SteelSeries Siberia Elite – A very loud head-squeezer


image001Head-squeezer. Sounds like something from a Ridley Scott move, doesn’t it? Luckily the SteelSeries Siberia Elite headset isn’t anywhere near as ugly as something from Alien, it definitely isn’t covered with goo (unless you do something that is bound to void the warranty) and it won’t try to eat your face. We think. But it is definitely a head-squeezer but in a nice, almost comforting sort of way. So, nothing like a Xenomorph then.

SteelSeries’ Siberia Elite is a PC gaming headset first and foremost, but it’s also Mac compatible and can be used for when you’re wandering the streets listening to music, if you don’t mind looking like a gender-bending Steampunk version of Princess Leia from Star Wars. It is an update of a much older model but the company has made it different in that it’s designed to fit over the top of the user’s head as opposed to working as a neck-band, though it can still be worn that way if you don’t mind the mic wandering off into space.

A metal band holds the Siberia Elite cans in place, with a second padded headband making contact with the user’s head. The generous ear-cups are extremely well padded, covered with a soft, leather-like material while the speakers themselves are covered with a thin mesh designed to keep all the nasties out of the important bits. And it’s comfortable for an extended period of time, however tightly it clamps itself to the sides of your face.

The Siberia Elite headset ships with an extension cable that augments the 1.2 metre ribbon cable that is attached to the left-hand speaker cup. It also has its own sound card, if you’re keen on some LED lighting effects and 7.1 surround while you’re gaming, and an adapter cable for connecting it to a mobile device. Whichever configuration you use, the mic is controlled by a switch inside the left ear cup which allows you to mute while you’re yelling at your cat so nobody knows what Fluffy has done to incur your wrath. Volume is controlled by a rotating switch on the outer side of the right ear cup and you might want to become familiar with it rather quickly. The Siberia Elite headset is rather loud.

Loud enough to completely drown out a nearby lawnmower (we tested). Loud enough to leave you in your very own auditory world, even if someone is standing nearby and yelling at you (they were demanding that we turn it down). Loud enough, in fact, that audio is clear through the Elites when they are sitting across the room. Even at full volume they don’t distort appreciably, so the sounds of virtual enemy gunfire will be as crisp as a packet of Lays while leaving you unable to hear actual gunfire.

As comfy, loud and clear as they are, Steelseries’ headphones are still not the best we’ve heard when it comes to sound reproduction. There are better headphones on the market but you’ll find yourself paying more for them and they might not be up to an eight hour World of Warcraft raid, something that isn’t the case for the Siberia Elites.

If you’re keen on wearing a set of headphones for an extended period and you’d like pretty darn good sound quality to go along with it, the Siberia Elites are right up your alley. If you lean more towards an audiophile experience with your gaming, there are better options out there. But they won’t squeeze the side of your head quite so lovingly.


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