Gaming headphones for the PC come in a range of prices from £10 in to the £100s of pounds, with differing designs, some including microphones (essential in our mind for gaming) and some without. The latest set of headphones from SteelSeries, the Siberia V2 sit within the middle of the gaming headphone price range, coming in either a glossy white or black finish, and certainly look the part, but how do they perform? Read on to find out....
The Siberia V2 model of headphones is an update on the original Siberia (V1 presumably!) which have been improved upon in a number of ways. We reviewed the white gloss version of the Siberia V2, but there are no difference between these and the black gloss version headset and the specifications are as follows (take from the SteelSeries website) :
- Closed type headphones
- Pull-out microphone
- Crystal clear high, low and mid-tones
- 50mm driver units
- Lightweight suspension construction
- Integrated volume control located on the cord
- Frequency response: 10 - 28.000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- [email protected], 1Vrms: 112 dB
- Cable length: 1,0 m + 2,0 m = 3,0 m / 9,84 ft.
- Jack: 3,5 mm
- Frequency response: 50 - 16.000 Hz
- Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
- Sensitivity: -38 dB
The design of these lightweight headphones, with the two wire frame and sprung head band, makes them incredibly comfortable to wear for any period of time whilst playing PC games, and the ear cups are cushioned with well padded soft leather that relieves any pressure on the wearer's ears (even slightly bigger ears like mine!). Combined the design of the headset allows them to be securely held in place without causing discomfort, a failure of a lot of (not only) gaming headphones, especailly when worn for long periods fo time. The inbuilt retractable microphone is cleverly stashed within the left headset and easily slides in and out with minimum fuss.
The 50mm driver units deliver excellent sound quality, with excellent bass, mid and treble even at higher volumes (although some distortion could be heard at full volume, not that we could tolerate the volume level for long!) whilst playing games, listening to music or just watching videos on the web.
The in built microphone provided a clear reproduction of our voices, which we tested through VOIP, Teamspeak (and also Xbox Live - more about this later), as well as through our iPhone (again more about this later). The headphones have a very simple volume control on the cable with a sliding mute for the microphone which does feel a bit cheap, however this has presumably been utilised to reduce the overall weight of the headset whilst in use and functions perfectly well. The headset we reviewed had a standard length (~80cm) cable for connection, but also came with an extension cable giving roughly 1.5m more to play with allowing you to distance yourself a little from the screen or PC if desired.
Although the SteelSeries Siberia V2 gaming headphones were obviously primarily deisgned for use by PC gamers, there are two accessories that broaden there use on other systems:
The first of which, the SteelSeries Xbox 360 Headset connector (~£6 at the time of writing) allows you to hardwire the Siberia V2 (or other similar headsets) to your TV audio out and Xbox controller so that you can play Xbox 360 games with all audio going through the headset, and the microphone can also be used for Xbox Live gaming. The accessory is easy to connect up (if your TV has an audio out) although it does mean that you end up having cables trailing across your floor from the TV to the Xbox 360 controller and from the controller to the headset, but with sound quality of the Siberia V2, the experience is well worth it, and it means that you can also play a little more quietly (humouring other member of the family!).
The second accessory, simply called the SteelSeries Adapter (~£9 at the time of writing) allows the headsets to be connected to any number of compatible devices through a 3.5mm jack. Tested with the latest Apple iPhone 4 smartphone, we heard the same great sound quality as with the other audio sources, however when tested with our Nokia N97, we did hear a low level hiss (presumable the adapter just isn't compatible with the Nokia smartphones), so it would be worth checking compatibility with anything other than the iPhone series before purchasing.
All in all, the SteelSeries Siberia V2 provide an excellent audio experience (which is probably slightly more tailored towards the dedicated gamer than the audio listener) with a fair price tag of ~£50 (at the time of writing) and accessories that extend the capability of the headphones for use with your smartphone or Xbox they have to be some of our favorite headphone to date.
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