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Two headsets, One Winner: The SteelSound 5H vs. The Icemat Siberia

Sound Quality

The 5H's sound quality is crisp on highs and lows, without any noticeable crackling or distortion. The use of the extension cable doesn't detract from the sound quality, either.

The 5H gets direction and gaming right; music is crystal clear and movies work as well as can be expected with your average stereo set (though I have a penchant for elitist 5.1 headphones).

It should be noted that the 5H comes in both USB and good-old-fashioned 3.5 mm varieties.

Still, maybe you're not a gamer and don't want to pay $100 for a set of gaming headphones.

Icemat Audio Siberia

Now don't get me wrong: I like to get my money's worth as much as the next guy, but Icemat might have gone too far with the Siberia headset. They're too trimmed down for your hardcore gamer and are geared more for the business-casual user who wants to use VoIP with decent sound for music to hum along to while working.

However, the headset's wiring is also among the most long and convoluted I've seen. Alright, at nine feet, it's not the longest, though it is close. But the way that everything is put together is ludicrous.

The headphones themselves only have a 3.5 mm jack on a relatively short wire, though they do come with a converter.

The control unit for the headset is actually on the extension cable, instead of on the shorter wire that runs directly from the headset. This means that in order to have direct volume control and so on, you have to use the extension cable. Obviously, this is a bother if you're sitting with a laptop on your legs and have a load of excess wire around your neck.

The microphone itself is not built into the headset, as is the case with nine out of 10 headsets. Instead, it is connected to the extended piece of wire. This again means you either use the whole mess of wire or you get no microphone. The microphone itself is a small unit that can be clipped onto your shirt. As much as this boosts mobility, it is unneeded considering that the microphone could have just already been built into the headset.

The headset's design is also Spartan-like, replete with an austere-white finish, and it looks like something Apple might produce. Indeed, between the headset's glaring white finish and overall design, it might even attract unwanted attention in a public setting.

The headset clamps more firmly to your head via the headband compared to the 5H, which can interfere with glasses. The speakers, like those of the 5H, are also covered in a velvet-like material, though they are flatter.