While I suspect the Siberia V3 and even the Siberia Elite Prism will get the most attention with SteelSeries introducing an entire new product lineup. They also slipped in a new product the Siberia RAW Prism. We already know that Prism represents the full color lighting and Siberia is their most popular audio line. In the past we have seen RAW mice, in those cases they dropped the fancy features and sold the basic gaming mouse at a lower price. So with that we can come to the conclusion that the Siberia RAW Prism is their new budget friendly gaming headset. Frankly this isn’t an area that SteelSeries has competed in very much, they have always stuck with the mid-range audio products and more recently a little on the higher end with the Elites. Because of that I’m excited to see what they put together.

Product Name: SteelSeries Siberia RAW Prism

Review Sample Provided by: SteelSeries

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Specifications

Cable Length

5 ft

Connection Type

USB

Headphone Frequency Response

20-20,000 (Hz)

Magnet Type

Neodymium

Headphone Sensitivity

94 dB

Headphone Total Harmonic Distortion

1 <x%

Microphone Frequency Response

50-16,000 (Hz)

Microphone Pickup Pattern

Omnidirectional

Microphone Sensitivity

-38 dB

Microphone Impedance

2.2 Ohm

Headphone Impedance

32 Ohm

Driver Size

40 mm

Compatibility

- Windows and Mac OS X®

- PlayStation®

 


Packaging

Even though the Siberia RAW Prism is a completely new product, SteelSeries stuck with their standard look when it came to its packaging. On the front, you have a photo of the headset taking up nearly the entire cover. They did still slip in the model up in the top left and bottom right corners though. Up in the top right corner they made it easy to see that the Siberia RAW Prism connects only through USB. For some people this might be all of the information they need, but for everyone else SteelSeries breaks down the headsets key features on the back. Here they also have a few screenshots of the included software and another photo of the headset as well. The box overall is completely different from the Siberia Elite Prism that I just reviewed, for the RAW there isn’t a box within a box and the box is extremely thin compared to the heavy duty box of their flagship model. This is similar to what I saw in the past with the Siberia V2’s though, so no big surprises.

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Inside our white headset came sitting inside of a formed plastic tray that keeps it from banging around. They used a few twist ties to keep it secured as well. Beyond the headset there really isn’t too much inside. You get a small user guide to get you started and a small warning paper as well warning you to be careful to not damage your ears.

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Features and Photos

It doesn’t take more than a quick look to be able to see that the Siberia RAW Prism is completely different from everything else SteelSeries has been producing. Even compared to the other recently introduced Prism headsets it stands out. The earcups are solid not open like the standard Siberia and for lighting they only have a small ring on each earcup.

Currently the only color that you can get the RAW in is the white color photographed below. While the color looks good, the biggest thing that stood out to me was the lack of any real “polished” finished. When I say that I’m not referring to the lack of a glossy finish, what stood out to me was that the material they used feels a little cheaper in your hands than other SteelSeries products. This is to be expected to a point with this being a budget friendly headset but I feel like if they painted the RAW, even painting it in the same white color, would give it a higher quality feel. That said the build quality seems to be solid, they are flexible enough for you to be able to pull an earcup off one ear and strong enough to not have to worry about them breaking.

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Frankly it feels a little weird talking about a Siberia headset that doesn’t have the suspension headband design that Siberia headsets have always had but that was one of the cuts that SteelSeries made when making a RAW model. In place you get a standard headband with about ¾ of an inch of memory foam padding on top. They skipped on using leather and used a microfiber mesh over top of a regular microfiber to give you a little ventilation and also keep things soft. They went with a grey color for the fabric. From what I hear they learned that with the last generation of headsets, when they used everything white the headsets got a little too dirty and they also would sometimes end up with hair coloring on them. By going with a slightly darker color they could avoid this showing up. No one wants to show off their new headset and have someone think they are dirty. They used the same material and color on both earcups as well. The padding in the earcups is also surprisingly soft, I can’t wait to get to testing to see how comfortable they are.

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For the RAW SteelSeries went with a completely different microphone design. In the past all of their headsets have had a pull out microphone design that some love and some hate. This time around they actually just put this tiny little nub. When I first saw it I actually thought it was the microphone switch to mute the mic. It might take some people a little while to get used to gaming without a microphone around on the front and we will see how it performs in testing but I’m not all that shocked. Cell phone users have been using in line microphones on their earbuds for years and they do a good job of picking up your voice. So you might be wondering where the microphone switch is. Inside of the light ring if you push on that white plastic it will click and you will hear a beep over the headphones verifying that you are muted.

