Steelseries Siberia V2 – Frost Blue Edition Review

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The Siberia line from Steelseries is very well known and this is not the first time we have reviewed a product from the line of headsets.  Well, Steelseries is back with their latest addition to the Siberia family of headsets. The USB-powered Siberia V2 Frost Blue limited edition headset.

Here is a bit of information about Steelseries as a company.

From day one, SteelSeries has been focused on making high performance gaming gear used by the most demanding, top professional gamers worldwide and peripherals that provide superior quality and a competitive edge to gamers of all skill levels. We believe, as most gamers do, in winning, not trying!

What originally began with two people who recognized the need for superior, high-quality/performance gaming gear that would give gamers a competitive edge, has grown into a global leader in gaming and entertainment gear sought after for their high performance capabilities.

Fast-forward to today, and we’ve come a long way since our first glass mousepad. We have global offices in North America, Europe, and Asia, providing an integrated portfolio of products designed specifically for gaming. Fueling our growth is you, the gamer!

While we are proud of our technology and product innovation, we are even more excited about how these products are developed to meet the needs of gamers. Many companies may claim to develop superior gaming products but few actually do. Instead, they spend countless hours with lab engineers trying to force fit a new technology with bells and whistles and mediocre functionality for the end-user.

At SteelSeries, we develop our products with a small internal team and a vast network of technology partners, channel partners, game publishers, and gaming communities around the globe. We aren’t afraid of being challenged and implementing new ideas. Our main goal is to always to listen to the collective feedback of our professional gaming community.

We won’t bore you with cheeky slogans, trying to underline our authenticity as gamers. We fully acknowledge that the best professional gamers in the world know more about what they want and what will make them better, than we do. We are proud to be working with our partners, but we can’t take credit for their invaluable input and feedback. Instead we tell it like it is: they help us. We want to know what works and what doesn’t. For this reason, SteelSeries creates innovative solutions that provide a competitive advantage for all gamers.

SteelSeries logoCritical to our company’s success is also our reinvestment in the gaming communities and the individuals who support them. As a result, our corporate philosophy is to take a substantial portion of our revenue and put it back into the gaming community to help spur industry growth. We support our community in numerous ways, ranging from co-hosting tournaments like Iron Lady and King of the Hill, and supporting gaming competitions of all sizes, to promoting the top and up-and-coming gaming teams/organizations.

Put simply, SteelSeries does not claim to invent or reinvent the gaming industry. Nor do we focus on one specific product, copy other companies or follow the crowd.

Instead we leave it to you, the gamer, our customer/partner/inspiration, to decide if we are deserving of such declarations and accolades. What we do promise, however, is to remain committed to you. We will continue to work with you and the gaming community to make the best products possible and give you that competitive edge. We will continue to do our best to support the growth of the professional gaming industry and give back to the gaming communities. By doing so, we don’t just talk a good game, we win!

 

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Lets go ahead and take a look at some of the specifications of the headset and see what Steelseries has to say about their Siberia V2 Frost Blue.

 

 

Features and Specifications

For more information please visit the Steelseries Website

 

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Classic Siberia. Enhanced

The SteelSeries Siberia v2 Frost Blue features all the sexy features that have earned the Siberia series many awards and much fame since the original. We have added brilliant blue illumination that functions in 6 modes and an integrated USB sound card that is supported by SteelSeries Engine.

The over-the-head suspension design keeps the headset light and adjustable for every head size. The earcups feature noise reducing foam covered in grey leather to keep out noise and helps you focus on the important audio or voice communication. Lastly, the retractable, active noise-cancelling microphone is there when you need it and hides in the left earcup when you don’t.

 

INCREDIBLE SOUND

Featuring 50mm driver units that reproduce crystal clear sounds in high, low, and mid-range tones is at the core of what is creating an incredible audio experience. Powered by an advanced built-in sound card that features customizable equalizer settings and upgradable firmware for future expanded audio and illumination settings.

 

FROST BLUE ILLUMINATION

Alert the world around you that you’re in the game. – The headset features frost blue, LED illumination on the right and left side of each ear cup under the grill.

 

PERSONALIZE. EQUALIZE

Let’s face it, the way you hear the game is unique to the tones your hearing can pick up, and probably completely different than the next gamer, which is why SteelSeries provides Frost Blue Headset users the ability to adjust, personalize and save all of their audio and equalizer settings. Save up to 8 settings for specific game profiles.

