Headset Review: Steelseries Siberia 200

Since my recent epiphany I’ve been on a one-man mission to delve into the audio of games, and to try out some of the headsets in the market, priced between the lower to middle-end.  First up, the Steelseries Siberia 200.

This is my first headset, and the single item that helped change my whole perspective of gaming.  Described as a “best value” headset, I was amazed to see them on sale at a local Curry’s.

They’re at the end of their “life” as an on-the-shelf product, as new models come out all the time.  That’s not a reflection on the quality, just a sign of how fast-paced this particular market is.

Look

I had a choice of black or white, and went with the white pair, for an extra 23 pence.  Was it worth it? Well……I like them, so I guess so!

They have a really nice retro style, eschewing the solid headband and thick, chunkiness that seems quite prevalent in more recent sets.

The perforated/mesh look on the outside of each earphone is a nice touch, and I think the black, soft leather covering on the cushioning sets it all off really nicely.

A pull-out and push-in headset to hide it away when it’s not being used, is a really nice touch.  Leaving a subtle “nub” on the left ear, but completely removing the potential obstruction when it isn’t required.

Does it matter how they look?  I guess that depends on personal preference.

I really like the look of these, and despite being ridiculed by my wife for picking the white, I still think the white ones are the better looking ones.

Audio

I’ve touched on this before, but this set has some wonderful things going for it when it comes to sound.

Wearing these literally changed my outlook on gaming, adding a depth that I never considered before.

There’s very little missing here, everything is bright and clear.  You get a real sense of depth and I was surprised that these weren’t deemed as “virtual surround”.  Really good quality here for the price-point.

The lack of deeper sound though, bass and treble are definitely missing here, removing a richness that would make an even better potential experience.

Frankly, you get what you pay for. In fact, you get more than you pay for, but not quite the full audible experience for that full immersion.

Microphone

Ok, so they look pretty good and they sound really good……….unfortunately, in my experience, the only person enjoying the audio is me.

The microphone made me sound so quiet, or non-existent, so often that it isn’t even funny.

Communication can be a pretty crucial element in gaming, particularly when playing with a team.  Well, it was so inconsistent that I was barely audible, and rarely able to discuss things with my friends.

I can’t believe how poor the quality of the mic is in this lovely looking and sounding headset.  Completely gutted that it ended up being redundant for the most part, unless I fiddled enough to find the “sweet spot”, before I moved my head and lost it again.

Build

This headset looks great, we’ve established that.  That is in part, thanks to it’s great build.

It’s light, flexible and it still feels robust (sure they don’t take too much of a beating, but you don’t want them to fall apart).

The super-long cable is both a treat and a ballache.  It’s great to have so much room to move without worrying about yanking your controller out of your hand.  Unfortunately, it also means that there is a lot of cable to get tangled up and caught, especially when pounced on by a little Jack Russell that just wants to cuddle!  It’s well coated and feels robust, though.  So there’s that….

The on-cable mute and volume control is easily accessible, and really useful.

Alas, I feel that one of it’s strengths (the tuck-away mic) is also it’s weakness.  I can’t help but feel that the flimsy mic is easily over-pulled, and just too limp to provide the service that it should.  It’s cheap and flimsy and really lets the whole build, down.

Comfort

Straight away, I feared that these would be painful to wear for too long, but I was so so wrong.

The soft leather cushioning (I assume it’s faux leather), the amply-sized ear holes and the super-light frame.  It’s genuinely really comfortable.  I didn’t have any discomfort when wearing them for extended periods of time.

I particularly like the headband, that’s suspended to create a springy, comfortable mount, on your head.  It’s not a solid bar that’s got some padding around it, it’s a comfy, and easy to wear headband.

Big fan of the comfort!

Rating

Honestly, if I remove the rose-tinted glasses and don’t view them as my “first stereo headset for gaming”, I still really like these.

Unfortunately, where they are really comfy, look great and sound good.  The microphone is bordering redundant on some occasions, and I couldn’t communicate with my fireteam at some crucial times.

Sadly, I can’t recommend them as a headset to be used for team communications.  However, as a non-chat headset, this is a really good option.

So, depending on your requirements, I have two ratings.

For team communications and chat:

As a stereo headset that’s really comfy and sounds great:

I have reached out to Steelseries to try and establish contact and perhaps get a demo set of something newer, but have so far not had any response.  If anyone can point me in the right direction, that would be great!

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