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Sennheiser PC166 USB Headset review

Andy Vandervell




  • Recommended by TR

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Sennheiser PC166 USB Headset
  • Sennheiser PC166 USB Headset
  • Sennheiser PC166 USB Headset
  • Sennheiser PC166 USB Headset
  • Sennheiser PC166 USB Headset
  • PC 166 Headset (Over-the-head - Binaural - Semi-open)


Our Score:


Some companies by their very nature demand that little bit of extra respect. Sennheiser is just such a company, and its reputation has been earned not through eye catching marketing or design, but simply by producing high quality products again and again over a long period of time.

As such when this Sennheiser headset arrived in the office it was of significant interest. This, the PC166 USB, represents the very best of the Sennheiser's gaming headset range and features its own USB soundcard, as well as a noise reducing microphone. It has supposedly been developed with the assistance of pro gamers; though in and of itself this is hardly a claim I'd place much faith in. I'd sooner trust the experience of a Sennheiser engineer than some guys that just happen to have the dedication and sheer motivation to be very good at playing games.

Unpacking the set the first thing you'll probably notice is how incredibly long the cable is. In total it measures three metres, and is long enough that you're more likely to have problems with it being too long than too short. Thankfully, there's a cable management system provided that allows you to wrap any superfluous cable around an oval shaped accessory that has slits for fastening the cables and a clip for attaching it to your clothing. It's a pretty essential addition, especially since not using it can result in some annoying entanglements.

Other neat features include a small removable clip that's useful for attaching the wire to your shoulder and away from your arms, while there's also inline volume control and a mic on/off switch. At the end of the cable are two 3.5mm stereo jacks for both the headphones and microphone, while the USB adapter features sockets for each. As a result you can use the headset with or without the USB soundcard, which will please those who have splashed on expensive soundcards for their home PCs.

The USB adapter is, however, a critical factor and one which makes this set ideal for LAN parties and other events where you're not using your own equipment. This ensures consistency and eliminates the possibility of distortion and interference from lower quality on-board sound devices. Using the USB soundcard is certainly preferable to using on-board audio, providing a high level of clarity. It won't, however, ever replace high quality dedicated hardware and the default volume of the USB adapter is noticeably lower than a standard soundcard.

The headset itself is binaural, with the cups sitting on your ears rather than around them. Everyone has their own preference, but though I generally prefer headphones that surround the ear this set still proved to be very comfortable. Each of the cups is mounted on hinges so they adjust to your head, while the foam padded headband is suitably cushy. Both cups can also be adjusted vertically to match the size of your head, and the mechanism strikes a nice balance between being secure enough to not move involuntarily while not being too stiff to adjust either.


September 27, 2008, 9:57 pm

I've had my sennheiser pc 166 headset for almost a year now and it works like new. I've dropped them more than 5 times now. They are very durable and comfortable, very good sound quality. Never used the usb thing but I run my Ps3 sound and TV on them and its so better, it kills all the noise around you and immerse you into the game, movie, etc...


December 25, 2008, 5:25 pm

Hi i currently looking at 3 different headsets: Sennheiser PC166, SteelSeries SteelSound 5H v2 USB and Creative Fatal1ty HS-1000 USB Gaming Headset, so far i've read different reviews and it seems like the pc166 has the best sound and surround possibilities for a headset (biggest con being the non detacheable mic), so far i've found the PC166 and 5H V2 to around the same price and the HS-1000 for ½ of what the others costs, which of these 3 would you choose?

btw i've read all three reviews

Best Regards Surya

mark wright

April 22, 2013, 4:05 pm

Very good headset. It is possible to use either mini phono in/out plugs or the usb adaptor. The Usb adaptor means the sound is very good no matter the quality of your sound card and bypasses unpowered line in as on the mac mini. The draw back is you can loose the USB adaptor which I did for a few months. Mic can be pushed vertically out of the way. Great for that extra quality for skype, screen recording or games.

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