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Drop + Sennheiser EPOS PC38X with earpads, cable, carrying pouch, and PS5 controller.

Drop + EPOS PC38X review

One of the few, and better, open-back gaming headsets.
By

Published onJune 28, 2024

6.7
PC38X
The bottom line
A simple open-back wired gaming headset with a great microphone, delivering immersive audio for those who can do without that low-end oomph.

PC38X

A simple open-back wired gaming headset with a great microphone, delivering immersive audio for those who can do without that low-end oomph.
Product release date
01/12/2022
Price
$170 USD
Dimensions
Headphones: 360 x 316 x 117 mm
Ear cup: 114 x 89 mm
Cable length: 1.29 m
Weight
289 g
Model Number
MDX-36229-1
What we like
Wide soundstage with good spatial depth
Excellent microphone quality
Includes two types of ear pads (microfiber and velour)
What we don't like
Limited controls (only volume wheel)
Sub-bass roll-off
No companion software for EQ customization
Bulky design with strong clamping force
6.7
SoundGuys Rating
6
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
2.4
2.0
2.0
Durability / Build Quality
6.0
-
0.0
Value
7.2
-
0.0
Design
8.0
-
0.0
Connectivity
6.5
-
0.0
Microphone
8.8
10.0
10.0
Portability
5.0
-
0.0
Feature
6.0
-
0.0
Comfort
7.0
-
0.0
MDAQS rating
Learn more
Timbre
4.9
Distortion
3
Immersiveness
3.6
Overall
4.7

The Drop + EPOS PC38X is one of a handful of open-back wired gaming headsets and has gathered a fan base, perhaps for that reason. They were originally titled the Drop + Sennheiser PC38X when they first released, but since then, EPOS has taken over production. So, don’t be alarmed if you encounter this model listed under the title of either manufacturer. Besides the name, there is no other difference between them, as both headsets have the same drivers. This model followed the PC37X, and they have a similar look and feel. But are there any worthwhile upgrades under the hood? Press start to find out.

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this Drop + EPOS PC38X review: We tested the Drop + EPOS PC38X over a period of one week. SoundGuys purchased the unit for this review.

The Drop + EPOS PC38X is for those who want a wired headset for low-latency gaming at home.

What’s it like to use the Drop + EPOS PC38X?

a man wearing a gaming headset while using a PS5 controller
The headset is breathable, but the hinges might catch long hair.

The Drop + EPOS PC38X is a bulky gaming headset made of mostly stiff, hard plastic with metal grilles on the ear cups. The headband isn’t very flexible and feels like it could be prone to breaking over time if you twist and turn it too much. If you have long hair, you should also watch out for the hinges, as they can easily pinch your locks.

The earcups don’t swivel to lay flat, only inward to fit the contours of your head. The headband also has a very strong clamping force that might take some getting used to. The earcups are tall, narrow, and ovular in shape, which some people might like but personally isn’t a preference of mine as I find they extend too far down the side of my cheeks. The padding is fairly comfortable, and you get two choices of ear pads included in the box: microfiber or velour, which will slightly change the frequency response. It would have been nice had the earpads been magnetic, but they are fairly fuss-free to remove and snap into place to swap them.

Being an open-back headset, the Drop + EPOS PC38X is fairly breathable, so you won’t build up any sweat during a heated online multiplayer match (at least around your ears). The boom mic on the left earcup is non-detachable, but it can flip up to be out of sight, with a satisfying tactile click to indicate when the mic is muted. On the right earcup, you’ll find a volume wheel, which has a round indent for the tip of your finger, making it easy to find, and it stops when you’ve reached the minimum and maximum volume.

The headset comes with a thin cloth case, which does little for portability or protection aside from keeping the dust off your headset. The braided audio cable feels sturdy, but while it is long enough to reach your controller in hand, it may be too short to reach a PC tower sitting on the floor or far from your monitor.

The controls are quite limited. Like the previous PC37X, there’s only one control: a volume wheel on the right ear cup. You can also flip the mic upwards to mute it.

How do you connect the Drop + EPOS PC38X?

The Drop + EPOS PC38X is a wired-only gaming headset. It does not have Bluetooth or wireless connectivity. The headphones come with a 1/8″ TRRS to 1/16″ TRRS cable and a Y-splitter to 1/16″ TRRS cable. Both connections offer a low-latency gaming experience, so you don’t have to worry about your audio and visuals being out of sync while you’re in the zone.

How well does the Drop + EPOS PC38X attenuate noise?

