When I bought my last notebook, I paid particular attention to a display with good RGB coverage. The book should also have a dedicated graphics card because I felt like gaming again. What I didn’t really care about at the time was the sound. However, very few notebooks are equipped with special sound hardware anyway. So there was the classic onboard. And that didn’t bother me in the last few years, until I got hold of EPOS.
Epos Sennheiser GSP 300 & GSX 300 test
In addition to office equipment, the audio professionals at EPOS also have an impressive gaming portfolio that doesn’t stop with headsets. Rather, there are various external sound cards or amplifiers in the range, which are supposed to tease more out of the well-known notebook sound. The combination of amplifier and headset sounded even more appealing to me when I took a look at the prices: The test amplifier of my choice: EPOS | Sennheiser GSX 300 that costs just 79 euros. For less than 100 euros, the stately GSP 300 was added as a headset. Then let’s see if this duo is really dynamic.
If I look at the packaging of both the EPOS | Looking at the Sennheiser GSP 300 and the GSX 300, there is no real gaming feeling. Everything seems sober and Windows-esk. I now open the amplifier box first and find a fairly manageable overall package in it. The largest part is taken up by the compact GSX 300 amplifier. I also find a microUSB cable and three inserts. That was it. The amplifier draws power via USB so that it does not need an external power source or other accessories.
It is no different with headphones. I had to smile a bit when I saw the black plastic inner packaging, which reminded me of hardware packaging from 15 years ago. Let’s just say it is functional, but far removed from what we are used to today in terms of packaging routines and materials.
Only the stately EPOS | are waiting in the plastic shell Sennheiser GSP 300 and jack adapter on me. I’m looking for a transport case or similar convenience accessories in vain, but in my opinion that justifies itself with the low price and the rather stable construction of the headphones.
Epos Sennheiser GSP 300 & GSX 300 Hardware
The EPOS | Sennheiser GSX 300 is presented as a palm-sized, neatly crafted, black box (which, by the way, is also available in white). The GSX has a microUSB connection on the back and two jack ports for headphones and a microphone. On the front I find a small button and a volume wheel that works smoothly and in steps. All in all, the amplifier makes a high-quality and solid impression and I’m curious to see how much it can do because of, or perhaps despite, the reduced appearance.
This is by no means small and inconspicuous. My test device comes in black, gray and blue and looks a bit futuristic due to its angular design. The over-ears cannot be folded up and in general there is not much to adjust other than the bracket. The shells can be easily tilted in all directions and I can remove the cushions and replace them if necessary.
On the right shell I can still find a stepless volume wheel, on the left the flip-up microphone is installed. Despite the moderate price of the headset, I had at least expected to be able to remove the cable. According to the manufacturer, this is possible, but I can’t do it even with great effort. And there are no other controls on the cable. The EPOS | Sennheiser GSP 300 is ultimately convincing, but functional I would have expected a little more.
Epos Sennheiser GSP 300 & GSX 300 Comfort
With the GSX 300, I don’t have to write a lot about usability. The small box stands well and is non-slip on the table and has enough play with its 1.2 meter long USB cable. In terms of cable technology, the EPOS | Sennheiser GSP 300 another two meters of rubberized material on it, which gives me enough freedom of movement. But let’s get to the really important question of comfort.
The circumaural shells score with enough play in all directions and thus adapt well to any, well, definitely my head shape. The ear cushions are pleasantly soft and do not press significantly even after a few hours of gaming and music. For me as a spectacle wearer, it is also relevant that the headphones do not exert too much pressure on the temples.
Here, too, the GSP 300 is convincing. The also very soft and comfortable headband padding ensures that I actually don’t notice anything from the EPOS headphones “upstairs”. The few hardware elements that I can operate (i.e. volume wheel and micro bracket) can be reached quickly in a blind flight, so that I have nothing to complain about here either.
Epos Sennheiser GSP 300 & GSX 300 Software
The EPOS offers the EPOS Gaming Suite for download on its website for both the GSP 300 and the GSX 300. This is a prerequisite for detailed sound settings. However, the software suite is not really interested in the headphones and I can not use it effectively with the GSP 300. It looks quite different with the amplifier. After the GSX 300 has been set up on the notebook, there are a number of options available to me in the Gaming Suite.
First there is the settings menu, in which I update the firmware and assign the Smart button (this is what EPOS calls the button on the amplifier) with surround mode or EQ type. I also set the suite to load when the system starts up. Next there is the playback menu, which is mainly used to set the equalizer and the surround sound.
In the microphone menu I define the sensitivity of the microphone, set up amplification and noise suppression or adjust the voice amplifier. Functionally, the EPOS-Suite offers me a whole lot of features and I will certainly use many of them extensively and especially the equalizer.
