The tech geek in me loved hearing about the new SteelSeries Siberia V3 while the developing grumpy old man in me was a little concerned. I have learned over the years that sometimes a launch like this can be an amazing thing and other times companies change things just to change things and they end up messing up something that was great in the first place. You see, the original Siberia was good, but had many flaws. When SteelSeries introduced the Siberia V2 I was seriously amazed. They really stepped things up. Heck, I’ve been using the V2 with both the office and also with my LAN rigs for a few years now. Now with the introduction of the Siberia V3, will this model be a requirement in the office as well? I sure hope so, but improving on the Siberia V2 will be a tall order.  Let’s take a look to see what has changed to determine that!

Product Name: SteelSeries Siberia V3

Review Sample Provided by: SteelSeries

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Specifications

Colors

White/Gray and Black

Cable Length

4 ft

Driver Size

50mm

Magnet Type

Neodymium

Headphone Frequency Response

20-20,000Hz

Headphone Sensitivity

80 dB

Headphone Total Harmonic Distortion

1 <x%

Microphone Frequency Response

100-10,000Hz

Microphone Pickup Pattern

Unidirectional

Microphone Sensitivity

-42 dB

Microphone Impedance

2200 Ohm

Headphone Impedance

35 Ohm

Compatibility

Anything with a 2.5mm plug

Connections

2.5mm dual plug (microphone and headphones over the same connection), Adapter included that splits to separate 2.5mm microphone and headphone connections.


 

 

Packaging

For packaging SteelSeries stuck with the same design that they have been using on all of their recent products. This is still a big change from the original Siberia V2 packaging though. Before it was all black with a window showing off the headset inside. Now we don’t have the window but we have a large photo of the headset on the front. They went a little lighter with a white glow over the black and then put the product name in a nice LanOC orange, opps I mean a nice SteelSeries orange. On the back there is another photo of the headset, this time with lines highlighting a few of its key features. When you pull the main packaging off, inside you get bright orange box. On the sticker, beyond the normal stuff, they did include a small specification listing.

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Inside the box the headset sits in a formed plastic tray to keep it from bouncing around. Under the headband is the cord extender. I will say when pulling this out I was a little frustrated. Both cords have the most amazing glue holding the bags to the packaging. I really had to fight with them to get it pulled away. Be sure to not pull on the cord to pull it off, I actually think you could cause damage to the cord if you did it this way.

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Also included is a small user guide and also SteelSeries stickers. They changed the sticker design for the first time in a very long time. Now you get a white sticker on a clear plastic background that should look better on your PC/Car/whatever. The old design was the SteelSeries logo on a black paper like sticker that would never work outside, not to mention it wouldn’t go with anything.

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Features and Photos

While SteelSeries clearly made a few big changes with the Siberia V3, you can rest easy knowing that they kept the suspension headband design that the Siberia headsets are known for. Actually without looking in too much detail most people won’t really even spot the differences with the new headset. The overall look is the same thankfully. Let’s dig in a little closer though to check out what they did change.

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So a majority of the changes going to the V3’s happened right here in the earcups. SteelSeries stayed with the same 50mm drivers but to improve on the sound they made the internal capacity of the earcups a little larger. This should improve bass a little, something that the V2’s were a little weak on. While they stuck with the two metal rods for the top suspension, where the rods mount to the earcups did change a little. Before the design was a little thicker, now there isn’t any meat between the rods. My initial examination of the headset showed a little more flexibility in those same rods, I’m sure this had a little to do with it. The rest of the mount is the same, with two arms reaching around the cups and attaching on the outside. SteelSeries also changed the ventilation area as well. This I wasn’t a fan of, the old design has a metal mesh covering the earcup, the new design is all plastic with holes drilled into it. I really think losing the metal lowers the overall quality perception, as for actual quality, it’s not like the mesh was making the headset more durable.

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In the past the Siberia V2 had an inline volume control as well as an on and off switch for the microphone. This time around they dropped the inline control completely. They dropped the volume control and put the microphone mute on the headset. You can see it below on the left earcup around on the back. I like the new mute switch, the old inline design could be a little hard to use sometimes. I am a little unsure on if the loss of the volume control will be a big deal. I always hate seeing features go away, but I rarely use an inline volume control. Dropping it might just be one less point of failure.

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SteelSeries kept the suspension top band that makes a Siberia headset a Siberia headset. For the black model we have a black band with leather on both the top and bottom. The SteelSeries logo is across the top as well but in this case it is gloss black on black so it’s subtle. The top supports are still metal like before with a plastic coating over top. They do feel a little more flexible than the V2, I’m not sure if they will be a pro or a con until I get into the testing though.

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For earcup padding, I’m not seeing any differences between this and the Siberia V2 visually. I will be able to compare a little more farther down the page when I compare them directly. SteelSeries is saying they swapped out the foam internally for sound absorbing memory foam this time around to improve comfort and also to cut down on external noise. I’m always happy about additional comfort but I’m a little unsure about the need to cut down external noise, this was one of the benefits of the Siberia’s open design.

