Setup, Design & Observations
The first major thing I noticed was how light the V3 is, even the V2 is a lightweight headset as it is, however the V3 does seem to be lighter. Going to the scales, the V3 came in at mere 212g! The plastic used for the V3 is strong with a textured surface, giving a nice visual appeal over the glossy plastic found on other headsets. On wearing, the suspension design easily adjusts to your headsize and the clamp strength is slight. The earcup padding is very soft and just about surrounds my ears. The memory foam is certainly doing its thing as it makes wearing the Siberia V3 blissful and non-fatiguing. Though the clamp strength is slight, due to the memory foam you still get a good seal around your ears for noise isolation and remains comfortable even when wearing glasses. As they are very light, they are highly suited to long gaming sessions.
The microphone pulls out and retracts smoothly and fully without resistence, and the microphone mute switch tactily clicks into its on and off positions. Taking a good look at the cables, SteelSeries have swapped the braiding from the V2 for a soft, flexible non-tangle cable that look and feel classy enough for those who wish to use this with their smartphones and portable devices.
The first thing I noticed when listening to music, was that the tone generally feels a little deeper than I am used to. Listening through the various bassy tracks such as Sabrepulse - Flux and GRAVES - Empty, I realised that the Siberia V3 has good audio separation between the frequency ranges allowing for deep, creamy bass and has decent frequency separation to provide clear mids and highs. However, listening through to Alestorm's 'Black Sails at Midnight', the bass verged on being overpowering, like how one would imagine what a bass filter would sound like if it were done by Instagram. The soundstage is quite wide for a gaming headset, giving a sense of physical depth to the audio. This may work wonders when paired with a virtual surround mode in your audio software (if available) and may be what enhances the 'Soundscape' in games, giving more spatial and situational awareness.
When testing audio, I always disable all audio processing and equalising, testing at their 'flat' state, to which I will test with the equaliser to see if any improvements can be made (if needed). The Siberia V3 responded well to equalisation from all frequency ranges without sounding messy. This means people can customise the audio to suit their preference very well, to which I preferred to lower the 125Hz a little to neuter the bass, mostly because after a while of listening, it started to feel like there was buttery bass spread everywhere and can be a little overwhelming for those who prefer a more balanced audio like myself.
In games the Siberia sounded natural and immersive with the wide soundstage placing you right in the thick of the action. This is quite exceptional considering this is from stereo channels alone. The Siberia V3 is quite apt at providing you with clear sounds when a lot is going on, enabling you to pick out the circumstances in whichever game you are playing and respond that little faster. Playing around in Assassins Creed 4 sounded awesome, the Siberia V3 really opened up the dynamic audio between crowds of people and your crew, in hand to hand combat and hearing the satisfying boom of the canon volleys in the naval combat, so the work SteelSeries put into refining the 'soundscape' has really paid off.
The microphone is flexible and retractable which is great for on the go. In skype, voice quality was described as natural sounding and very clear with little background noise picked up. There was some audio leakage picked up by others I was talking to while playing music. However, enabling any noise cancelling software you may have in your audio drivers eliminated this issue.