I have gone through several cheap headphones over the years and was looking for a good pair for my computer, specifically for gaming and other general purposes. I started reading reviews online and decided to try out the Sennheiser PC151, a set of headphones equipped with a microphone and a volume control feature. There are several positive aspects of the Sennheiser PC151. It has excellent audio, which is obviously one of the more important qualities. The audio capability is so good that I am sometimes forced to turn down the volume when the sound is too loud. Speaking of which, the volume control slider on the headphones is easy to operate using one finger; I use the PC151 often on the computer to listen to music, and the PC151's volume control makes it unnecessary to alter the computer's. I also use the headphones for online gaming, and the audio quality negates the need to buy an expensive sound card in my opinion.
The microphone is exceptional as well. I tested it with the audio computer program, Audacity version 1.2.6., using it to record my voice and play it back. The recording was very clear, and I did not hear much noise interference. The microphone can be turned on or off with a switch near the volume control slider, although I have never really needed to turn it on or off with much frequency.
The warranty of the product lasts for 2 years. I purchased a set online from TigerDirect.com through Amazon.com for $43.48 (including taxes and shipping) in Summer of 2007, and there has been no decrease in either the audio or the microphone quality since then. By contrast, I bought a pair of stereo headphones from CyberAcoustics around mid-2006 that started to deteriorate after a few months use and survived only a month or two after the 1-year warranty expired. That particular set of headphones cost around $20.00 from the now-bankrupt Circuit City.
There are a few drawbacks with this product. The foam ear pads, while snug, can cause some discomfort after wearing the headphones for too long. It is not a major problem since one can take them off after a period of time and put them back on. In addition, the microphone is at a set distance from your face. If you cannot hear yourself or others cannot hear you, you may have a problem since you can only adjust the microphone to a limited extent. The wires connecting the headphones to the computer jacks are also a bit lengthy; this is not necessarily a bad thing, but one should be careful not to snag them on anything or trip on them.
In conclusion, the Sennheiser PC151 is an exceptional pair of headphones for a decent price. They can be used for gaming, listening to music at home, or talking to someone over the Internet. Cheaper alternatives are present, as well as more expensive ones of higher quality, but the PC151 is a superb choice for most listening tasks and has a prime microphone included.
Update On Nov 03, 2009: Recently, the audio in the left ear has decreased in quality; I suspect it is deteriorating. The sound cuts in and out at different volumes.
The warranty of the product has expired, so I am unable to return it. It was not unexpected that the product would show signs of wear a little after warranty. To the credit of Sennheiser, the headphones are still fairly functional despite the degradation in the left ear. The microphone and right ear still work exceptionally well. The PC151s are still a better set than the ones I bought from CyberAcoustics, which started to malfunction well before its 1-year warranty was voided.
I plan to purchase a replacement pair, although I probably will not do it anytime soon. I saw a deal for these same headphones a couple days ago for $35.99, but the deal has since expired. Most prices are in the $40.00-$50.00 range on average. I will likely wait until the headphones are slightly cheaper.