It’s quite easy to forget that in some sound solutions, a pair of good quality headphones may be best. Usually with the talk of surround sound, a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system is the first thing that pops into someone’s mind. There are of course advantages to headphones over speaker systems, one thing for sure is that headphones are very portable and you do not disturb anyone else even if you turn them up loud. This makes them ideal for gaming because sound is definitely a huge part of the gaming experience.
Icemat is mostly well-known for their mouse pads, but if you have seen our review of the Icemat Siberia In:Ear Headset, you will know their audio products are really worth considering. Today, we will be looking at Icemat Siberia Headphones to see if Icemat does it again with the In:Ear’s bigger brother.
“The original Icemat was launched in 2000, targeted at one of the most demanding consumer groups in the world: gamers. Since then Icemat has expanded the portfolio and today offers a wide range of products. Everything is created by people who demand as much from the visual design as they do from the performance of the final product.
Our staff is distributed throughout the world, working from offices in Europe, North America and Asia. The Icemat headquarters are located in Europe (Copenhagen, Denmark), and host the primary office facilities for the company. The headquarters handle all planning, production and partner coordination. For logistical reasons we also have sales offices in Asia (Taipei, Taiwan) and USA (Los Angeles, California). From Taipei we can each the entire Asian market, as well as New Zealand and Australia. From Los Angeles we can reach North America, Canada and South America.”
- Frequency resp.: 18-28,000 Hz
- Impedance: 40 Ohm
- SPL@1kHz, 1V RMS: 99 – 104dB
- Cable length: 1.0+1.8 = 2.8m
- Jack: 3.5 mm + 6.3 mm. converter
- Frequency Response: 80-15,000 Hz
- Pick-up pattern: Sensitive unidirectional
- 1V/P@1kHz: 38dB
In the box, you get the headphones, a 6.3mm jack converter, an extension cable and some documentation.
The Icemat Siberia Headphones come in a relatively small box, which is partly transparent at the front so you can see them without opening it. These headphones are white, which fits in with the ‘ice’ theme of Icemat’s products. The Siberia is of course made of plastic and we must say that it feels like very high quality plastic. It seems very solid and has a nice feel to it and it feels very professional as soon as you try them on. The headband of the headphones has wires which automatically retract which allow them to fit your head perfectly without adjusting. We thought this was an excellent feature and as soon as we tried it, it turned to work as expected – a perfect fit. It didn’t take long for us to realise these were probably the most comfortable headphones we have used.
The cable supplied for the headphones is quite sturdy but flexible. It’s only a metre long which might be enough for some of you but do not worry because you get an extension cable with it which in total gives you 2.8 metres. Included with the extension cable is a microphone and volume control.
The microphone is totally separate from the headphones which means you can place it anywhere you want. In this case, clipping to your clothing is probably the best idea.
However, wearing these in public, like most headphones, may not make you feel comfortable because they are big and you might look a little odd due to nowadays fashion.
Testing & Performance
We tested these headphones on our PC and iPod (30GB Video). The PC had a Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Music sound card. We listened to a variety of music from classical, 80s stuff and modern. Of course, the music chosen was not just the music we wanted to listen to but music that tested these headphones out. Our music tested out a whole range of sounds from deep bass to high notes to get a feel of what these headphones could give us.
We didn’t have to listen to much music to realise what these headphones were capable of. The Siberia headphones produced excellent sound that was a pleasure to listen to. They aren’t the bassiest of headphones but the bass is very balanced and unexaggerated. On both iPod and PC, the sound was incredible and we definitely enjoyed listening to music on these.
Gaming – exactly what these headphones are made for. As we’ve mentioned many times before, they pass the ‘comfort’ test which is important if you are wearing these for hours on end.
We tested these headphones with World of Warcraft, Halo CE, Flatout 2, Unreal Tournament 2004 and some Counter Strike: Source. Again, they were excellent. You can hear every little footstep and it really brings the best out of the games. World of Warcraft and CSS were especially great with these headphones as you can hear everything around you very well such as the footsteps of sneaky players attacking from the rear.
To test the microphone, we used various VOIP software to call a few friends and they reported a very good clear sound. We also used TeamSpeak whilst playing World of Warcraft, CSS, Halo and UT2004 and again, very clear and no voice problems at all.
The microphone was clipped onto our shirts so it was further away than your regular boom microphone and it worked very well. Putting the microphone closer to your mouth may make your voice seem very loud for the recipient as the microphone is a bit more sensitive than usual.
Icemat have done it again. The In:Ear headset was excellent and you can say the same with these. Performance was great in each department and to top it off, the microphone was great, too. Icemat are really giving gamers what they want here and if you’re a gamer looking for an audio solution, these are something definitely worth considering.
Although these are around the $80 mark, they are worth it considering you would pay more for a quality 5.1 or even a 2.1 setup.
- Great design
- Sound quality is fantastic
- Separate microphone
- Auto retractable wires
- Long cables
- You may not feel comfortable wearing them in public