After just a single year on the market, the Siberia Elite gets a refresh with this year's Siberia Elite Prism. I really loved last year's Siberia Elite, so I was looking forward to getting my hands on this year's model. After using it for a couple of days, the refresh is a mixed bag for me.
There are still some things I really love about the Siberia Elite. First of all, the retro DJ look of the device is definitely polarizing. There are some people who absolutely hate how large and round the earcups are, and I understand why. Hell, there are some similarly-sized headsets that I found too cumbersome — the Mionix Nash 20, for instance.
I like the look and feel of the Siberia Elite though. It's unique, it's comfortable, it doesn't look like just another dumb gaming headset lying around my apartment, and it makes me feel like I live in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Combine that with SteelSeries's attention to accent lighting, and this is a (in my opinion) gorgeous-looking set of cans.
I also absolutely adore the Siberia Elite's approach to on-the-fly controls. Where other manufacturers hide a tiny volume dial and a mute button in some dark corner of the device, SteelSeries turns the Siberia Elite's entire design into a controller — the big glowing disc on the side of the left earcup twists forward and back to mute/unmute the device, while the other earcup twists to turn the volume up and down. A bright white LED on the end of the retractable microphone lets you know whether you're muted or not.
It's brilliant. There's no awkward scramble as you try and remember where the controls are hidden, nor is there that panicked moment where you try to recall whether you're muted. The longer the Siberia Elite is around and nobody else blatantly rips off this control scheme the more annoyed I become. It's the most intuitive I've found on a headset.
And then there's the included USB soundcard which SteelSeries packs in with the Elite. Most people nowadays aren't running standalone soundcards, so having the Elite come with one is a great way to ensure people are getting the best sound possible out of the device (and giving you a rash of tweaking options through SteelSeries Engine 3 also).
The sound itself is good, even right out of the box. It's not overly bass-ridden, and the high-end could use a boost to crisp up gunshots or cymbal crashes, but it's a solid headset with a lot of potential if you're willing to dig into SteelSeries Engine (which I'd also like to point out has a great and friendly user interface compared to most headset software).
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