When it comes to headsets, we are extremely fortunate to have all the options we have, in all shapes and sizes, to fit all different head types, in all different price points. But when you start rising up in price point, there's less room for forgiveness when it comes to things like comfort, sound quality, and the usefulness of included special features. That's why we were so anxious to get our hands on two top end headsets from SteelSeries and Sennheiser, just to see, how life is at the top end of the price spectrum, and how these "expensive cans" compare to one another.

SteelSeries Siberia Elite


One side, we have a headset from a company that was born in the trenches of the gaming world, and that company is SteelSeries. We've chosen their Siberia Elite headset, which is one of their most daring designs to date. It is touted as a "multi-platform" headset with not only stereo support. In fact, it also features surround sound through Dolby via a bundled USB audio card, and has the ability to display 16.8 million colors in software.

The SteelSeries Siberia Elite retails for $199.99 USD with a 1 year warranty. An all white special edition is $299.99 USD and comes with a case.

Sennheiser G4ME ZERO


On the other end of the spectrum, we have a company that is the standard in the broadcast industry, creating microphone and headphones that define the term "reference". Launched in November of 2013, the Flagship G4ME series of headsets, represents everything they've learned about the gaming culture and the needs of gamers. They came up with two very eye catching headsets, with the G4ME ZERO being the top end set, featuring closed ear cups, excellent portability with a fold flat design and case.

The Sennheiser G4ME ZERO headset retails for $279.99 USD.

Now it's time to check out our video shootout below...

The Verdict Is Clear... Or is it?


In the video, I show a pretty decisive knock out blow for the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO headset against the SteelSeries Siberia Elite. But it really isn't all that clear cut because there are some shades of gray when it comes to personal preference. And my preferences were towards a stellar stereo audio performance (first and foremost), a great quality microphone, and above all else, all day comfort. I also enjoy a more simplified approach to headset design, and the additional portability was a key for me, because I do like to take my favourite headset to LAN parties.

On the other hand, if you want a headset that really stands out from the crowd, and don't get me wrong, the Sennheiser's red and white does that too, but it can't compete with 16.8 million colors (when using the USB sound card). It also has a unique design that is unmistakably SteelSeries, and there are a lot of hardcore fans that the company has cultivated over the years, that absolutely love their products. I'm a fan of their products too. Which is why it broke my heart to see that all day comfort seemed to take a back seat. Even the usually good, spring loaded headband, seemed to be "borked" in this design. It just didn't work as well as the original Siberia.

But what I was most dismayed with, was the low volume levels, and lack of a headphone amp (inside the USB audio card) to fix it. It just didn't sound good. And if it can't do stereo sound well, then the fun stuff like the Dolby Surround, just isn't so fun. On the other hand, the Sennheiser's range was a world different in terms of responsiveness, at all sources. And most importantly, it was clear, and warm, and enjoyable to listen to with all audio sources. Even without artificially produced sound fields.

When you start to spend over $200, and that's where both headsets fit in, it's harder to find a bad headset. Everything is much better as you spend more money. But what we found out, is that when you start comparing headsets in that $200 - 300 range, against one another, that's when you start to see those differences, for better or worse.

Had I reviewed the SteelSeries Siberia Elite on its own, it might have gotten a pass on its other merits, while still failing (for me) on the comfort side. But once compared against a headset like the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO, which I might've marked down on its lack of "bells and whistles" (and maybe a gripe or two about the $279.99 US price tag),  comfort and sound quality would have taken it over the top for me. And for most people, myself included, that's something I would gladly pay for, over and above "bells and whistles". And yes, the all white "Anniversary Edition" of the Siberia Elite that comes with the carry case, at $299.99 USD, is the same headset.

We're thankful for both Sennheiser and SteelSeries for sending their products. And I hope that both companies take away something to improve their products from this experience.

UPDATE: SteelSeries took all our feedback, and released the new Siber Elite Prisms, which take care of most, if not all, of the issues we had with this headset. Check out our review of right here.

  • Kevin

    Kevin from Razer here. I wanted to know if you’d be interested in reviewing a comparative Razer headset. We’re offering something in this category for $99 with great sound, our best mic and incredible comfort.

    If you’re interested shoot me a note at my email:

  • dracurosu

    If you ever owned and used a steelseries headphone set you would have fallen in love with the sound. You cannot compare the richness of that unique perfect sound to any other headpho ne. You do not talk very much about that. Instead you talk about the comfort. For me and others that have been gaming for more than 10 years and value sound quality, accuracy of directional sound. Detail, sharpness and the full.low tones, comfort and practicality, the Siberia will never be matched. Certainly not by the cheap materials stuck together with some antique rudimentary drivers made by seinheiser.
    Perhaps you need to deflate your head a bit and then you will really be able to appreciate the amazing experience of the steelseries sound! And it may also be more comfortable too!

    • As a matter of fact, I do. The SteelSeries Siberia 9Hs, which I use a lot, sound superior to these (no low volume issues/muddiness) and are very comfortable in contrast, which makes it possible to enjoy a great audio experience. That is why the SteelSeries Siberia Elite's are such a brutal disappointment. They were so disappointing, that SteelSeries themselves, in the interest of not disappointing their fans, addressed both issues in a new version, that was subsequently branded as the World of Warcraft Edition (released around August of 2014). Those feature both a better driver, and a redesigned ear cup, which addressed the issues that both we, and multiple other sources, found in the original version.

      Secondly, further revisions were made to the new SteelSeries Siberia Elite Prisms, that replace the originally reviewed Siberia Elites completely, less than a year later. They not only have new further redesigned drivers, and ear cups, but they also upgraded the USB audio card, so that the low volume issue would no longer surface. They even made revisions to the mic, which I was OK with, but others pointed out issues that needed to be addressed.

      You can find out more about the new Siberia Elite Prism here:

      SteelSeries should be applauded for their efforts to fix the issues very quickly. The Siberia Elites were not up to SteelSeries standard. If they were perfect, then the company would not have had to do anything. But clearly they were not, and as a good company, they acted on the feedback that we, and others, gave them.

      I'm not sure which Siberias you have, but they probably aren't these.

      We're looking forward to comparing the old version with the new revision very soon. Thank you for your comment.

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