If ‘Simply purchase it already’ have been gaming headphones, these could be it



  • Higher directional sport sound than $1,600 headphones
  • Audio profile prioritizes sport sound whereas nonetheless being usually glorious
  • Included equipment provide enormous extra worth


  • Preliminary clamping drive is a little bit tight for bigger heads
  • Headset-side connector limits aftermarket cable choices
  • Mic may have benefitted from an exterior windscreen

There’s lengthy been a debate amongst avid gamers about what presents the perfect gaming audio. One facet claims gaming headsets are junk; you would be higher off shopping for first rate headphones. The opposite facet argues the built-in mics and game-tuned audio nonetheless make gaming headsets the best choice.

There isn’t any finish in sight for this confrontation, however there’s one product that members of either side virtually at all times give their nod of approval to, even when it’s a begrudging one: the Drop + EPOS PC38X gaming headset

Why? It is all about historical past. EPOS is an organization that started because the gaming division of legendary audio tools maker Sennheiser. It owes its pedigree to legendary Sennheiser tools just like the $50,000 Orpheus headphones, and the truly attainable HD 500 by means of HD 800 collection. This gives the audiophile clout that Razer or Logitech may lack. 

In the meantime, EPOS’ constant potential to provide {hardware} exactly tuned for probably the most aggressive avid gamers, at cheap costs, offers it extra accessibility than premium firms like Beyerdynamic or Audeze.

I’ve needed to check out this headset since listening to somebody declare it almost matches the legendary soundstage (the flexibility to provide correct directional sound, basically) of the $1,600-plus HD 800 household. I’ve heard that declare many times, at all times sustaining a wholesome skepticism that such a factor was doable for beneath $200. Welp…it’s.


Type issue Open-backed, over-ear headset
Drivers Dynamic, open
Frequency response 10Hz – 30,000Hz
Impedance  28-ohm
Connectors Interchangeable 2.5 m PC cable with 3.5 mm microphone and headphone connectors and 1.5 m console cable with 1 x 3.5 mm TRRS connector
Microphone sort Noise-cancelling, bi-directional electret condenser
Mic frequency response 50-16,000 Hz
Included extras 2 replaceable cables (talked about above), drawstring carry bag, additional pair of velour ear pads
Weight 10.2 oz (290.5 g)

Construct and match

Drop + EPOS PC38X headset sitting on a desk among gaming peripherals

The PC38X is without doubt one of the most well-padded headsets I’ve used.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

Earlier than you even hear a peep out of a brand new headset, the very first thing you discover is whether or not or not it is snug. Irrespective of how grand the sound is, you will not use it for lengthy if it offers you a headache as a result of unhealthy padding or poor design. SteelSeries’ older Arctis Professional headset exemplified this for me. It sounded glorious, and the swappable batteries have been genius, however I returned it as a result of the ski-band design was agonizing for my bigger head. Fortunately, SteelSeries has since seen the sunshine, however the instance of unhealthy consolation ruining glorious sound nonetheless stands.

My aforementioned massive dome meant the clamping drive of the PC38X headset was a little bit sturdy initially. Fortunately, this lessened after just a few days of use, forsaking a pillowy match. Each the default earpads, which use an athletic wear-type materials, and the included substitute velour pads provided ample cushioning and accommodated my eyeglasses with no undesirable stress. The headscarf padding was equally glorious, with the break up within the center cleverly stopping the stress some units can induce proper on the crown.

Extra: Greatest headphones you should buy proper now

Options and equipment

Drop + EPOS PC38X headset on a blue glass head facing forward

In general form and measurement, it is much more understated and compact than many different gaming headsets I’ve used.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

The Drop + EPOS PC38X headset falls onto the minimalist facet of gaming peripherals. There isn’t any RGB lighting, flashy coloration (although there’s a second colorway with some yellow accents), or futuristic design aesthetics. This can be a machine designed to virtually vanish whereas doing its job effectively. 

Drop + EPOS PC38X headset on a blue glass head

The metallic grille does a superb job of stopping any annoying pops whereas utilizing it, however you may need to add an after-market windscreen in the event you are likely to breathe into your mic lots

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

As for a way effectively it does that job, it contains among the best built-in mics I’ve used on a gaming headset. I’ve demonstrated the audio high quality for you beneath through the use of the headset’s mic to shortly go over its options and my impressions. 

Put merely, it sounds glorious for a built-in mic. The one method I would anticipate to get superior sound could be through the use of a discrete microphone, which provides extra value and complexity to your setup. This microphone is greater than clear sufficient for even extremely aggressive in-game chat. Nonetheless, I would not essentially begin a podcast with it.

