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SteelSeries RAW Prism Gaming Headset Review

/ Oct 23rd, 2014 No Comments

SteelSeries continues to iterate its insanely good Siberia lineup. Added this time around is a newcomer, the Siberia RAW Prism Gaming Headset. At the lowest price point in the Siberia family, the RAW Prism allows gamers to own one of the best audio products at a more affordable rate. Does the budget headset feel like one or is it one of the best deals in gaming audio?

Build Quality

The headset is incredibly light — deceptively so. With a more streamlined approach, the only real frills to the RAW Prism is the customizable illumination on each earcup. The headband is more pliable than other SteelSeries headsets, but that is expected due to the headset’s light weight. When twisted to the point of cringing, the RAW Prism doesn’t let out so much as a creak, which is typical of plastic headbands.
 

Steelseries Siberia Raw Prism

The RAW Prism is plastic, yet solid.

The cushions are covered in a cloth that feels slightly rough and itchy, but it softens up after only a few seconds. The pliability and feather weight of the headset makes these a dream to wear for long sessions. The cord is a good length and the USB plug is slim enough to fit into tight spots or next to crowded motherboard ports. Integration with the SteelSeries Engine 3 allows for audio tweaking, as well as the ability to change the color of the illumination on the exterior of the earcups.

The plastic on the center of the earcups is thin, and with the headset illuminated, the LEDs are visible beneath. It would have been nice to have an extra layer of plastic to prevent the headset from becoming translucent, but it’s a purely superficial flaw and is not noticeable when in use.

Performance

Audio performance is quite good. The bass levels are well represented, as well as highs and mids. The RAW Prism has a good balance right out of the box. With the SteelSeries Engine, audio profiles can be tweaked and saved with a fully customizable equalizer or by using presets, but the stock sound profile is by no means lacking. The drivers don’t kick nearly as hard as those found in the Siberia Elites, but for less than a third of the price, they perform admirably.
 

The Siberia RAW Prism retail packaging.

The Siberia RAW Prism retail packaging.

The only shortcoming is the microphone design. Being small and tucked away instead of a boom microphone, it picks up audio from the drivers even at low volume. Using the mic optimization feature in the SteelSeries Engine helps filter out this sound, but also lowers the voice volume significantly. Used on a PC, the microphone is much more tolerable. However, without the use of the software, like when using on a console, the feedback could become more trouble than it’s worth. If the headset is used primarily for listening rather than communication, a simple muting of the microphone fixes the issues.

Value

With a sticker price of $59.99, the Siberia RAW Prism is a well priced headset. Its sound is much better than its contemporaries, but the microphone quality makes it hard to recommend as a go-to headset. For those looking for bargain headphones with good sound, build quality and added lighting effects, the RAW Prism is a pretty easy choice at its price point. However, the microphone holds it back from being a great bargain.

Overall

The new Siberia RAW Prism Gaming Headset lowers the cost of entry into the Siberia lineup, and it isn’t much of a slouch when it comes to sound quality. The problem is that the microphone picks up too much from the drivers, which could be a nuisance during situations that require precise communication.

As headphones, they work great and offer a good amount of personalization and tweaking with SteelSeries Engine integration. As a headset, the microphone could cause a bit of a headache. Unless you are looking for an audio centric or affordable headset, it is recommended to check out better headsets in the Siberia lineup at the next price tier.

 

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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STEELSERIES RAW PRISM GAMING HEADSET REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall81%

VALUE8

While it is the lowest cost of entry into the Siberia lineup, it is still dangerously close to better headsets at a slightly higher price. They are great as headphones, but not as a headset.

PERFORMANCE8

Sound quality is good out of the box and is endlessly adjustable with the SteelSeries Engine integration. The microphone picks up too much audio from the drivers even at low volumes.

BUILD QUALITY8.5

Light yet sturdy, looks and feels good. The plastic could have been thicker around the illumination.