With November just around the corner and massive titles like Battlefield 3 and Skyrim nearing release, it's no surprise that gamers are looking for the best ways to maximize their gaming experience. One aspect of the gaming experience that often gets overlooked but is arguably one of the most important is that of the game's sound design. As technology becomes better, more and more gamers are looking for the next best way to get the most out of their game's sound.
This is where SteelSeries' Siberia V2 headset comes in. While it may not be a 7.1 surround sound system, SteelSeries' newest addition to the headset market refines past models and provides gamers with all the functionality and portability that would be expected of a high-end headset. While it is also compatible with the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Mac, we tested the Siberia V2 on the PC.
Upon first unboxing it, the Siberia V2's unusual design will be the first thing that most gamers will notice. Rather than having adjustable arms to fit the headset to a given head, there is a leather strap attached to two thin wires which sits on the inside of the headset's outer frame. This allows the headset to comfortably form itself to the user's head the second it is placed there without having the need to adjust anything. While the free-floating strap may seem unconventional at first, in practice it removes all of the discomfort that can come from a regular headset's frame.
In addition to the headset's free-floating strap, the earcups are also incredibly comfortable. They are large enough to fit most ear sizes comfortably, but at the same time sit snugly regardless of size. The leather that covers the earcups provides the user with added comfort and within this leather is noise-reducing foam. While the Siberia V2 will not completely cancel out all sound, the foam goes a long way in dulling any outside noise and immersing the user in the game's soundscape.
While this is all well and good for simply hearing the game at hand, the headset also has a retractable microphone should you need it. This means that if you want to make use of the headset in public for simply listening to music, the microphone can be retracted, making it virtually invisible.
In regards to cord length, the Siberia V2 may seem short at first, but once the included AudioMixer USB connector is attached, there is more than enough length to please most gamers. The AudioMixer sports a small controller for muting the microphone, adjusting game noise and the microphone itself, and activating LiveMix, one of the headset's most impressive features.
By turning on LiveMix and choosing from one of the three presets, whenever a teammate begins talking, the in-game audio will then be lowered to compensate for this, making it much easier to clearly communicate with them. In practice, this feature works extremely well, organically adjusting the in-game levels to best benefit the user. By providing three different levels of compensation between in-game sound and voice, there is an option for every type of gamer.
- Frequency response: 18 — 28.000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 112 dB
- Cable: 1.0 m / 3 ft.
- Jacks: 3,5 mm
- Frequency response: 50 — 16.000 Hz
- Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
- Sensitivity: -38 dB
- Cable: 3.0 m / 9 ft.
- Chat cable: 1m / 3 ft.
To test the Siberia V2, we subjected it to Team Fortress 2 and Killing Floor on the PC, recording digital music samples, as well as listening to various styles of music. The headset performed exceptionally well in all areas of use. Using it in-game, every gunshot rang clear while never overpowering the voices of teammates. As with using it to record digital music samples, the recorded and transmitted dialog in-game was always clear. Finally, it managed to pump out impressive sound quality while using it to listen to music.
As mentioned before, the Siberia V2 is without a doubt one of the most comfortable headsets on the market. With its padded, noise-reducing earcups, leather strap that automatically fits to any given head, and retractable microphone, this is one headset which excels in just about any situation and remains incredibly comfortable while doing it. Retailing for $119 USD, the Siberia V2 is packed with a large amount of value for its price.
While some gamers may prefer the relentless power of a 7.1 surround sound system, the SteelSeries Siberia V2 provides gamers with a multipurpose device that still manages to output incredibly impressive sound while also remaining portable. For anyone in the market for a new headset, the Siberia V2 is a no-brainer and coupled with the SteelSeries Shift keyboard and Xai mouse, gamers don't have to look far to outfit themselves for the coming gaming season.
The SteelSeries Siberia V2 is compatible with PC, Mac, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.