17 Oct Review: Steelseries Siberia
Category: Reviews

Generally, a Mac owner is expected to have a lot of Apple peripherals, like keyboards, mice, and even displays and display adapters. I’m no exception, which isn’t very strange, because I love the way most of them look and feel. Apple doesn’t offer everything you might need, though – full-size headphones, a great love of mine, are something that could use the nice design touches of Apple, but I had to look elsewhere for a fitting solution that also has an acceptable sound quality.

Too much audio hardware

I set out for an affordable and quality headset. Design may be important, but since you typically wear the things, it’s best to do a selection based on technical merits. However, I found a set of ‘cans’ that qualify quite well in both departments. Read on for the full review of the Steelseries Siberia headphones. Also, read the last bit of the post for a shot at winning a free Siberia.

There’s two models of Siberia: the traditional headband, and a slightly (dare I say it?) ‘fashion-aware’ neckband version. The headband may be traditional, but the headphones have a unique way of fitting themselves to your head thanks to their construction, which is very comfortable. No adjustment is necessary, and there’s never the risk of pushing them too tightly onto your head, resulting in headaches.

Siberia Headband

First up in the evaluation of the headphones is obviously sound quality. I’m no audiophile, so I can only deliver subjective insight into my experiences. For actual technical information, I suggest checking out other reviews. Delivering great sound in games also requires a fantastic audio card in your system, and I’ve only used it with the iPhone, PlayStation Portable, a mid-2009 Macbook Pro, and my 2008 Mac Pro. The latter has a reasonable audio card on board, but it doesn’t do some of the finer techniques that Creative cards use to translate surround sounds in games into the stereo channels of a headphone.

Siberia Neckband

I’m breaking down my experiences per usage scenario. Seeing how Steelseries markets it as a gaming headset, I’ll first talk about that. The Siberias both perform very well when connected to a Mac laptop or desktop to play games. In Counter-Strike Source, Quake 3, Left 4 Dead, and several others I had a good feeling of where sounds were located, including vertically. With my previous headphones, this wasn’t as pronounced. It reproduces sounds extremely clearly, with soft footsteps still being audible amidst harsh explosions and gunfire. No noise is discernible with a large amount of concurrent loud sounds, which is great. The deep bass of explosions is a bit timid when compared to more expensive headphones, but I find this to be pleasant. The regular headband version seems to have a slightly deeper bass than the neckband, although this might be due to situational changes.

For music and speech, the headphones are fantastically clear. Jazz, ambient, rock, blues, and metal all sounded great when I threw them at the Steelseries. Again, it has no extremely pronounced deep bass like a lot of full-size headphones, which is something I’d use a big set of speakers and a subwoofer for. Both models are fantastically suitable for an evening of being seated near an open window on a warm summer night with a glass of cognac, the supple tunes of Ulrich Schnauss, Hybrid, Tycho and Zero 7 guiding you to a beautiful place behind your eyelids.

The neckband microphone

Ah, the microphone. Sadly, I’ve not been able to test this. It doesn’t work out of the box with Mac laptops or desktops, thanks to the Line In ports not being powered. This is apparently a plus to audio professionals, but nevertheless a big nuisance. A USB version of the Siberia headband supposedly works on Macs, but I haven’t got it. I’d require a pre-amp or a USB audio card to use the pin-on microphone of the headband or the built-in microphone of the neckband.

Both headphones are ‘open’: this means sounds will leak out of the cups and produce noise audible to anyone near you. This isn’t an issue to me, but on a crowded public place it might be wise to tune the volume down on your guitar riffs and drum solos.

The design is gorgeous. While I’d be reluctant to go out with the headband model, as its big ‘beams’ expand the silhouette of your head quite a bit, the neckband is something you’d almost expect Apple to design. What I found odd is that its microphone is not optional, nor is its cord, forcing you to walk around with an unused microphone plug when on the go. The headband wisely has an optional pin-on microphone that can be disconnected. Both also go unreasonably well with any white device you might have lying around.

