We’ve told you before that the Steelseries Siberia V2 headset was something special; a sleek, sexy light-weight, ultra-comfortable device with great sound to match its eye-catching aesthetic. We’ve now had a chance to get very, very intimate with its follow-up, the Siberia Elite…and I’m rather smitten with them.
I’ve never really developed strong feelings for hardware before, but I’ve really fallen in love with the Siberia Elite, and I’m convinced they love me too; they’re just so damned comfortable, that it feels like they’re making sweet love to my ears whenever I put them on. Like the Siberia V2, the Elite features large cups that wrap over even the largest ears.
Seriously, the lush comfort you’ll get from these these headphones is not something that can be overstated. It features a similar self-adjusting suspension headband that ensures a snug, but comfortable fit and the actual earcups are large and plush, leather-bedecked foam that feel like giant marshmallows taped to your head. It’s easy enough to forget you actually have them on – even after extended periods of use. I’ve taken to just putting them on, even if I’m not actively listening to anything. I suspect I might have a problem.
It’s not just that they’re comfortable, mind – they also happen to sound fantastic. Though gaming headsets are all the rage, very few of them actually manage good sound reproduction. That’s not the case with the Elite’s, which produce crisp highs, and wonderfully trembling lows. With that snug fit, they do a pretty good job of isolating noise too; my wife’s had to come and tap me on the shoulder to get my attention, though I think some of that may have had to do with the fact that she was asking me get the dishwasher loaded (not another way of saying “make sure the wife is drunk” I later found out”)
One of the secrets to the Siberia’s best-in-class sound is the included digital USB soundcard. It’s what enables the headset to deliver convincing Dolby-ProLogic powered 7.1 surround sound (though it features only two physical speakers). so it’s not real surround sound, but certainly delivers the sort of spatial cues you’d expect from a high-end surround headset. In my case, it let me know exactly which direction the bullet that killed me came from.
The whole experience is powered by the new Steelseries SteelEngine 3.0 software which gives you a 10-band equaliser to fiddle with the settings to your own needs. The software also allows you to change the light you’ll find embedded in each earcup. I told you before that colour-changing lights was the new trend in gaming gear and yes, the Elite allows you to select from every one of the perceivable 16.8 million colours to illuminate your ears with. There are settings to have it as a static light, shift through colour gradients, pulse or react to volume. It’s entirely pointless, though it does look nice and allows you to make them your own.
It’s also got a retractable microphone embedded in the left cup; and it’s a noise-cancelling affair that allows you to tailor microphone sidetalk, sensitivity and compression so with a little tweaking it all sounds great when you’re telling people online what their mothers did last night. Oh…and it lights up to let you know that it’s working. On the right hand side there’s an additional 3.5mm audio jack, that lets you plug in another headset if you wish to share your aural experience with somebody else in the room.
If there’s one thing I absolutely hate about gaming headsets, is the necessary evil of a in-line volume control box that adds weight to the cable and tends to get in the way. The elite has a pretty ingenious solution to this; the volume controls are unobtrusively, intrinsically built in to the earcups themselves. Turn the knob in the left cup to mute the mic, and turn the right one for full volume control. It’s pretty damned clever.
If I had to say something bad about the Elite, it’s that the headset cable terminates in a weird proprietary connector, similar to a micro USB, that plugs in to the included USB sound card. It’s mitigated by the fact that it ships with an adapter to plug it in to a standard set of 3.5mm jacks though, and the package also includes another adapter to get it to work on an iPhone,iPad or other device that uses the tri-band jack. Also included is an exceptionally long extension cable, which comes in pretty handy if you’re playing games on the telly instead of at your desk.
It’s available in both black and white. We don’t know what it’ll cost when it’s available here, but it’s currently going for about $199. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the Siberia Elite – and it is worth every cent of of its asking price. They’ve replaced all the other headsets that sit around my PC; now if only they played nice with my consoles.
Here are the specs for those who are so inclined:
Frequency: 16-28 KHz
Impedance: 32 Ohm
[email protected] 1KHz, 1V rms: 113 dB
Length: 1.2 meters
Extension cable: 2 meters
Connectors: 3.5 mm 4-pole & 3-pole x2
Mic pattern: Unidirectional
Frequency: 75 – 16000 Hz
Impedance: <2.2K Ohm
Sensitivity: -38 dB
Last Updated: October 30, 2013