HWM (Singapore) - - Performance -

The “Siberia” moniker has al­ways been used by SteelSeries for some of their top line, gam­ing au­dio of­fer­ings. Over the years the de­sign has been re­fined, and the im­prove­ments are now em­bod­ied in the Siberia Elite gam­ing head­set.

Amidst the slew of black­themed gam­ing head­sets in this shootout, the Siberia Elite stands out in white. The head­band arc con­sists of a bare­bones skeleton fin­ished in dull alu­minum. From the side view, the ear-cups of the head­set re­sem­ble the wheels of a car. Vis­i­ble on the ear-cups is the SteelSeries sig­nage and a ring-shaped light dis­play. Like the Razer Kraken 7.1, this dis­play lights up when the head­set is plugged in. Un­like Razer though, SteelSeries lets users choose any shade from the 16 mil­lion col­ors avail­able from the RGB spec­trum.

Match­ing the Razer Kraken 7.1 even fur­ther, the SteelSeries Siberia Elite also has cir­cu­lar earpads. How­ever the di­am­e­ter of the ear-pads for the SteelSeries head­set is much larger. From a side-on view it also seems that the cush­ions are much thicker, but this is an il­lu­sion caused by the fact that the syn­thetic cov­er­ing also wraps around the head­phone body. Nev­er­the­less, the cush­ion­ing is suf­fi­ciently thick and soft. For ad­just­ing fit, the Siberia Elite has stretch­able wires which work like a charm. Over-heat­ing of ears af­ter pro­longed us­age how­ever is a prob­lem.

Up till this point we’ve only seen braided ca­bles on the gam­ing head­sets com­pared here. The Siberia Elite bucks the trend and comes with flat ca­bles in­stead. A pro­pri­etary con­nec­tor, smaller than a mi­cro-USB con­nec­tor, is used by SteelSeries. Users can plug it into a USB sound card and then con­nect to their PC or note­book via USB. Cable ex­ten­sions for con­nec­tion to an aux-in and mi­cro­phone port as well as a 3.5mm port are also sup­plied. A re­tractable mi­cro­phone is pro­vided for com­mu­ni­ca­tion pur­poses.

Com­pet­ing with the Razer Sy­napse 2.0 soft­ware is SteelSeries’ En­gine 3. En­gine 3 is a sim­ple con­fig­u­ra­tion menu for con­trol­ling the mi­cro­phone and au­dio with the help of a full EQ. It is also the only way to en­gage the Siberia Elite’s Dolby tech­nolo­gies, Dolby Head­phone con­trol and Dolby Pro Logic IIx fea­tures, as the gam­ing head­set


has no ac­tual phys­i­cal but­ton(s) to ac­com­plish this task.

The Siberia Elite’s warm tone col­ors its mu­sic per­for­mance. This char­ac­ter­is­tic helps it ex­cel with mu­sic gen­res such as jazz and RnB. But when clar­ity is re­quired, es­pe­cially when lis­ten­ing to or­ches­tral com­po­si­tions, the SteelSeries head­set fails to cap­ture the cor­rect mood and tim­bre. Once the Dolby fea­tures are switched on, the 7.1 vir­tual sur­round sound kicks in. If any­thing, gam­ing per­for­mance is this head­phone’s forte. The di­rec­tion­al­ity of the au­dio is ex­cel­lent and de­serves to be clas­si­fied in the same league as the Sennheiser PC 363D and Razer Kraken 7.1. If we were to nit­pick, the warm tone of the Siberia Elite means that de­tails are not heard as clearly.

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