Overview: Rode Procaster delivers broadcast-quality audio for beneath $200

Drop + EPOS PC38X headset on a blue glass head showing the left earcup with mic

The mute operate is famous on the mic’s pivot as effectively.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

It additionally has the always-sensible built-in mute operate that disables any sound when it is flipped up. Not like many headsets with this function, the PC38X gives a tactile click on when the mic engages or disengages. 

On the other earcup you may discover the included quantity dial. Since that is an analog headset, it solely controls the sound output of the headset itself, not your system quantity. It additionally maintains the identical audio high quality in any respect quantity ranges, a uncommon feat.

The port for connecting the included cables to the Drop + EPOS PC38X headset

The deep-set port would require a proprietary cable, or at the least an after-market answer designed for this particular mannequin.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

On the underside of the headset you may discover the inset connection level for its two included cables. I discovered the deep, sturdy inset almost eradicated annoying cable vibration noise from the wiring rubbing in opposition to issues, however it does restrict substitute choices considerably. 

The cables included with Drop + EPOS' PC38X headset

You’ll be able to see simply how lengthy the connector for the headset is on the left of the highest cable and the appropriate of the underside.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

Fortunately, the included cables are each light-weight and sturdy-feeling, with tight cloth wrapping and ample pressure reliefs. I would anticipate them to final years, even with comparatively careless remedy. In case you do handle to put on them out, substitute cables can be found for lower than $20

The velour earpads included with the Drop + EPOS PC38X headset

The velour protecting gives each a unique really feel and slight variations within the sound profile.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

Equally, in the event you put on by means of the default earpads, or in the event you simply favor a softer really feel, you can even swap within the included velour earpads.

Sound high quality

Now we get to what makes the PC38X headset so particular, its sound. I’ve reviewed many headsets for ZDNET, and I’ve praised the directional sound of fashions like Razer’s Blackshark V2 Professional wi-fi headset. I’ve even famous that some do present a primary stage of vertical consciousness to them. However, all of these earlier fashions are nonetheless persistently surpassed by what the PC38X presents. 

Not solely is the directionality of the sound, throughout vertical and horizontal axes, a step past what I’ve skilled sporting different headphones and headsets, however the depth of that sound provides a brand new dimension to your situational consciousness. You will not simply hear the path your enemies are coming from, even by means of partitions — you may know precisely how far-off they’re. I am unable to clarify how important this extra information turned to my gameplay. In video games like Overwatch 2 and Halo Infinite, I may purpose at a nook and fireplace on the exact instantaneous I knew somebody could be coming round it. At instances, it virtually felt like dishonest. 

Drop + EPOS PC38X headset and its volume controls on a blue glass head

The built-in dial is straightforward to discern the place of by really feel because of the intelligent indent.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

The standard of the sound was additionally clearly precision-tuned for aggressive gaming. The deep bass was stable and clear, however it was by no means the main focus of the PC38X’s audio. As a substitute, it focuses on the mids and highs that present the true texture and consciousness you need in a critical sport. Lovely orchestral scores can nonetheless shine on this headset, however it’s solely if you’re crouched behind a wall, relying on audio cues to ensure you’re the one who fires first, that you’re going to really respect its aptitude for reproducing sound. 

Even with this game-focused tuning, I nonetheless discovered the headset fairly pleasurable to make use of for music as effectively. That less-emphasized bass extension was extra of a downside for music, however the glorious soundstage and near-perfect vocal and instrument separation made up for it on most tracks. That mentioned, I would not essentially suggest shopping for the PC38X solely for music.

Backside line 

I may actually simply write “Simply purchase it already” right here and it could be my full, trustworthy opinion. However, in the event you have been hoping for a bit extra depth… I would suggest the Drop + EPOS PC38X to anybody who desires a wired gaming headset. The added comfort of wi-fi connectivity is the one factor which may make it logical for anybody to decide on one other high-end headset whereas this one exists at this value. 

Possibly sooner or later I will personal a pair of the over-$1,600 headphones I have been blown away by in high-end showrooms, the identical headphones this mannequin comes so very near matching. Till then, the PC38X gaming headset from Drop and EPOS is what I will be sporting if you see me in-game.

Alternate options to think about 

In case you do desire a wi-fi headset, Razer’s Blackshark V2 Professional continues to be my go-to for wi-fi gaming audio. Its directional sound is great and it is each light-weight and cozy.

Learn the overview: Razer Blackshark V2 Professional headset overview: A potent weapon for the appropriate gamer

If you’d like a wired gaming headset that is a bit cheaper whereas nonetheless providing nice sound and a stable microphone, Logitech has its personal long-lived entry that is nonetheless among the many greatest.

SteelSeries’ newest entry-level mannequin contains these consolation enhancements I discussed earlier, and presents stable sound for avid gamers on tight budgets.

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