Steelseries raw prism 1

Whenever I write about the awesome toys from SteelSeries, you lot jump all over me to tell me that despite being wonderful accessories, you simply can’t afford them. Well, here is a headset in the budget range. Can SteelSeries make something worthwhile for less cash, or should they just stick to the high end stuff?

See Me, Feel Me

Steelseries raw prism 2

As you would expect from SteelSeries, the Siberia Raw Prism is a pretty good-looking accessory. It’s got the ubiquitous giant earcups that comfortably encase your hearing appendages, providing some form of noise cancellation. Unlike other headsets from the company, this one has a fabric covering for the earcup, and seems to offer slightly less memory foam padding as well. This makes it smaller, but also reduces the noise cancellation and makes the headset feel less luxurious.

The headset itself is light weight and has a cushioned headband to ensure it doesn’t dig into your head. The headset adjusts easily and doesn’t make any plastic clanking noises when you move your head – a major issue with some other budget headsets. With a 1.5 meter cable, you can easily use the headset while working at the computer, or connect to your console and still have length to reach the couch. With a USB connection, the headset works happily with PC, Mac or PS4.

The microphone is built into the left earcup – no extended boom or retractable mechanism. Thanks to a handy on/off button on the left earcup, you can also mute yourself on the fly. Of course, you’ll have to remember to unmute when it’s time to talk again – there is no indication to remind you when mute is enable or disabled.

While there is nothing wrong with the headset, there is nothing to also set it apart. It doesn’t look particularly slick or luxurious, instead appearing like a standard accessory. Without any extra bells and whistles to make it a must have headset, it all comes down to the sound.

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Can you hear me?

Steelseries raw prism 3

When it comes to sound, the Siberia RAW Prism offers a serious punch, pushing plenty of volume through to your ears. However, the headset doesn’t offer any digital surround sound and the features offered by the SteelSeries Engine 3 software are much less varied or nuanced than normally available – rather than letting you choose FPS or MMO sound settings, you can go for performance or immersion. There is even a voice setting if you’re listening to interviews or podcasts, although in general the music or default setting seems best. That said, the sound quality is clear and superb, without any distortion even at high or low levels.

With the microphone integrated into the left earcup without any extension, I found that I simply didn’t trust it. It picked up all the sounds in the room, including when a plane flew far overhead or my cats knocked something off the desk across the room. The sensitivity can be adjusted, although then I felt like I had to shout into the mic in order to be heard. This may have been more of a perception thing for me, but I just didn’t feel like it was a convenience to have the mic out of the way – I’d rather have the mic in front of my mouth so that I know I can adjust it as necessary.

Specifications

  • Frequency: 20 – 20 000 KHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Cable length: 1.5 meters
  • Cable connector: USB (male)
  • Mic: Omnidirectional
  • RRP: R999

Last Updated: October 15, 2014

SteelSeries Siberia Raw Prism
Summary
While the headset offers excellent sound, so do similar accessories in the same price range. Without the extra features or improved experiences, it seems like a lot of money to spend on a pretty standard headset.
Not Bad

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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