Visually, the gaming suite with its dark, turquoise-colored gradient is quite successful. The fonts are beautifully modern and overall the software is very clear. Unfortunately, everything turned out to be a bit fragmented. The buttons and click areas are sometimes tiny, overlap one another or are simply arranged illogically. With the next update, it can be a whole lot more usability.
Epos Sennheiser GSP 300 & GSX 300 Music
Before I get to the actual target discipline of the sound combo, gaming. I look at how the headphones play music individually and in combination with the amplifier using two very different examples.
Example # 1 – Pain of Salvation – Panther
In this song, the Swedish proggers combine hip-hop elements, spoken word reminiscent of Korn, accented electric guitars and lots of synthesizer elements. This results in a rather differentiated sound experience. The EPOS | does all of this Sennheiser GSP 300 alone with remarkable quality. The bass comes across full, mids and highs do not blur anywhere and even at maximum volume nothing overdrives. The headphones master the nuances of the song impressively and at least convey a certain sense of space. This is certainly even better with high-end headphones, but the EPOS still delivers very well.
Then I quickly clip the amplifier in between, assign the function key with the switch from stereo to 7.1 and set the equalizer to “Music”. The latter causes a little revelation. The song gets even more pressure and resonance across all frequency ranges. None of the samples or instruments are drowned out, rather they all stand in their own position on the (although not much larger) stage.
What doesn’t make sense to me with music, on the other hand, is the switch to 7.1, as long as the songs don’t come along as a special 7.1 mix. I would rather turn the volume up to the maximum volume again and thus make my surroundings clearly audible.
Example # 2 – Igor Stravinsky – Infernal Dance of All Kastchei’s Subjects
The title from Stravinsky’s ballet “The Firebird” thrives on its dynamism and the interplay of brutal staccatos and playful to epic passages from woodwinds and strings. The cleanly mixed recording of Simons Rattle’s version with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra poses no problems for the GSP 300 even without an amplifier. He gets along very well with the dynamics and gives the individual instruments their freedom. The result is convincing in its aggressiveness as well as in its playfulness.
With the same amplifier settings as before, the EPOS | Sennheiser GSX 300 even more wow factor in the details. The orchestral accents get a bit more bass, the brass sounds a lot more aggressive and the strings are a bit softer for my taste. I have to listen carefully here to see the added value, but overall the result sounds very good.
Epos Sennheiser GSP 300 & GSX 300 Movies
I am celebrating the same game as with music with various films and genres.
The Old Guard (Action)
Because I’ve always wanted to see it anyway, I watched the Netflix actioner with the EPOS | Sennheiser looked at the ears. The bass that is missing here is considerable even without an amplifier. The sound is pretty good for my taste and my ears ring a lot in the action scenes.
The mids and highs also fit. But what I didn’t like in this genre is the lack of focus on language. Especially in the noisy scenes the highs are missing here. It sounds like everyone is lisping. What is also missing: a little space. Noises from the left and right are clearly audible, but not too much is happening into the room.
Now I switch the amplifier in between, set the equalizer to Movie and the sound to 7.1. This is definitely beneficial for the general sound. Charlize Theron’s ax swings a little more cutting through the air and the projectiles ring nicely on the ground. The bass doesn’t seem quite as rumbling and differentiates itself better. Only with the S-sounds the amplifier cannot do much either. Incidentally, this is not only the case with “The Old Guard”. Most of the actioners I’ve tested don’t do very well with speech.
The Irishman (Drama)
Let’s try something more level and less riot. Scorsese deliberately places sounds and silence in order to create an authentic setting. Even when it gets louder, the sounds can be clearly distinguished from one another. This approach is noticeably good for the GSP 300. He is not overwhelmed by extreme action riot and thus has the opportunity to score points with subtle nuances and more space than in the first example. The voices also sound worlds better.
The downside to an amplifier like the GSX 300 is in this genre: it can’t do much better, especially if you don’t listen to the fine details. The 7.1 result with Movie EQ sounds subtly and unobtrusively more attractive than the headphones-only result. There are small nuances, like a little more bass in the soundtrack or a little more differentiation in the spatiality. But all in all, the GSP 300 already creates a beautiful sound image that the average user will not hear excessively pushed by the amplifier.
All in all at this point: the louder the film, the more useful the amplifier, because it brings nuances into the riot. In quieter films, the headphones alone cut a very good figure.
