Sennheiser is synonymous with manufacturing superior sounding head and ear phones at very reasonable prices. The company has now released two different headsets for the budget user, the PC20 and PC30, both continuing that tradition faithfully. Popular VoIP provider Skype has certified a whole range of Sennheiser multimedia headsets, which it is satisfied offer the level of quality required for Skype Internet calls.
As tested here, the PC30 stands out from the multitude of VoIP-based peripherals because most competitor products are plagued with cheap built-in speakers and microphones. The PC30 is a dual-transducer stereo headset that is well suited to both multimedia use as well as telephony. The PC30's ordinary black finish and cheap looking ear pads lead us to believe this will be a very ordinary device. Unlike previous products from Sennheiser, we found the PC30s rather boring and unattractive.
Feature-wise, the PC30 can't be beat. With support for voice recognition, Internet telephony or as a conventional headset for listening to audio through your computer, the PC30 is the perfect all rounder.
Setup is just a matter of Plug and Play. However, to work using Skype, the PC30 must be set as your default audio device. This is done by changing some settings in your computers control panel. The very hardy, 3-metre Kevlar fibre-reinforced cable simply connects to your soundcard, giving you the freedom to move about your desk without the headset falling off. Construction is robust, high quality plastics have a solid feel and can be handled quite roughly without any damage.
Anyone using the headset for extended use will be pleased to find they are very comfortable, with the microphone boom interchangeable between left and right ears. The lightweight construction and ergonomic ear cushion along with adjustable headband and microphone make them almost unnoticeable whilst in use. The foam padding on the earphones and microphone can irritate after extended use.
Unlike many of its competitors the PC30 provides high speech clarity and consistent voice recognition due to noise reduction features of the headset. We found the PC30 comparable in audio quality to much more expensive audio dedicated headphones. Voices were clear and sharp. There was some crackling, but this is most likely due to the VoIP connection rather than the headset itself.
Multimedia use is where the PC30 really shines. High- and mid-ranges were very good with maximum sound pressure at a loud 109dB, not bad for a unit this size. The only letdown was deterioration in quality for low bass sounds. Overall we were very impressed.