When I had heard that SteelSeries was working on a third version of the Siberia gaming headset I was extremely excited. I remember owning my first official gaming headset, the Icemat Siberia, which happens to the very first iteration of the Siberia gaming headset before they became SteelSeries and I was absolutely in love with them. Well, fast forward nine years and I’ve got my hands on the newest version. Will these be as great as I remember or will they fall flat?
Flat out, the SteelSeries Siberia V3 is a nice looking headset, it still has the signature look that they had way back in 2006 but the look works. It’s actually what drew me to them originally in the music video for “Dota” by Basshunter. But there have been some obvious improvements in both design and performance while keeping with the good looks. The Siberia V3 features a memory foam and leatherette finished closed cup design which depending on the size of your head will either works extremely well or in the case of my large head, not so much. These are joined by the same floating headband, now with a SteelSeries logo across the top, from years past and above that two bars to give the headset its shape. The whole point of this floating headband is that it is the only thing making contact with your head and this gives it an extremely lightweight feel. The entire construction of the Siberia V3 is plastic and leatherette from the cups, to the structural bars, to the accents and vents. You might assume that the plastic would give it a cheap feeling and while some could construe this as a cheap option I actually like the choice. This decision to go with plastic was most likely done to keep the headset as light as possible and they’ve certainly kept it light. Even after hours of use they barely feel like they’re there at all. Because of the plastic construction the structure of the headset isn’t rigid which allows it to fit in a few different positions on your head or around your neck without issue. The microphone is really what turns these from a pair of headphones into a gaming headset and SteelSeries has actually come up with a design that I really like. The microphone has a retractable design that sits in the left earcup which allows you to push it back into its hole to hide it away when not in use, or retract out when you need to do some talking. Now you might be asking about microphone controls, and while there aren’t any direct controls over the volume of the microphone, a feature on other gaming headsets in the same price range, there is a clever little mute switch that I didn’t notice until I was staring right at it. This works really well because you won’t accidentally mute yourself in the middle of use. Overall the looks of the Siberia V3 are great, but as someone who likes the option of using these headsets outside of my own house or LAN party, these aren’t exactly ones that will look like all the others. These look like a gaming headset through and through and because of this you won’t see me wearing these anywhere outside of my house.
Now one issue I had with the original Siberia gaming headset was the floating headband. After a few years the wires that allow the headband to stretch out to fit your head can break and when this happens the headset becomes almost unwearable. The reason this is a concern is because of the plastic construction which being stressed over time could become brittle and snap. The only reason I bring this up is that it seems that they haven’t changed this floating headband wire system which could yield the same results.
Now for the performance, I have been spoiled in my position to own and use several gaming headsets in this price range and had a few lying around for direct comparison. Because of this I am quite disappointed in the Siberia V3’s sound quality. The Siberia V3 sports big 50mm drivers that are capable of delivering some great sound, but it seems that they’ve done something to them that leaves the sound very flat. After switching back and forth between one of my favorite headsets and the Siberia V3 It seemed as if the V3 had some sort of filter on it that quieted things down and made the sound distinctly muddled. Explosions and gunfire don’t seem to have that satisfying thump that I’ve gotten used to, gaming with other gaming headsets. Sadly the microphone doesn’t help the case of the Siberia V3 and while I really did like the retractable design the performance leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, the microphone works and is completely serviceable for some quick and dirty voice chat but you might have to mess around with your microphone gain quite a bit to get the volume you want. Multiple times I was told I was barely audible in multiple chat programs like Skype, Raidcall, and Curse Voice. This was baffling because I had messed with the distance between the microphone and my mouth and no matter how close it was, the volume was still too low. However SteelSeries does offer some software called SteelSeries Engine 3 that allows you to control and modify settings about your SteelSeries devices including some levels which can help but amplifying the microphone signal allows more background noise to be picked up which is really disappointing. There are also some EQ tweaks you can make for overall audio balance but there’s really no tweaking for things that just aren’t there, namely the bass and lows.
SteelSeries Siber V3 Technical Specs
|Frequency Response||10 - 28000 Hz||Frequency Response||50 - 16000 Hz|
|Impedance||35 Ohm||Pick Up Pattern||Unidirectional|
|Sensitivity||80 dB||Sensitivity||-42 dB|
|Cable Length||1.2m (3 ft)|
|Connectors||3.5mm & dual 3.5mm pc adapter|
The SteelSeries Siberia V3 is a decent little headset that provides a flat yet serviceable sound, a quiet microphone in a beautiful and comfortable package. At $99 I could see it taking away some of the Razer faithful because these are actually in line with another popular gaming headset, the Razer Kraken in terms of sound quality. But in terms of comfort and looks the Siberia V3 reigns supreme. The Siberia V3 is arguably one of the more comfortable gaming headsets I’ve ever owned as a result of the plastic construction and floating headband design. It also happens to be one of the coolest looking. One trend I’ve been seeing recently is the change from dual two band 3.5mm plugs to a single 3 band 3.5mm plug which I don’t appreciate because the standard on motherboards and cases are still the dual two band 3.5mm plugs. So while the cable length is perfectly fine as it is (3 feet), in order to use it on a computer you must use the included cable adapter that adds way too much length (over 6 more feet). The leatherette that was used on the floating headband seems sort of cheap as if it would be easy to rip. While this hasn’t happened, it’s just one of those feelings I’m getting from them. So while the SteelSeries Siberia V3 is definitely a great improvement from previous iterations of the Siberia, I can’t quite recommend it because of some of the other options out there for the same $99 price tag.
SteelSeries Siberia V3 Gaming Headset
Unacceptable |Not Recommended | Acceptable| Recommended | Highly Recommended
The SteelSeries Siberia V3 Gaming Headset was reviewed using a review unit provided by SteelSeries.