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Not very well, but that’s to be expected with open-back headphones, as they aren’t designed to block out noise. They are also prone to sound leakage, meaning that if you are gaming at high volumes, others around you can hear your audio.

How does the Drop + EPOS PC38X sound?

The Drop + EPOS PC38X has excellent mid-range accuracy and spatial depth, though it has a sub-bass roll-off and can be prone to distortion.

Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Scores (MDAQS)

The chart below shows how the sound of the PRODUCT was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the DROP x EPOS PC38X in Default mode. The Timbre score is 4.9, The Distortion score is 3, the Immersiveness score is 3.6, and the Overall Score is 4.7).
An overall score of 4.7 means most people will like the sound of these earbuds.

When a standardized sample was offered to a simulated panel of hundreds of listeners, the mean opinion score (MOS) overall was quite high — meaning most people would likely enjoy the sound of the Drop + EPOS PC38X quite a bit. The sub-scores paint a mixed story, with very good results in timbre, but only “okay” results for immersiveness and less than okay results for distortion.

  • Timbre (MOS-T) represents how faithfully the headset reproduces the frequency spectrum and temporal resolution (timing information).
  • Distortion (MOS-D) represents non-linearities and added noise: higher scores mean cleaner reproduction.
  • Immersiveness (MOS-I) represents perceived source width and positioning: how well virtual sound sources are defined in three-dimensional space.

See here for an explanation of MDAQS, how it works, and how it was developed.

Reviewer’s notes

a handsome man playing video games
In-game soundtracks and vocals sound excellent.

Editor’s note: this review uses a hover-enabled glossary to describe sound quality based on a consensus vocabulary. You can read about it here.

Objective Measurements

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How good is the Drop + EPOS PC38X’s microphone?

The microphone’s recording quality is very good. As you can hear in the samples below, the voices are clear and easy to understand. In noisier conditions, such as an office, you will hear a bit of ambient noise come through, but the mic does a very good job of separating your voice from it; you won’t have any trouble being heard. This is one of the better gaming headsets with a good microphone.

Drop + EPOS PC38X microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Drop + EPOS PC38X microphone demo (Office conditions):

Drop + EPOS PC38X microphone demo (Reverberant space):

How does the microphone sound to you?

4 votes

Should you buy the Drop + EPOS PC38X?

Drop + Epos PC38X on iron man head with box
The Drop + Epos PC38X is a decent, no-frills headset.

The Drop + EPOS PC38X is a solid choice for gamers who can do without some bass depth, appreciate the wideness of open-back headphones, and prefer the simplicity of a wired-only connection. The high-quality microphone also ensures clear communication in team play, even in noisy environments.

However, it’s not without its drawbacks. The limited controls and absence of companion software restrict customization options. The bulky design and strong clamping force may not suit everyone, and there are some concerns about long-term durability. If you’re after a feature-rich gaming headset with wireless capabilities, you might want to look elsewhere.

DROP + EPOS PC38X Gaming Headset
DROP + EPOS PC38X Gaming Headset
DROP + EPOS PC38X Gaming Headset
Wide soundstage with good spatial depth • Excellent microphone quality • Includes two types of ear pads (microfiber and velour)
MSRP: $169.00
One of the few, and better, open-back gaming headsets.
A simple open-back wired gaming headset with a great microphone, delivering immersive audio for those who can do without that low-end oomph.

What should you get instead of the Drop + EPOS PC38X?

a hand holding the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro 2023
The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) is an excellent closed-back wireless gaming headset.

If you’re looking for an open-back alternative with a detachable microphone, consider the Corsair VIRTUOSO PRO ($199.99 at Amazon). It offers a premium build quality and excellent microphone performance, making it suitable for both gaming and professional use. The detachable mic and swappable cables add versatility for different scenarios.

Compared to its predecessor, the PC37X, I think the Drop + EPOS PC38X has better sound quality. Both headsets offer similar comfort levels and build quality, but the PC38X’s updated design with a mesh back provides better breathability during long gaming sessions. However, the PC37X remains a solid choice, especially when considering its lower price point of $120 at Manufacturer site.

For those who prefer a closed-back wireless option with a great microphone, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) ($199.99 at Amazon) is worth considering. It boasts impressive battery life, Bluetooth connectivity, and customizable EQ settings. The microphone quality is exceptional for a gaming headset, making it ideal for both gaming and remote work meetings.

Frequently asked questions about the Drop + EPOS PC38X

Yes, this gaming headset is compatible with PS5 and Xbox via a wired analog connection.

No.

Open-back.

No, it does not require a DAC.

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