 

KEEP OUT THE NOISE

The earcups feature a leather covered noise reducing foam, which helps you to focus on the important audio or voice communication, and not being disturbed or interrupted by outside noise.

 

LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION

SteelSeries over-the-head suspension design keeps the Frost Blue Headset cans lightweight and adjustable for just about every head size. We believe in keeping the gameplay heavy, not the gear your’re wearing to play it.

 

IN CONTROL

The integrated volume controller on the cord also offers a mute button, all for instant control without having to navigate through software settings.

 

LIGHT ‘EM UP

16 Super Bright LEDs create a beautiful, even illumination around each ear cup capable of functioning in 6 different modes. Through the SteelSeries Engine, users can customize illumination in pulse (fast and slow), intensity (low and high) and even a sound activated mode. Of course, in true SteelSeries fashion, you can turn off the lights and still enjoy the amazing quality and audio features of this advanced headset.

 

AND THE NUMBERS

Headphones

  • Frequency response: 18 – 28,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 40 Ohm
  • Cable length: 3 ft.
  • USB Cable extension: 6.5 ft.

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 50 – 16,000 Hz
  • Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
  • Sensitivity: -38 dB
  • Active noise reduction: Up to 20dB



A Closer Look

If you’ve ever read one of my Steelseries headset reviews before I’ll start out by saying that the packaging for the Frost Blue edition Siberia V2 is pretty much the same as almost every other Steelseries headset I’ve tested. It comes in a cardboard box that opens up to show the headset itself behind a clear plastic case. Marketing materials cover the package.

 

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Like other Steelseries headsets, comfort is simply fantastic with the Siberia V2. Personally I prefer cloth pads on my headphones but the faux leather on these headphones is comfortable enough. They do however have a tendency to get a bit warm if you wear them for prolonged amounts of time or if you have pretty warm ambient temperatures.

 

If you were looking for a headset you could plug into a phone or tablet you will need to look elsewhere. The Frost Blue edition Siberia headset is a USB-only affair. Its got a built-in sound card which can really help things out if you would rather not run onboard audio or have not decided to go the route of a sound card or a DAC.

Build quality feels solid as always, although I really would have liked to see a braided cable. The plastic cable doesn’t feel too thin but I can just picture it getting caught on a chair and tearing. One thing that can combat issues of pulling a cable too hard is the fact that the cable coming from the headset is only around 3.5ft in length which plugs into an extender cable which is included. A nice feature that comes from the USB is the lights on the speakers. They are adjustable and various different light settings can be used, however blue is the only color available on this headset.

 

 

Testing Methodology

For testing we will be testing only on the PC platform since I feel that it gives better overall sound quality. We will be examining the headsets performance in Music, Movies,and PC games.

Before running these tests, the headphones were properly burned-in, in order to bring out the full characteristics of the sound. This is done in order to allow the speakers in the headphones to burn-in since they often sound different out of the box. This headset was burned-in for 48hrs before testing for the review occured. 

 

Music

Music testing is done with the Siberia V2 Frost Blue headset being driven by the onboard USB sound card attached to the headset.All music is formatted in FLAC at 320kbs bitrate. Different music albums were used in order to get a feel for how the set would perform on different music genres. All music was tested at a neutral preset on the sound card in order to show what out of the box performance is like, without catering to a individual music type since very few people only listen to a single type of music.

I thought I would switch up the techno/trance album and choose the Sirens of the Sea album by Above & Beyond. This headset gives me a feeling like songs are overly bright. Highs are a bit overemphasized thoughout my experience with this album at low to moderate volumes. Lows range from good to punchy depending on frequency and depth,  with songs having  faster beats feeingl a bit more harsh than songs with spaced out beats. Higher volumes bring out more inconsistancies in the sound profile leading to static and muddy sounds. Details are fine at lower volumes and get the job done. Just don’t expect to have crystal clear listening at max volume.

Next up is the Folk album Bring Me your Love by City & Colour. This album is used in order to give a good sense of the mids and highs, as well as some input on the finer details in guitar chords and other sounds. The continued feel that these headphones sound very flat is no exception with this album. Previous Siberia V2 headsets have not had this issue so I can only assume it has something to do with the USB sound card built in.

