SteelSeries Siberia Elite Prism gaming headset is claimed to be the pinnacle of the knowledge acquired from over 10 years of experience SteelSeries have obtained through engineering audio products. We wanted to find out whether it’s a truly premium headset or not.
The ear cups are the focal point of the Siberia Elite Prism gaming headset. They’re big, deep and perfectly round. In many ways this is a simplistic and elegant design, really cemented with the halo-like floating steel band. Having said this, when we plug the headset in via USB, a world of a possible 16.8 million colours are displayed via ringlet LED modules on the end of each ear cup. It’s a novelty which has a few modes of lighting cycles, such as colour shifting within a spectrum and pulsing to the volume. It serves no useful purpose other than looking cool for others to see, but nevertheless its imaginative design makes it a headline feature when talking to fellow gamers about the headset.
Interestingly, the floating steel head band is not for show and is the structural point that holds the design together and enables the underneath soft-touch rubberised headband, that rests against the head, to do something we’ve never seen before in headphone design: it allows the headset to fit anyone's head without any manual adjustment needed, via it being exceptionally flexible and automatically adjustable in length through a spring mechanism. It works tremendously well and none of us had a single complaint to make about the fit or comfort that sports velvety soft padding.
The SteelSeries Siberia Elite Prism headset is designed to rest on the head, rather than cling to it. Indeed this is easily achieved due to the headset's size; each ear cup warmly hugging the sides of your head with loosely soft hand-stitched memory foam cushions for a package that makes hours of gaming pleasantly snug. In fact, these cushions create such an effective and breathable air-lock surrounding each ear, that loud volume from the surrounding environment gets totally muted out.
Included in the box is a PC adapter cable, extension cable, a 3.5mm aux cable and USB Soundcard V2 - we primarily used the latter two methods. The SteelSeries Engine 3 App can be downloaded for both Mac and PC, and allows for the adjustment of frequencies via an equaliser or through inbuilt presets. The LED lighting and microphone can have various features altered also. What’s more, your presets can be saved into the cloud for retrieval on other devices.
On the SteelSeries headset itself you can mute the mic and adjust the audio output volume of the speaker drivers via twist dials located on each ear cup. The microphone retracts out of the left ear cup and is noise cancelling when using PC or Mac. In our tests the quality of the microphone is very good and picks up vocals really well. When directly recording into Garageband via the mic, to see how well it stands up on its own merit, we noticed that it was a touch crackly, but not at all faint. Nevertheless, during gaming, it did a decent job at cancelling out noise from a distance.
This headset conveys spine chilling highs, an expansive mid range and a brimming bass. Consequently we kept on hearing detail and clarity being rigidly maintained across all the core frequency ranges at all volume levels. The volume can be made unbearably loud, but only via the 3.5mm aux input method we noticed. Ear fatigue wasn't felt by any of us because the drivers are so strongly covered in audio protection that ear canals don't get hammered. So really, playing music via a smartphone or tablet over a standard 3.5mm aux input, sees these headphones genuinely qualified for the purpose, and offering good value against similarly priced dedicated headphones. The detail and pure broadness of depth saw this gaming headset actually out-perform the likes of the acoustically rich Sennheiser Urbanite XL’s when playing acoustic songs like ‘March, April, May’ by ‘Wouter Hamel’.
Siberia Elite Prism features the Dolby ProLogic IIx technology that converts 5.1-channel content to full-range 7.1 channel audio, and Dolby Headphone technology is onboard too. To utilise the Dolby technologies, you’ll need to use either a Mac or PC and the supplied USB Sound Card V2. Focusing on the surround sound aspects, SteelSeries Siberia Elite Prism show just how easily misled our ears can get. The static 50mm drivers can translate bullets being fired and explosions in Call of Duty: Black Ops, from a multidirectional scope around your head rather genuinely. You can’t expect the same level of detail that you’d obtain with a Dolby 7.1 surround sound speaker setup, but they grasp a favourably immersive experience for rich gaming. These are really a world apart when compared to the SteelSeries 9H Headset, that apparently boasts the same surround sound emulation. Furthermore, the soundstage is strong too, with the drivers splitting separate audio elements cleanly. Once again this is a good attribute to have during music playback.
This is a gaming headset that stands out from the crowded premium competition by having an imaginative and fresh design. In addition it packs whopping volume, an authentically roomy surround sound experience and pin precise definition in transmitting audio frequencies.