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June 30, 2014

Unboxing & Review: CM Storm Sirius-C



Cooler Master has been churning out gaming devices under the CM Storm badge for quite a while now and back in April 2014 they announced the launch of a new keyboard and a new headset. Today, that headset has made it's way to us here in Tech-Critter thanks to Cooler Master Malaysia; I present to you the CM Storm Sirius-C Gaming Headset.

This is different from CM Storm's two previous Sirius and Sirius-S headsets; as opposed to 5.1 surround sound, the Sirius-C sports a 2.2 driver configuration that is driven by a built-in amplifier. Set to retail at RM369 SRP, lets take a look at the newest member of the Sirius family.

Specifications



Packaging



The Sirius-C retail packaging is overall black with the usual branding and product name as well as a transparent front window for users to inspect the product before purchase. Right below, you can see that this headset can be used with a PC, Xbox or PS4.


At the back, you will see highlights of the Sirius-C's features in English and 8 other languages.


The right side reminds users of the Sirius-C's compatibility with PC and consoles.


And a full specifications of the headset on the left side.



Emptying the box, you will get the user guide, a quick-start guide, the Sirius-C headset...



an RCA to 3.5mm female connector and a 2.5mm audio extension which is used for communicating with an X-Box controller.

The Headset


First impression? it's big and heavy! If my muscle memory served me right, the Sirius-C is a tad bit heavier than the Gamdias Hephaestus we have tested before. I suspect that this is probably due to the integrated amplifier on the headset but then again it is not meant for use too far away from the PC or Console so it's kinda made some sense. The microphone swings down and is very flexible to reach the corner of my mouth for optimum pickup; it is non-detachable but stowing it away to the top is not too difficult.



Construction is solid and you can feel the quality of the headset. Though, I am not a fan of the glossy plastic that goes around the sides of the headset, would've been great if they've kept the matte design all over like the middle parts. The CM Storm logo at the middle of the earpieces looks great and will light up when plugged in.


The earpads are cloth based as opposed to leatherette type as found on previous Sirius offerings, no replacements are provided in the box either. The foam used on these are very soft indeed and should provide a comfortable fit to any users.



The earpads are easily removable for replacement or cleaning. A view of how the drivers are placed inside the earpieces is right behind the earpads, very different from the ones available in the Sirius and Sirius-S.


The same type of foam can be found on the top cushion for added comfort.


Focusing on the headband, the CM Storm branding is etched to the top.


In terms of adjustments, you get about an additional 2-inches on either sides. I have to give credit to the design team for making the stainless steel insert black instead of leaving it as it is, they look stunning!


Travelling down the braided cable, you'll see an in-line controller that provides several functionalities of the Sirius-C. There are two sliders and two dials available on the controller. The first slider lets you switch between PC and console mode, while the second one will be the microphone on/off switch. There is also a spring-clip at the back but I honestly think that the in-line controller is too big to be clipped onto clothes and too close to the headset to be a stationary control centre on the desk. There is also a 2.5mm audio port for you to connect to the X-Box controller if you're ever using the headset with the X-Box console.


At the end of the braided cable, you'd find a USB connector and a 3.5mm audio jack with the serial number on a label. According to the user guide, you only need the USB connector when in use with the PC and will need to utilize the bundled cables for consoles, to make the explanation easier, here is a copy of the quick start guide.


I think that they should have placed the 3.5mm audio connector elsewhere as plugging only the USB cable to the PC makes it look untidy.


I did mention earlier that the logo on the headset lights up white on the Sirius-C is plugged in, bleeding some illumination to the meshed opening giving it a great effect. The tip of the microphone also lights up when it's pulled down and will turn off when it's pulled up to the side.



The logo on the in-line controller also lights up, red when the microphone is muted and white when it's on.

Testing

Placing the headset on, I can feel that it is as heavy as the Gamdias Hephaestus that we reviewed earlier. Luckily with the plush foam on the earpads and headband, the Sirius-C is comfortable to wear. Clamping force is adequate as well so no issues there and the microphone has adequate reach and flexibility as well.

The in-line controller is somewhat a downside for me. It's not exactly big but it's not small enough as attaching it to clothes makes it feel awkward to say the least. The switches were okay but the dials for volume and microphone could be bigger as I find myself having to spend more time looking for the volume dial in the dark.


The Sirius-C closed back design has good noise isolation and we have actually brought this headset to the recent Asus DIY Master LAN Party that lasted 3 days to test in a noisy environment, the Sirius-C did a fairly good job in isolating most of the excessive noise in the hall and we're able to listen to the sound from games without much trouble.

Testing the headset with the usual tracks in my collection, I found that the vocals on the Sirius-C is acceptable but they were a bit muted in comparison to the well-rounded bass that made the headset more suitable for movies and of course games.

Glad to report that explosions and gunshots effects are realistic enough with enemy positioning easily identifiable in Battlefield 4 giving an immersive experience to the game. Jumping straight to the final battle scene in The Avengers, the Sirius-C headset delivered all the effects flawlessly, but just as the same with music, conversations are slightly on the quieter side so a little EQ adjustment is needed there.


Conclusion


We find that the Sirius-C is a pretty good all-rounder gaming headset which not only delivers a fairly good gaming experience, its solid construction and use of material is something worth mentioning. Of course, there's still headroom for improvement on its design, especially for the size of the in-line volume controller and both of its volume dials.

Pros
  • Solid construction
  • Anodized steel adjustment band
  • Braided cables
  • Compatible with consoles
  • Comfortable ear cups

Cons
  • A little heavy
  • Glossy plastic on the outer rim of the headset
  • Bulky in-line controller which is rather annoying
  • Volume dials could be bigger
Despite of the minor short comings, the Sirius-C is still one good solid gaming headset and would not hesitate to recommend it to gamers who seeks for a quality gaming headset. The Sirius-C is hereby awarded with Silver award and Recommended award from Tech-Critter for its features and solid construction. 


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