Sennheiser PC 163D Headphones Review

By on January 7, 2011
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Surround Sound headphones that are brilliant in any situation.

Good: Brilliant surround sound, Compatible with all 3.5mm jacks , 3D Engage button easily switches between Stereo and Surround
Bad: Cheap looking build
Price: AED 650
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

I’ll get this out of my way first, the stereo capabilities of the PC 163D headphones are incredible with songs, although maybe not as great as other higher-end models from Sennheiser. Still, at this price point I’m definitely not complaining. What does irk me is that the PC 163D headphones look a bit cheap. The matt black plastic bits all over the place and black cushions belie the true audio greatness of these headphones. The adjustable mic boom with its big cushioned end doesn’t help either. At first glance, the PC 163D looks like just another regular pair of headphones, which is why people start getting curious when they see the Sennheiser name on the top head band.

Of course, none of this matters once you put the PC 163D on because the auditory experience is just incredible. No matter what you throw at it, the PC 163D will sound nothing but great. I’ve already mentioned how good songs are on the PC 163D, so let me just say that don’t bother turning on the 3D, it will just sound a bit hollow. Songs are best listened to in regular stereo sound, the way they were meant to.

Moving onto games, the actual purpose for the existence of the PC 163D, and it outperforms any other surround sound set I have used before. Headphones are always used by professional gamers because of the close proximity and high fidelity which is an extreme advantage to keep them fully concentrated on the action at hand (excuse the pun). The PC 163D provides exactly that, but in a much more natural way, thanks to the Dolby surround sound. Playing Team Fortress 2 with its 7.1 in-game audio settings enables was quite an experience; I honestly didn’t realize until now how many audio queues are at work in that games. Forgetting the fact that playing the game in a true surround sound environment adds a further layer of depth to gameplay advantage, listening to all the myriad of sounds during gameplay was simply astounding.

Obviously there’s more to surround sound gaming than just pinpointing the approach of your enemies, everything just sounds better. With that in mind, the next game I tried was World of Warcraft, making sure to set the Sound Quality to the highest and Sound Channels to High (64). Starting up the game and playing it on the Sennheiser PC 163D was when I realized how much effort Blizzard has put into the sound design of this game, and sadly, how the majority of their user-base play the game devoid of truly experiencing (and thus appreciating) the audio in WoW. The environment in the game, plus the background music, truly take a life of their own in surround sound. Sudden;y there was more to WoW’s music than just spell effects, shouts and grunts and the same old music playing the background. You’ll actually feel a part of that virtual world with the PC 163D headphones.

That reminds me, if you’re planning to watch movies on the PC 163D, then you’re in for a treat. Putting on the Dark Knight bluray, the PC 163D truly shine. The audio experience is akin to that of a cinema hall, mostly because of the surround sound, but partly because it feels like you’re watching the movie in a big hall. Some of the sounds feel like they reverberate as they do in a cinema hall, which is not to say that it’s an of-putting experience, quite the contrary, you’ll be completely absorbed in the movie.

In the end, the asking price of the Sennheiser PC 163D headphones may seem like a lot, especially given the fact how the headphones look, but once you put them on, you’ll happily realize that it was money well spent. The PC 163D truly is an all round pair of headphones that will keep you incredibly satisfied, if not always impressed, with its audio capabilities.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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