Mike Piskor

Sennheiser G4ME ZERO Review

Sound Impressions

Simply put, the G4ME ZERO is much better than anything Razer or Logitech offers gamers. There really isn’t a comparison here, although I find it funny that the G-0 feels as though it is equally as far from the Beyerdynamic T1 , as the Razer and Logitechs are from this G4ME ZERO. A sad truth.

The low end of this headphone is a bit punchy and lacking depth or any interesting texturing, a bit inferior to audiophile grade mid-tiers available today, although again…still much better than typical “Gaming headphone” models out there from other companies that I’ve experienced. Bass quality is average, but not quite up to par with the 2014 lineup of $250 or so headphones that are available from other companies. There are just too many other mid-tier headphones with superior bass quality to the G4ME ZERO to name. I find the low end to be severely lacking deepness and a proneness to warping in extreme explosive environments in game. Tactical Nukes in Call of Duty for example, or perhaps rumbling Grenades or roars from mutant wildlife in Borderlands seem distant and muted at times. Certainly, a far cry from the experience my Beyerdynamic T1, Sony BT950 and Koss ESP 950 offer with regard to smoothness and grain, but is it really fair to compare expensive Summit level headphones to a mid tier? Nothing on Earth that I am aware of can best the Beyerdynamic T1, I get booted out of game lobbies often because the T1 headphone is so damned great at pinpointing enemies.

The Sony BT950, a brand new headphone that costs $200 handles bass far better than the G-0 from Sennheiser, although the Sony BT950 doesn’t have a pc enabled mic option ( only active cell phone ), the experience is more visceral on the Sony and lacking potency that is at least in my opinion very important to a lot of weapon types. Not much of a deepness factor on the G-0, leaves much to be desired when something epic happens that is portrayed with a large sense of bass quantity. The G-0 is not lacking quantity, it certainly isn’t bass-light, more so along the lines of bass-moderate. The HD380 Pro had fairly decent bass quality and it seems the tweaked version here in the G-0 improved smoothness a bit.

Through Foobar2000 and out of the gaming environments, the G-0 performs fairly well with some light punch and kick. It seems smoothness was the primary aim of the low end, something intended to lean more towards a relaxed presentation than a highly engaging or fun one. I find the physical quantity of bass very enjoyable. Middle ground quantity is probably the wisest choice of action when it comes to balancing the needs for gaming and for musical enjoyment, as too much bass will warp and skew in game action into a muddy haze of nonsense, not enough will leave you with a sense of something missing from the experience. The same applies to musical aspects of the headphone as well, too much bass isn’t good, but not enough is worse. You can always drop some low end off the EQ if the headphone is too bassy, but you likely aren’t going to be able to retain quality by bumping up the low end with a bass boost on a headphone without much bass to begin with.

Treble responsiveness is a problem and is not bright enough to do justice to bullets whizzing by, nor accurate enough to sensibly portray screaming or loud crashes without feeling underwhelming. I am thankful the experience is more flat on the top end, instead of overblown so I think gamers in general will appreciate the lack of a painful or icy upper end. The treble remains relatively flat, but leaves much to be desired in terms of physical quantity. Outside of the gaming world and into the musical environments, the G-0 is very out of place for its price point. I guess a reserved treble experience can be a good thing if you want a smoother sound signature while gaming, as constant bullets and pings off walls and objects can indeed get incredibly annoying over time.


By accident, I think the G-0 is well set up for a smooth ride through the upper midrange and into the treble, no painful wincing or eye twitching when brightly colored audio cues appear. Overall clarity is just okay, passable at best for the price and again not up to par with the recent slew of great mid-teirs released over the past few years. Quality aside, there is a very nice sense of spaciousness to the treble. This fluff on the top end invokes a great sense of air with high hats and drums, horns and guitar riffs, although I’ve found that fast pacing in the track forces the treble to sound pretty bad. There is a severe quality loss when a drummer takes a solo and hits the high hats often, or as mentioned previously when there are a lot of bullets whizzing by. Detail preservation is weak on this headphone, but it isn’t a problem with slower pacing tracks. Normally, single player experiencing without a focus on gun play are more than satisfactory in the G4ME ZERO.


