Straight To Your Ears – SteelSeries Siberia V2 For PS3 Reviewed
For some gamers, simply listening to your games through your TV speakers just isn’t enough. Some players look to surround sound systems or basic speakers, while others want something a little more personal: headphones. A system that can not only deliver potentially clear and immersive sound, but block out the world or keep the volume down late at night. One such pair is the SteelSeries Siberia V2 headset for PS3, an amazing auditory experience that is going to leave your ears wanting more.
Before we go any further, one thing needs to be made clear: Although the headset was designed for the PS3, it is completely compatible with the Xbox 360, PC, and Mac, as well as limited support for various other devices such as portable game consoles or cell phones. Just about anything with a 3.5mm jack can be used with the base headphones themselves, and any computer with a free USB slot is compatible with the full setup.
Once you open your PS3 Siberia V2 box you’ll find the headset, cross-platform audiomixer, RCA adapter, and 2.5mm Xbox mic cable – everything you need to set up and game. As you will no doubt have noticed, the headset is not wireless, instead running through multiple inputs: the headset’s speaker and mic cords plug into the adapter, which leads to a USB input and another audio jack. They plug into the respective ports for a PC or Mac, but for consoles the audio jack needs to plug into an RCA audio splitter, which in turn must plug into your television with your console’s audio cords plugging into the back of the splitter. This means that users running HDMI cables will need to revert to component cables, or utilize their console’s respective audio filters (such as the Xbox’s Audio Adapter Cable) – a bit of a bother if you’re anal about your display quality.
This setup is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde situation, as on one hand we have longer usage, while on the other we have less maneuverability. With the headset plugged in, users don’t need to worry about running out of battery life or dealing with interference from other devices, which is a blessing if you’re a multiplatform gamer jumping from Xbox to PS3 or PC. The cord length is also considerably long, and will stretch across the average living room with a nice amount of slack. However, it takes much longer to unplug and reset the setup with its various cords, especially if you have to fiddle behind your TV. If you’re a user who only wants a headset for one device, then this probably won’t bother you, but if you’re like me and plan to use it for various devices, you might get a little annoyed at the slightly complicated setup required.
As for the headset itself, users will note its sleek, all black matte design – as well as the massive amount of comfort one gets from wearing it. The cans feature a mesh design that’s tilted slightly forward, giving them an almost intimidating appearance. On the inside are leather cups that fit completely over the user’s ears which act both as cushions for your head and as noise dampeners. Topping the headphones are a set of suspension wires, which give the set the flexibility to open and lightly clamp to your ears, as well as a headband attached to a sort of elastic system that keeps the band right atop your head at the perfect height, without any adjustment needed. Hidden in the left cup is a retractable microphone, which is fully bendable allowing the user to place it as far or as close to their face as they desire. Every inch of the headset is designed with both comfort and style in mind, so owners will not only look badass in them, they will feel like a pampered king as well.
Of course, the most important thing in any headset is how they actually sound, and the PS3 Siberia V2s delivers in strides! The range of sound produced by the headphones is massive, from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. My very first test for them was hooking them up to my PC and cranking my favorite dubstep track, to test the overall sound. Say what you want about the clashy music genre, the diverse amount of noises make for an excellent trial ground. From the “wub wub” of the deep bass to the screams of high synth tracks, the headset blew me away with the quality of audio it produced – showcasing lines and sounds that are hidden with low quality ear pieces or speakers.
This enlightenment continued when I gave the headset its first game test: Battlefield 3. Jumping into a quick round of Rush, the sound had already impressed me at the load screen, where I noted sound effects and voices I never knew were there. Once the action started, I had to take a moment to actually take in what I was hearing: footsteps echoing in another room, the light static on top of comms chatter, and the rustle of bushes in the wind – ambience that general TV speakers just can’t capture which the PS3 Siberia headset brings to your ears with phenomenal quality.
And all of this before the explosions and gunshots kicked in. As RPGs and rifles sounded off, the headphones gave an incredibly dynamic range of volume and punch that I could almost feel in my chest. The crack of a sniper rifle of to my right made me jump, and the sound of a chopper flying left-to-right overhead almost made me want to turn my head to look for it. The crystal clarity and massive dynamic range of the Siberia V2s is absolutely stunning, and both casual users and hardcore gamers world wide are sure to be in awe of their audio quality – as they pull you directly into the game.
Communication is also key in a good headset, and the Siberia’s mic does a fantastic job of capturing voice. With ambient noise suppression, only your voice will be picked up, and it’s delivered in a crisp and clear manor. There are also two volume knobs on your cross platform device, one for game audio, the other for voice. These allow the user to balance out the two sounds, to get the perfect balance between information and sound effects. Also featured is the LiveMix slider, and when activated it will turn down game volume automatically in favor of voice, and then turning it back up once the chatter stops. All these features make balancing in-game audio and player’s voices a snap, ensuring that every user hears exactly what they want to.
Something else worth noting is the headphone’s cable, which is wrapped in a sort of grooved rubber. I’m not sure if the design choice was one of form or function, but it serves both quite well. Both the shape and material of the cord give it a high friction, so it hardly slides across the user’s shirt, which subsequently prevents that scratching sound you can hear in lower head headphones as the cord rubs around. This setup is a nice little touch that goes the extra mile, and gamers will for sure appreciate it when they get into heated moments.
When you finally take off the SteelSeries Siberia V2 for PS3 headset, your ears are going to be begging for more. A massive tonal and dynamic range is wrapped in an amazingly beautiful and comfortable design. Whether you’re looking for a new setup to try, or are just dipping your toes in the audio pool, this might be the last one you ever buy – as it works brilliantly with just about anything! Just be careful not to trip over the cords or forget any pieces when you swap it around.
Final Score: 4.5 / 5.0 and a gun that fires dubstep noises.
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