Audio Quality and Comfort
Let’s be honest, the original Siberia Elite came in needing to really perform considering the popularity of the Siberia V2’s, In the end I wasn’t really impressed with the comfort and audio performance. There really are only two things that a headset needs to do well and it underperformed. SteelSeries took this into account when moving to the Siberia Elite Prism. As you saw in the previous section, they opened up the earcups to try to fix the comfort issues. They also swapped out the microphone to a smaller more flexible model and I’m told they worked on the USB sound card slightly to work on the sound. After getting the photos of the Elite Prism, I spent a lot of time using them when working, gaming, and even while watching the LCS Worlds group stages this past week. The reason I spent so much time was because my initial impressions of the Elite Prisms showed a big improvement in comfort, but small issues would become big issues during extended use.
In the end I found the changes were enough to fix the discomfort issues that I ran into with the originals. Now that the earcups fit me properly I was able to keep them on for hours at a time without any issues. I did notice that my ears warmed up more when my office got a little warm, this is an issue for most headsets for me but it was slightly more of an issue this time around due to the larger earcups. So my next concern was did the changes change the comfort levels for people with smaller heads. Remember my wife found the originals to be comfortable when I didn’t. I had her try these without any issues once again. All in all I was very happy with the changes! I wouldn’t say that the Siberia Elite Prisms are worlds above the extremely comfortable Siberia V2’s, but the thicker earcups are nicer making them a nice improvement.
Moving to the audio testing, as I mentioned before I used the Elite Prisms while gaming, watching TV, and also for music while working. When testing I flipped between the USB sound card and also using my own sound card via the audio jack. The original Elite had distortion issues when using the USB sound card and turning it all the way up. I can confirm I didn’t run into this issue at all during my testing. I did however notice like before that there is a fairly large difference in potential volume levels between the USB sound card and hooking directly to my PC. While the sound performance is now great with the USB sound card, I think they still have the overall volume limited to prevent the distortion from happening. Honestly the levels that you can get are most likely great for most people, it was only when I really wanted to crank things up I switched over to the analog connection. So in the end the audio performance has improved, but the USB Sound card is holding the Elite Prism back. Maybe in the future SteelSeries will consider using a DAC or something similar for a collector’s edition.
Let’s also not forget that SteelSeries also changed the microphone this time around. Spec wise the original microphone was actually really kickass and in order for them to make the design smaller and flexible (the original was very inflexible because of its thickness) they moved to the microphone from the 9H. So what did that mean spec wise? Well for frequency range we went from 75 – 16000 Hz to 11 – 10000 Hz and sensitivity went from -38 dB to -44 dB. So all around this was a drop in performance. How does that translate into real world performance? Frankly not as much as you would think. I basically only use my microphone to make phone calls, skype calls, and to talk to my team when gaming. In all of those situations, the lowered performance microphone is still more than enough to do exactly that. In fact, I still had to turn the microphone volume down because no one wants to listen to me banging away on my keyboard and breathing heavy when gaming. So while I do wish the Elite Prism still had the awesome microphone that was on the original, I will take the thinner design that actually moves and stays where I put it anyday!