As I mentioned a while back in my desk tour, I’ve been in the process of evaluating some SteelSeries gear. Today, we’re going to break down the Siberia 350 which is one of SteelSeries’ headsets. It’s not quite as new or shiny as their new Arctis line but it is still a solid headset which we’ll get into more later. You might notice that the desk tour was several weeks ago at this point and that’s because I was very cautious about dropping the hammer on this review, if you will. A snapshot of even just a few days might not necessarily reveal everything there is to see, especially with hardware. It won’t even truly reflect the potential months or years you could be using this gear for but the extended window that I’ve had with this Siberia 350 means this review will be more thorough and come closer to helping you understand what could be your next gaming headset.
If you’re not much of a reader or want to hear the microphone quality of the SteelSeries Siberia 350, check out my review below!
The Siberia line has a variety of headsets ranging from the very basic Siberia 100 at $49.99 to the high end Siberia 840 at $329.99. The headset I’m reviewing is somewhere in the middle of that range at about $100. For the price, it’s important to be conscious of the connection options. The 350 is a USB only headset which does allow you to have easy access to Surround Sound and extra EQ options for both the headset and mic but makes the headset very limited otherwise. If you even have the beginnings of an outboard audio rig, the Siberia 350 can’t just be used as regular headphones. You have to plug them in via USB.
Because the 350 is a USB only device, it is plug-and-play so right from the day you get the headset, you can plug it right in and get going. If you do want download the SteelSeries Engine to configure the headset even further, you get a handful of preset options for sound mixing along with a 5-band EQ you can manually adjust. If you have enough know how to cut a problem frequency in a game or boost something for footsteps and the like, the options are there for you. The mic tweaks don’t go quite as deep but you do have a volume control in SteelSeries Engine that operates independently of the Windows Sound options and an optimization toggle that squishes the mic signal to give you a more consistent sound which will help a lot if you decide to use the mic.
Speaking of the microphone quality, it’s about what I expected from a gaming headset mic which is to say it sounded thin and scratchy. There’s no way the Siberia mic would actually have great quality since it’s so small but it’s worth mentioning. The mic on the Sibera 350 does have a very functional design. It’s embedded in the side of the headset and can extend out when you’re going to use it. Then when you’re done, it conveniently retracts back into the headset.
The Siberia line is pretty distinctive in this space in how it actually stays on your head. Instead of sitting on top of your head, the Siberia instead pushes the cups together from the sides of your head. That means the thing keeping the headset on is mostly directed at your ears and the strap on the top sits relatively easy on your head. The comfort you might get from something like this will probably vary from person to person. If you’re me and you have a large head, you’ll stretch the top strap to about as far as it will go and the headset will push in on your head a little bit more than you might like. If you don’t normally have trouble with other headphones or hats or glasses, the Siberia headsets will probably fit you just fine. The Siberia may not be a big-headed persons headset or I might have an extra large head. Surely, there’s some kind of scientific things I can do to figure that one out. I’ll keep you posted.
For the Everyday User
For an everyday user, the Siberia 350 is a very nifty, all-in-one package and the SteelSeries Engine gives your mic specifically a big boost in quality. For a content producer, this specific headset is not exactly what I’d like. Even if the headset comfortably fit on my head, I can only plug it into my computer via USB. I can’t even just use the headset through my mixer. To that point, the Siberia line has a variety of different headsets with a variety of different connection options. For an average user, the package is great. I would imagine that the only downside is that the headset cable is pretty short at five feet and isn’t detachable. This problem was especially bad for me when I tried to use the Siberia on the PS4 since the console is close to the TV which are both further than five feet from my couch.
For Advanced Users
What about the more pro user? For more advanced setups, the USB-only connection option makes it potentially less usable. In my setup, for instance, I use an outboard mixer to manage all my audio so what I’d really want is a very comfortable headset with a 3.5mm connection option and a USB option would be nice if I ever wanted something to use on PS4. Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t natively support duplicating audio across multiple outputs so if I do want to use the headset on my PC via USB, I can’t also use the mixer. There’s probably a way around this with Virtual Audio Cable or something but to me, that’s more trouble than it’s worth. I don’t know what the logic is with the different headsets in the Sibera line and the different connection options but the Siberia 350 and 150 are USB-only so if you’re like me, consider bumping up or down a little bit to account for the connection option.
It’s worth also talking about the price. The Siberia line of headsets ranges in price from $50 to $320 with the Siberia 350 that I used at $120, so about middle of the line. Every gaming headset brand offers something around that price range so it’s not that outlandish a price, especially if you’re considering one of the higher tiered models. The sound from the headset was actually relatively flat which I wasn’t expecting. I’m used to a more bass-heavy sound just out of the headphones themselves but this seemed like I was hearing more what I was supposed to be hearing. Using the SteelSeries Engine, I could still dial in more bass if I wanted to, which seemed to be the main quality of the “Music” preset. For those that are curious, if you wanted a non-gaming option in this price range for some perspective, the Audio Technica M50’s are usually under $150 and are very popular studio monitoring headphones.
To be honest, I’m trying to find problems with the headset and I’m having a hard time doing so. I have something of a chip on my shoulder for any kind of “gamer” peripheral but while you may pay a bit more for a high-profile brand, what you get is usually of good quality. The main thing I can’t really judge in this few weeks of using the Siberia headset is how it holds up over time. It felt sturdy so I can’t imagine it would break very easily or anything but I don’t know what kind of crazy stuff you do while playing games or whatever. If I had to point to something on the headset, I’d say whatever holds the head band on the headset would be the first thing to go since it sees the most movement on the headset but, again, that’s just if I’d have to point at something. In my experience, the headset held together just fine and felt sturdy. I definitely have problems with the microphone quality but I compared it to a condenser mic. In regular, everyday use, this kind of comparison is unfair and you’ll get a lot out of the vocal enhancer. Apart from that, I can’t really complain too much about the ear discomfort because after asking around, it turns out I’m probably in the minority. If you’re looking for a solid headset, the Siberia 350 is a great option and you can’t really get a more convenient setup than this.