The past three or four years I had been using the same headset: the Corsair 1500 Vengeance wired headset. As a person with a small head and thick framed glasses, it is always difficult for me to find comfortable headsets that also provide good quality. So usually when I find a set that works, I keep buying that same set when the old pair wears out. Thus was the case with the 1500s. They provided good sound quality, didn’t try to pull my ears off my head, had nice soft velvet ear cups, and of course a pretty great quality microphone for a gaming headset. However the problem I always encountered with the 1500s was that the cable on either side of the in-line volume/mute button would wear out within a year or so. This last pair I had lasted two years, so they have been getting better. But when it came time to replace them I decided to opt for something different. The SteelSeries Siberia V2.
If you know me, you know that aesthetics are very important to me. The aesthetics are definitely want initially drew me to the Siberia V2s. Originally I was looking at getting the limited edition Frost version because, I mean, how can I say no to a cool blue glow? However the site here in New Zealand that I was buying from, Mighty Ape, was having a big sale that resulted in the white and black version to be less than $100 NZD, which is pretty reasonable for gaming headsets here. Combined with the great reputation that SteelSeries has as a peripherals company, I decided to go for it.
This morning they finally arrived and I’ve been using them off an on all day. I’ll break down my first day impressions into categories:
A few reviews I read online rated the Siberia V2 less than 10/10 because of its light weight. Some said they didn’t feel it was a quality headset because it didn’t have that heaviness associated with good quality gaming headsets. When I picked the box up off my porch I could already tell that it was a very light headset compared to my Corsair 1500s or the various Logitech numbers my husband has had over the years. For me, this is great. I hate how heavy most gaming headsets feel because after an hour or two of having them on, I often get headaches or have a sore neck. On top of that, it seems like many gaming headsets are made for larger heads, so for me many of them end up resting a lot of their weight on my ears – not a good feeling!
But with the Siberia V2, that hasn’t been a problem so far. The ear cups are certainly smaller than my 1500s, which was a concern of mine at first. However after wearing them for just a few minutes it became clear it was totally fine. The elastic-like band across the top (honestly I’m not sure what is letting the band stretch and slide to fit to my head) sits directly on my head and helps distribute any weight that would otherwise by going straight on my ears. That combined with the already light weight of the headset as a whole means that it feels more like I’m wearing a regular pair of headphones rather than a full-on gaming headset.
One issue I also had with the big, bulky headsets (including the 1500s) was that if I leaned back in my chair or moved my head much, they would slip off and thud to my desk or the ground. I’m sure they could take the very slight beating but it’s not something that you like repeating over and over. The Sibera V2 gips my head much better with its smaller ear cups that wrap more around my ears rather than just cover them completely and with the self-adjusting strap across the top of the head.
Durability wise, they seem fine so far. Nothing seems fragile or cheap. The in-line mute and volume control is much smaller and compact than the 1500s, which is quite nice, though I will miss the flashing red light to remind me when I’ve accidentally muted myself. The only thing that might worry me is the small cables that the head-strap is connected by. They are thin and flexible but I’m not sure how durable they will be in the long run.
Sound and Mic Impressions
Every headset sounds slightly different. It’s always hard for me to say if one has better sound quality than another but I think that these Siberia V2 are definitely up there. I can tell they capture a bit more bass than my 1500s did. Since the ear cups are smaller and wrap around my ear, they let in less outside noise as well, which definitely adds to the sound quality. I haven’t played anything besides Guild Wars 2 today (big surprise), so I haven’t really tested the gaming sound quality with a lot of different settings and music types. But in GW2 it sounds epic. That really is the best word to describe it. Because of the extra bass compared to my old headset, I can hear a lot of the richer, deeper sounds I missed out on before. Swinging my two-handed hammer on my warrior character is especially awesome.
For microphone quality I decided to to a short test recording with the Siberia V2, the Corsair 1500, and my Blue Yeti USB stand alone microphone. I read out the same short phrase and recorded with Audactiy. Then I used Noise Removal and Amplification, as these are edits that I make on pretty much every video and podcast that I do. Not surprisingly, the Blue Yeti had the highest microphone quality. The 1500s were actually pretty close in quality, though a tiny bit more ‘tin’ sounding. Unfortunately the lowest quality of the three is definitely the Sibera V2. Tinny and almost like I’m talking from a bit further away. I definitely won’t be using this headset for recording podcasts or videos, but to talking on Skype or in Ventrilo they should be more than fine.