Epos Sennheiser GSP 300 & GSX 300 Gaming
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
It’s time for the gaming test and the first thing I did was choose an audiovisual delicacy. In “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” the player leads the tortured heroine Senua on her journey through the Nordic underworld. The remarkable thing about it is the diverse soundtrack. Not only hellishly creepy sound effects cavort, Senua is pursued by her own demons, which she and thus the player, hears in her (his) head during the whole game.
The task is to unite all sounds into an atmospheric whole. And he does that extremely well. The dripping, creaking and wobbling of Helheim provides the basis as a well-differentiated soundscape. Senau breathes heavily in both ears, while various voices from left and right and sometimes quite well distributed in the room, whisper the conflict of the protagonist in my ear.
I now switch the EPOS | Sennheiser GSX 300 in between, I can first decide on the right equalizer settings. For the first step, I choose eSport (Treble), which significantly lowers all frequencies up to 500 Hertz. This reduces the atmosphere in the game, but voices are much more effective. Various sounds are also highlighted more clearly, which certainly has advantages in shooters. The spatiality of the sound suits my taste very well, especially in 7.1. I can do more than just left and right and thus recognize the origin of a sound.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
The second test game I played was “The Division”. It’s not quite as cinematic and epic here, but the game offers a lot more sound effects and a nice playground for spatial distribution of the audio elements. First I go back to work with the GSP 300. The headphones do the joba good, balanced sound, which also does not neglect the successful soundtrack of the game. While I work my way through the street canyons and defend my opponent, a cool synth score thunders in the bass.
Behind it lies the multi-layered sound of the big city and around me I can hear the commands of the command and control team and projectiles striking. In the back left, a bullet hits a police car and the siren goes on. Where it should be heard. New opponents run up in front of me and shout their slogans in my ear. The EPOS headphones turn the game into a film and present me with a great variety of audio.
Now I switch the EPOS again | Sennheiser GSX 300 in between and switch to eSport and 7.1 first. This game clearly shows how much the sound is reduced to the essentials (for “professional” gaming). From the soundtrack I only hear something subliminally and the lows and bass are practically completely a thing of the past. Instead, I can now hear the communication very clearly and with a precise spatial allocation. The same applies to the background noise from steps, shots, impacting projectiles, etc.
Although I’m not really a fan of reducing the sound so much (and I’m also not an eSportsman), the sound is so immersive that I can feel comfortable in the game. I notice this all the more clearly when I switch to the equalizer setting “Film”. Suddenly the whole backdrop is there again and seems almost too crowded.
Ultimately, as a casual gamer, I would probably find the EPOS | Sennheiser GSP 300 are sufficient at this point, but the amplifier also offers significant added value here. Especially when you have more ambitions than the Friday night gamer next door.
Epos Sennheiser GSP 300 & GSX 300 Microphone
Finally, let’s take a look at the headphone microphone performance. It is far from being done with turning down and talking: Especially when I have switched the amplifier in between, I still get a whole range of play options. First, I can use the voice amplifier to choose whether my voice is transmitted warm or cold, i.e. with bass or without. In addition, there is a general voice amplifier, side tone, noise gate and noise suppression. Many of these settings can be made in great detail and I quickly realize that I should do that too.
If I set the amplification too low, my sonorous voice tends to fizzle out. If I set the noise gate and / or noise suppression incorrectly, my counterpart not only doesn’t hear any background noise, but I can also quickly no longer be understood. So I have to try around a little until I find the right settings. In the end, I end up with a maximally amplified, cold voice with a low noise gate and medium noise suppression. So my voice comes across clearly and nothing is swallowed. In return, it can get louder around me, the confusion is not transmitted.
Epos Sennheiser GSP 300 & GSX 300 Final Conclusion
Razer, ASUS ROG, HyperX, these are probably the names that come to mind when talking about gaming headsets . But also behind the somewhat bulky EPOS | branding Sennheiser has considerable player qualities and especially if you decide on a combination of headphones and amplifier. The GSP 300 delivers very well for its fairly low price of less than 100 euros. It plays from bass to treble very confidently and creates an equally powerful and differentiated sound image for music, film and games. It is also comfortable and can also score points with the built-in microphone.
The GSX 300 amplifier is an entry-level model from EPOS | Sennheiser and can do a lot for it. In film and music, depending on the genre, it sometimes brings more, sometimes less “wow” to the result. Sometimes action sequences get more pressure, sometimes the brass sounds much clearer in a classical concert. The intermediate step via the amplifier is always worthwhile.
And when it comes to gaming , things get a little more interesting, as the associated software also has some delicacies in its luggage. There are few points of criticism apart from perhaps the reduced number of controls on the amplifier itself or the not quite optimal implementation of the software suite. But at around 80 euros, the overall package fits. As a duo, I have headphones and amplifiers from EPOS | In any case, Sennheiser is convinced me.