Nothing is more important to First Person Shooter enthusiasts than accurate sound staging properties: the ability to pinpoint the source location of a sound you hear anywhere in the gaming void. Sets like the Audio Technica AD700 are generally considered excellent in this regard, and rightly so. For some reason, only a select few headphones offer the user the ability to locate sounds in the gaming grid without actually needing to see them. With line of sight out of the equation, a fun new world will open up. Be ready to be called a cheater or hacker, as these specific few gem headphones with staging properties great for gaming will cause distress in your enemy and increase the likelihood of you being booted from the server for something you didn’t do. Sets like the Beyerdynamic T1 are so good at the pinpoint location that it almost seems like anyone using them has the ability to see through walls…technically they do, but not with visuals. Enemy footsteps and subtle movements are made very easy to spot in locate to a precise degree by audio alone, which of course gives you precious seconds to pre-aim or fire at a point you know that enemy will be running out from behind soon.

In the case of the G4ME ZERO, the stage experience is above average, but still not what I would consider good. Certainly better than my Razer’s, but not as good as something like the $175 used Sony MA900: a headphone I consider one the best mid tier headphones most well suited for gaming on Earth. Width, height and depth are all relatively closed in on the G-0, which is surprising for a Sennheiser headphone, the company usually puts out more spacious sound signature, but again the G-0 is a closed back so I am not sure I can expect much in the way of awesome sound staging with a driver based on an older design. With regard to pinpoint accuracy, the G-0 performs on an acceptable level but still makes it annoyingly difficult to precisely spot enemy location. Generally, you will find yourself in a bit of a panic if there is a lot happening nearby, details are lost and the lack of width makes it somewhat difficult to get the general gist of where the enemy actually is.


There is a nasty problem at the 12 o’clock position when it comes to staging and pinpointing…if enemies are a fair distance away from you but are lingering directly ahead, the G-0 has a lot of trouble with stereo left and right and doesn’t really know which driver to output that sound to. Summed up, an enemy a hundred feet in front of you hiding behind a building, but whom is making a lot of noise will not portray himself in the stereo void as if he were right in front of you, the G-0 instead will separate noise directly in front of you and split it between stereo left and right. This has gotten me killed so many times during testing…and due to the lack of staging width you can’t really grasp how far away someone is who may be running up to you to stab you in the neck, or perhaps dropping a grenade down your shorts as they pass by.

Stage width is vital, and the G4ME ZERO has very little of it. But, this isn’t news to me, as there are no other headphones branded as “Gaming” headphones that offer great staging properties to begin with. The G-0 still outperforms all of the Razers and Logitechs, the Trittons and similar with regard to pinpointing and general stage depth. Sadly, the midrange of the headphone is quite recessed, hazy and stoic for this price range. This type of clarity was good 4 or 5 years ago in the $200 tier, but there are just way too many fantastic sets that came out after the original release of the HD380’s and are a bit clearer damned near everywhere now. While width, height and separation qualities aren’t exactly impressive, the overall stage depth is quite good for a closed back headphone.

Oddly enough, the recessed midrange helps a great deal in the gaming world, but destroys musicality while listening to Foobar2000 tracks. Inside the game world, vocals and distant audio cues seem to portray a decent sense of spaciousness away from the player, however this type of recessed sound in the vocal experience feels very strange when interacting with other players or components inside the game that are standing close to you. My brain often says these types of interactions should be more stage forward and I’ve found that forward sounding headphones provide a better immersive quality than the G-0 can, sets like the Sony MA900 for example and even Beyerdynamic’s gaming series headphones. Those closer audio devices inside the game feel too far away and conflict with what my eyes are seeing on screen sometimes.


The microphone isn’t anything special and seems to have a real problem with sudden loud yells or loud noises in general that the user might make. Celebration upon a victory will lead to your voice chat audience wincing a bit as your voice gets lost in a garbled mess of a sound. Voice over IP programs, as reported by others who helped me test audio quality for this review, found that my voice carried a thin sound signature that was typical of most voice enabled users they’ve come across. Annoyed, nobody had anything good to say. As per this recording I’ve made of myself playing some of the new Borderlands Pre Sequel for the PC, you can tell that my voice gets a bit tizzy sometimes, a bit grainy even. Near the end of the video, I celebrate with a “YEA!” after killing this secret boss in the game, only to be met with a garbled mess of a shriek as I played the video back to listen to myself.

