Headphones can really take your gaming to the next level. You can pick their origin as bullets whiz past. Explosions reverberate with aftershocks and backing tracks make your heart pound for more. Does the Cooler Master Storm Sirus pack enough punch?
When it comes to gaming headphones, Cooler Master is not the first name to come to mind. More famous for its low cost accessories and computer cases, headphones almost seem to be too complex an item for the company to tackle. That said, I was surprised at the Storm Sirus’ capabilities considering its incredibly affordable price tag. I took it to task and set out to see just how good these puppies are.
The Storm Sirus comes with a decent amount of kit in the box. There are two types of ear covers, breathable fabric and leather. The headset has two interchangeable systems of connection: the standard three-pin PC type for those using it as a main input and a two port USB option. The microphone is very flexible and can be easily moved into position, however the microphone is one of the unit’s short falls due to the its sensitivity. While testing its recording and in-game chat functionality, the smallest amount of background noise interferes making conversion quite difficult. You can overcome this short-fall by placing the microphone very close to your mouth.
The key component that makes the CM Storm Sirus quite unique is its control hub (below).
As you can see the knob provides more than just volume control. The control station offers a mute function for both the headphones and microphone, the volume knob is sensitive and durable, but the killer feature is its centre button and highlight of the headset. It gives you quick access to the volume control for both the front and rear speakers inside the headphones. Lower the bass for late night gaming, avoid being ambushed in horror games by pumping up the rear speakers to and for films you can push most of the sound to the front to focus on speech. It is incredibly simple to operate and I found myself tailoring the experience every time I used them.
The 5.1 channel sound is clear and loud. High octane action sequences packed a decent amount of punch, with a real weight to the sound. As a test I also chucked on a suspense horror to see how effective the speakers were with a more tension/thriller based genre and the results were beyond my expectations. The Storm Sirus handles subtlety well and delivered reasonable clarity for both voice and scares. I may have even jumped once or twice.
This is where the Storm Sirus struggles. Its sound output is just not designed for music. Even after adjusting the Equalisation settings, bass in hip-hop comes off muddy and washed out. Rock sounds OK but the splitting of sound comes off tinny and is mildly unpleasant. It would be alright for background music while gaming, but not for long sessions or listening to your new favourite album.
Naturally, this is where the headset puts out its best sound. The Storm Sirus is brilliant for first-person shooters or role-playing games, offering clear directional sound aid in locating targets and the quick switch control station means you don’t have to disrupt the flow of gameplay to adjust the sound. After a few hours gaming I much preferred the experience offered by the Storm Sirius to my home sound system.
The Cooler Master CM Storm Sirus is a wonderful choice for those on a budget. Though I have used better headsets, the Storm Sirus offers a balanced level of performance for gamers. The ability to switch settings on the fly is a godsend for fussy tech-heads like myself and I hope to see this functionality in more headsets in the future. The twin USB system offers a way to use the same headset with multiple computers without constantly scrambling and swapping underneath tables. The Storm Sirus is affordable and delivers on almost all fronts and with great sound for both games and movies.