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Siberia v3 review: An old veteran gets an under-the-hood upgrade

Hayden Dingman | Jan. 19, 2015
The SteelSeries Siberia v2 is one of the venerable old men of the audio landscape. With its suspension headband and solid sound, it's been a go-to of many players for years and years and years.

Unfortunately the v3 doesn't come with a way to tweak its sound profile, leaving you stuck with what you get out-of-box (unless you routinely tweak your headsets through third-party software). You could shell out another $40 for the v3 Prism and gain access to both EQ and lighting effects, but that's your call. Personally I'd spend the extra if you're already committed to buying the v3, since I'd rather have the option to tweak with SteelSeries Engine, but that's ultimately neither here nor there as far as this review is concerned.

The microphone on the v3 is good — better even than that found in last year's Siberia Elite. It could do with a bit of a volume boost, and lacking any bass it leaves your voice sounding nasally, but at least everything comes through clear.

My biggest complaint with the v3 is the control options. The v2 came with in-line controls, meaning you could change volume as well as mute/unmute the microphone from a small box on the cable. Since then, SteelSeries has decided that controls built into the headset are the future, and I don't necessarily disagree.

However, the v3 only features a mute/unmute switch on the headset. There's no on-the-fly volume control at all, which is a huge pain especially when you're in the middle of a game. In this respect, the v3 actually feels like a step backward from its predecessor and from similarly-priced competitors.

Bottom line

SteelSeries hasn't changed much when it comes to the Siberia v3, and maybe the company felt like it didn't need to. The v2 is still one of the most popular headsets in the entire industry, and the v3 makes modest tweaks without completely upending the formula.

For $100 this is a solid headset with solid sound and extreme comfort undercut by a lack of on-the-fly controls, a middling microphone, and a sound profile that lacks the out-of-the-box tweaking allowed by other similarly-priced competitors. Shell out for the $140 v3 Prism if you want to unlock this headset's full potential, or maybe check out the cheap-until-they-run-out-of-units Siberia v2.

 

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