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SteelSeries changed things up with the cord as well. Just like the V2 and even the original the Siberia V3 has a base cord as well as an extension cord. This time around, the base cord is a single cord with a 4 connection TRRS connection. This basically means it transmits stereo audio as well as the microphone. This is what you use for cell phones and on some ultrabooks. That means you can use the Siberia V3 on your phone or ultrabook without any adapters. For hooking up to your PC they expect you to need a little more cord, so the adapter extends the length of the cord and also splits up that signal into headphone and microphone connections like your PC accepts. This is actually a cool design although I will be honest it took me a little while to adjust. Sometimes I like to skip using the cord extender at LANs to save room, you won’t be able to do that. More importantly, this design does mean if you lose the extension cord you are going to have to get an additional adapter along with the cord extender.

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While I haven’t personally had issues with the microphone on any of our Siberia V2’s, I have heard that they do tend to be a point of failure in some cases. The Siberia V3 still has the microphone that pulls in and out like before but from what I hear the design has changed to try to prevent future issues.

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So it might seem a little crazy considering the Siberia V2 had exactly 1 million different color variations available but the Siberia V3 comes in an all-black and a white and great design. The black model is what I used above but they did send over a white model as well. Obviously the overall design doesn’t change between the two headsets, but it is interesting to see that the white isn’t ALL white like the black version. You basically get white on a little part of the earcup, the suspension mount, the suspension rods, and the two eyelets in the headband. The headband is black with a white SteelSeries logo across the top. The plastic vent on the side of the earcups is a dark gray and the leather earcup pads are dark gray as well. I mentioned this in the Siberia Elite Prism review but they aren’t doing all white anymore because of how quickly it got dirty and because people with hair dye sometimes had the dye bleed onto it. While this combo does look good, I would still love to see an all or almost all white model. Our almost all white Siberia V2 still looks amazing.

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Here is a shot of both color options together. I wouldn’t expect to see SteelSeries hold out on other colors for very long. With the V2 they introduced it in black originally but quickly started trying other colors. I really hope they do the same; I really want a new orange model!

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It wouldn’t be fair to talk about the V3 without actually showing what it looks like next to the V2 right? I grabbed my well used orange Siberia V2’s that I have been taking with me to events for years now. With the headsets next to each other we can see the change in the earcups better. It also gives us a better look at the change in the mount for the suspension arches. In the photo of both headsets hanging the V3 looks a little larger but that isn’t actually the case, my older V2’s are more broken in and the headband sags slightly.

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While the suspension headband stayed, SteelSeries did change the way it works slightly. On the V2 the headband had plastic pieces on each end that held the spring loaded metal cables. For the V3 they dropped the plastic and just used a large metal eyelet in the headband. Much like the loss of the metal mesh on the earcups, this change gave me the perception that they lowered the quality. In this case I actually think the metal eyelet will hold up better, but the new design looks (and most likely is) cheaper to make. I wouldn’t mind the change but the new design ends up with pointed ends on each corner, if they rounded these off I would actually be all for the new design.

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Audio Quality and Comfort

Lets be honest, when gaming a lot of us tend to stay in game for much longer than you even intend too. Anyone who has played a Civilization game will know what I mean when I said a lot of times we end up sitting for just one more turn over and over. In the end that means that on top of good audio performance, it is really important that our headsets be comfortable for extended use. Even some of the most comfortable headsets can get a little uncomfortable after hours and hours. The Siberia V2 was one of the more comfortable headsets, a lot of that was due to its suspension headband design. So my expectations were very high when I went into testing of the Siberia V3’s. My wife and I both took a pair and we spent the weekend at a LAN. She spent the entire time gaming where I ended up getting in a mix of gaming along with me spending far too much time watching a few football games and doing a little writing. This gave me a great chance to see how the Siberia V3 performed.

Audio quality testing was easy. When hooked up to the kick ass audio card in the Asus Z97 Impact I was really able to get into my games. The mids and highs didn’t really change, nor did they need too. The larger internal capacity in the redesigned earcups did help the 50mm drivers put out more bass. On top of that, from what I can tell SteelSeries closed off the open air design, this helped with the bass as well but caused its own issues. I will talk about those at the end of this section though. In the end I found the audio performance to be improved over the Siberia V2’s but if you don’t like a lot of bass in your music or your gaming you might have to dig into the settings and dial things down a bit.

For comfort testing things took a lot longer, like I said its easy to make a headset that is comfortable for a short period of time, making it just as comfortable hours into a game can be much harder. For starters, the V3 feels slightly smaller than before. It wasn’t  small enough to be an issue but my big head is close to as large as you would comfortably want to be. This obviously wasn’t an issue for my wife. I really didn’t notice it to much once I got used to the V3’s but when flipping between the V3’s and V2’s I could tell.