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There aren’t any awkward USB adapters to plug into the Siberia RAW Prism, all you get for a cord is a white cord with a standard USB connection on the end. SteelSeries put the USB sound card inside the headset itself this time around. With the Siberia V2 they actually moved fully over to USB for some of the models later in its life so it was never designed for it. That is why they had a large USB connector that had the sound card built into it. There are also no cable extenders, you get 5 feet of cord and that should be all you need. This should be easier to work with than having a short cord and then a long extension like in the past.

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The Siberia RAW Prism is also adjustable so hopefully it should fit people with large heads like me. I will get into that in the next section when I do performance testing. Each side extends about one inch, when extended you can see the same grey color that is also on the top padding and earcups.

image 9

 


Audio Quality and Comfort

While it’s important to save money where you can when your budget is tight, the last thing you want to do is pick up a product and not have it perform up to your expectations. To make sure this doesn’t happen I have been using the Siberia RAW Prism for the past week for all of my gaming, work, and everyday computing. Doing this gives me the best idea of what to expect from the headset over long periods of time comfort wise and it gave me a chance to test the audio performance under various situations. So how did it perform?

Well let’s start on the comfort side of things. Actually, with the loss of the suspension headband I really was not optimistic for their comfort performance. Surprisingly they were actually very comfortable though. The soft padding didn’t press and cause discomfort over long periods of time and the perforated fabric covering it did a good job of keeping my ears cool. In fact I didn’t really have any heat issues, this rarely happens, even with some of the best headsets on the market my ears warm up. I think the biggest help for the comfort was the RAWs lightweight, there very much to them and that translated to less pushing on your head.

When using the Siberia RAW Prisms day to day I didn’t have any issues with the length of the cord. The microphone didn’t get in my way obviously due to their stubby microphone and I only had to turn the microphone up about half way for everyone to be able to hear me in Teamspeak. I did run into a bit of a problem though, with the microphone being that close it picks up on the audio playing through your headphones. This is made even worse because the headphones don’t really hold audio in as well, so I really had to tweak my microphone settings to get it to not pick up the headphones. To give you a way to test for this, go into your settings and turn your microphone to listen mode. If you get a high pitched running noise after making a noise then your microphone is picking up your headphone audio. I was able to get that ringing noise with the microphone set to 44% and the audio turned up to anything over 25%. A little feedback isn’t the end of the world as long as you know that anyone who is listening to you talk might also be able to hear your audio sounds. That means you might not want to listen to anything embarrassing when gaming with your friends for example. Using push to talk if you can with the RAWs should help keep that embarrassment to a minimum.    

Last but not least, what about the audio performance? I was actually extremely impressed over the course of the week of testing. With budget headsets I don’t really have high expectations but they weren’t far off from what I have seen from the Siberia V2’s. They were clear, loud, and did everything you will need them too do. In game I was especially impressed but day to day they kept up as well. When doing music testing they fell a little flat on both bass and on highs when listening to songs like Rap God from Eminem that hit everything at once. A little tweaking on the EQ helped on the highs but the lows are limited by the small enclosure size of the RAWs earcups. When compared to gaming headsets in the same price range I think that SteelSeries is on point where they should be.

 


Software

Beyond its performance, one of the biggest features that SteelSeries is hoping people enjoy with the Siberia RAW Prism is the inclusion of SteelSeries Engine 3. I’ve covered this software multiple times in the past, SteelSeries has been using it with all of their recent products. You see a lot of budget headsets don’t come with any software at all or at best they come with software that makes you wish that it didn’t come with any software. The reason for that is because software development is actually extremely expensive and to put together something that works with all of your products it takes a long time as well. SteelSeries has already put in all of that time and money into their software, so adding support for the RAW isn’t expensive, in comparison to creating something from scratch at least.

I’ve bashed on their software in the past for little things like how it requires you to have two different windows open. But frankly in comparison to anything else at this price point it is amazing. As I mentioned before the software supports most of their product line. So when you open it up, if you have other SteelSeries products installed like I do, it will give you a list of options. From there you can select the Siberia RAW Prism and it will open in a second window where we can tweak and tune.

software 1

The tuning page for the Raw has a few less features than the Elite that I recently tested, but the elite did cost almost 4 times as much as the RAW. You still get a 5 channel equalizer with a list of different presents should you not want to tune it yourself. You also have the microphone auto optimization, turning this on helped slightly with the feedback I mentioned in the performance section as well. You don’t get things like the Dolby options on the Elite that frankly I hated anyhow. The lack of the volume controls seemed a little weird, but if you remember the Elite had a volume knob and the RAW doesn’t so if you turned it down in the software you wouldn’t be able to turn it back up quickly. You are better off sticking with the windows volume control that you can use with media controls on your keyboard.