Two Siberias

The neckband model is clearly a unique thing: I am not liking them, but my girlfriend does appreciate them. It seems it requires remarkably average head dimensions, as it will feel a bit too small or too large otherwise. Headband-haters will probably really like it, but I feel like the regular headband is still more comfortable. The headband version also has a thick, sturdy cord compared to the rather average-girth neckband’s cord. However, the neckband does beats the headband in design. Again, I wouldn’t want to be found outdoor looking like this:

herpherpdurr

Overall verdict? I’d say they are worth getting, depending on your own preference of headphone models. I think the average user would prefer a headband, which also has the detachable microphone and sturdy cord, but isn’t as ‘fashionable’. The neckband is simply prettier, but functionally doesn’t differ from the regular model.

Listening time

You can grab the Steelseries Siberia at most large computer supply outlets or online on Amazon. Steelseries also offers a number of other gaming-related peripherals.

If you’d like a Steelseries Siberia headphone, you can drop a comment or tweet about this entry to win one (including shipping!).

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47 Responses

  1. 1
    Ratchet 

    I dig the way these look – I saw them on your twitter earlier. Kinda pricy though! I always get discounted models :)

  2. I love big headphones as well and I despise earbuds. They just don’t work for me.

    I don’t consider myself an audiophile either although I do a bit of music production. Musician’s Friend also has a nice selection of headphones with good quality sound/construction/price. I’m currently using AKG’s K77 series.

    I notice you also have an affinity for the color white. Then again, all of your gadgets are color-coordinated as well, lol.

  3. 3
    Clark 

    Free Siberia? I’m in! :)

  4. They look pretty awesome. My skull candies broke, and i would love to have them ;)

  5. Sebastian, you can read my mind?! I really was looking for a HeadPhone =p its almost impossible find a nice wireless one right? =/
    Anyway, amazing review as always and man, you look lime a BloodElf from WoW!! =D

  6. 6
    sebastiaan 

    A Blood Elf? That’s certainly something I haven’t heard before :).

  7. 7
    spiritualized 

    nice ones, perfect for skype
    good luck to all,self included :)

  8. 8
    Pad 

    so you cant use the mic on a mac… thats sucks dude!

  9. I’ve actually seen these before, never listened to them, but they’ve always looked like they could be a solid set of cans. I wouldn’t mind a free pair to try out, either! :)

  10. 10
    That Guy 

    Ik wil hebben…

  11. 11
    Anon 

    lol the image of the mic looks like a penis

  12. 12
    sebastiaan 

    If that looks like your penis you have a serious problem and you should see a doctor immediately.

  13. Those look pretty sweet! Thanks for the review!

  14. 14
    HBB 

    wow, this headset ook awosome and kool.

  15. 15
    Colin Wheeler 

    They look cool, I’ve been looking for a decent headset after I discovered my Sony gear didn’t quite match the volume I would have liked and didn’t quite reproduce sound as well as I wanted. Those would be a great replacement.

  16. 16
    Patrick Serrano 

    These are pretty sweet looking.

  17. 17
    Mau Orozco 

    Great review. I recently found your blog and the content you offer is really great. Keep up the great work. Oh and I’m definitely up for the giveaway. Thanks!

  18. 18
    Michael Sheets 

    Looks nice, been looking for a better headset than the Logitech I have now.

  19. 19
    Myoo 

    I think they look awesome, they make you look like a 60s sci-fi villain, which, lets be honest, is a damn cool thing to look like.

  20. 20
    Itai Ferber 

    Wow, those look pretty cool. Of course, I’d love to get a pair… ;)

  21. 21
    Bill 

    Nice, definitely better than the Apple’s iPhone earphones that I use now.

  22. 22
    Avner 

    These indeed look really good as gaming headsets. The headband one should look and sound brilliant when playing COD4.

  23. 23
    autoy 

    Nice pair of headphones, they remind me of an up to date classic AKG K series design.

  24. where can I buy this dock? :)

  25. 25
    Tony 

    Those look pretty sweet, I’d love to try them out. Thanks for the review.

