Pros: Very comfortable, Great sound, Many connection options, Included software suite, Audio pass through, Tangle free cable, Retractable Mic
Cons: Doesn't close fully around ears, Software and DAC don't add much to sound quality, Price, Heavy
Starting with the box we see that the headset is compatible with Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. It also has Dolby Headphone technology available in the software. The side shows off the customizable lighting rings on each ear cup. They can display 16.8 million colors.
The back shows off some more features including the retractable mic, leather ear cushions, and volume and mute dials.
The bottom of the box lists information about the drivers, cable type and length, and the microphone. This information includes frequency ranges which give no real information to most gamers. I would prefer a frequency response curve, but no companies seem to understand that.
Included in the box we get the headset, a manual, a sticker, and various adapters and connectors.
Those adapters include a dual 3.5mmm cable, an extension cable, a 3.5mm mobile adapter, and the USB DAC. The cables are flat, tangle free cables. I tried many times to jumble them into a knot, but they came right undone. I wish more companies would implement this.
The USB DAC features 3.5mm jacks for audio and microphone, as well as SteelSeries' proprietary jack. This jack must be used to take advantage of the software. Here is also a closer look at that jack.
Moving on to the headset, we see the metal headband and auto adjusting suspension system. The metal provides excellent stability and retention to your head. The leather ear cups are very large. They are some of the softest on any headset I have ever seen.
Here we see the hand stitched leather and SteelSeries' new driver. The right ear cup also includes a share port. This would be used by a friend so you both could listen to the same thing. You will hear exactly what they hear, at the volume that they are listening.
Looking at the outside of the keyboard, you will notice 2 rubberized adjustment wheels. The one on the left mutes and unmutes the microphone, and the one on the left controls the volume. It is inline and separate from the Windows volume. I much prefer this to controls on the cable. Putting them in the headset makes them easier to access and makes the cable less likely to tangle.
Here is the headset plugged in. You can see the LED ring around the ear cup, and the microphone LED indicating that it is muted. These LEDs provide style and functionality. The LED on the ear cup can be set to many settings in the software. More on that later.
Now for the review
The Siberia Elite was very easy to use. There was no need for adjustment with the one-size-fits-all suspension system. The extra padding and the metal headband added some weight, but it is spread out over the whole headset, not just on the ears. All the adapters are great for switching between platforms. I would recommend these for a gaming headset, but there is nothing stopping you from using these as your mobile audio solution. The headphones rest nicely on my head. There are no main pressure points and I could see these being worn for hours at a time. The softness of the ear cup is something that can't be put into words; you just have to feel them.
The headset was noticeably bass heavy out of the box. This makes explosions sound good, but music and voices suffer. I found a slight bump to the highs in the EQ solved this problem. There is no way to fix this for mobile gaming though unless you have a 3rd party app. For PC gaming you must use the software or again get 3rd party EQ software. Aside from that, the headset sounded really good. Bass was punchy and highs were clear.
I noticed more leaking than most other headsets. This could get annoying to people sitting next to you, but shouldn't be a problem at a reasonable distance. Along with this, in the other direction, comes noise isolation. The Elites do a pretty good job of sound isolation, but a fair amount sill gets in. The clamping pressure is mostly at the top of the ear cup. There is very little pressure on the bottom which is where most of these issues come from.
The SteelSeries Engine software allows for many areas of control. Simply plug the headset in and it will automatically recognize it. You can adjust the LED color, LED effects, EQ, Dolby Headphone, Mic Noise Reduction, Mic Compression, Mic Side tone, and Mic Volume. The LEDs can be illuminated to any of 16.8 million colors. There are 4 effects: Steady, Breathe, Audio Trigger, and ColorShift. Moving on to EQ there are 10 bands of control. The Engine also includes many presets for just about any type of listening. The headset features Dolby Headphone. It provides a neat effect, but I think it smears the soundstage and looses clarity. Mic noise reduction and compression are both very useful and make the average mic sound pretty good for a gaming headset. I personally don't use mic side tone because I want to hear the game, not myself talking.
You will only get to use these features if you are connected digitally through SteelSeries' proprietary connector on their DAC. I wouldn't use the DAC unless you absolutely had to. It doesn't really add much to the sound quality. If you are buying a $200 headset, you can probably afford a decent sound card. The included DAC just doesn't do justice to the great drivers SteelSeries has included. Just like the 9H, I would love a cheaper headset without the DAC.
All in all the SteelSeries Siberia Elite is a great headset. It sounds great, looks great, and feels great. If you are in the market for a ~$200 headset, then look no further.