What You Need To Know:
Well built, mostly comfortable, good sound, great added features, excellent design, top notch build quality
Huge earcups, microphone bends upwards after being pulled out, white pleather gets dirty quite quickly, very expensive
A great gaming headset for PC Gamers, with good software support and nice added features.
I’ve always been a huge fan of SteelSeries, ever since I first tried the Sensei RAW mouse. So, naturally, I jumped at the chance to try the Siberia Elite. I’ve been using them for my PC gaming needs since early April and finally feel ready to review them.
USB SoundCard – with Dolby 7.1 Virtual Surround
Cables to connect via USB or Analogue
Design & Hardware
SteelSeries have combined all of the great looks and features of previous Siberia headsets to make the Elites. They have a very distinct look, and you can definitely tell that they are both SteelSeries, and Siberia.
They have circumaural, or “full size”, earcups, which fit all the way around each ear. There’s a nice fit and and your ears shouldn’t be crushed by the inside of the earcups.
The plush plastic-leather (pleather) padding is more than acceptable. There’s about an inch of thickness and the padding on the earcups is made of what I can only assume to be extra soft memory foam.
On the outside of the earcups there’s a SteelSeries logo on each side. Also, there is an LED colour ring on each side, which can light up in any of 16.8 million colours – more on that later in the review in the SS Engine section – and the color rings act as intuitive control rings. On the left side, the ring clicks in 2 positions. This acts as the mute toggle for the retractable boom mic, which has an LED indicator on the end, to let you know if it’s muted or not. On the outside of the right earcup, the LED ring acts as a volume fader. Turn it clockwise to turn sound up, and vice versa.
On the bottom of the right earcup is an audio daisy-chain port. It’s a standard 3.5mm port which you can plug another pair of headphones in for sharing the audio. A mostly useless feature, but it’s nice to have if you need it.
On the front side of the left earcup is the retractable boom mic. The mic pulls out from inside the earcup, and due to it’s metal structure, it sticks upwards in a bent shape when I pull it out. This can be fixed by simply adjusting the position of the boom mic, although this is quite annoying to do each time you plan on using the mic. This is the only major flaw I have found with the headset. The boom part of the boom mic is bendy metal and is coated in plastic. It slides in and out of the earcup smoothly and does not get stuck unlike on the Siberia V2.
The Microphone itself has Active Noise-Cancelling when used with the USB soundcard and lights up when muted through the earcup.
The intuitive ring controls are very useful and it’s nice being able to control the volume and mic mute quickly, with circular-like actions, although it might be quicker to do it through your keyboard. It’s really down to your personal preference, but for me, I like the controls being there.
The earcups are held together with a strong steel arc, which is very sturdy and has a nice feeling finish to it. Connected to the steel arc is the suspension headband. The suspension headband has similar thick, plush padding to the earcups, which is the same material. It provides excellent comfort for the top of your head and the suspension works to adjust the height of the headset as soon as you put it on your head. It makes a much more comfortable and hassle-free fit when compared to headphones and headsets with manual height adjustment. You don’t have to spend time adjusting the height of the headphones to fit your head; you just put them on and they fit perfectly every time.
The cable is a flat/spaghetti style cable. This means that the headset’s cable does not tangle. You’d have to tie the cable in multiple knots to tangle it. The cable matches the colour of the rest of the headset and does not look out of place at all. It comes from the side of the left earcup.
On the end of the cable is Steelseries’ proprietary USB connector. You can either plug it into one of the Analogue adapters, or the SteelSeries USB Soundcard.
The Soundcard has a port for the proprietary USB connector, as well as microphone and headphone ports, each 3.5mm. The Soundcard plugs into a USB port of your PC or Mac.
Overall, the hardware quality of the headset is excellent. With materials such as pleather, steel and hard plastic, the Siberia Elite is very well constructed, and very durable too. After many hours of gaming, the headset does not lose it’s comfort, and after several durability tests, the Siberia Elite passed them all.
The design is very good, in my opinion, too. I like how the headband and steel arc represent previous SteelSeries headsets, but the earcups represent a new era of SteelSeries design. The headset I have is in white, the preferrable colour to own the headset in, but it is also available in black. Although the headset is rather big, I still stand by my opinion that the headset is one of the best looking gaming headsets on the market. It doesn’t have unnecessary features, and the intuitive controls are hidden, not sticking out or using obnoxious buttons.
The Siberia Elite has LED’s and custom sound profiles which can only be controlled through the Soundcard, with the SteelSeries Engine 3.
The engine is a free download, but if you own a Siberia Elite headset, make sure to download the correct version of the SS Engine.
Through the software, you can add and modify profiles and settings for both your SteelSeries Soundcard, and the Siberia Elite.
You also have the option to control the colours that the LED rings show. You can pick from 16.8 million colours and can control if the LED ring displays it steady, or with effects that cycle through colours, have a breathing effect, or even change with the volume of the audio source.
You also have control over Custom EQ and Dolby Virtual Surround settings, for both the headset and Soundcard, as well as individual profiles for games on each.
Sound Quality & Experience
Sound Quality should be the most important thing you look at when buying a pair of headphones, or a headset, alongside good quality construction and comfort.
With 50mm Drivers, the sound quality of the Siberia Elite headset is very good. It’s a completely different experience to that of my Sennheiser or Velodyne headphones, but with good reason.
With the Siberia Elite, the whole point is to customise the sound experience, through the SteelSeries Engine. So, depending on what you’re doing, the sound experience will be different. And that’s the best part. With the Engine, you can change the sound dynamics of the headset, so if you want to fine tune the EQ yourself, or use preset configurations, then you can; which is great because there’s a huge amount of presets, such as for types of games, as well as music, movies, and much more.
As for the overall quality of the drivers, they’re excellent. With a flat EQ, and Dolby Virtual Surround turned off, I tried listening to some music with them. Bass was present but did need to be boosted through the EQ to meet a decent standard, and mids and highs sounded fairly good. More specifically, vocals and instruments had a good, detailed sound to them, but sounded suppressed due to the drivers trying to create a surround sound effect, even without the Virtual Surround turned on.
Overall, the sound quality of the Siberia Elite is not what I expected, but when used with the SteelSeries Engine and custom presets, the headset gives out a whole new experience, which makes for immersive gaming with the headset. Whether you’re playing high-concentration games such as FPS or MMO’s, or more casual games, you’re gonna have a wonderful gaming experience with the Siberia Elite.
With the Siberia Elite, SteelSeries has finally crafted a near-perfect headset. It’s comfortable, well designed, sturdy & durable, and produces great sound too. There’s not a lot else you can ask for in a gaming headset. Although it is only officially Mac & PC compatible, SteelSeries has been thoughtful enough to include adapters to use with older, Analogue sound cards, and even mobile devices. And if that’s not enough for you, there’s a daisychain port to connect another pair of headphones to the Siberia Elite.
The headset provides an excellent sound experience for both music and gaming, and the headset looks good and feels good. Out of all the gaming headsets I’ve tried and reviewed before, this one is by far the best.
But is it worth the price? That all depends on whether you’re willing to pay £150/$199 for a gaming headset. Yes, you get an excellent headset, but the price of the headset really reflects all of the mostly unnecessarily added features.
In my opinion, the headset is worth it, purely because the headset is good, just for the headphones and microphone, but when you buy this headset, you pay a premium for all the added features. I definitely recommend this headset for any PC gamer who is looking for an all round excellent headset.
Huge thanks to Georgina from Ranieri Comms for sending me the Siberia Elite headset for review.