Blog: Are you ONE or ZERO? Review: Sennheiser ONE & ZERO

Previously Byx looked at the GSP 300 (http://www.hltv.org/?pageid=135&userid=826458&blogid=13641), now it's time for Sennheisers’ big boys: GAME ONE & GAME ZERO.

Table of contents

[INDENT]Product specifications
Happy hour
Build quality
User comfort
Sound quality
Recording credentials
So, ONE or ZERO?
Conclusion[/INDENT]



Product specifications
GAME ZERO (left):
Ear coupling Circum-aural
Transducer principle Dynamic, closed
Cable length 3 m / 1.2 m
Connector plugs 2 x 3.5 mm / 1 x 3.5 mm
Frequency response 15–28,000 Hz
Impedance 50 Ω
Sound pressure level 108 dB @ 1 kHz & 1 Vrms
Microphone
Frequency response 50–16,000 Hz
Pick-up pattern Noise cancelling
Sensitivity -38 dBV/PA

GAME ONE (right):
Ear coupling Circum-aural
Transducer principle Dynamic, open
Cable length 3 m / 1.2 m
Connector plugs 2 x 3.5 mm / 1 x 3.5 mm
Frequency response 15–28,000 Hz
Impedance 50 Ω
Sound pressure level 116 dB
Microphone
Frequency response 50–16,000 Hz
Pick-up pattern Noise cancelling
Sensitivity -38 dBV/PA

What we should be taking away from the specifications is the frequency response and driver impedance. Higher frequency response enables the headsets to use a broader spectrum and create more correct audio; the high impedance drivers eliminates distortion thereby ensuring you get clearer audio, but might also mean that your onboard sound card is not up to the task.

Happy hour
The reason I am doing this review as a “two for one special” is, as the specifications show - the two products are very similar; where they differ in a major way is the ZERO is closed and the ONE is an open headset. If you recall the blog about headsets http://www.hltv.org/?pageid=135&userid=513969&blogid=13588 open (ONE) provide a more uniform experience but also does nothing to create a seal, that's where closed (ZERO) headsets come into play. So, let's find out what they can do, if they are able to live up to their price tag and also which one you should go for!

Build quality
The build quality is top notch, initially I was worried because there are large amounts of plastic (instead of eg. metal) involved but as soon as I put the headset on my worries dissipated. The plastic is high quality, feels smooth and helps to lower the weight - ensuring the headset is usable even when playing multiple hours a day. The earcups and top, where the headset has contact with your head have a very soft and pleasant material - the ONE has plushy and soft cloth and the ZERO has a leather like substance helping to create the seal. All this is of course what we expect from high-end products such as these, but it’s important to state that you can play MM all weekend long without any discomfort.

The braided and very long cable is also a plus, so is the fact that it's detachable, so, if you roll your 50 kg gaming chair over the cable, it can be replaced which is certainly not the market standard.

User comfort
Both headsets are large and look heavy, this might be cause for concern because for gaming a headset that does not create any sort of discomfort, even when playing 8 hours in a row, is a must. Luckily the support and also the materials used where the headset meets your head are excellent. I have used the headsets for a couple of months now and there have been ZERO (hehe get it? ;)) times where I have had to take it off because it was pressing on my head or my ears - this is especially impressive since I wear glasses and many headsets press inwards in such a way that 1-2 hours feels fine but once you go above that it’s like I am being waterboarded while someone is trying to teach me Russian.

Sound quality
It’s hard to describe such a thing as sound quality, we could test them and show the frequency response range but it would just be numbers on a board because even when playing the same sound everyone of us would experience it differently. What I can tell you is that the sound quality is amazing! Compared to entry level products there is no contest, you could hear the difference 10 out of 10 times and would chose the ONE or ZERO every time, but even when pitted against other very solid products that we have given the stamp of approval in the past - like the HyperX Cloud Revolver or GSP 300 the ONE and ZERO have an edge, they’re able to effortlessly play really low bass and very high treble creating an immersive experience the lower priced headsets just cannot reach. The difference between your average 50-70$ headset and high-end products such as these is not easy to convey, it’s like 60 Hz vs 144-240hz, once you have tried a high-end headset you will NEVER go back - the feeling, extra input and comfort you get from premium products are just too good. Of course, they better well be considering they cost a lot more :) but seeing as we are gaming A LOT, headsets are not really an area of big leaps in performance so a high quality product will last you a long time.