Next up we pick up the pace of the music and feature the A.F.I. Album, Art of Drowning.This album has been notorious for overwhelming headphones we’ve reviewed due to quick beats and a fast pace. Once again the big thing that stands out is how flat these cans sound. Nothing really jumps out and lets the headphones show off the good soundstage of the Siberia line. It sort of reminds me of throwing a blanket on top of a speaker, you can still hear everything but all of the details and crispness is muted.

I decided to mix things up a bit and remove the rap track and instead add in a classical album. The Best of Mozart. One thing that really jumped out at me is how crisp classical music sounds on these cans. While there is a tendency for bass to become a bit boomy everything does a good enough job. This is certainly welcome compared to the rest of the music which sounded uninspiring, I can truely say that these cans do an admirable job for being a gaming headset.

 

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Movies/ Video

Lots of people use their headphones when they watch movies or their favorite TV shows. Testing is done by watching Blue-Ray rips of the following series at 720p or 1080p on the VLC media player.

 

Life

This BBC/ Discovery channel is a simply stunning series when it comes to visuals and audio. Once again the lack of a proper soundstage strikes again. Sounds do not come off as crisp and airy, rather a muted tone is set throughout the listening experience. I had so much hope for these headphones.

 

Band of Brothers

This HBO mini-series gives a breattaking look at a group from the 101st airbourne during world war II.  Flat is certainly a recurring theme with these headphones. I really wish it were not the case, but it really sounds like these is something in the headphones that muffles the sound and causes it to become flat. Gunshots and explosions come through quite well, but voices and music come through with a lackluster sound. This is likely due to the sound card being tuned for gaming and positional audio because hearing where a bullet came from is quite easy but the clarity on the sound is not the best.

 

Lets also take a look at gaming on these headphones.

Since these headphones are made for gamers lets see how good this unit actually performs in a few games.

 

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PC Gaming

Lets go ahead and take a look at a couple games with fantastic sound quality.

 

Counterstrike: Global Offensive

Over the years the Counter Strike series has been notorious for needing perfect sound if you want to excel. Sound quality in CS:GO is simply great. While these headphones were flat and lackluster in music and movies, in gaming these headphones shine. Positional audio is very good and hearing an enemy around a corner was no problem at all. It can be a huge advantage to hear someone reloading in a different room you plan on walking into. I would certainly consider the headphones a game-changer in FPS games.

 

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

A big huge immersive world is a great way to describe skyrim, the sound in the game is quite immersive as well. Moving throughout the Skyrim world was a great experience. Sadly like other types of audio, things were flat. In skyrim this diminishes the quality of the experience. Sounds are accurate and positional audio is good, but it certainly could be improved upon.

 

 

Verdict and Conclusion

This sure wasn’t the first Steelseries headset I’ve reviewed.  In the past their headsets have sounded all around quite accurately. When paired with a solid sound card they can actually provide a solid listening experience for the money.

While not quite as good as an audiophile level headset for pure audio performance, they have offered a good balance between gaming and music where you will not skip a beat between the two.

However, I’m not quite sure what the deal with this headset is but something just isn’t right. I really think it has to do with the USB sound card built into the headset being tuned improperly.

Music performance left me wanting more, although FPS gaming performance was solid as always with Steelseries headsets. Even after installing the software available from the Steelseries website and tuning the headset to specific music/ audio types performance was still disapointing.

 

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When it comes to price, this headset can be found for $120 through various vendors. SteelSeries Siberia V2 headsets with 3.5mm audio connectors can be found for around $80. While they do lack the ability to connect via USB and the cool flashing lights, it does give you the option to purchase an inexpensive sound card that would offer a MUCH better audio experience.

 

Good:

  • Good FPS gaming performance
  • Line-in Audio contols
  • Built-in pull out microphone
  • Very comfortable

 

Bad:

  • USB sound card
  • Music performance
  • Price

 

Final words.

Great looks , a USB connection, and software taylor made for it sadly are not enough to save this headset. Compared with other Steelseries headsets it simply does not offer a great value for your dollar. Performance is lacking and if you are only planning on FPS gaming it would make a good headset but if you want to do more I would look elsewhere.

 

SCORE

 

6.5/10

 

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