software 2

Being a Prism headset it would be crazy if you couldn’t check the lighting on the RAW right? All you have to do is select the LED option and you can pick from any color you can imagine. Some of the lighting effects aren’t here that I saw on the Elite but you do still get the colorshift where you can let the lighting shift through a few different color designs. I still hope that SteelSeries adds an option to add your own colorshifts in the future, it would be very cool to be able to have the headset flip through all of your favorite colors or through colors that match your PC.

software 3

software 4

 


Overall and Final Verdict

When you are on a budget, you always have to try to get the best bang for your buck while cutting and saving anywhere you can to put the money where it helps the most. SteelSeries recognized this when redoing their Siberia product line so they slipped in a new headset priced lower than their new Siberia V3’s. To give you an idea of where these land, to get a USB Siberia v3 you are looking at $139.99 and $99.99 for a non-USB model. The Siberia RAW Prism comes in much cheaper with an MSRP of $59.99. This puts it in direct competition with headsets like the Logitech G230 and the Creative Labs SB Inferno. Even then both of those headsets sell for the same price but aren’t offered with a built in sound card. Of course depending on how good your onboard sound card is that could be a good or a bad thing.

The new Siberia RAW Prism’s aren't perfect by any means but SteelSeries did do a good job of making them perform well within their price point on both comfort and audio performance. The fact that you get full color LED lighting and good software is a nice bonus as well. I did run into two downsides to the headset though. While the overall build quality is good, I’m not a big fan of the plastic finish of the headset overall. It feels cheap and looks unfinished to me. The plastic looks very similar to what some prototype products look like when I get the chance to check them out at events like CES. SteelSeries has been known to paint their headsets different colors, the Siberia RAW Prism is just begging for this treatment in my opinion. Give me a nice rubberized black or an orange Siberia RAW Prism and I would be extremely happy.

The other issue I has was with the stubby microphone picking up on the audio coming out of the headphones.  The microphone did an amazing job of picking up my voice, but it worked too well. If you rarely talk on your microphone this will never be an issue but if you do make sure you have tweaked the settings or make sure you aren’t playing anything embarrassing when talking. At minimum your team might hear themselves talking through your microphone and worse case they might find out about your Justin Bieber obsession and never let it go.

While the issues I ran into weren’t really trivial issues, I do still think SteelSeries is onto something here. I would still recommend it to anyone who is on a budget as long as you can live with the downsides. The upsides might just make it worth overlooking them though! If nothing else, it looks like the budget headset category just got a little more competitive.

fv4recommended

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #35730 03 Oct 2014 14:14
Today I take a look at the new budget gaming headset from SteelSeries, the Siberia RAW Prism
TheChad's Avatar
TheChad replied the topic: #35768 16 Oct 2014 00:54
Hello.

Does the Siberia RAW Prism work on the PS3? It says it has compatibility on Windows, Mac OS X and on PlayStation. But all I've seen is the mention of the PS4, not the PS3.

Have you ever tested it on the PS3? Will it output the audio of the game on the headphones?

Thanks.
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #35769 16 Oct 2014 02:56
I will be honest even though I have a PS3 I never use a headset with it. I haven't tested on the Siberia Elite Prism. The USB sound card hasn't changed from before so I would assume the answer would be the same as in this post.

faq.steelseries.com/questions/290/Can+I+...o+a+Playstation+3%3F

I did send over a message to SteelSeries to find out for sure. I will post up once I get an official answer for you Chad.
TheChad's Avatar
TheChad replied the topic: #35770 16 Oct 2014 05:44

garfi3ld wrote: I haven't tested on the Siberia Elite Prism.


Don't you mean the "Siberia RAW Prism"? Or is that not possible at all on the PS3, because it doesn't provide the 3.5 cable. I can see that the Elite Prism can work from that FAQ link.

But I meant the "Siberia RAW Prism". If you plug the USB cable of the Siberia RAW Prism on the PlayStation 3. Will it function? As in game sound being output on the headphones instead of the TV.
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #35771 16 Oct 2014 06:10
Yeah sorry about that got mixed up with the two posts. I did ask SteelSeries about the correct headset though. I have a feeling that it won't work for in game audio because it doesn't have the removable USB sound card like the Elite. Will update tomorrow with what they say though

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