Posted on September 5, 2012 AT 06:48am
Steelseries’ new product, the Siberia V2, touts leather cushions for the ear, lightweight construction without feeling cheap, and a clean and optimized soundscape for the audio. Does the Siberia V2 hold up well under stress, despite being on the low end of price for mid-range headphones?
The Siberia V2’s packaging is utilitarian – compared to other headsets I’ve used, it has a very clean and clear look to getting the actual device out of the box. A couple simple twist-ties later, and the Siberia V2 is out of the box. The Siberia V2 initially concerned me with its 3 foot short cord – it is USB-based, and thankfully comes with a USB extension cord as well, bringing the cord length to a more than reasonable amount at 9.5 feet, causing no issues with straining or tugging.
The headset is powered via USB as well – so there’s no new adapters, or charging base for the headphones. When unpackaging the headset, I also had mild concerns with the lightweight frame – there are what looks like two wires suspending the cups across the top. I was concerned with the durability of these wires, and they certainly looked fragile. The earphones also had a blue glow to them when plugged in, and gave off an ambient glow when plugged in. The ambient glow from the headphones may help people in a dark room find their headset, but were a little bright for when it was time for me to go to bed. Luckily, there is the Steelseries Engine which lets you decide how much you want the headset to pulse, how bright, or not at all–leaving every base covered.
Using the Siberia V2 was incredibly simple–all you have to do is plug it into a free USB port, and your PC takes care of the rest. There’s no software to install, no additional plugins, just one simple USB cable, making it easy for people who are not used to setting up audio equipment to just plug in and go. It’s obvious at this point that the Steelseries Siberia V2 benefits from its no-frills design, making usability the primary goal and succeeding at it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The V2 advertises optimized soundscapes, and quality sound from low to mid to high ranges. Testing out a variety of PC games, even at high volumes the bass holds and never sounds like it is out of control or overwhelming – the clarity of these headphones is astounding, and the balance is excellent. Too often, gaming headsets eschew their balance for music and movies, letting it languish as “not what we made this for” which can be frustrating for people who do a lot on their computer. The Siberia V2 luckily handles music and movies as good as it does games, using positional audio effectively without it being true surround, and preserving the audio fidelity by using balance extremely well and not skimping on the materials.
Regarding the fit of the headphones, the leather covering both seals in the sound and are closed-ear by design–allowing the sound to preserve its fidelity and isolate you from the outside world. The light weight of the set is important as well; the wires I had initially been concerned about ended up handling the normal usage of the headset with no problem, and are far more durable than they appear, as well as contributing to the light overall weight of the set. After playing games for 3 hours, I felt no ache or relief when removing the headphones–it was like they were never even there, and that’s one of the biggest compliments you can give the design department.
The Steelseries Siberia V2 also has a retractable mic that comes out of the left ear. After some rigorous audio testing, the audio fidelity of the microphone is excellent – there are tweaks you can do to reduce the ambient noise in your home, and adjust the sensitivity. The only complaint would be the mute button, attached to the USB cord, is a large button that slides up and down to mute. Sometimes, it is hard to easily mute yourself, and this could have been solved by having a mute switch that protrudes from the control, that also has an independent volume control. The recessed design of the mute switch is the only complaint regarding this headset, which excels all-around in every category.
Overall, the Siberia V2 headset is an incredible value for the price tag (in the neighborhood of $99) and is well worth your money, if you can live without 5.1 surround. Its simplified packaging, installation, and lack of complexities are one of its greatest strengths, delivering excellent audio for a multitude of different applications without weighing you down.
- THE GOOD: Incredible value for price, wonderful construction and utilitarian connections
- THE BAD: Mute button is recessed instead of protruding
- THE UGLY: The grey leather pads on the ear cups could get grimy if you don’t keep yourself clean
SCORE: 9.5 out of 10
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