For CS:GO we are mostly looking for audio clarity and the ability to correctly produce stereo content so we are able to know if someone dropped the bomb or is coming to backstab and if so, from which side and how far away.
The stereo reproduction from both headsets is impressive, you feel more engaged and closer to the action than the rest of the products we have tested. We have and will continue to use the headsets for gaming until/if something knocks them off the top that’s for sure.

When it comes to music they also deliver, although my onboard soundcard struggled a bit to keep the headset satisfied while playing “The Knife - Silent Shout” at max volume. Luckily Sennheiser and Zowie have put an ace up our sleeves that will be the focus for my next review. Suffice to say, if you can supply the headset with a clear and strong signal they will not let you down, not ingame nor when listening to your favorite song.

A useful feature is the ability to adjust volume on the headset itself on the bottom part of the right earcup.

Recording credentials
When accessing a mic we are not looking for recording quality worthy of you going full Celine Dion. We want a good mic and if possible some noise cancelling. Sennheiser brought their a-game on this part which means that even though your teammates may mumble broken English whilst vacuuming they will be able to hear you clearly. It’s what we expected from a high end product and the nifty feature which mutes the mic when it’s raised is a nice addition.

So, ONE or ZERO?
Choosing which side to pick in this binary battle mostly comes down to your environment. ONE being open means that if you cannot control your environment, external factors might compromise your ability to perform 100% ingame. Do you have a noisy sibling playing loud music, a significant other with a crazy vacuuming schedule or do you live in a neighborhood prone to drivebys?

Are you able to control or not be bothered by your immediate environment -> ONE
Do you want to block outside input, planning on going to LANs or just have a significant other with an annoying voice -> ZERO


ZERO packed and ready for LAN (mic is not detachable, it’s under my huge hand!)

Conclusion
While it’s true that you may not NEED the improvements these headsets could bring when going from your standard issue gaming headset (think HyperX Cloud 2 or GSP 300); the amount of times you will will win a round because of having ZERO or ONE instead of ex. HyperX Cloud 2 is low to nonexistent. Nevertheless we feel (Byx likes the ONE better…) that the ONE and ZERO are the best headsets we have tested thus far. Not because their audio is miles better, or they fit better.. they just do it ALL better, small improvements in all areas - that’s what you pay a premium for and it’s always important to us that the product is worth the pricetag it’s carrying - with these headsets there is no discussion. When playing a lot it’s important to be comfortable, to not be limited or in other ways held back by the equipment you are using and this is why both the ONE and ZERO get our stamp of approval and recommendation to buy them as soon as your current headset breaks or you get tired of not having enough bass when watching frag movies.

Social media!
We are now on social media! The blog section here on HLTV have left us wanting, it’s hard to reach all who might be interested in hardware reviews focused on competitive gaming with the current build and as such I invite you to follow us on:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CompassG/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/CompassGaming__
where we will post and link to our reviews. Let’s face it, it’s time to let your crush know that you are into gaming - chicks dig gaming and there is nothing more endearing to a female than you liking something named gaming on Facebook! :D
AKG > sennheiser
2017-05-15 11:59
? AKG I think akg is actually smaller if measured by revenue?
2017-05-15 14:28
actually read the whole thing bcuz i had a watergasm so i was like why not what would u say the biggest difference is (other than price) between the zero and hyperx cloud 2?
2017-05-15 12:17
I've had HyperX Cloud 2 (unlike rex) and the Sennheiser Game One headset so I'll be able to give my thoughts. HyperX Cloud 2 is a great headset, without any doubt. It's fairly cheap and I have no concerns about it whatsoever. Sennheiser Game One/Zero is just a more deluxe headset in sound quality, build style, mic quality and comfort. It's a bit like comparing a Ford to a BMW/Mercedes. They both do a great job, but there is many small details that makes the Game One/Zero an even better experience, where as the price also goes up. I hope it gave some clarity :)
2017-05-15 13:53
tldtr
2017-05-15 12:19
How many accounts do you have? I thought having alt accounts not allowed in Hltv?
2017-05-15 13:11
You want me to ban myself? :D I have one account.
2017-05-15 13:41
There was another account something like compassgbyx.
2017-05-15 13:44
Ye, that's Byx - I also refer to him in the review :)
2017-05-15 13:45
Hi. We are two different people which makes up Compass Gaming, our nicknames just resemble each other :)
2017-05-15 13:49
Oh ok. Thanks for the information. I always thought you were one person.
2017-05-15 14:05
Nope we are not :P np
2017-05-15 18:10
How does one review a headset that has the same fuckint sound like every 90€+ headset out there
2017-05-15 13:55
Nice review in going to Zero
2017-05-15 13:59
I am PC 310
2017-05-15 15:13
Login or register to add your comment to the discussion.