Gaming on you’re Xbox with the surround sound cranked may be fun, but will likely piss off your neighbours. Either that or the other people in your house. To solve this problem, you should consider some gaming headphones, particularly if you live in an apartment complex with thin walls.
Solving the volume out issue is one thing, but what about the volume in problem, you know, for those Xbox LAN sessions you have in the street.
Over the past month I’ve spent some time with the Sennheiser X320 gaming headset for the Xbox 360. It features a stylish and comfortable design with green accent, which matches the black / green design of the console. Weighing in at just 280grams, they become like a watch after a while, in that you forget you’re wearing them. Other headsets I’ve used become really uncomfortable after a long gaming session, but the X320 over-the-ear design worked great.
The headset also features a microphone that turns on when you flick it down, and off when you flick it up. It may not sound like a big deal, but its a hell of a lot easier than fumbling to find the mute switch between rounds.
The sound quality of the headset is really good, in fact I even picked up some engine noise intricacies in Forza 4 that I hadn’t noticed before. This is likely due to the low noise amplifier built into the X320.
While the sound quality is solid, there are a few issues with this headset. The first is the connections are overly complex. First there’s the USB cable connection, then there’s the red and white audio pass-through connectors, then there’s the microphone to controller cable. For such a stylish headset, this is a really ineloquent solution. Maybe it’s a technical limitation of the Xbox, but a simply USB cable to carry audio both ways would dramatically simplify the setup.
Like most users, I connect the Xbox 360 via HDMI these days, this means I had to go find the component cable to use these headphones.
The microphone level is adjustable via the in-line control (along with headphone volume and bass boost), but quickly introduce line noise. This is a pretty big flaw in the product, but if you can keep it low and talk louder, you can work around it.
The Sennheiser X320 Xbox gaming headset sells for around A$199. Shop around and you could find it on sale as cheap as $179.
There’s no way around it, these are expensive, but as a premium headset its not unexpected. The biggest issue is the limitation of Xbox-only. I tried plugging the X320 into the PC but they do not work as a regular headset. The only way I could swallow $200 for a headset is if I could use them for absolutely everything from the mobile phone to the TV. Sadly these are Xbox-only. There’s a bunch of gaming headsets in this space, so look at other options but if your after audio quality, keep the X320 in mind.