SteelSeries Siberia Neckband Headset - SteelSeries Siberia Neckband Headset

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To don the headset, it’s a simple case of pulling the earphones apart and letting the sprung band pull the phones over your ears. The phones themselves envelope the whole ear with large rings of soft padded foam doubling up as cushioning and providing the gripping point that hold the set on your head. At first the fit is very comfortable and a couple of hours of gaming could pass without them troubling you. After longer periods, though, the weight of the set does begin to put pressure on the tops of your ears making them uncomfortable. Passing the set round the office, this was a problem we all experienced so it’s not just my strange shaped head or slippery long hair causing the problem.


Unfortunately there isn’t really a solution to this and it’s really a case of whether you plan to use this headset just for occasional gaming or if you fancy using them as more of an everyday headphone. For the former you shouldn’t be put off by the comfort issue but for the latter you may want to stick with a traditional headset. At the very least, trying before you buy would be highly advisable.

The microphone is attached to a flexible stem that stows away completely into the left cup, where it’s discrete enough to go unnoticed, making these a truly practical everyday headphone as well as gaming headset. When extended it can be bent and twisted any way you choose and there’s sufficient length to accommodate even the most idiosyncratic of microphone positions. Sound quality was also decent with my fellow frag buddies reporting a clear signal of sufficient volume to be heard over the din of roaring flamethrowers, exploding rockets and the rat-tat-a-tat of machine gun fire in Team Fortress 2. Obviously you shouldn’t hope to be recording your next masterpiece using this microphone but for general chat purposes it is more than sufficient.


Finally, we come to arguably the most important aspect of any headset and that’s the sound quality. Now I’ve had this headset in the office for sometime now and I’ve been listening to it on and off with a broad variety of music. Unfortunately due to the aforementioned comfort problems they haven’t remained my permanent office headphones but in terms of sound quality I would be more than happy to use them everyday.

It goes without saying that they aren’t going to compete with true audiophile headphones, like the Grado LabsSR325i, and indeed I’d put them on a par with any other half decent set that you could get for around £50. However, what you do get is a set that can cope well with the full spectrum of sound and will do considerable justice to the poppier side of your listening tastes. Classical, acoustic, or just generally more subtle genres do suffer from a slight lack of clarity, which isn’t helped by the bassier leanings of the overall sound. Also, the open back design does little to block ambient noise so quieter passages can easily be swamped by street/office/train noise.


For gaming, and in particular LAN gaming, the design works perfectly, though. The strong bass adds real depth to explosions and other atmosphere building ambient noises, while the open back design allows you to chat to your friends without missing a beat while playing. Also, the neckband design has the added side effect of creating a very compact set of headphones making them all the easier to carry around with you. As a gaming headset, they really can’t be faulted.


”’Verdict”’


Although I found the neckband design lead to slight discomfort after extended periods of listening, ultimately whether you choose a neckband or headband retention mechanism is a personal preference and you should really try before you buy. What isn’t without doubt, though, is the Steel Series Siberia range of headsets are the perfect accompaniment to any budding gamer. The sound quality is as good as you would expect for the price, the microphone is clear and easy to use and the added extras make for a set that does everything you could possibly want of it.

Score


Score in detail

  • Value 9
  • Features 9
  • Design 7
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