Product: SteelSeries Siberia v3 Headset
Compatibility: PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Playstation 4
A review unit was provided for the purposes of this article
The Siberia line of headsets from venerable peripheral maker, SteelSeries, has always been a reliable mainstay in the headset market for years now. The price-point has always been good, the audio quality far better than usual for gaming headsets and design sensibility that is rarely matched in the peripheral landscape. The latest revision of the Siberia line, known as the v3, seeks to improve upon a formula that is already quite good. There saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” comes to mind yet design choices (almost uniformly) in this latest iteration are for the better.
So, to put the headset through the necessary paces I’ve worn this thing through marathon gaming sessions, general usage at home and the office and even spent a huge chunk of the past weekend with them perched atop my dome as I watched Marvel v. Capcom 3 Top 8 play at Final Round 18 on my iPad. I’ve logged about 22+ hours with the Siberia v3 adorning my skull and have come to a definite conclusion regarding the quality of this latest Steel Series headset.
So much Sssssttttyyyylllleeeee
Full disclosure here. I use a lot of Apple products in my daily work/personal life and, frankly, design and aesthetic are important in regards to considering a potential purchase. The Siberia series has always put a heavy emphasis on design and the v3 are no exception to that rule. Far too many headsets “designed for gaming” get bogged down in making the overall design of their product feel a bit too busy. The sleek and minimalist style of the v3 heavily features a matte finish everywhere except around the exterior ring of the ear cups. It isn’t quite as shiny as the prior version, but it also doesn’t collect as many fingerprint smudges nor dust either.
One of the biggest changes in regards to design comes from the suppression band along with a redesigned cable system that holds the whole thing together. The adjustable synthetic material (as opposed to last generation’s felt lining) is an improvement in a few ways. The material is far more durable over the course of what would be thousands of hours of usage and it means less hair and cleanup to fuss with when not wearing them. The result is a headset that not only holds up well for long periods of use, but it’s also comfortable as well. The colors on offer, white or black, both look fantastic and could easily be confused with a far more expensive set of headphones if one weren’t paying close attention.
So Comfortable I Forgot I Had Them On
One of the biggest problems with numerous gaming headsets I’ve worked my way through in the past (some which cost FAR more than the Siberia v3) came down to an issue of comfort. Long periods of time spent with these aforementioned headsets affixed to my noggin just weren’t comfortable for more than an hour or so at a time. When you’re banging your head against the wall in a 25-man Heroic raid and morale is starting to wane the last thing one wants is a headset worn off-ear or off the head entirely due to aching ears or a skull in desperate need of a break. One such headset cost me almost 230 dollars and, frankly, never lived up to the potential defined by the marketing.
It was refreshing, to say the least, to have a headset that not only felt great an hour into wearing them but after a session of Resident Evil Revelations 2 on PS4 that was, admittedly, far longer than I intended it to be. The memory foam cups, altered from the v2s to be a bit thicker thus not deforming as easily and doing a better job at noise cancelling in the process, made for nigh insane levels of comfort for hours on end. Good example. I wore them the entirety of my playthrough of Episodes 1 and 2 of Revelations 2 (about 4 hours there), watched about 3 hours consecutively of fighting game madness on my iPad with them, spent a few hours dilly-dallying around in WoW while on TeamSpeak and even worked on getting some levels in Heroes of the Storm while constantly chattering on Mumble with my usual group of ne’er-do-wells. That doesn’t include all the various Steam and PS4 games (including a bit of time on Xbox One as I have a headset adapter I put in as well.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most comfortable headsets available on the market today. Odd head shapes could, in theory, have some issues with the headband though I have to say my melon is fairly big and I had zero issues with long-term use of these. Hours of continued usage later and I honestly didn’t notice I had them on. That is the true mark of a great headset. Functional, comfortable and it simply becomes a part of the experience.
Sounds Pretty Good There, Chief
The range of audio quality amongst the numerous gaming headsets I’ve owned over the years have varied from surprisingly great to abysmal. Faux 7.1 Surround doesn’t cover up bad audio drivers and numerous manufacturers are guilty of passing off sub-par hardware dressed up with glossy packaging. The Siberia v3, much as its predecessor, doesn’t follow that trend. The audio drivers are quality in these headphones and, despite most companies tweaking to be gaming specific in output, the quality of sound never falters whether listening to music, watching video or immersed in a virtual world.
Typical tests for headsets include the likes of first-person shooters so, of course, I had to dive into a few games of Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat and CS: Global Offensive to see if the Siberia v3 was up to par. I had no issues distinguishing footsteps from behind or in any direction really, reloading/firing sounded meaty as it should and explosions were definitely booming. That could, honestly, be the only drawback to the quality of the audio in general with the headset. Bass is static and, thanks to the lack of in-line control unit for volume, there isn’t much that can be done regarding that.
Atmospheric games worked well with the headset nestled atop my cranium with Revelations 2 sounding wonderful and others like Darkest Dungeon, Dark Souls and Amnesia all packing the proper auditory punch when piping through those earpieces on the Siberia. I was assuming the lack of digital surround or Dolby Digital was going to be an issue but in every instance aside from a scant few (usually involving booming bass) I never had an issue.
The retractable slim-line unidirectional attached to the headset had provided crisp sound that, while not studio quality, would work as a podcast headset in a pinch. I had no issues when speaking with teammates via Mumble, TeamSpeak or Ventrilo or making use of it via PSN or Xbox Live. The 3.5 mm only approach offers surprisingly great voice and sound, on the whole. The lack of in-line controls, replaced instead by a mute toggle on the earcup, means that volume has to be adjusted at the system level or in-application but, its a minor complaint at best. The single 3.5 mm jack on offer can also be extended another few feet to a dual 3.5 plug-in if necessary.
The SteelSeries Siberia v3 Headset (White) not only looks great but delivers an experience far beyond what nearly every other mid-range gaming headset on the market does. The sub 100-dollar range is full of overdesigned or shoddy peripherals yet the Siberia is sleek, boasts great audio quality and maximum comfort to boot. This is a headset that would work well for gamers and non-gamers alike. The lack of in-line volume control, replaced by a simple mute/unmute toggle for the microphone, is a negative but nothing to stop making this a must buy headset for the price.