If there's one thing the Siberia headphones aren't, it's inconspicuous.
Reminding us of a stormtrooper in mostly white with dashes of black, they can also be bought in bright red, or a slightly more subtle black. They have looped plastic bands that connect the ear pieces in a similar manner to AudioTechnica's offerings, but with a headrest that's significantly more annoying. Attached by extensible cable, it has far too much freedom of movement and as a result can make comfortable positioning a pain.
The clamping force is also weak, with the bottom of the closed, leather clad ear-cups noticeably lifting off compared to the top. A headset is cleverly hidden in the left cup — pull at the plastic end and a flexible, plastic enshrouded cable is extended, which can be positioned just where you need it. Just be sure to retract it before you take it off or put it on, or you could end up with a microphone in the eye.
The cable is an impressive three metres long, and can be broken into two sections, each one featuring a 3.5mm plug for microphone and headphones. A jog dial is included on the first cable for volume, along with a microphone mute button.
Being a gaming headset, we fired up Team Fortress 2 for a little bit of action, using a Creative X-Fi Xtreme Music. One thing we noticed immediately: until you hit a certain volume threshold using the inline volume control, the trebles are mostly missing. The higher you push the volume, the sharper the trebles become — to the point where the bass and mid-range drops away and it sounds tinny and awful. We found this across all the SteelSeries headsets we've tested, and as such if you purchase one we recommend getting the inline volume right once, then using either Windows' in-built volume controller or even better, an amp to adjust the volume from thereon in.
Vocals and gunshots in particular were brought to the fore, something that carried through to music. Listening to Karnivool's Goliath really brought drums, mid-range and vocals forward, but seemed to lack something in between the mids and highs, as if the soundscape had been compressed somewhere. Bass sometimes got muddled and lost, and lacked punchiness.
While the long cable is nice, for the price the Siberia v2s simply do not deliver the sound quality or the comfort we'd expect. We'd direct you to theinstead.