Well-known accessories manufacturer SteelSeries today took the shrouds off two new headsets – one each of wired and wireless. While the wired piece – Siberia Neckband has been designed for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, the wireless Spectrum 7XB headset is a special one for the Xbox 360.
The Siberia Neckband from SteelSeries is widely considered a uniquely designed and has won several awards for its design. Resting on the neck of a user behind the head, the neckband combines both audio and video capabilities with an inline remote that powers audio and call controls. There is a single 3.5mm jack for connecting the neckband to all supported devices.
The Siberia Neckband is fully retractable and so easily adjusts to all head sizes, while the unidirectional, retractable microphone fits perfectly into the left earcup and can be pulled out in a jiffy for answering calls. The thick, cloth covered foam earcups make for extremely comfortable wearing even over extended time periods. SteelSeries has optimized the soundscape available in the neckband for crisp highs, and deep balanced bass levels for music and movies.
The second release of the day, the Spectrum 7XB Wireless Headset is a first from SteelSeries for the Xbox 360. Building on the success of the earlier Spectrum 5XB wired headset, the 7XB promises to bring the same level of professional quality without the wires. The 7XB Wireless Headset combines advanced wireless technology with SteelSeries ExactSND and LiveMix features, which make it a pleasure to use for gaming on the Xbox 360.
Drawing upon 30 years of wireless research experience, the engineers at SteelSeries have developed the Spectrum 7XB to minimize interference and given it an antenna that provides improved quality and response. The wireless transmitter on the 7XB is a compact one no larger than a deck of playing cards, but packs in enough power to transmit crystal clear sound to the headphones.
The transmitter connects directly into the Xbox 360 console, with connectivity options for USB, 3.5mm and RCA jacks. It transmits at 4Mbit/s bandwidth to ensure there is absolutely no loss in digital audio and also hops frequency intelligently up to 344 times/second to keep interference from other devices at bay. The transmitter has a connection range of 32 feet and a smart LED to indicate connectivity.
An automatic shut down feature ensures 20+ hours of non-stop gaming from the two AAA batteries by keeping power consumption extremely low. SteelSeries has also equipped the Spectrum 7XB with interchangeable earcups that have 50mm drivers for superior noise reduction. A retractable, unidirectional mic sits tightly inside the right earcup and easily pops out when needed.
The left earcup accommodates the LiveMix quick-button for instant balancing and mixing of Xbox Live chat and in-game audio. The ExactSND feature on the other hand can be activated using a button provided on the right earcup. Once activated, it lets users quickly switch between EQ settings and thereby indulge in more immersive and optimized gaming.
As a gaming headset, the Spectrum 7XB is also a highly portable piece. It can quickly and easily broken down into four separate pieces for mobility and transport. SteelSeries has also included its AudioMixer utility with the headset, which when connected to the Xbox 360 controller, facilitates voice communication via the headset and mic.
SteelSeries has priced its Siberia Neckband headset at $79.99, while the Spectrum 7XB will carry a price tage of $149.99. The wireless headset is slated for a Q2 2011 release, though there is no word on availability of the wired neckband.
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