There is too much background noise for me, my ears are too seasoned as an audiophile to not instantly pick up on it and focus on nothing else, like a giant tumor on an X-ray. Overall, the microphone on the G4MER ZERO is wonky and needlessly large, offering very little in the way of audio quality you want with your $249.99 headphone if you were an audiophile. General consumers will not really notice anything bad, in fact I am positive that most normal gamers without much experience in the headphone world will be absolutely shocked by the quality of the G4ME ZERO’s sonic experience, but will be very familiar with the audio quality of the microphone. It really isn’t that much nicer than some of the other cheaper Razers and Logitech’s, sounds pretty much the same as my old Tritton headset.

Our Verdict

At the end of the day, audiophiles would demand more and general consumers will think they got the deal of the century. Normal gamers who aren’t audio junkies will love this headphone and probably not find anything wrong with it, but an audiophile headphone this is not…far from it. The headphone sounds like a reshelled HD380 for the most part, which is an older generation Sennheiser headphone that wasn’t well rated years ago when it first was released, this guy stands no chance against some of the titan mid-tiers today like the Philips Fidelio L1 and L2, the Sony MA900 and AKG K267. The problem here is that this headphone is closed back and it needs to compete with spacious open-back headphones that rule the gamer’s headsets world.

Extreme FPS gamers should pass on this headphone and seek something much better, pinpoint accuracy is not good enough for online multiplayer action. However, non-competitive gaming needs will be more than satiated with the G4ME ZERO. Audio quality is shoulder shrug worthy at best. Build quality is good, although the technology of the microphone and drivers are seriously outdated and the entire housing is composed of plastic. It doesn’t feel nearly as cheap as Razer gaming headphones though. If anyone can create a great audiophile-grade gaming headphone, which my desire for burns brighter than the fury of 10,000 suns, I think it is Sennheiser. I feel like Sennheiser designers tossed this headphone together as quickly as possible and didn’t think it through. Recessed midrange with a lack of stage width is not the type of sound audiophile gamers typically would ask for, yet this is what was received. Audio quality is just okay, nothing special when judging this as a mid-tier audiophile-grade headphone. The treble experience is portrayed in a way that helps the stage feel like it’s more spacious, that lighter and airier sense on the top end helps me feel less claustrophobic during long gaming hours.


I’m not sure I would recommend it unless you want a headphone with a microphone attached to it, if that is the case then yes I would recommend it. But, you can get a much better gaming headphone in one of the Sennheisers’ open-back options like the HD598. Combine that with a cheap desktop mic or even something like the Zalman clip ( a $5 clip on microphone ) and you will be able to achieve greater detail not only in your music, but your gaming experience as well. My HD598 is cheaper than the G4ME ZERO and offers a hell of a lot more, I can use the rest of the budget to afford a good desktop microphone of my choice, there are plenty of great options out there.

I think Sennheiser is on the right track with the G4ME ZERO but recycling older headphones or basing the new design off an older one that most people do not regard in a positive light for gaming was not the wisest course of action to attract audiophiles to buy the G-0.


On the flip side, gamers without experience in the audiophile market are going to love the G4ME ZERO. It makes my Razer and Trittons sound like megaphones or a toy headphone purchased from the dollar store. I have faith Sennheiser is going to release something wonderful in the future for us insane gamers who want to retain typical Sennheiser sound staging, but also demand great microphones and build quality.

Let’s see a Sennheiser gaming headphone that is wireless or Bluetooth enabled for PC gaming, as Sony’s recent BT950 has blown my mind with what is possible with Bluetooth, and Sennheiser even has a great wireless headphone in the RS220. Slap a small microphone on that one and call it a day, Sennheiser. I would happily pay for something more akin to that instead of the older generation HD380 that hardly anyone cares for.


Sennheiser G4ME ZERO Specifications

  • COLOR black, white
  • WEARING STYLE Headband
  • IMPEDANCE Headphones: 150 Ω
  • CONNECTOR 2 x 3.5 mm for desktop/laptop
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE (MICROPHONE) Microphone: 50 Hz – 16,000 Hz
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE (HEADPHONES) Headphones: 10 Hz – 26.000 Hz
  • SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL (SPL) Headphones: 108 dB
  • EAR COUPLING Headphones: around-the-ear, closed acoustic design
  • WEIGHT 312 g
  • PICK-UP PATTERN Microphone: Noise Cancelling
  • SENSITIVITY Microphone: -38 dBV at 94 dBSPL

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