The Sirus itself looks pretty damn good. It’s subdued and professional while having some basic gamer styling that keeps it contemporary. The main shell is a blend of matt grey and black plastic, with black foam padding.
Each ear cup has a translucent CM Storm logo which lights up when the headset is powered on.
The headband extends by quite a margin if neededed, giving even the largest heads plenty of space to fit snuggly.
The microphone sits quite a long way from your face when you’re wearing it, so hopefully this doesn’t impact volume. It does have a mute light indicator on it, though it won’t be activated until the final version apparently.
The stock headphone cup padding is foam. However these can be switched out for the faux leather ones.
Each ear cup has some bend and rotation to it which makes it possible to sling this headset around without damaging it. It’s a pretty sturdy piece of kit. This won’t break easily if slammed on the table during a ragequit.
The headband has a CM Storm logo text running along it.
You can’t switch out the headband padding, but it’s a pretty comfy piece of foam as standard.
When powered up, there’s some red illumination that appears on the volume control and the sides of the headset itself. Unfortunately I feel that it detracts from the volume control slightly. It might be better than nothing, but the LEDs are quiet weak. It’s certainly no Razer Mako control.
CPU: Intel Q9450 @ 3.2GHZ
Motherboard: Asus P5QL Pro
Memory: 4GB Super Talent @ 800MHZ
Storage: 100GB MX-DS SSD, 500GB WD Caviar SE
PSU: Nesteq 800w
Audio: Auzentech Prelude 7.1
The ideal way to test a headset is to use it, so that’s what I did. I spent several hours wearing the headset, listening to music, playing games, watching movies; working hard. In this testing I used the two different cable configurations available, the 3.5mm and USB connectors.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
Heroes of Might and Magic V
Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012
Assorted flash games
This is a true 5.1 headset, so certain gaming situations are certainly enhanced by this. FPS games like CoD are a perfect example. While I would still say that you’re not getting the same feeling of distance behind and to the sides of you, as you get with a full 5.1 speaker setup, this headset is pretty close to the real deal. You absolutely can feel sounds coming from behind you and in front (Cooler Master actually recommend turning down the front channel so your own gun shots down destract you). As with a better graphics card so all your opponents are casting shadows, this isn’t a complete necessity, but it definately adds a little something to the games atmosphere and will certainly help a little when it comes to competitive multiplayer.
Explosions are excellent in the Sirus, with the 40mm bass woofer giving out some great kicks as barrels go up or explosives are detonated. Certain guns also sound fantastic when fired with very satisfying claps as you click your mouse finger down.
Other games were more for atmosphere than anything; the 5.1 isn’t really needed. However I can say with all games there were sounds I noticed that I hadn’t heard before using some of the lower quality headsets I’ve tested. Subtle nuances that were muddied together on cheaper headphones.
Doing some voice recording of my own as well as talking with team mates via Skype, I had few negatives to say about the mic. It’s clear and crisp with very little background noise thanks to its unidirectional nature. However, one thing worth noting is that its distance from your face does mean I’d recommend raising the base volume of it so that your team mates and enemies can still hear you clearly.
I used different music genres to test the Sirus, including: Drum n Bass, Rock, Metal, Vocalizers, Rap, Chillout, Classical and more. Throughout each I was pretty impressed with not only the clarity of the vocals, but the bass also. It has a real rumble to it and when pushed to the peak, it vibrates the headset in a wonderfully over the top manner. For a pair of headphones, the lower frequencies are very well handled. Unfortunately, perhaps a little too well, as without EQ tweaking – which dampens the issue – you do sometimes get the bass stepping over the mid frequencies. It’s not massively noticeable unless the volume is really cranked up but it’s there.
This is ok though, the Sirus is a gaming headset at heart and it has that down but music listening is still a perfectly doable thing.
Oftentimes when testing a headset you can find that at certain points in a movie, hectic action scenes where people are running around, shouting, theres explosions and gun shots, a heavy score; it can all get a bit muddy and sounds can be lost in the mix. Not so with the Sirus. This is one seriously impressive headset.
I had zero issues with it while watching some of the bigger action scenes from Waterworld (paaayyyper). There was no missed dialogue because of an explosion and nothing felt muted because another sound was being handled at a similar time; the Sirus rendered it all excellently.
Here you have two options, I didn’t really have any issues with either. You’ve got either the faux leather or the cloth. You get a more breathable material in the former, meaning you shouldn’t have as hot a head as you might in the latter. That said, the faux leather is a bit softer on the head, so it’s going to be personal preference.
However, speaking of overall comfort, 6+ hours of wearing this headset without even a hint of discomfort is certainly impressive.
Here’s where I ran into my only real problem with the Sirus; the discrepmancies between the cabling. Here are your two options:
1: Use the volume control mixer which has twin USB inputs.
2: Use the 3.5mm and one USB input.
That’s it. So if you have a £100+ sound card already without USB inputs (if any do?) then you have to choose between having a volume control and using your sound card. Most audiophiles would go for the latter. Infact there’s not a lot in it. I have an Auzentech Prelude, not the latest audio card out there, but it has an X-Fi chip, it’s 7.1 compatible, it’s got all the fancy stuff you’d expect from a 3-4 year old card. Compared to the Sirus’ own USB powered sound chip found in the volume controller, I actually found it very hard to tell the difference; which is an impressive feat for the Sirus.
Something that is quite noticeable though is volume. Without the built in volume boosting of the controller, you have a quieter experience using the 3.5mm connectors. In terms of sound differences though, the quality is pretty comparable, but I would say you have a bassier experience using the Sirus’ volume control and a slightly clearer sound with the audio card.
For people with onboard motherboard sound chips, this is a bit of a no brainer, the Sirus is quite likely to be better. However, for those with already expensive sound setups, it seems strange that Cooler Master assumed that they would’t want a volume control and the extra power that the twin USB inputs provide.
The only place I’ve been able to find this headset in the UK so far was out of stock, so take this with a pinch of salt, but it seems that you’re looking to be spending around £70. This would equate out to a pretty fair conversion from US pricing which sits at around £120.
NB: Having spoken with Cooler Master, they have said the intended price for the UK is in fact about £110, making this headset far less competitive.