Sennheiser’s U320 is the company’s first stab at making a universal gaming headset. Like the Skullcandy SLYR, the U 320 is also a stereo headset requiring a dongle (360) or composite cable (PS3) to work if your console is connected to your TV via HDMI. It’s a very lightweight pair of cans, almost to the point of feeling fragile. But unlike the SLYRs, these earcups don’t feel like they’ll fall off at a moment’s notice. The earcups are a generous fit, too, with my ears having no problem tucking between the soft fabric-covered foam insulator rings. They were, however, a touch too snug at the bottom, causing pressure on my tonsils and the back of my jaw after a few hours.
The U 320s also have a boom mic on the left earcup that mutes when raised. The action on the boom mic feels stiff and solid. Those I played online with reported that my voice sounded clean, but there was a touch of interference. The mic also let off a high-pitched white noise when the required chat cable was plugged in from my Xbox 360 controller to the in-line control unit. I actually liked the Sennheiser’s control unit more than those packaged with other headsets I have used recently. There’s the mandatory bass boost switch and something called “side tone” that supposedly lets you hear your own voice better, but I couldn’t hear a difference whether it was on or off. There are also individual adjustments for voice and game audio, so if I wanted I could have both cranked all the way up.
As for the sound itself, I was less impressed. With Halo 4, voices were loud and clear, as were the sounds of switching from my assault rifle to the Covenant Storm Rifle, though the sound of swapping weapons was louder than the weapons themselves, stripping away the drama and punch 343i imbued into each pull of the trigger. Forza Horizon had lots of interference, that increased with vehicle speed and as I bombed around corners.
Overall, the U 320’s build quality and design outstrip its sonics, and while it’s hard to say exactly where interference problems arise in multiplayer sessions, I had more difficulty with the Sennheisers than the other headsets in this roundup.
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