Published on January 11th, 2014 | by Greg0
SteelSeries Siberia Elite: A Gamer’s Headset Worthy Of The Name
One of the best parts of being at CES is seeing the future come a little bit more to light. Not every trend that gets big here actually makes it to consumers- many of the “most buzzed about” products that everyone is posting about are likely to be vaporware, or at least end up being vastly different from the form shown here. Witness Lady Gaga’s short-lived work with Polaroid, or the Razer gear that inspires plenty of curiosity but also dismay since it rarely sees the market and lives to tell about it.
But one part of the future is already here in the present- SteelSeries’s phenomenal new gaming headset, the Siberia Elite. We’ve tried out many over the years, and while gear from Astro Gaming and Tritton (now owned by MadCatz) continue to keep their place in our hearts, there is definitely space at the top for an additional player. It’s been years since we’ve checked out gear from SteelSeries, but clearly they’ve targeted straight at PC gamers with their latest entry, which sadly is not compatible with consoles.
There are three major cool features: the retractable microphone, the incredibly cushy ear “pillows” that isolate sound well, and the high-end audio performance. The suspension fits with little manual adjustment, and is quite comfortable for both those with smaller and larger heads (and ears). There is a cute light on the outside of each earcup, an adjustable LED and you can control the illumination along with every other setting. Dials on the outside of the cups serve as easy, simple controls. And it all comes together with an external soundcard, allowing you to plug-and-play- and even a nifty addition (if a bit of a gimmick) that allows you to share your sound with another headset. Finally, they look great, bold and modern without being too aggressive.
There is full support for Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound, which was reasonably impressive- you’ll be able to tell exactly where that shot came from- as well as a DSP driven active-noise cancellation microphone. That said, it’s not quite the same as having true multi-speaker sound, and it’s not quite the best directional sound we’ve seen in a headset. 50mm drivers offer plenty of oomph, and there is a mobile cable for those who want a superior-sounding headset for their tablet or even smartphone. You’ll want to download and install the software for the best experience- out of the box, we had some issues that the software addressed, and remember that there are a lot of buttons and knobs to check/test/play with. Before a recent software update, there were some distortion issues, but after burn-in and some tweaking, we’ve been pretty blown away with the sound- and the software offers a ton of customization and options. They aren’t the most portable set, and we wouldn’t take them traveling, but the Siberia Elite look and feel premium, worthy of both the name and the pricetag: $200, available now in stores and online.