Reviews PlayStation PC

Steelseries Siberia V3 Prism Headset Review

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Steelseries is not a brand that needs much of an introduction to gamers. That being said, you either love their products or prefer a competitor’s products, but there is no denying that over the years they have offered quality products. The question this time around with the Siberia V3 Prism Gaming Headset is whether Steelseries is delivering enough value and features to bring the unconverted over to their side.

She’s got the look

And it’s a look that hasn’t changed much since the first Siberia headset hit the market, and is almost identical to the standard Siberia V3. The headset is a suspension-style design with round over-the-ear cups featuring memory foam covered in synthetic-leather. The microphone is almost completely retractable and at times during use I even forgot there was one, which explained why my cries for help during a Battlefield session may have been ignored.

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Speaking of not noticing things (this is pretty usual for me), the design of the headset means it is light and comfortable to wear and extended periods of use fooled me into thinking I was simply hearing voices (and music and in-game sound) in my head and not wearing a headset.

However, what you can’t help but notice is the lights on the cups and the option to choose one of 16.8 million colours. You know, because we all need to be able to reflect our current mood to those admiring the side of our head. Personally, I’m a little old fashioned (or even a grumpy old man) about these sort of things and I struggle to understand the purpose of it all. In the end, it’s about how it sounds surely?

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The sound of silence

And in that regard, I’m a little torn when it comes to the V3 Prism. The sound is generally nice and clear (even at high volume), but for me, the headset lacks bass. Explosions didn’t rattle my head like I would’ve liked them to, but the high- and mid-tones were spot on. The headset is also only a stereo offering, and while this was fantastic for music, it is not what most would want for first-person games. Not that I believe I’m a better gamer when rocking 7.1 virtual surround sound, but I need to have some excuse… For RTS - and even RPG - games, the stereo was perfect and all in-game sounds were crystal clear. But to be fair, in Battlefield 4, the gunfire, voices and general anarchy did sound fantastic. The sense of depth (or distance at least) was audible and as soon as I could hear a gunshot in my proximity, the microphone got a testing to rival an Idols audition - even if it was just me swearing at my own stupidity.

I did exaggerate just a little earlier. The microphone is fully retractable, but even when coiled up in the cup, it is still good enough to pick up what’s being said, so using the mute switch on the left cup is advisable. A few tests did reveal that the microphone produces a slightly hollow sound (albeit my voice was apparently clear to the poor person having to listen to me), and that it struggles a little with noise cancelling if there is a fair amount of background noise. That being said, in this day and age, don’t most competitive players know instinctively what to do without communicating, while the rest of us will run around like headless chickens regardless of what is being said? However,  the noise cancelling issue may just prove to be a deal breaker for some competitive LAN players. 

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All the small things

Due to the V3 Prism coming with a USB connector (and not traditional audio jacks) it works on both PC and (almost equally well on) PS4, so it is great for dual-platform gamers, but not so great for dual-platform gamers with an Xbox One, because, well, it doesn’t work on Microsoft’s console. Of course, with no audio jacks, the headset cannot be used with a dedicated soundcard on your PC.

The headset only has a 1,5m USB cable which means that while it is pretty handy for the PC (unless your PC is unusually far away from you), it’s not so handy for use on the PS4, which is usually a bit further away. This is nothing that a USB extension cord won’t solve however, but really, 1,5m in this day and age feels a little like cutting corners.

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What’s a little more difficult to solve is the lack of an inline volume control. While the Engine 3 software does help with controlling volume, adjusting levels and messing with those LED lights, the lack of an inline volume control was irksome whether I was using the headset on PC or PS4. In fact, on the PS4, the volume control is already annoying enough to access via the menus, but it is at least something other headsets don’t expect the user to have to do.

To be fair, the Engine 3 software is a nice little addition to the Steelseries family in that it allows you to tweak all the other Steelseries peripherals on your PC in one place. So synchronising all your lights will be a breeze for those who like that sort of thing.

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This is the end

I’m loathe to suggest rushing out and replacing your current headset (if it’s around two years old) with the Siberia V3 Prism as the recommended retail price of just shy of R2,000 is a little much considering the fact that the headset is only stereo and lacks an inline volume control.

However, if you’re sitting on an older headset or want to get one that works on both your PC and PS4, then there is very little in the price range that offers the comfort, quality of sound and aesthetic of the Steelseries Siberia V3 Prism. In closing, let's take a look at the specs.

The specs

  • Active noise-cancelling: No
  • Power source: USB
  • Headphones sensitivity: 80dB
  • Frequency response: 10-28,000Hz
  • Headphones impedence: 35 ohms
  • Microphone frequency: 50 - 16000 Hz
  • Microphone sensitivity: -38 dB
  • Microphone direction type: Uni
  • Plug type: USB
  • Inline volume: No
  • Weight: approx. 300g
  • Cable length: 1.5m

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*If you’re wondering about the headings for the article, they’re all song titles, because I listened to a lot of music with while testing the headset. Well, game names wouldn’t have worked now would they?

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"very little in the price range that offers the comfort, quality of sound and aesthetic of the Steelseries Siberia V3 Prism."

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