The Steelseries Siberia 800 is the most versatile, best sounding headset I’ve ever used. Through demo opportunities and a passion for the latest and greatest PC peripherals, I’ve been lucky enough to try many of the best-of-brand headsets on the market. Razer, Corsair, Turtle Beach, Roccat… even though all of these brands offer impressive, great sounding gaming headphones, the Siberia 800 takes the cake and has redefined my expectations.
A good headset is one of the best investments a gamer can make. Deep, immersive surround sound has the power to transport you into a game like few other peripherals. They say seeing is believing and in this case it’s hearing. Once you’ve had a headset seal off the outside world and replace it with full, Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, there’s no going back. Close your eyes wearing the Siberia 800 and it’s like you’re standing in Geralt’s place, hearing the tweet of nearby birds and the growls of Drowners in the distance.
The Siberia 800 is a rebranded version of the H800 and features the same quiet style. Everything from its box to the subtle orange stitching on the black memory foam earcups show the same considered design, but it’s clear that the 800 is Steelseries most Premium in their line of premium gaming headsets. You won’t find any of the gaudy gamer pastiche that so clearly separates “gamer gear” from “normal” peripherals. Instead, you’ll find a weighty set of headphones marked by a sleek blend of matte framework and glossy black panels, accentuated by a silver Steelseries logo. Recessed in the cup is a rich orange fabric covering the drivers that absolutely pops against the black surroundings. The microphone slides into the left ear, allowing it to be hidden when not in use. This is a gaming peripheral you can wear out of the house and have no one be the wiser.
When I unboxed the 800, the first standout feature was just how many cords and connectors Steelseries included. Versatility and performance are the pillars of the headset, with connectors and setup guides for everything from PC, to current and last-gen consoles, to mobile devices, and adapters for international power outlets. Having my phone handy, I plugged it in to see how it would sound without the Dolby processing. Having come from a set of Skullcandy in-ears, I was blown away. Even my wife, who is anything but an audiophile, was taken aback at how good the 800s sounded.
Powered by a pair of 40mm Neodymium drivers, the Siberia 800 provides an incredibly clear, rich sound. The frequency response is 20Hz-20000KHz, and performs admirably throughout lows, mids, and highs. Once the transmitter is set up you can use the headset wirelessly on everything but mobile devices (strangely there is no bluetooth). From there you can select from a range of equalizer presets or create your own custom profile. I opted for the low-end favoring Immersion setting when gaming and tweaked my own V-curve for music. The volume dial on the right earcup can also be configured to access these menus to wirelessly switch settings on the fly. This requires some memorization as the text on the transmitter box is too small to read from a distance, but it is well worth the effort. The headset also features a power/mute button which triggers a red led when the microphone is disabled, as well as a 2.5mm and 3.5mm jacks for Chat and Share.
The transmitter box allows for all kinds of tweaking. It accepts analog and optical audio inputs, allowing the headset to be connected to multiple devices at once and switch between them on the fly. Settings from each source can be saved, edited, and deleted. When used with a console, you can even adjust the mix of game audio and voice chat on the fly. Steelseries also included frequency hopping technology to prevent lag from signal interference. On top of that, the transmitter acts as a charging bay for one of the two 20-hour lithium ion batteries, ensuring that you always have a charged battery and never a dead headset.
I was initially concerned at the weight of the 800. While a heavy peripheral can give the impression of quality, a weighty headset can lead to fatigue over long gaming sessions. This worry turned out to be in vain, however, as I never experienced any kind of strain using the headset. Likewise, the tightness of the band and seal of the foam around the ear might have been concerns, but after two three hour stretches and many that were shorter, the 800s never became uncomfortable. In fact, I grew to love the seal as I immersed into my games. My ears did become warm, however, which may lead to sweating for larger-eared gamers.
The cost of all that versatility comes at a somewhat laborious setup process which is under-explained in the setup guide. PC setup is straightforward enough with no special software to download. Using the headset with my PS4 required changing console setting, something the guide never states. And because of the transmitters need for optical (if you have it), USB, and a power outlet, it isn’t a piece of hardware you’ll enjoy moving if your console and PC aren’t side-by-side.
Likewise, though the microphone is clear and a cut above most headset mics I’ve used, it doesn’t quite live up to the high standards set by the headphones. My teammates had no trouble understanding me, but when I recorded a test sample in Audacity, the microphone was quieter and lacking any boost option. It also tended toward treble, lacking the low end so desired in voice over and podcast work. It sounds fine, but with a suggested price of $299, I would have expected the microphone to be as well rounded as the headphones.
These are small issues, however, and taken as a whole package, the Siberia 800 is an incredible headset. It sounds amazing and can be used on almost any device you own. Whether I’m gaming, watching Netflix, or listening to music, this is the headset I want to listen with. The 800 raises the bar no matter what you’re using it on. If you want a premium headset, look no further.