SteelSeries Spectrum 5XB Review
Published: 30th March 2011 | Source: SteelSeries | Price: £59.99 |
Testing and Conclusion
Putting the Spectrum 5XB to the test is one of the more enjoyable tasks as a reviewer. After all, playing games for fun is something we can all relate to and so besides paying extra attention to the audio it was just a standard weekend.
Everything plugged in and set and we hit Modern Warfare 2 which has the largest friends take-up and so we could test the microphone capabilities and LiveMix.
The first thing we noticed was a tiny bit of hiss coming through the headphones, but we realised that the Play and Charge cable was still plugged in and this obviously caused a little noise. Nothing that doesn't disappear as soon as the battle starts raging though.
The Spectrum 5XB have SteelSeries usual excellent audio reproduction. The LiveMix in particular worked well at ensuring our team-mates orders, and our own, could be heard above the clatter of fire and other battlefield noises. Other games that are full of less hubbub faired even better. The range of the speakers is very good indeed. In fact when we plugged them directly into the PC rather than going via the XBOX we'd say they were pretty close to the excellent SteelSeries 5H we've previously reviewed and thanks to the standard 3.5mm jacks the headset comes equipped with they are definitely dual-purpose and will plug into anything you choose.
So they're built very well. They disassemble for easy portability. The microphone works great and the sound quality is good too. They're also very comfortable. You could wear these for a long time without either succumbing to hot ears nor the fatigue that can occur with a weighty pair. The bass isn't going to make your ears bleed, but unless you're friends with Barry White or George Clooney you'll want the middle range to be the dominant one and that's right where the sweet spot of the 5XB's are.
About the only things we don't like are the tremendous tangle of cables that the SteelSeries solution leaves you with, and the tiny hiss that occurs from plugging into a wireless pad if you're charging it. It's a minor irritant but not a deal-breaker by any stretch of the imagination.
At £60 they aren't the cheapest headset you can buy, but the compatibility with our normal gaming weapon of choice, the PC, means you only have to buy one pair, and pull them out the pad when you want to use them elsewhere. For the money they are good, and certainly a mile ahead of the terrible official headset.
If you can live with a bit of cable spaghetti they come highly recommended. All of the SteelSeries audio quality you've come to expect, with a design that apes the 360 itself, and PC compatibility. A very pleasant surprise indeed.