With the overwhelming amount of modern games relying upon their multiplayer aspect it's naturally important to have great communications between the players. Anyone who's spent any time at all using the XBOX 360s truly terrible supplied headset, or spent an age browsing through potential PS3 headsets will know how important it is to have an audio solution that enables you to clearly differentiate between your team-mates and the game sounds.
Unfortunately this desire for clarity of communication also means that you've probably got more than one headset lurking about. A headset for the PC for either Skype or gaming, one for the PS3 and one for the XBOX 360. Online gaming is nothing if not an expensive hobby.
What we really could do with is a headset that's good quality, but also is compatible across the board so that you only need to purchase one and you're done.
Enter the SteelSeries Siberia V2 for PS3. Whilst the 'for PS3' bit naturally differentiates this particular model from the other Siberia V2s in the SteelSeries line-up it's actually, thanks to some clever thinking and attention to detail, compatible with just about anything you can think of.
All the quality of the brilliant Siberia V2 headset and compatible with everything we throw at it? Sounds like it's Manna from Heaven. Or is it destined to stick in the throat?
The specifications of the Siberia V2 for PS3 are exactly what we'd expect them to be. We've got a stock Siberia V2 headset and a smart connectivity solution. The main thing to take notice of is the enormous cable length of the Mixer. Unless you live in a corridor there will be plenty of cable to reach from the TV to your ears.
Frequency response: 18 – 28.000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ohm
SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 112 dB
Cable: 1.0 m / 3 ft.
Jacks: 3.5 mm
Frequency response: 50 – 16.000 Hz
Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
Sensitivity: -38 dB
Cable: 3.0 m / 9 ft.
Chat cable: 1m / 3 ft.
The Siberia V2 for PS3 comes in the standard SteelSeries box which is always one of our favourites. The minimalism of the colour scheme and the clear, concise information panels lend an air of class to proceedings. First impressions are important and the Siberia V2 for PS3 definitely gives us a good first impression.
Despite being compatible with a raft of systems we have don't open the box to find more wires than a telephone exchange, rather there is the main LiveMix connector itself and a couple of peripheral cables should you require them. The headset itself is well sheltered in the protective 'furry' plastic so it will arrive unmarked.
The LiveMix Connector
Despite the potential complexity of a multi-purpose connection solution SteelSeries have really refined their LiveMix adaptor and so, despite being able to be plugged into anything, this is pretty much it as far as connection goes. The USB goes into your PS3 (or PC or Mac or XBOX 360) and you plug the headphones into the other end. Simplicity itself.
The LiveMix has all the adjustments you could desire. On the top is a large microphone mute switch for those moments when you wish to compliment your team-mate on throwing a flashbang at your feet without upsetting them.
Aside from that there are volume adjustments for the game and the voice, and on the end we have the two 3.5mm jacks for the headset itself and a 2.5mm jack for the XBOX 360 connection to the pad.
We've seen the Siberia V2 in a few colours, primarily white as one would expect from something called the Siberia. However to match the monolith that is the Playstation 3 the Siberia V2 for PS3 comes in a very understated colourscheme of black with grey mesh sides and hoop.
The design of the Siberia V2 is one of the best around, being light enough and with sufficient ear padding to be comfortable for extended use, but also flexible enough to be very robust indeed. The elasticated headband ensures that you don't pick up your headset after someone else has borrowed it and have to do the "dance of the ear-piece height" to get it comfortable again.
The microphone is the standard SteelSeries retractable one which stays where you put it but equally slides away neatly for when you don't.
At the business end, and handling the "compatible with PCs and anything that has 3.5mm jacks" duties are, well, 3.5mm jacks.
So how does it fair?
Testing and Conclusion
As we've had plentiful experience with the Siberia V2, including a prior review, we concentrated our testing largely upon the PS3 side of things. Yes this is a tough job sometimes.
To this end we fired up a slew of games to cover all possible environments.
Gran Turismo 5 is an awesome treat for the eyes and the endless growl of a highly-tuned engine should provide a fantastic test for how well the LiveMix enables the voice to be heard above a cacophony of cars. Given that the LiveMix in the 5XB was excellent, and the Siberia V2s themselves are fantastic, it was no surprise in the least that our fellow racers were still clearly audible no matter how close the racing nor how hard the tyres were squealing.
Continuing the theme of aural chaos Marvel vs Capcom 3 was up next and with so much going on at once it really pushes the Siberia V2s hard. Despite this everything was rendered with clarity and aplomb. From the thumping music, the cheek of a Deadpool taunt or the scream of Akumas Raging Demon it is a feast for the ears and the Siberia V2 for PS3 isn't found wanting at all.
Of course reproducing a din with clarity is testing, but equally testing is managing to articulate subtle nuances when there isn't a giant waveform to get the speakers pulsing. To this end we tried out the far more sedate Tiger Woods 2012 and we're pleased to report that every bird tweet and breath of wind is represented with the delicacy one would desire.
One of the primary things about the Siberia V2 for PS3 is how well it handles everything that's thrown at it. It's not only games that sound good, but movies and music are all handled well too and even Skype conversations sound just as you would hope.
If there are any black marks against it they are slight. By virtue of being an open-backed headset if you're hoping to deafen yourself without any audio leaking to others in the same room that's not going to happen. Some noise will always leak out of a headset but open-backed ones are naturally more disposed to this than the closed-back style. Also this means that bass isn't quite as pounding as you'll get from a closed back set, although it's by no means weak and feeble it just wont shake your fillings loose. However as a trade-off the open-back design does mean that the sound has a real sense of space to it which, personally, is worth the noise-spillage and only good bass performance.
So it's exactly what we expected it to be. All the performance of the excellent Siberia V2 headset, able to be plugged into pretty much anything you can think of and by virtue of this you only require one headset to cover all possible uses. You do pay a premium over the price of the standalone Siberia V2s, as the SteelSeries Siberia V2 for PS3 come in around the £90 mark, but the flexibility is unmatched and the ease of installation the best we've seen yet for a console headset. To get better audio than this you'll either need to spend a lot more money, or lose all that flexibility and we're delighted to award it our OC3D Gold Award.
Thanks to SteelSeries for providing the Siberia V2 for PS3 for review. Discuss in our forums.