Nobody keeps it simple anymore. Gaming headsets these days boast the most bombastic features, with names that would make the International Astronomical Union blush, and a price tag that would make our wallets cower in fear. Nothing short of (virtual) 7.1 surround sound, and gimmick-ridden features like voice morphing usually does, and they all account for nothing when it comes to delivering good quality sound.
Sennheiser tends to be a little wiser, usually keeping it simple with its proven brand of solid, outstanding stereo headsets. The U320 falls in that category, a one-headset-to-rule-them-all for your PC, Mac, PS3 or Xbox 360 needs.
Design and Comfort
Sennheiser hasn’t experimented with the U320’s looks, which is similar to most of its X and PC series of gaming headsets. Nothing to fault here, the musical-note body looks classy with the black finish, and the light blue highlight gives it a very subtle oomph.
The only possible fault with the design is the lengthy cable the headset comes with, a necessary evil perhaps as it is designed to be used on multi-platforms. It would be impossible for Sennheiser to guess the normal distance an average user sits from his entertainment system, so an easy solution is to add length to the cables than one could ever possibly need. Still, if neatness is not your forte, the U320 will definitely add to the mess.
Sennheiser has kept the earcups free from any controls, except for the microphone which swivels from vertical to horizontal. The inline control module is where you will do most of the tuning. You can individually channel game audio and chat volumes, and choose to use the bass boost feature which helps make movies and games sound punchier. There is also a slide tone switch which allows you to monitor your own voice, ensuring you are not screaming at the top of your lungs while chatting with friends or in-game.
In terms of comfort, the U320 is a hit or miss at random. It’s one of those kinds of headset that is comfortable at one point in the day and uncomfortable at another. It’s quite comical to read that, I would think, but that has been true for me so far. I did not find the U320 consistently comfortable. Sometimes I would hardly notice it on my head, and sometimes it would be downright painful to wear. The U320 uses Sennheiser’s proprietary CricleFlex technology which automatically adjusts the earcup to the wearers head but that’s not immediately noticeable. It also features an open acoustic design that allows built up heat to escape around the ears, and while that works quite well, it also fits the headset in a ‘V’ position, which might be uncomfortable for some as it pressurizes on the neck than hover over the ear.
The Sennheiser brand usually ensures a high quality experience, and it’s no different with the U320. I tried the headset primarily on two games, Far Cry 3 on PC and Unfinished Swan on PS3, both extremely competent titles for sound testing, and so vastly different in cues and placement.
The U320 lapped up whatever was thrown at it, be it that grumbling panther scuffling in the tall grass in Far Cry 3, or the blobs and splashes, and the tinkling hints in Unfinished Swan. The U320 delivered excellent sound reproduction with incredible depth and clarity. The bass boost added to the experience, bringing the necessary kicks and punches in action sequences in not only games but movies as well.
The headset is competent with music, too, smoothly handling the lows and highs, and delivering clean mids. It is so good, in fact, that it made me revisit some of the old classics because it just brought me into the mood. That alone speaks volumes about how good the drivers on the U320 are.
The Sennheiser U320 is built with gaming in mind and that is quite apparent with how it delivers. In terms of sound quality and bang-for-buck, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this Sennheiser, especially as it is designed to work with most of the current platforms. The lengthy cable and the hit and miss comfort level might be a deterrent to some, so I do recommend you keep those points in mind before you take the plunge.