Review: SteelSeries Siberia V2 Cross-Platform Headset
5/4/2013 by: Ryan Glovinsky
Today we are taking a look at the SteelSeries Siberia V2 Cross-Platform Headset. The Siberia V2 Cross-Platform (abbreviated to Siberia V2 CP for the remainder of the article) is designed to be used on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 for both audio and voice.
The headphones include a manual, the Cross-Platform AudioMixer, a 2.5mm cable for Xbox microphone use, and a 3.5mm to RCA audio adapter.
The specifications are as follows:
- Frequency response: 18 – 28,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 112 dB
- Cable: 1.0 m / 3 ft
- Jacks: 3.5 mm
- Frequency response: 50 – 16.000 Hz
- Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
- Sensitivity: -38 dB
- Cable: 3.0 m / 9 ft
- Chat cable: 1 m / 3 ft
The headset looks rather unique. It has 2 soft but rigid cables passing over the top, with a headband underneath. When the user puts on the headset, the headband expands to fit the user’s head. This makes it so no manual adjustment is required to wear the headset. While adjusting a headset hardly takes any effort, this is a convenient feature to have, as it saves a bit of time and effort.
Upon putting on the headset, we immediately noticed two things. One, the foam SteelSeries used for the earcups is extremely soft and comfortable. Two, because of the way the headband expands to fit the head perfectly, the part of the headset that grips the head is near the top of the headset rather than the earcups. This is great news for people who often get annoyed with the discomfort of wearing headphones for extended periods of time, as the majority of the time, the cause of discomfort is due to pressure on/around the ears. With the Siberia V2 CP, no such discomfort was felt even after hours of continuous use.
The Siberia V2 also has a retractable microphone, which is also rather convenient as it allows the user to retract it when not in use so that it won’t catch on anything. The microphone is also fully adjustable, allowing the user to place it in the optimal position close to/away from their mouth, whatever that position may be.
What differentiates the Siberia V2 CP from the regular Siberia V2 is that it comes with a Cross-Platform AudioMixer. The way it works is you plug the audio-in and microphone-out jacks from the headset into the AudioMixer. The AudioMixer then connects to the user’s PC, Xbox 360, or PS3. The AudioMixer allows the user to then control four things. One, it has a large microphone on/off switch on the front, allowing for easy and immediate access. Two, it has a roller to control game volume. Three, it has a roller to control voice volume. Finally, four, it has a slider to control LiveMix. LiveMix is most easily described by quoting the SteelSeries website: “The LiveMix levels range from OFF, which is unaltered in-game and voice sound to LOW (game sound is reduced by 5db when your teammates are talking), MEDIUM (game sound is reduced by 15db), to HIGH (game sound is reduced by 25db). By providing optional levels of LiveMix, users will have the ability to control how much of the game sound they want to hear balanced over the voice communication.”
We opted to use the Siberia V2 CP with the AudioMixer primarily on Xbox 360. Another convenient feature the Siberia V2 CP offers is a 2.5 mm connector from the AudioMixer to the Xbox 360 controller for Xbox headset support. The Siberia V2 CP offered a far superior experience to the crappy and overpriced first-party Xbox 360 headsets. Also, the RCA audio adapter allows the user to connect RCA audio-out to the connectors that come with the headset, so that the connectors act as a passthrough. This makes it so that the sound can go both into the headset and external speakers at the same time.
In game, we made good use of the LiveMix feature, which allowed us to hear our teammates over the in-game sounds. It was also an improved experience having both the game sounds and voice come in through one audio system, rather than have voice come in through a low quality headset, and game sounds through a speaker system. Also, teammates reported that the audio quality from the Siberia V2 CP’s microphone was better than that of the OEM Xbox 360 wireless headset, this despite the low quality of the Xbox LIVE codecs.
We used the Siberia V2 CP on PC as well for in-game audio and voice chat using Teamspeak utilizing the Opus codec. The audio quality was great, and teammates reported great sound and clarity from the headset’s microphone.
We also used the Siberia V2 CP on the PC to listen to music and it performed well beyond what we expected from what is primarily a gaming oriented headset. The bass was deep without overpowering and obscuring the mids and highs. The sound was generally well produced and even, providing a full and rich sound. We listened to FLACs of Powerglove’s Saturday Morning Apocalypse, Trivium’s In Waves, Dream Theater's Octavarium, and DragonForce’s The Power Within. We compared the headset to our Sennheiser HD 555 headphones, which are geared more towards audiophiles than gamers, and the Siberia V2 CP performed admirably, though as expected the HD 555 had a more refined sound. We especially appreciated the balance of audio provided by the Siberia V2 CP compared to many headsets and headphones currently on the market that appear to be designed for humans that are only capable of hearing sounds at frequencies lower than 50 Hz. We are glad that SteelSeries understands the fact that there is music and game audio that is not just limited to bass, and we’re happy they designed their headset to reflect that understanding with a balanced and even sound.
The SteelSeries Siberia V2 Cross-Platform has an MSRP of $119, and it is currently retailing for $95 on Amazon. In our opinion, the Siberia V2 CP headset offers great value for the price. The Siberia V2 CP is excellent for users that are concerned about comfort for continuous use. The fact that they can be used on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 adds even more value compared to other headsets in the same price category. Finally, the sound quality the Siberia V2 CP provides is well above what we would expect from a gaming headset. In conclusion, we highly recommend the SteelSeries Siberia V2 Cross-Platform to anyone in the market for a gaming headset that also plays the role of quality listening headphones. For that reason, we are giving the Siberia V2 Cross-Platform our Value award for Prosumers.
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