After hitting SteelSeries at CES, the folks there were kind enough to ship me a few products of theirs to take a look at. Seeing as we’ve never done anything from them before, I was rather interested to see what they had to offer as I’ve heard many good things about their peripherals. The first thing I’m going to look at is their PC gaming headset, the Siberia V2.
Right off the bat, you can tell there’s something different about these headsets. The Siberia V2 is an over the head headset with some pretty unique features. First off, you can see what looks to be two headbands. There’s really one that fits on your head and its design is pretty ingenious. While most headsets make you manually adjust the fit by pulling or pushing on the headband, the Siberia V2 has retractable wires on each side where all you have to do is pull the headset over your head and the headband stretches automatically and easily to fit your head. When you take them off, the band springs back to its original length by retracting the wires into the ear pieces. It’s so simple and effective, I’m amazed at how well it works.
Each ear piece features a 50 mm driver allowing for a wide range of sounds. They are also padded with nice large cushions covered in soft leather. The covering makes wearing the Siberia V2 very comfortable as they envelope the ear with a soft feel. Both ear cups do a good job at blocking out any sound around you. While they won’t completely mask out any outside sounds, it does do a good job at minimizing the sounds around you from distracting your gaming or multimedia session.
Another really cool feature of the Siberia V2 is the retractable microphone. When extended, it’s on a very flexible yet solid extension allowing you to place the microphone in a variety of positions. If you’re not talking, just push the microphone back in and it’s neatly tucked away inside the left ear piece. I really like how SteelSeries designed the mic to make it flexible yet neatly out of the way when not in use.
For the cord, SteelSeries opted for a single cable that splits into an audio and mic connector. About halfway down, there’s a nice volume and mute control that is easily accessible. Now, the cable is short and it’s of great length to use if you’re on a laptop. For those using the Siberia V2 on a desktop, SteelSeries included a nice, long extended cable that will let you connect the headset to the rear of your computer at a nice distance away. Kudos to SteelSeries for thinking of both the laptop and desktop user in providing a solution that accommodates both. Unfortunately, the cable isn’t braided, something that I have grown to like in mice and headsets.
To test the setup, I went through some music listening of various genres, movie viewing with Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Hellboy: The Golden Army, and playing a few games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops, Team Fortress 2, and Left 4 Dead 2.
Musically, the Siberia V2 performed incredibly well. Lows, mids, and highs came in very well with the lows and highs seeming to be a little more clearer than the mids. For movies, the Siberia V2 offered up great sounds from the various action movies I watched. The dialogue also came in pretty clear as I had no issues hearing any voices. Action sequences exhibited that oomph from the two ear pieces making for a great listening experience in these movies. With gaming, the Siberia V2 really excelled in reproducing the sounds from the game. Voices from my friends when playing online came in loud and clear. The 50mm drivers offered great sound in all games I tried. From the bang of the gunshots to the subtle footsteps that are in a few of the games I played, the Siberia V2 worked like a champ.
I played a bunch of rounds of various online games to test out the voice clarity of mic. Through all the sessions, everyone said they heard me really well and there were no distortions. It did an OK job of keeping ambient sounds from passing through the mic from what I could tell with my recorded sessions as well as feedback from those online. Let me say, the mic is awesome and I love how you can position in anywhere and it neatly slides into the ear piece and out of the way. It’s by far my favorite design for a mic on any headset I’ve tested.
The SteelSeries Siberia V2 is a comfortable, well designed, and great sounding headset. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed using it and while it can get a little hot in long sessions with the leather cups on the ears, it was never too uncomfortable and performance was outstanding. At around $80, it’s definitely one of the best headsets I’ve used in that price range and a great addition for those that want a solid gaming headset.
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