News | 9/30/2014 at 9:00 AM

SteelSeries Elite Prism or RAW Prism; Which One Is for You?

We run down the specs of each set so you can decide on the perfect pair

With SteelSeries massive new lineup of Siberia headsets (see them all), it can be a little challenging to know which pair to choose. Should you go top of the line for the Siberia Elite Prism, or is something a little more modest, like the Siberia RAW Prism better suited to your needs? Lucky for you, I was able to get my hands (and ears) on both the Elite Prism and RAW Prism to test drive them out, and hear everything they bring to the table.

Siberia Elite Prism

The Elite Prism keeps everything you loved about the Sibera Elite, and updates the mic, sound card, and comfort of the headset to provide a top tier experience. With the same 16.8 million illumination options, you can customize your headset depending on what you’re playing. SteelSeries Engine 3 allows for custom profiles for light and sound that automatically load when you launch a selected application or game. The flat, tangle-free cord truly works wonders and wraps up nicely for storage. An updated soundcard provides a much-improved audio experience, also made possible by a few aesthetic changes; the ear cups are a bit smaller in overall size, but the depth has been increased just a touch to provide for fuller acoustics. This slight change makes a monumental difference when listening to music or movies. The Siberia Elite Prisms are now my go-to headset for music.

After enabling Dolby and configuring my headset to 7.1 surround, I heard sounds coming from places I never even knew existed, especially in first person shooters. I’ve used simulated 7.1 headsets before, but it was amazing how aware of my surroundings I was with the Siberia Elite Prisms. Footsteps and gunfire filled my ears, and I was able to correctly place where each sound was coming from to get the jump on my opponents.

What’s great about the Elite Prisms, and really, all SteelSeries headsets, is the comfort. I’ve never worn a pair that felt awkward, and somehow, the Elite Prisms offer an even higher sensation of comfort. In addition to the ear cup modifications, SteelSeries loosened the suspension on the headband just a hair, and the result feels as if the entire headset is floating on air. After wearing the Elite Prisms for just a few minutes, I completely forgot there was anything on my head. Working with PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One (with Microsoft adapter), handheld and mobile devices, this is a headset you won’t want to take off.

An updated microphone solves some issues we encountered on the first Elites. With a thinner design, the arm won’t bend away as soon as it’s pulled out of the earpiece. It’s a unidirectional mic that offers optimization and noise canceling via SteelSeries Engine 3.

A few small negatives hold the Elite Prism back from perfection. The metal bands on top of the headset vibrate ever so slightly when touched, and the result is a low-pitched hum in your ears. You’ll probably only encounter this when you first put the headset on (unless someone smacks you in the head) - and it goes away after a few seconds. It can prove annoying to someone with sensitive ears, but it’s possible many users might not even notice. The mute light on the microphone is, a great feature, assuring we won’t forget we’ve muted ourselves, but as the light is white, it can prove distracting when playing in a dark room.

Overall, the Siberia Elite Prism creates a new pedestal for multimedia audio - not just for games, but also music, movies, and voice. SteelSeries has produced a single solution for your listening needs.

The Siberia Elite Prism runs at $199.99, and is available in black or white. Check out the full specs:

Frequency: 16-28 KHz
Impedance: 32 0hm
SPL@1KHz, 1V rms: 120dB
Length: 1.2m  (Extension: 2m), total = 3.2m
Connector: 3.5mm 4pole 3pole x2
Mic Pattern: Unidirectional
Frequency: 100 – 10000 Hz
Impedance: <2.2K0hm
Sensitivity: -44dB


Siberia RAW Prism

Unlike the other Siberia headsets revealed for Holiday 2014, the RAW Prism isn’t an updated model of a familiar headset, but instead is a completely new device all together. Previous Siberias have started at about $100 and increased from there, but the RAW Prism offers killer sound at a modest $59.99. Like all Prism models, the RAW features 16.8 million illumination colors and SteelSeries Engine 3 supported customizable audio and visual profiles.

Like every member of the Siberia family, the RAW Prism offers a quality experience for games, music, movies, and more. A full experience option available for just $60 will definitely delight consumers looking for an audio solution on a budget.  

The SteelSeries Engine 3 profiles for the RAW offer fewer options than that of the Elite Prism, though it still includes a custom mode for the equalizer. Where the Elite Prism includes options such as FPS, MMO, etc., the RAW Prism has more basic choices, like Performance, Immersion and others. Both include a Voice setting, though I found that Music or Default worked best on the RAW when listening to podcasts.

The RAW Prism connects via USB and works with PC, Mac, PS4 and most USB devices. The ear cups and headband include memory foam padding, which doubles to make the headset comfortable and light in weight. The left ear cup includes a covert microphone directly on the headset, so there’s no fumbling around with retractable mic arms. Don’t let the weight fool you though, as the speakers inside can pump out some serious stereo sound. Whether it’s the thumping bass of your favorite song or explosions from frag grenades across the room, the RAW Prisms deliver impressive audio for an affordable price.

If you’re an enthusiast gamer or thinking about hitting the pros, the RAW Prism may not be the headset for you. But if you’re looking for a pick up and play headset with a bit of customization, you can’t go wrong with the RAW Prism.

Full specs:

Frequency: 20-20,000 KHz
Impedance: 32±3 0hm
SPL@1kHz, 1V rms: 97±3 dB
Length: 1.5m
Connector: USB(A) male (2.0)
Mic Pattern: Omnidirectional
Frequency: 50-16,000 Hz
Impedance: 2.2k 0hm
Sensitivity: -38±3 dB