Published on January 2nd, 2008 | by Erich Becker0
Summary: All purpose full-size headset with excellent sound and comfort
SteelSeries has one again outdone itself, creating yet another worthy addition to an already stellar line-up of headphones, this time with the all-purpose Siberia full size. What makes the Siberia different from the range of headphones we’ve reviewed previously from SteelSeries is its all purpose nature, and, unlike the 3H, 4H, and 5Hv2, the Siberia does not come with a built in microphone.
Like the 5H, which gets a lot of use around Entertainmentopia HQ, the Siberia features large ear pieces fully cupping the ear and helping to eliminate almost all ambient noise. The cups are padded and covered in a silky material making them comfortable for extended use. Coming in both black and white, the Siberia does not feature an adjustable headband; instead the plastic constructed band is stationary while a tension held secondary lightly padded headband stays snug to the top of your head, keeping the headset in place while moving.
The standard cord length (about three feet) is optimized for MP3 players residing in your pocket allowing for a full range of head motion without any tension on the cord. Also provided is a six foot extension cable for use with stationary devices like an audio receiver or computer. Curiously the cord based volume control only controls the earpiece volume (not the mic like on the pure-gaming series of headsets) and is located on the extension cable, and not the built in piece. From a design standpoint it can easily be seen how this was done, using the volume control as the intermediary connector between the two lengths, but those looking to purely use the headset for iPod or Zune use might be disappointed.
The only troubling design choice is the separate microphone, making the headset a questionable purchase for anyone who will be devoting more time towards online gaming than using the audio device for other purposes. The mic has a clip to place it on your shirt (sorry to all the nude Team Fortress 2 players out there) and is fully removable from the main headset right down to the cord, but for those hardcore gamers, you’ll want to look at the 5Hv2 with its retractable and excellent sounding microphone for your pure gaming need.
Of course a beautifully constructed headset is only as good as its sound quality and through all of our tests, the Siberia retains the high fidelity quality set down by its predecessors.
We tested the Siberia with a variety of devices since it is billed as an all purpose headset. The first test is the standard we run with all headsets, World of Warcraft. In this test the beautifully orchestrated soundtrack by Blizzard crept through the padded earphones wonderfully, easily standing up to the best we’ve tested so far (5Hv2). Bass levels were good and small subtle effects like water dripping were crisp, clear, and precise.
The second test was with an Apple iPod 5G. The iPod is easily the most popular music device available, and the while and black look of the Siberia fits extremely well with the color motif employed by Apple (even through our iPod is black). Sound quality was just as excellent as with our gaming tests. Treble and bass levels were excellent, spoken bits were also presented very well, clear, without any of the audio levels attempting to overtake the other. Most of the tracks were encoded in Apple’s AAC format with a few high quality 192kbps MP3 files thrown in for good measure.
The final test was with a Pioneer VSX-1016TXV-K receiver coupled with a Sony DVP-NS71HP DVD player and two movies in Dolby Digital, Constantine and Transformers. The dialog heavy Constantine performed well in our tests with in-movie ambient noise clearly audible such as water dripping, footsteps approaching from behind, and the subtle “hell-speak” in the film’s climax. Transformers, a more bombastic film with heavy use of bass also performed above expectations from the very beginning, Peter Cullen’s low, deep voice easily impressed with the Siberia. The headset comes packaged with a 3.5mm to 6.3mm gold plated adapter for use with home receivers and devices which require the larger plug.
As stated previously, the Siberia holds up the high, proud tradition of the SteelSeries name providing excellent audio quality, and versatility for those looking to spend money on a multi-purpose headset. While we can’t recommend it for sole gaming use, for those who will be dividing your time amongst many different activities that require a high quality, well built device, the Siberia is unmatched.