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PAX 2013: SteelSeries Siberia Elite Hands-On Preview

/ Sep 6th, 2013 No Comments

siberia_elite_feat

For the unfamiliar, SteelSeries makes some of the best gaming peripherals on the market, while pricing them well below their competitors. That isn’t to say there is less in the box. SteelSeries’ products offer the same or better features in comfortable and subtle packages. While some of their lineup has the flash to match, the majority focuses on performance and durability. We saw a prototype at E3 earlier this year and heard about the plans for what the Siberia Elite headset would be, and the goals they set were high. Seeing and hearing the near-final product at PAX made it evident why SteelSeries would call these elite.

The Elites excel in design. Calling them minimalistic or simple fails to convey just how intelligently designed every piece is, including the the materials that the headphone are constructed from. The full stainless steel headband is equal parts flexible, durable and beautiful. The padded headband that suspended just beneath the headband uses elastic bands to adjust height, reducing the amount of wasted material on smaller head sizes and allows for a great fit on larger heads. The achromatic color scheme is accented by the illuminated rings around the ear cups, which also act as volume control and a mute function. They add a touch of color which can be customized, like most of the illuminated SteelSeries products, by utilizing the software suite.

The illumination is fully customizable.

The illumination is fully customizable.

The hideaway noise-cancelling microphone retracts nicely into the set, rather than rotating vertically or detaching completely. The tip of the microphone can be detached and upgraded to a cardioid microphone currently in development. SteelSeries wants to offer even higher clarity to professional gamers and streaming personalities, or those who want the absolute best out of their setup.

The massive cushions surround the ear, padded with a comfortable memory foam and covered with a leather that won’t absorb any oil or residue from the skin, ensuring the white headsets stay white. The same memory foam surrounds the large drivers within the ear cups, adding more soundproofing , reducing resonant warp and ensuring the best possible environment for the virtual Dolby 7.1 surround sound. If the stock settings are not up to personal preference, the audio settings can be fully adjusted both on the speakers output and the microphone input. Multiple profiles can be adjusted and saved, allowing users to assign a given profile to load automatically with a certain game or program. This allows for one-time adjustments rather than using a mixamp or hotkeys to adjust to a different environment.

White or Black. The hardest decision.

White or Black. The hardest decision.

The audio performance is incredible. The demo video that Steelseries displayed did a fantastic job of exhibiting the power of the drivers. The surround sound performed beautifully, as highs and lows from all directions were crisp and lacked any form of distortions. Even in the cacophony of a battlefield, each individual sound was not only recognizable, but the direction of its origin seemed easily identifiable. With such a short demo presentation, the Siberia Elite fulfilled all of of the promises made during the conversations about the prototype.

The Siberia Elite will be available for preorder later this month in black and white variants. It will begin shipping in October. The MSRP is $199.99, which includes the USB sound card and the various adapters for smartphones and other analog inputs. Not only is it an amazing price for the package, but it puts the asking price for the Elites well below its contemporaries’ aging models. Prospective buyers can sign up for a notification to tell them when it is available for pre-order from the SteelSeries website.

Chance Asue

Chance Asue

Associate Editor & Multimedia Specialist at Gaming Illustrated
Chance Asue is a self-taught computer builder and hardware junkie. His favorite game franchises include Pokemon, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. He is Gaming Illustrated's Multimedia Specialist and reviews the latest hardware tech.
Chance Asue

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