CES 2014 Highlight: New Sennheiser Gaming and DJ Headphones

I've seen Sennheiser make, in my opinion, an occasional misstep, but not this time. I think they nailed it with both these product line introductions.

Now, I know headphone enthusiasts have a deep desire to see Sennheiser produce another flagship headphone like the HD 800 or Orpheus, but that's really not going to be a big financial win for Sennheiser. They're a company that needs to have killer offerings in every category. The last couple of years they've been focussing on the broad general purpose market with their Momentum Over-Ear and On-Ear models, and have done a really good job of it. I think their introduction this year of good cans for gamers and DJs is a very smart move. Their pin-point focus and conservative development schedule seem right in-line with ensuring and maintaining a market-leader position. Success in these areas will keep the company healthy in this raucous market, and will allow them to really get it right when the time comes to produce another great headphone for enthusiasts. I'm down with that.

G4ME ZERO ($279) and G4ME ONE ($249)
Looking and sounding to me like spin-offs of the HD6XX headphones, these new gaming cans just shouted "Win!" to me. I thought their sound quality was very good (under ridiculously loud conditions—there was a sub-woofer booth right next door), and the styling, comfort, and features seemed right on the mark.

The ZERO is a sealed design for gamers in loud environments like at LAN parties and tournaments; it has leatherette earpads, folds flat, and comes with a carry case. The ONE is open and designed primarily for high-quality audio while gaming at home in a quiet environment; it has velour earpads and does not come with a carry case. Both headphones have a boom mic that mutes the audio when raise fully up, and the "noise canceling" mic(really just a highly directional mic that rejects off-axis noise, and not an active noise canceler) ensures clear speech intelligibility even in loud environments. Both models are very light and comfortable; have a passive volume control on the outside of the right earpiece; and have cables entering the left earpiece that are terminated at the other end with two 3.5mm plugs for a computer—one for the headphone, an the other for the mic. The PCV 05 adaptor optionally for Macs and the PS4.

Product pages for the G4ME ZERO and G4ME ONE.

HD8 DJ ($389), HD7 DJ ($329), and HD6 MIX ($279) Headphones for DJs

Maybe the most famous and oft used by pros DJ headphone is the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II. When I heard they were introducing a new line of DJ cans, I began to worry that they might be shooting themselves in the foot: They already have the world's most popular DJ can.

At first glance I thought these headphones might be a bit bland looking for the DJ market, but as I looked, felt, and listened to the new line, I began to feel Sennheiser had done a superb job of producing what indeed might just be the next generation favorite for DJs. I really, really liked them.

The HD8 DJ is built like a brick outhouse. Cast metal headband ends and bails are mated with a metal swivel assembly that permits 210 degrees of rotation and clicks into place for three different wearable positions. Cable entry is available on either earpiece, and both straight and coiled cables are included. Sennheiser says these are voiced specifically for DJs needing to hear clearly and beat-match in loud environments, and are able to play very loud without distortion.

The HD7 DJ is $60 less expensive; the metal components including the swivel assembly of the HD8 are now high-durability plastic (and I believe Sennheiser knows quite a bit about making really good plastic parts), but the two headphones are quite similar in look and function otherwise.

The HD6 MIX is designed more for in-studio use and does not have the swiveling features of the other two.

Ivan Quan tells me the voicing of the three cans are all slightly different depending on the intended use, but I found them quite similar and all good sounding under show conditions. All three headphones should be available by month's end, but at this writing website information for each product remains incomplete. When it does become available you should be able to access it from this page.

avens's picture

Any news on discontinuing or updating (new revision) the 600/650?


Also the shape of those gaming phones is quite intriguing, as it is very similar to its bigger brother. I hope you review them as soon as possible since they have huge potential, particularly the open ones as they fix the shortcomings of their gaming series (for playing) and look very much alike the 600 (music).

avens's picture

(nice, autoreply)


For testing headphones for gaming this is the way to go. As you can see in the reviews some aspects are more crucial than others for that specific use, such as soundstage and non intrusive bass:




What would be best is to test them against the 598, as that's their top of the line offering for playing (though all based on the 555 drivers, all with the same design and all open), and hopefully with other big names if they are around the house such as the AKG 701, AD700, MA900, CAL v1.

Finally, I hope the test is with games (soundstage and everything) and with music as well (the reason we are here). Thanks.

sfoclt's picture

Although I'm generally in the market at the higher end, both of these lines are appealing.  

I could really use a "gamer" headset that would be useful for conference calls in my home office.  I have top of the line bluetooth earpieces that have great mics and good noise suppression (so great for the people on the other end), but which have bad audio for me.  Nothing is worse on a large conference call than asking people to repeast themselves (or having them ask you to repeast yourself) solely because of trivial tech issues.

As for the DJ headphones, I would normally ignore but the Sennheisor Amperior is among my favorite headphones of all time.  It has an energy to it that is seductive.  Despite not being the most comfortable (it's not bad, but supra-aural is just by design not great), I still throw on the Amperior more than any other headphone.  If they could capture that magic in a more ergonomic style, I'll get in line to buy.


DrForBin's picture


Tyll, please, please, please get these in for review!

studio monitors, with superior isolation (both ways, i trust) all for less than three bills!

count me in!

RPGWiZaRD's picture

This is like the first Sennheiser products I've had interest in pre-launch. Typically Sennheiser doesn't produce the kind of sound I personally like but these may be more like it (HD7 & HD8).

Even if it says HD6 is meant for studio use I'd end up with either HD7 or HD8. Currently using Q40 as studio monitors my my mastering of Hardstyle (EDM) music and the Q40 have around ~8dB peak in bass but I couldn't settle with less.

macksherlock's picture

The configurations of the headphones are really good. I love Instant Gaming and would love to have the good configuration headphones.

Reticuli's picture

How good is the isolation on the HD8 DJ?