelling mic should make for clearer voice comms with your team.
But what the GSP 300 really is is a look at what future Sennheiser gaming headsets will look like -- a shorter boom mic that won't pick up your breathing in the background, larger ear-cups that will seal around your ears, and a distinctive blue-on-black colour scheme with plenty of padding. We have no complaints about that at all; the GSP 300 looks like a great first step. Out in October, the new GSP 300 closed stereo gaming headset will set you back $199.95 and comes with a two-year warranty.
As well as a new pair of headphones, the German audio brand has two high-end USB audio amplifiers -- designed using the company's professional audio nous, but targeting serious gamers rather than music-obsessed audiophiles. Built around a large, central digital display showing volume level and other status, the GSX 1000 and GSX 1200 Pro connect to your PC using a microUSB port, but have multiple 3.5mm analog audio jacks on the rear to connect headphones and microphones independently -- and the GSX 1200 Pro can connect to other GSX 1200 Pro devices directly using a wired 3.5mm connection, making for instantaneous team voice communications for professional eSports players.
The big selling point of the new amps, though, is a bespoke 7.1-channel upmixing algorithm that Sennheiser calls the Binaural Rendering Engine. We'll reserve our judgment til we hear it, because often surround sound can be a bit off-and-on with headphones, but Sennheiser sounds confident. The GSX 1000 will be $399.95 when it launches in Australia at the end of October, while the GSX 1200 Pro will be $449.95. That might seem like a lot of cash to pony up for a sound card, but it's actually price competitive with other PC digital-to-analog audio converters -- and offers the bonus of proper 7.1 surround sound support for headphones to boot. [Sennheiser]