  26. 26
    besologic 

    bummer that the mic doesn’t work out of the box. cans look good though! thanks for sharing!

  27. 27
    Sahil 

    Never been a fan of anything but in-ear stuff, but maybe that’ll change. :)

  28. 28
    Taylor 

    These look great. My current Creative Labs headphones are just too darn tight so I’ve been looking for a replacement. (Did I mention I Retweeted it too? ;) )

    Thanks for the review.

  29. 29
    Ronald Poi 

    Hey, I have a suggestion. About the Mac not powered input port, you can use my solution. I had this problem with a Mac mini G4 back those days, and I just got myself a nice iMic from Griffin:
    http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/imic/

    Since is USB powered, the thing will let you plug the mic cord and voila: Mac compatible.

    There, a nice (and useful) advise from Peru.

  30. 30
    Michiel 

    Nice review,
    I was looking for quite a while for a headset to use with my iMac.
    I think I’ll consider this one as a possible candidate.

  31. 31
    Moritz 

    Hey thanks for that good white ones are so hard to find :) I’m in for the race but if I don’t win I guess I’ll have to buy them anyways..

  32. 32
    Wouter Groenewold 

    Love the looks of the headphones. How long is the cord? And I was wondering if the microphone is removable since I won’t use them anyway…

  33. 33
    Airhead 

    Excellent review. I’d love a free pair, myself…

  34. 34
    Kevin H 

    I think the headphone model looks pretty cool actually. Sort of retro-futuristic!

  35. 35
    Brooke 

    hey great review, what sexy looking headphones! *win*

  36. 36
    Andy 

    Thanks for the review. I’ll chime in with a desire to be entered into the draw (assuming that’s what it is, anyhow).

    They look like a nice pair of headphones. I’ve never understood how so many manufacturers can still manage to completely fail at aesthetics, these days. But these, I’d wear proudly.

    Regards,
    Andy

  37. Ooh, I’m in the market for some new headphones, and these look pretty shmexy. Thanks for the review!

    {ryan}

  38. 38
    Ian Horner 

    Loving the design, and would love to have these around my ears.

    More than anything, would love to hear how they sound, being a bit of an audio snob in need of a mic, but not quite in audiophile territory.

  39. 39
    Keir Ansell 

    A nice thorough review and covered all the main points so thumbs up for that.

    Overall they look pretty good. I have been after some new ones for quite a while. Love music, but sadly know next to nothing about Headphones, but these do look pretty good.

    Thanks for the review!

  40. 40
    Kael 

    They look very nice! I am in need of some good headphones that cover your whole ear.

  41. 41
    Zef 

    I dislike writing comments when I don’t have anything useful to add. But the possibility of getting some free headphones wins this time…

  42. 42
    Abhimat 

    Nice headphones. Thanks for the review!

  43. 43
    Joe Jacobs 

    I’ve never seen a set of large headphones with a neckband like that, but now that I have I’m quite intrigued. They don’t seem very common though…

  44. 44
    Thomas Furlonger 

    They look pretty cool, wouldn’t mind having a pair myself. – Nice review.

  45. Hey,

    Nice review! I have a question though: I have the old “original” Syberia (the ones with the clip-on “horrific” mic) and one thing that always bothered me were how shallow the “earpads” were (my ear would touch the actual hard surface inside the pads). Are the v2 (also including the leather pads) or these any deeper around the ear? If so, are the neckband any different (I think I’d prefer the headband) Now, are these any deeper around the ear as to avoiding contact?

    Thanks Sebastiaan! ;)

  46. 46
    sebastiaan 

    Levi: I also have the v1. I prefer the clipon mic.

    The cups of the v2 are bigger. As far as I’ve observed, not any deeper. The neckbands cups are a bit smaller, I think.

  47. Sebastiaan: My only issue with the clip on is *where* to clip it and still keep decent fidelity when talking at low volume (night gaming sessions, house, people sleeping… :p) As to the cups not being deeper that’s sad… I’m guessing that being bigger will help prevent them from touching my ear but… I’ll have to try one of these myself! :)

    Again, thank you for the review and reply. :)

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