When it comes to lasting comfort and exceptional audio, SteelSeries’ Siberia line has little competition. Perfectly blending affordability and quality, the originally released Siberia V3 Prism earned their title as one of our favorite affordable, high-quality gaming headsets in 2014. Two years later, SteelSeries demonstrates once again what it takes to dominate the industry by re-releasing their V3 Prism model under a new name: the SteelSeries Siberia 350. Like the recently reviewed Siberia 650, the headset remains mostly the same. A few design tweaks have been added, like the orange accent on the headband interior, but the 350 isn’t a new model or anything like that. Instead, it’s a fresh re-imagining of a successful product that’s meant to attract new users.
The Siberia 350 headphones are beautifully designed. They boast a matte, black surface with a thin glossy ring accenting the exterior earcups. It’s an extension of V2’s sleek construction with small sophisticated refinements that make the set appear more luxurious. The upgraded memory-foam ear cushions, designed to isolate external noise, and the classic headband suspension system ensure comfort during long gaming sessions. Even after an entire day of non-stop use, the 350 don’t cause headaches nor generate heat.
Unfortunately, the short USB cable is problematic when connecting to a console. Five feet may be a little too short for gamers who have their couch far from the entertainment center. Additionally, the 350’s lack of external volume control is a questionable design decision. This isn’t much of an issue when listening to music on the desktop, but it’s frustrating when you’re in the midst of gaming. But, these minor concerns are a small price to pay for such superb sound quality.
As with all SteelSeries products, the installation is quick and effortless. The SteelSeries Engine 3 Software boasts a customizable illumination scheme and several useful equalizer presets. With 16.8 million colors and various lighting modes, the Siberia 360 headphones have something for every personality and mood. Similarly to the 650, the equalizer presets are beneficial for quick adjustments, but can’t replace proper manual tweaking. A racing game isn’t likely to benefit from the same settings specially calibrated for first person shooters. The same goes for music. Switching from dubstep to accapella requires different level adjustments. Fortunately, manual settings can be saved so that each application launches its corresponding modifications.
"Gamers can enjoy rich explosions and realistic-sounding gunfire as they dodge bullets from every direction in first person shooters, while music lovers can savor instrumental and vocal details of their favorite artists without sacrificing quality."
Gaming headphones typically struggle in properly balancing sound channels. Either the bass is too high and the voices too echoey or vice versa. The Siberia 350 exhibits natural sound and powerful bass while maintaining clarity during volumetric shifts. Explosions in action games are deep without ever losing details, while singing voices (or dialogue in films) are crisp and clean without the odd metallic side-effects commonly heard in headsets like the Turtle Beach Ear Force Z60 and many other gaming specific sets. Racing games are particularly impressive, with deep roaring engine sounds perfectly emulating the sensation of sitting inside a monstrous race car.
It’s somewhat unfair to label the Siberia 350 as just gaming headphones. They handle music and movies with equal excellence. An audiophile may argue that headphones specifically designed for music have clearer and more accurate sound production, while gaming headsets solely emphasize cool looks and audio positioning to emulate dimensionality. This may be true in many cases, but the Siberia 350 (much like the entire Siberia line) serves as an exception. Gamers can enjoy rich explosions and realistic-sounding gunfire as they dodge bullets from every direction in first person shooters, while music lovers can savor instrumental and vocal details of their favorite artists without sacrificing quality.
"The SteelSeries Siberia 350 are some of the best sub-$200 gaming headphones money can buy."
Of course, a good set of gaming headphones is nothing without a quality mic. The 350 may not rival the pricier Siberia 650 microphone, but it’s certainly better than anything I’ve tested in the same price range. Whether it’s used for professional podcasting or casual multiplayer chatting, the microphone delivers crisp sound without picking up too much background noise. The retractable neck is also a nice touch as it tucks away neatly when not in use.
At a reasonably priced $120, SteelSeries’ Siberia 350 are some of the best sub-$200 gaming headphones money can buy. Their balanced performance across all media combined with iconic looks and unrivaled comfort make them the definitive headset for gamers seeking both style and quality. Gamers who’ve enjoyed the superb V2 will appreciate SteelSeries’ immaculate audio refinements and new matte surface. While a longer USB cable and external volume control would have made the set even better, there are very few gaming headphones that can match the 350’s sound quality. And ultimately, that’s all that matters.
Review by: Tin Salamunic