The Spectrum 7XB headset, announced earlier this year by SteelSeries, is vastly different than the Siberia V2 in design and functionality. While it does feature an identical retractable microphone, the headset itself features more of a standard headband design instead of the two-tiered flexible design of the Siberia and its predecessor. It is padded along the top for comfort but slightly heavier because it is wireless and not as flexible.

The biggest difference however, is the fact that the Spectrum 7XB drops the cumbersome and lengthy wires in favor of wireless technology, with its volume, power and mic controls built right into the exterior of the right earcup. For the Xbox 360, players now have wireless sound and communication to go with their wireless controller. No mess.

The Spectrum XB works by via a detachable wire that connects directly into the right earcup with a molded, fitted end that fits perfectly into official Xbox 360 controller designs, not unlike the attachment cables of the first wave of official headsets that shipped alongside the console.

On the other end of the wi-fi relationship is the transmitter which plugs into the Xbox 360 console via USB and the television/monitor via analog audio out and works with a range up to 9 meters/32 feet. It’s important to note that for TVs that only have digital audio out, the headset cannot be used without the purchase of a converter.

The headset, while trading off a little comfort and flex for wi-fi, looks slick and is still comfortable with extended periods of play. Its 50mm drivers make for superior sound than the standard headsets that come with the Xbox 360 and the headset can be used for PC gaming as well, or for simple listening purposes with the mic pushed in and out of the way.

Additional physical features include the ability to break down the Spectrum 7XP into four parts for travel. If you’re a pro gamer, or even one who plays at a friend’s house or in LAN tournaments, this is very handy. Also handy is the ability to switch out the earcups, easily exchanging cloth for leather or vice versa. The standard package however, does not ship with both.

The Specs

Headphones

  • Frequency response: 18 — 28.000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 112 dB
  • Cable length: 1 m / 3.3 ft. (Detachable from headset to controller with 2.5 mm plug)
  • Jacks: 3,5 mm

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 50 — 16.000 Hz
  • Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
  • Sensitivity: -38 dB

Transmitter Box

  • USB Powered (from Xbox 360)
  • 3.5 mm stereo jack input
  • Input level control
  • 2.6 GHz radio interface
  • Range: 9 m (30 ft.)
  • Dimensions: 83 mm x 83 mm x 26 mm

Like most SteelSeries products, there’s a lot more to the 7XB than meets the eye. Under the hood of the wireless headset comes the latest tech which make it standout from the pack. The Spectrum 7XB has been hyped up since its announcement for offering smart digital audio, and by that SteelSeries has created the unit to not drop sound due to interference from other wireless devices. It accomplishes this by constantly and continuously  jumping though different frequency connections so it never gets bogged down by wireless phones and other similar devices in the tech heavy household.

Like other SteelSeries headsets, including the Siberia V2 wired headset, the 7XB includes the signature LiveMix feature which automatically balances in-game sound effects when players are communicating through Xbox Live – that way gunfire or nearby explosions aren’t drowning out the voices of allies on the battlefield.

Unlike the Siberia line however, the Spectrum 7XB also includes ExactSND – a button that allows players to choose three different sound settings; one for single-player (dubbed ‘Immersion’), one for multiplayer (‘Performance’) and one for just listening and enjoying the sound (‘Entertainment’).

The SteelSeries Spectrum 7XB sells for a hefty $179.99 but is an easy recommendation for the serious Xbox 360 gamer who wants good quality sound to go with their team communication when playing online. With Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 domination the multiplayer arena at the moment, this Spectrum 7XB may be something to put on a hardcore gamer’s holiday wishlist.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

tags: Mac, PC, SteelSeries

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