Steelseries produce a lot of gaming peripherals. That’s been their focus for a long time. But these days it’s not all about the giant gaming cans with the big boom mic. It’s about mobile phone gaming on the move – which means looking cool while doing so.
While I’m not going to ever look cool wearing any pair of headphones, perhaps the Steelseries Flux can help me out a little bit. Let’s see.
Features and Specs
- Frequency response: 18 – 28000 Hz
- Impedance: 29 Ohm
- SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 118 dB
- Cable length: 2m
- Jacks: 3.5 mm
- Frequency response: 50 – 16000 Hz
- Pick up pattern: Omni-directional
- Sensitivity: -38 dB
As well as this the Flux boasts the ability of customisation (as previously mentioned), a set of impressive acoustics powered by 40mm drivers, a detachable cable system (coming with 2 cables), a microphone on each cable and the ability to share your sound with others.
When opening the box of the Luxury Edition you get the following items and accessories:
– The Headset (obviously)
– A set of removable side plates and a glossy black set
– A protective carry case (made of nice quality material with a zipper)
– A Headset extension cable with a high quality 3.5mm gold plated jack
– A PC cable (which also works with iPods)
– A mobile phone cable
(Thanks CCL, I didn’t want to type all that up).
The packaging for the Flux Luxury edition is pretty minimal which is nice. I’m one of those guys that while occasionally swayed by fancy packaging, I’d rather have something simple as the box is going in the bin after opening anyway. Saves on cost.
As a plus too, this packaging doesn’t slide your hands up AND is easy to open. Bonus points to SS for that.
Fair few bits, but nothing that unusual. Some setup manuals, product leaflets, a small carry bag – always prefer a carry case if possible – and some headphone/mic extension cables.
The Flux headset itself is an over the ear affair, with a flexible headband, leather ear cups, replaceable side covers and an overall black theme. It’s a good looking headset, as far as this style goes.
If you’re not a fan of the side stylings though, they’re easily replaceable thanks to their magnetic holdings. This makes them simple to swap out with the glossy black replacements.
The headband is very adjustable and has a lot of room for extra fat heads like the one sitting on yours truly’s shoulders.
For ease of carrying as well, the Flux folds up nicely to make a pretty compact package.This is also good if you drop it, as chances are it’ll just bend with whatever impact it takes instead of snapping.
A little different from most headsets, the Flux features twin input/output ports. This allows you to have the audio coming out of whichever side of your head you want, but it also means that should someone else come along that wants to listen to what you’re listening to, they can simply daisy chain your headsets together and listen in.
No foam or leather padding on the headband, just soft rubber.
The cable that you connect up the Flux to your audio device splits into two, so you can provide an output for the mic built into the cable, though if you use this on a PC you’ll need to use the extender as it’s only a couple feet long. If you’se using your phone however, there’s a single use cable so you don’t have the extras flapping around.
That little orange block? That’s the stealthed mic. It’s pretty small and hangs a good few inches under your chin.
So what do you think I did to test these? I used them for a few hours. Standing at my PC, using my phone while out and about. And I listened to a wide variety of music through them, jotting down some notes and eventually coming to a conclusion on their quality.
Of course being a gamer, I had to give these a shot at being my current gaming headset. That means not only did it get to provide with my in-game audio, but it was also tested for Skype to Skype calls, since I’m a big fan of VOIP gaming.
For tests like this, I like to listen to a variety of different genres, to make sure that I cover all the frequencies. I thought the mids were definitely the strong suit of this headset, with nothing particularly stand out at the top or bottom end of the spectrum. Bass is actually quite impressive, but oddly, only at lower volumes. If you crank the volume up to over 75% you’ll start to hear a lot of distortion in the bass frequencies that make it practically un-listenable.
Of course you can’t make this headset that loud anyway, as it doesn’t have its own volume control. It gets loud, sure, but if you’re the kind of person that really, really likes to crank it, you’ll be dissapointed as the volume just won’t go there – and if you figure out a way to do it, the bass is going to crap out on you.
For average listening however, I’ll give it to the Flux, it’s got a nice audio quality, but it isn’t anything to shout about.
This was perhaps the biggest let down of the whole headset. I liked the idea of stealthing it in the cable itself, it keeps it out the way and it’s not intrusive at all. However that’s the problem, it’s so stealthed that talking at normal volume, people cannot hear you. I’ve even plugged it into my PC sound card and boosted the mic audio to try and make it passable, but I found with most conversations – and in louder games – I needed to hold the mic up to my face in order to make myself heard.
Messing around with the mic placement however, I found that if I pushed it up under the connector next to my ear, it was much louder and no more intrusive. Perhaps for future versions Steelseries could consider putting the mic right after the 3.3mm connector? It’s still not great, but it’s much louder and you can just about hear a person talking at normal volume.
Simply because of this mic issue, I can’t recommend this headset for VOIP or gaming purposes. It just doesn’t work.
Despite me being more of a fan of over the ear headphones, I thought the Flux was great. It was very comfortable throughout a few hours of usage and doesn’t compress your ears at all. Unfortunately one downside to it however, is that because it doesn’t hug your head or ears that tightly, if you ever lean forward it’ll fall off. This makes it impossible for a workout headset and means if you ever have to break into a run while you’re out and about, it’ll probably fall off.
It’s not a major issue, but it’s one worth noting.
I’m afraid I must report that to this reviewer, the Flux appears to be far more weighted in the style camp than any other. It has pretty good audio quality, but it doesn’t give you much volume head room – especially since the bass quite easily distorts when you get louder – and it really isn’t much of a stand out at any frequencies.
It’s comfortable, but can fall of your head easily and the mid is abysmally quiet, to the point of being almost unusable.
I will give it to Steelseries though, the Flux is a pretty good looking headset and there are a lot of customisation options. If you want a good looking headset with passable audio quality and a lot of visual options, you might want to look at this – but you probably already bought a Beats headset already.
If you’re looking for a new small form factor gaming headset, look elsewhere. Hell pick any of the other Steelseries headsets we’ve reviewed. They all sound better than this one.
It’s worth mentioning too, that these cans will set you back around £130. They’re really, really not worth that much.
However, I will give it to the Flux in terms of its portability. I like the inclusion of a little bag and it’s very durable and folds up nicely, but that just isn’t enough to redeem it.
- Average audio quality
- Comfortable over long periods
- Very mobile
- Social – daisy chain-ability
- Mic is impossibly quiet
- Falls off of your head easily
- No built in volume control
- Bass distorts at higher volumes