Sound Produced: Stereo
Primary System: PC
Also Compatible With: Mac, Mobile
Connection Method: 3.5mm x2
The SteelSeries Siberia V2 comes in a number of flavors, two of which are getting the RipTen Gaming Headset Buyer’s Guide treatment. They are very similar, but have key differences that we’ve addressed in a product-specific section toward the bottom of both writeups. You will, however, see text reiterated. If you’ve read one Siberia analysis, be sure to check out the special section below that addresses the distinctions.
The original SteelSeries Siberia V2 is designed with PCs in mind, but also functions aptly (but not perfectly) with Macs and mobile devices. The sleek design (in a variety of colors) along with the uniquely contoured headband make the SteelSeries Siberia V2 perfect for extended gaming sessions or commutes, especially for those people that can’t seem to ever find the right adjustment setting for their head shapes.
What’s in the Box?
Headset with dual 3.5mm connectors and in-line volume/mute control, 2 meter 3.5 mm x2 to 3.5mm x2 extension cable ideal for desktop PC use.
Aesthetics and Durability:
The SteelSeries Siberia V2 is an extremely attractive looking headset. We had the blue color to review, and it features bright, metallic azure on the majority of the earcups all the way up to where the adjustment point would be on most units. There is also a grated silver metallic plate The earpieces swivel a bit, but the true comfort comes from the cushy leatherette padding on the circumaural cups.
Additionally, the headband is uniquely designed. This feature sets the SteelSeries Siberia V2 apart from everything else we’ve looked at so far. Instead of having traditional, discreet adjustment points, this unit features a two-piece band. The cups are held in place with two rigid, grey (in the case of this color selection) bands. These do not come into contact with the wearer’s head.
Rather, there is a very lightweight cross piece that is connected via four points. The wires appear to run through the middle of the contact band and allow dynamic sizing. Additionally the padded piece can be moved to different points on the skull. On one hand, this allows for better shaping to the user’s skull. On the other, it’s not as simple as setting your headset up and having it fit identically every time.
The placement of the band matters and does (as intended) impact comfort. Spending a few moments every time you put the unit on will be rewarded with a more personalized fit. My only concern is that if even one connection point for the top band were to detach that the unit might be rendered entirely unwearable.
For mobile use and those times when you don’t need to chat, the Siberia’s retractable, flexible microphone is fantastic. When squirreled away inside the left earcup, fellow commuters likely won’t see it unless they are seeking it out. Extending the mic and positioning is easy, even if you do it when wearing the unit.
The headset features an in-line control unit for volume and muting. This works wonderfully with PC, but you can’t use the mute with mobile or Mac configurations. Additionally, there is no call-answer button.
Ease of Setup and Use:
For most PC owners, you’re going to simply plug the 3.5mm headphone plug and 3.5mm microphone connector into their respective ports. For Mac. mobile and those PC users with a combination port, you’re going to simply use the headset connector, leaving the microphone plug dangling, but you’ll only get audio in. The in-line control unit features both a volume control and a mute button. The sound dial works perfectly across the board. The mute, however, is tied to the microphone part of the cable and there is no way to use the outgoing audio features out of the box for devices that support a 4-pole connector. This means that if you are using the Sibera V2 with a Mac or a Mobile phone, you need an add-on cable. These are most frequently found under the name “headset buddy,” and serve to combine a microphone and headphone cable into a single 4-pole connector. These retail for approximately $15. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it is something of which Apple users and those wishing to pair the headset with a phone should be cognizant.
Sound Quality and Performance Notes:
The Siberia V2 creates an impressive soundscape. The headset’s closed architecture means that it does a great job of blocking out external sounds when receiving an audio signal. The 50mm drivers pound a lot of bass, which is perfect for fans of big explosions and dubstep. You’ll get a bit more distortion with the larger drivers, but it’s a give and take. If you crave accentuated low rumbles, you’ll be quite satisfied with what SteelSeries has done here.
The Siberia’s microphone is fully retractable and completely flexible while still holding its form and positioning over extended gaming sessions. The element is hidden beneath a small, plastic shield. The recording quality, as you can hear in the sample below, is quite adequate for chatting. The unidirectional microphone did a fantastic job of isolating my voice from the ambient noise around me consisting of fans, children and a dog.
For regular podcasting, though, it isn’t the best headset in the guide. The sound quality came across as a bit muffled and sensitive to to subtle changes in my volume as I was speaking. Additionally, there is no wind sock or other protection that helps minimize popping. Again, it’s perfectly suitable for in-game chat, but not as much for recording.
As we mentioned in the aesthetics section, SteelSeries seemed to have designed the Siberia in a room with a giant whiteboard upon which a single monolithic word was inscribed: COMFORT. Through extended gaming, music and movie sessions, this headset proved itself as one of the most comfortable we’ve looked at.
The dynamic fit of the flexible headband accomplishes its goal masterfully. More importantly, despite my typical dislike for leatherette earcups, the combination of a lightweight design and supremely comfortable padding enables me to give the unit a huge endorsement. If you’re someone who can never find just the right adjustment point on a typical headset, the Siberia might answer your call for comfort.
The Siberia V2′s dynamic adjustment is what sets it apart from everything else in our guide.
Differences from Siberia V2 USB:
For use with a Mac or optimal use with a smartphone that supports 4-pole connectors, consider purchasing a “headset buddy.” These devices combine the separate microphone and headphone plugs into a single 4-pole connector. You can pick one up from many electronics stores for approximately $15.
The Siberia Series V2 is ideal for PC users that want the additional flexibility of being able to take a comfortable headset with them for music and movies on the go. The microphone retracts almost completely for a discreet look and balances malleability and rigidity perfectly. Unfortunately, the convenience is offset by recording quality that is absolutely fine for game chat, but not the best solution for someone looking for a device they can also use for podcasting.
The dynamic headband and light weight design are paired for a supremely comfortable unit, though I still worry about what would happen if one of the four connection points of the headpiece were to break. The wire is thick enough that you would have to do something pretty severe to make that happen, but it’s something to be mindful of.
Despite not offering surround sound, the Sibera V2′s stereo output is full and rich. For $90 (MSRP), the quality on offer is quite impressive. SteelSeries hasn’t packed in a ton of features, but what is here (great sound, comfort, a decent unidirectional microphone and partial compatibility with mobile devices) makes this unit a significant value.
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