That’s the title of my favourite Harvey Danger song and it was the first song I started testing the Siberia headset with.
I took my time testing the Siberia headset – mainly because I was far, far too busy with other things. I listened to a whole load of different albums and artist – on CD, MP3 and via internet radio.
My impressions were quite simple; the Siberia headset is up to the task of music playback and manages the full spectrum of sound more than adequately. Is it the clearest and best sound you’ll ever hear? No, obviously not, but true audiophiles who want to get full technical about the matter will probably have a set of high-end in-earphones instead.
Those of us who are simply content to hear their favourite songs without any hiss or distortion will be more than happy with the performance of the Siberia headset.
It has excellent sound performance for music and the only real trouble is that it doesn’t do a fantastic job of blocking out ambient noise. That’s obviously a problem for any ear-cup headset because the cushioning doesn’t form a fantastic seal around the ear. Again though – if that’s what you want then you’d be better off getting a pair of in-earphones.
In gaming performance the Siberia hold up fine too – sound is loud and clear and the cable extender for the PC comes has a volume control wheel on the dongle so that you can adjust the volume quickly.
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I tested the headset out on a fair few games – including Crysis and Thief: Deadly Shadows. The latter may be an old game, but it’s an awesomely atmospheric experience and relies heavily on the competency of the sound engine in order to be enjoyable.
I did have one problem with the Siberia though – and this is something that’s honestly quite hard for me to ‘fess up to because I love the design so much. It looks swish and swanky without being smarmy and smart-arsed and I had no problem taking them out in public. Everything from the white and black shell to the elasticated fabric on the neckstrap just screams of high-tech elegance. These are the type of headphones which I can imagine impressing robotic women from the future, though that is a bit of an odd thing to say, I know.
My problem with the Siberia headset is this; comfort. Being a neckband, the Siberia has to grip the sides of your head to stay fixed in place and putting the headset on in the first place can be a bit of a challenge the first few times.
What you have to do is grab each ear piece firmly and pull them in opposite directions so that the neckband expands. Then put them on your head and the mechanism will tighten and ease into place, clamping painlessly on to your skull and making you understand why the fabric on the neckband is elasticated.
Actually putting on and using the neckset, now that I can bear to use the term, isn’t painful at all. In the short term. Using the headset for extended periods of time or wearing them while bopping your head to a slamming tune tends to see the mechanism loosen up a little bit and the whole neckset slide down because there's nothing to stop it. Like your head, for example.
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This means that pressure can quickly mount up on your ears, making them ache a little. It’s not painful per se, but it is annoying and is similar to how I imagine it would feel to wear weighted earrings.
I want to love the Siberia neckset – in fact, I do love it. It looks good, it sounds great and the cables are all decently sized. On top of that, the microphone is good too and I took the Siberia home to test the mic out via Team Fortress 2, where it performed perfectly. The cable is bendy and malleable and the mic itself is perfectly responsive.
However, no matter how much I love it I have to admit that I did have problems with it. I found myself switching between the Siberia neckset and the SteelSeries 5H v2 headset, which I recently re-discovered and fell in love with. The 5H v2s use a similar ear-cup design and microphone, but have a more conventional headstrap. It’s just a shame that they don’t look as cool.
The Siberia neckset is a great little device in some ways and fantastic in others, but its weak point is that the core of the design actually ends up giving us a bit of a headache. If you’ve got a high tolerance for pain or the right shaped head for the Siberia to grip to then you might find that the Siberia is just what you’re looking for and they’re also worth bearing in mind if you’re more concerned with the look than anything else. If not, then you might want to look at what else is available.