Friday, May 18, 2012

SteelSeries Siberia V2 review

About the Author
My brother told me to buy it for him, apparently there was this one time fire sale on SteelSeries's website. Bought it around 4 months ago and it has been gathering dust ever since. So decided that I  might as well test and review it :) If I like it, I might even get one for myself.

I have not owned that many headphones. Before heading to the UK (where the walls are EXTREMELY thin), I did not really see much use of headphones as I prefer to use my speakers (tried many many speakers) to listen to anything. Anyway, some of my past headphones are the Bose QuietComfort 3 (did NOT buy it myself, my sister bought it and just gave it to me for some reasons which I cannot recall), Sennheiser HD201 (bought it when I first came to UK, it was cheap) and currently using Sennheiser HD219. Did not really like any of them to be honest. It seems like there was always something missing. And finally, if it is not obvious already, I am NOT an audiophile.

I listen to different types of musics, mostly whatever is on the radio (mainstream) and some opera but definitely none of the K-Pop or J-Pop or whatever-Pop it is.

SteelSeries Siberia V2

Warning: This is based on a straight out-of-the-box experience with the set. There is no burn-in time and this may/may not change the sound quality of the headphones however rarely does such headphones in this price range needs a burn-in period. With that said, I have limited experience hence take this review as it is :).

As of this writing, I have been wearing the headphones for about three hours and I have not experienced any discomfort. The paddings are quite comfortable and it is also light that you tend to forget you are wearing it if you are not playing anything through it.

Build Quality
It is acceptable, I guess. However, since this is not mine, I would not really use it till I sleep like I did with all my previous headphones. I broke both the Bose and the HD201 this way :) The HD219 is surprisingly still intact. If I were to guess, the Siberia V2 is not really a heavy duty headphones. There is something about it that does not exudes sturdiness and it is most obvious on the upper parts.

Sound Quality
Oh the bass... Sooo smooth. If there's anything that will remind you that this is a gaming headphones, its the bass. The bass is accurate and is not overbearing. However, I would have thought that gamers would like exaggerated bass. The bass on this headphone, while good, is not particularly powerful and not punchy either like most gaming headphones I have tested. It is there when its supposed to be there but its not the kind that will rattle your head. Many gamers I know of ( limited sample of people :) ) prefer deeper and more dominant bass so I would guess that this would disappoint many but it actually suits my taste :).

The mids are warm but recessed. This is, of course, a matter of preference but I like the vocals to be forward and direct. While the mids are clear, it is not as dominant compared the bass or the treble. Maybe its just the type of musics that I listened to but this really is apparent to my ears.

SIBILANT! Google that. And not in the good way. Nothing an equalizer can't fix but disappointing nonetheless.

Excellent. Well this is an open-air design afterall. There is none of that closed-bottled feeling here. Aside from the bass, this is also clearly one of the qualities that will remind you that this is first and foremost a gaming gear. I guess this will add the realism in games? I am not really a gamer and only play RTS so I cannot say. Seriously, the soundstage is noticeably good and it is one of the things that I miss when I switched to other headphones.

Excellent as well! You can clearly hear all the distinct instruments being played. Listening to Gotye's Somebody I Used To Know is a totally new experience. The dominant bass never really bleeds into other ranges and this is excellent.

Isolation/Sound Leaks
Since this is an open-air headphones, there is basically no isolation from the outside world/noise. In fact, while writing this I am listening to an opera performance with my table fan turned on (its summer) and I can still make out the noise of the fan during the quiet parts of the aria.

It also leaks sound just as bad. But really, this is an open-air design and it performs as such. Please do not use this while commuting, unless you want to annoy yourself with the noises as well as others with your music.

Based on my limited testing time, unfortunately it is clear that this headphone is not for me. I find its sound signature to be too fatiguing. The treble is really its weakest point. And the recessed mids doesn't really help either.

However, since this is geared mostly to gamers, I do not think that they will be picky about all these issues. The main thing they care about is bass (again, just a personal assumption :p) and on that front I think it performs fine with good soundstage as an added bonus. Even then, I think some will be disappointed as bass is not that powerful. With all that said, I would rate it 3/5 for the comfort, bass and great soundstage.

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