How do the SteelSeries Siberia Elite Prisms stack up?

It’s almost holiday season, which means deciding on what to add to your wish list will be tricky, especially with so many different audio experiences awaiting you. Will the SteelSeries Siberia Elite Prism headset make the cut?

While product designs are typically a very subjective topic, there are certain products that generally have pleasant aesthetic qualities. I’m pleased to say, that the Elite Prism’s look pretty awesome, with a distinct fullness/chunkiness to the earcups, and automatically adjustable dual head band. For being larger headsets, they look nice, and more distinct than other headsets. They also have the added customizability of changing the color of the inner circle on the ear cups, which means you can really experiment with color schemes on PC. Unfortunately, this feature is reserved only for PC. This headset will indeed light up if it’s plugged into a PlayStation 4 via usb for example, but you aren’t able to change the colors. While that’s not a deal breaker, it does suck that one of the advertised features doesn’t work on your console of choice.

Functionality: The most important things to consider in choosing a gaming headset are the audio quality and comfort. I’m happy to report that this headset is indeed comfortable, and audio output is excellent. Without even having a mixamp in conjunction with these, they easily rival more expensive headsets, and wearing them never feels like a chore thanks to the memory foam ear cups and automatically adjustable headband that keeps the headset securely in place.

All in all, this headset has a near complete package with a high range of tones and good volume ranges. Like mentioned in my Astro a50 review, I’m not someone who obsesses over sound like some others, but I do prefer to hear subtle nuances in audio you typically otherwise wouldn’t hear unless you had a sophisticated surround sound system or were adamant about paying careful attention to certain audio cues.

Noise isolation is very good, although there isn’t active noise cancellation function built into these; noise cancellation is mostly due to the closed ear cup design. Audio equalization settings are pretty much non-existent on consoles, regulated by the standard system equalization options, so if you were hoping for a more varied range on consoles, you may want to look elsewhere. The biggest flaw in this headset however is in its microphone. (audio test included in video)

With that said, on PC, these headsets are awesome. They connect either through a USB adapter or 3.5mm jack, but you’ll get better audio functionality if you use the usb adapter. While this headset doesn’t have more than two drivers, and thus, technically doesn’t offer true surround sound, they still do an adequate job of letting you hear everything in your environment without blasting the volume on your speakers. You can tell if someone’s coming up behind you to snap your neck through the simulated surround sound, and it works just as well as many other headphones that utilize Dolby simulated digital surround sound.

IMG_7299Whereas the Astro a50s have an issue with the microphone defaulting to a high input volume, sometimes distorting the sound, the prism elites are set far too low and cut in and out while you speak on consoles. I’m not really sure why this happens, but it definitely causes issues with communicating with team members and followers on twitch. I recommend using a different external microphone if you intend to voice communicate with anyone on consoles. Conversely, I had issues getting the microphone to register on my current PC setup, which can very well be attributed to the fact that I utilize bootcamp on my 27-inch 2011 Imac, meaning that certain things will function differently than they would on a native PC machine. When operating on the mac side, the headset seems to work fine for the most part- Still a little bit lower than I’d like, but the audio quality isn’t bad. In addition to the sound quality, I noticed that the microphone doesn’t feel like it’s made of a similarly high quality material like the rest of the headset, feeling almost cheap. It is a shame, because everything else works so wonderfully!

Price: This headset doesn’t cost as much as many other gaming headsets, sitting at about $154 USD for the black headset, and $137 for the white. For the price you are getting some really great sounding headsets rivaling more expensive options. I’m impressed with the value proposition these headsets offer at that competitive price, and it tells a compelling story as to how Steelseries as a whole values it’s gamers and provides high quality products at fair prices. With that said, due to microphone quality, you may have to shell out a bit extra for a better microphone if you plan to play on consoles.

Lasting Appeal: This is a tricky headset to review. For my particular set-up (headset connected to blue-yeti microphone 3.5mm jack, yeti microphone connected to PS4), it works wonderfully for livestreaming, and sits very comfortably on my head while providing an awesome audio experience. But that’s the thing- Most people don’t have a set-up like this, and I have to keep that in mind when talking about this product. If the features on the box worked well with consoles and if it had a better quality microphone, it would be an obvious choice for anyone looking for that excellent all-around gaming audio experience.

For those who don’t mind having to use a different microphone for audio input like twitch streamers and youtubers on consoles, then I highly recommend these. If you’re like most and need a bit more performance out of the mic, then you’ll want to look elsewhere or purchase them, and try them out for some time before deciding to send them back. If you are a PC user, buy them.

BOTTOM LINE rating_try

The Good:  

  • comfortable with auto adjustable band
  • great sound quality, even through 3.5mm
  • cool light customization

The Bad:

  • no equalization or light customization for console use
  • microphone quality is lacking
  • Non compatible with Xbox One console (out of the box)

You can buy the Siberia Elite prisms for about $137 through Amazon or through the official Steelseries website. Review unit was supplied by SteelSeries. If the issue I have with console performance is a user error, that will be updated accordingly.