The Siberia V2 is one of the flagship gaming-grade audio products from SteelSeries. Now the company releases the Cross-Platform model, a headset that is compatible across the board with PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. It’s a wise choice for the user who plays on the PC and on one of those next-generation consoles (or perhaps on both of them.) The Siberia V2 Cross-Platform is a big headset with closed ear headphones and 50 mm drivers, but at the same time is surprisingly lightweight and features a retractable microphone. We’ll look at the physical characteristics first, and then we’ll review the product’s performance.
A great double arc links both leather padded earcups, and the headband stays suspended by an ingenious cable system. It not only regulates the headband’s height, but also the resting point on the user’s head.
The left earcup houses the retractable unidirectional microphone that is a trademark of the Siberia V2 line.
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A three-foot cord comes out of the left earcup with two 3,5 mm jacks. The cable itself is not long, but it is made to be connected to the Audiomixer unit, that in turn connects the Siberia V2 to multiple gaming platforms.
The longest cord in the whole package comes out of the Audiomixer. It is a nine-foot cable that hooks the Siberia V2 to a PC, PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 by means of a USB connector (for voice) and a single 3.5 mm (for game audio). The Audiomixer features two 3.5 mm ports, independent volume controls for voice and game audio, mute button, and a selector for the LiveMix function (we will talk about it later on).
The accessories also include a little cord to connect to the Xbox 360 control and another with converters to RCA plugs (to hook the headset to a TV). There is a manual in several languages with diagrams for different setups to help the user make the right connections with ease.
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The Siberia V2 Cross-Platform is basically a stereo headset that works with PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Besides being multifunctional, its main features are the retractable microphone and the LiveMix function, selectable by the AudioMixer unit.
As the name implies, the LiveMix functions allow audio mixing on the fly, and adjusting the sound of the game so the user can better hear his or her team mates through chat applications such as TeamSpeak or Skype. It can be set to off (no alterations), to low (game sound is reduced by 5 dB when there is talk on the chat channel), to medium (reduction by 15 dB) or to high (reduction by 25 dB). This happens while the voice channel remains unaltered, therefore the user can choose to better hear the chatter on the foreground while the game sound is blasting on the background.
Another main characteristic is comfort, which is very high, thanks to the open structure of the double arcs that support both ear cups. On the other hand, the cups do not fully enclose the ears, so the noise reduction is not as great as advertised, but at least the airflow helps reduce sweating.
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We will repeat what we’ve said on other reviews about stereo headsets: those who choose a 2.0 model will not get the immersive experience of a terrific 5.1 surround mix in games like Battlefield 3, which has an impressive sound landscape. With this in mind, let’s check out the performance of the Siberia V2 Cross-Platform.
There are no complaints about the bass when you have a 50 mm driver. With the ear almost completely covered, the sounds of explosions, guns blazing, and engines rumbling are very strong. The headset also delivers when playing bass-heavy music such as hip-hop and electronica. The user should not forget to adjust the sound options to a 2.0 stereo setting (if available) in any game being played to avoid cacophony. The most impressive feature is the LiveMix that makes chatting with game mates and enjoying the game sound at the same time a whole new experience. No more “quiet down, folks” to hear instructions from the characters on the screen.
In terms of comfort, no wonder the Siberia V2 Cross-Platform is the flagship of the audio products from Steelseries. Despite the big size, the headset is feather-light on the head and extremely comfortable. There is no fixed point of rest on the user’s head because of the suspended headband. As we said before, this lightweight design prevents the cups from fully enclosing the ears.
Finally we get to the main characteristic of the product, the cross-platform function. The bundle of cables and accessories may seem daunting, but it is very easy to set up the headset once the user follows the simple diagrams. We did on our PC and PlayStation 3, and also asked a friend who owns an Xbox 360 to help us out, so we could set it up across all platforms. It couldn’t have been more simple. The big nine-foot cable has no problem reaching the TV. (But cat owners beware: the cord WILL be a target of curiosity and bad behavior.)
The only real complaint we had is the fact that the volume wheels on the AudioMixer are very tiny and hard to find in the dark. It would have been great if they could be lit up, and with different colors between the voice and game audio controls.
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The main specifications for the Steelseries Siberia V2 Cross-Platform headset include:
- Stereo analog headset
- Retractable uni-directional microphone
- Connector: 3.5 mm mini jacks
- Headset cable: 3 ft.
- AudioMixer cable: 9 ft
- Drivers: 50 mm
- Frequency response: 18 Hz – 28 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ω
- Dynamic range: 112 dB
- Pick up pattern: uni-directional
- Frequency response: 50 Hz – 16 kHz
- Sensitivity: -38 dB
- More information: https://www.steelseries.com
- Average price in the U.S.*: USD 123.99
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The only major gripe we had with the Siberia V2 Cross-Platform is the absence of surround sound. That being said, it is one of the most comfortable headsets we’ve tested, even though it is big. The product features a strong bass, nice low and high-ranges, and the LiveMix really enhances the chat experience. The long cable is a necessary evil because it has to reach a TV when the headset is hooked up to a gaming console; if the user only plays on the PC, it’s better to choose the regular version of the Siberia V2 to avoid having a long cable among the mess of cords behind a PC.
- Retractable microphone
- Ingenious suspended headband
- Comfortable and lightweight design, even though it is a big headset
- Cross-platform usage
- AudioMixer and LiveMix enhance chat experience
- Simple setups across the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360
- Supports only 2.0 stereo soundtrack
- AudioMixer controls are tiny and hard to identify