Sennheiser GSX 1000 amps up your playing enjoyment

In games such as Overwatch, you can hear when enemies sneak up on you and even know where they're approaching from with Sennheiser's GSX 1000 gaming amp.
In games such as Overwatch, you can hear when enemies sneak up on you and even know where they're approaching from with Sennheiser's GSX 1000 gaming amp.PHOTO: SENNHEISER

It glows red, comes in a cool black chassis and has a large volume dial - just one look at the Sennheiser GSX 1000 amplifier and you know it's aimed at gamers.

The tiny black box is an external amplifier designed to be a plug-and-play solution for better audio quality on both PC and Mac computers.

It slots in between a computer and headphones, and gives gamers a choice of different equaliser settings, stereo imaging and the ability to simulate surround-sound from stereo headphones.

The 7.1 surround-sound algorithm designed by Sennheiser is very convincing, adding depth, detail and atmosphere that enhance the gaming experience.

Players of twitchy multiplayer shooters, such as Overwatch, can benefit from the amp, as the surround-sound modelling means you can hear when enemies sneak up on you and even pinpoint where they're approaching from - left, right or directly from behind.

Looks-wise, the GSX 1000 jumps on the gaming accessory bandwagon pretty hard, with its ultra-aggressive red-on-black lighting. Its large volume dial is a pleasure to turn, while the touchpad controls, which let users toggle between equaliser settings and sound modes, are fast and responsive.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $349

    CONNECTOR PLUGS: 3.5 mm headset socket, 3.5 mm microphone socket, 3.5 mm loudspeaker socket, mini-USB socket

    HEADPHONE IMPEDANCE RANGE: 6 Ohm - 150 Ohm

    WEIGHT: 390g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5]

Leave it alone for a while, and the touchpad lights dim.

But wave your hand over it and the display lights up immediately, adding a dash of the futuristic to your table.

The GSX 1000 comes with three default equaliser settings, matching common audio profiles. The e-sports setting lowers the bass and ups the treble, while setting up positional audio lets you hear footsteps more clearly.

The music setting turns up the bass, while movie mode emphasises vocals and speech.

However, my favourite setting to mess with was the environment toggle. Cycling through it opens the soundscape and adds layers of reverb to the headphones, adding a dimension of space in games.

At its max setting, which is designed for atmospheric, open- world titles such as role-playing games, the amp transforms a dull stereo soundscape into an atmospheric vista.

Riding through the woods in The Witcher 3 or entering the dark fantasy world of Dark Souls 3 with surround sound and atmospheric reverb turned on was a wholly immersive experience, where I was fully drawn into the world.

All these settings can be mixed and matched to your own preferences, which opens up a ton of audio possibilities to explore.

Users can also save their favourite settings using the four mappable profile keys on each of the amp's corners, which can be quickly activated with a single tap.

However, at $349, the GSX 1000 might give all but the most hardcore of gamers some pause.

Gamers who are also into high-end audio might feasibly use the GSX 1000 as a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and amp combination, which will allow them to drive high-end headphones to their potential.

It won't replace audiophile-level DAC and amp setups, but the GSX 1000 is a good all-in-one compromise which also doesn't take up too much real estate on a gaming desk.

• Verdict: An amplifier may not be on the top of every gamer's priority list, but those who want to squeeze out maximum audio enjoyment and advantage from their games at a reasonable price point can't go wrong with the Sennheiser GSX 1000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2017, with the headline 'Sennheiser GSX 1000 amps up your playing enjoyment'. Print Edition | Subscribe