The New earcup padding is comfortable for extended gaming sessions and as expected it fit around my ears comfortably. For me, the worst thing that a headset can do is push on my ears, this is why I like larger headsets. Smaller headsets are fine for a while, but over time small headsets ALWAYS end up causing me a little ear pain. This is obviously a preference, but thankfully SteelSeries has done a good job keeping these large enough. SteelSeries dropped a little plastic and metal here and there with their new design, while I’m not a fan of how those changes make the headset look, the lighter design helps improve comfort as well, the less weight on your head the less amount of pressure

A lot of times when gaming I will take one earcup off, especially when my ears start to warm up. I put down the flexibility of the new design a little in the previous section but honestly it didn’t end up being too bad of a thing when the Siberia V3’s are in use. The extra flexibility made pulling one ear off at a time more comfortable. I was a little worried that the extra flexibility might mean less durability as well but I was able to twist the Siberia V3’s way beyond any normal use without any issues.

So I mentioned before that I wanted to talk a little more about a design change that they didn’t really talk about on the product page for the Siberia V3. From what I can tell, on top of changing to new sound absorbing earcup padding, they also closed off the earcup design. This without a doubt did improve the audio performance. With that said, it was a little disappointing going in expecting to be able to hear outside noise like previous Siberia headsets only to have it be well insulated. With the outside design having vent holes that normally insinuates that it is an open air design. This really only becomes an issue for people who need to be able to hear outside noise, like people with children. It’s not the end of the world by any means, I was just a little thrown off because the open air design was part of what made the Siebria’s unique from SteelSeries’ other headsets.

All in all though, I was very happy with the Siberia V3’s. They were comfortable and had great audio performance. Additionally, not only did the microphone perform well in my testing, but someone even noticed an increase in its quality with people I chat with day to day in Teamspeak.

 


Overall and Final Verdict

So going into this review I mentioned that I had extremely high expectations, so forgive me if I was a little harsh on the Siberia V3’s throughout the review. Before testing the headset out I was a little disappointed in the new design because it feels a little cheap when compared to the Siberia V2. Part of that is due to the headset being more flexible but also because of them dropping the metal mesh on the earcups for a plastic panel with holes in it. The new headband design looks cheaper without the end pieces on each end as well, on top of that the square end are a little pointy. Ironically, when I actually started testing the headset I found that the new lighter design really helps in the comfort department and the audio performance was a nice improvement over the originals.

The Siberia V3 may be a slight step down aesthetically, but when it comes to actual performance it is a nice step up. The larger internal capacity earcups combined with the loss of the open air design really stepped up the audio, especially the bass. The new microphone works extremely well and like I already mentioned the lighter design and new earcup foam make the Siberia V3 very comfortable.

I don’t like that the headset feels a little less refined but the flexibility that I originally had a problem with ended up being a good thing. If SteelSeries were to add the mesh back over the earcups and round off the corner on the headband, I really don’t think I would have too much to complain about with the V3. Most importantly, it is a great performing headset. I’m going to give our recommended award because I do think everyone will love the headset but it missed out on the top honors simply because I feel like they did miss a few things that made the Siberia V2 such a great headset. At just under $100 you might still find Siberia V2’s on sale to be a better value for a while, hopefully we see V3’s popping up at similar prices to what the V2’s did in the near future. 

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: #35803 28 Oct 2014 20:32
The Siberia V2 is an extremely popular headset at our events and the V3 has been a long time coming. Today I finally have the chance to check it out and see if it lives up to the high standards that the Siberia V2 set.
Nightwind's Avatar
Nightwind replied the topic: #35915 28 Nov 2014 18:26
Hello!
First of all, just discovered this page and I like it.. :) Thanks for the detailed reviews with personal comments on all the little things along with the more obvious stuff. (I also love the fact that you test your headsets on both big head and small head use-cases. :laugh: Definitely relevant for me+bf.)

I checked out the review both on this V3 and on the Elite Prism since I absolutely love my V2 and been using it for years, sometimes for full-day gaming without much of a break.
So, I was happy to see you comparing the V2 and V3 but what I missed is some words about how the V3 compares to the Elite Prism. Comfortwise and audiowise is what I'm curious about!
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #35916 28 Nov 2014 18:36
Hey there, thanks for the kind words. I'm a little swamped trying to catch up after a busy holiday week so I can't go to in depth. But the short version. They are both nice headsets. While I do like a lot about the Elite Prism, its comfort/performance isn't a huge improvement over the v3's. When you consider how much more they cost I don't think its really worth the additional cost.

What you do get with the Elite Prism over the v3 is the tangle free cable, built in volume controls, and they use a little higher quality materials (aluminum headband, softer leather on earcups).
Nightwind's Avatar
Nightwind replied the topic: #35917 28 Nov 2014 20:24
Thanks a lot for the really quick reply!
I was worried it might actually be *less* comfy or have less good sound, but then I guess it's more a question of how much the little bit of extra comfort is worth to me. That plus the little things like the volume control and the cool looks might actually win me over in the end - will see. :D
Thanks a lot for the info! Very helpful. :)

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