EPOS SENNHEISER GSX 300 – Your PC Has Never Sounded This Good
If you are old like me, you will probably remember a time when a soundcard was just as important to purchase for your PC as a CD ROM drive or 56k modem was. But as time moved on, soundcards became essentially a thing of the past thanks to the integration of sound drivers and components into standard PC motherboards. While that made everything super simple, we lost something along the way and up until recently, I didn’t even know it was gone. Thanks to the EPOS GSX 300 though, I have that something back and it has been a bit of a revelation.
You see the GSX 300 is an unassuming little box of magic that plugs into any old USB port on your computer and turns your once flaccid and hollow sounding speakers or headphones into mighty beasts of booming audio bliss. Well, that might be an exaggeration but I liked the drama of it. What the GSX 300 actually does is provide you with the level of audio fidelity that just isn’t the norm with onboard soundcards. It is super simple to set up, simply plug your 3.5 mm speakers or headset in the back and away you go. The rest is managed through the wonderfully intuitive EPOS Gaming Suite software. From this suite, you can do all the things you would expect from a good EQ suite and then save presets to the GSX 300 which can then be cycled with the push of a button on the front of the unit, making it a breeze to switch between ideal settings for music, games or movies. It is well designed, easy to use and most importantly worth the small amount of effort to get things set up to your preference.
You see the sound improvements that this little unit offers over the standard onboard sound is no laughing matter. If you have a good quality 3.5mm headset it will make a massive difference, improving bass, surround sound and noise-cancelling properties. I tested it out with a pair of trusty old Bose headphones that were quite pricey in their day and the difference was like night and day with both music and game audio clearer and dynamic. It even made a huge improvement to the stock earbuds I got with my Phone, which was something I didn’t expect at all and all of a sudden it made complete sense as to why something like the GSX 300 has a place in the gaming market.
What really impressed me however was the improvement to my actual computer speakers. You see, for whatever reason, I am usually playing games with just the computer speakers and not a headset. It has just always been how I enjoyed gaming. I also use my PC as a bit of a home stereo so I went out and bought some $600 BOSE computer speakers so I could get the best out of my setup. That was about 18 months ago and I have always been a little bit disappointed in their performance. The sound distorted heavily at high volume and I always felt they sounded a bit tinny. That is until I ran them through the GSX 300, because the difference is night and day. The speakers were always great, it is what was driving them that let me down. Now I have used it, there is no way I could go back to onboard sound, especially for speakers.
If there is one issue I came across it isn’t so much the fault of the GSX 300 as the fault of Windows trying to be overly helpful. You see I have quite a bit of audio gear hooked up to my PC. Webcam mic, Podcast mic, headset, speakers and now the GSX 300, so I guess it is no surprise that Windows has a habit of getting confused as to what I am using at any given moment. I have had the sound switch between devices randomly while in the middle of the game or when switching between applications. It is a small issue because all it takes is a quick unplug and replug of the GSX and things go back to normal, but it might make you place the GSX 300 in an easy to reach place if you plan to get one.
In all, I was surprised by the improvements the GSX 300 made. It took my fairly standard gaming setup to the next level, improving sound quality across a range of devices from headsets to speakers. It made editing sound profiles easy, improved surround sound and didn’t take up much space on my desk to boot. Frankly, this is an impressive bit of gear that is perfect for someone that wants a bit more out of their audio performance but doesn’t need all the bells and whistles (and expense) of a high end dedicated soundcard. It comes in black or white so you can pick the version that suits your desktop the best and it requires almost no knowledge to set up and use. As far as new gear to the market goes, EPOS has done a great job at recognising a gap and filling it wonderfully.