Icemat Siberia In:Ear Headset consists of in-ear earphones and a unidirectional microphone. The headset is specifically designed for a multitude of uses including MP3-players, laptops, the Sony PSP and other consoles (sound isolation allows for low volume settings) as well as IP-telephony (separate microphone). The customizable earphones can easily be adjusted to fit all ear sizes by shaping the foam on each earpiece. The headset effectively blocks background noise, allowing for listening and IP telephony in noisy locations. The volume can easily be adjusted with the separate volume regulator. The microphone is unidirectional and can be attached to both cord and clothing.
Yes this is the same company that brought the world the cool and frosty Icemat. Although Icemat is not totally new to the audio product (see also Icemat Siberia Headset), it is new for them to target the non-PC gamer, and enter the lucrative market of the mobile gamer / music listener. Lets face it almost everyone has some kind of m3p player, well to be honest I don't actually own a stand alone mp3 player, but my phone runs Windows Media Player and has a 2GB memory card so I'm covered. All these devices need headphones right? And since when does an mp3 player, hand held gaming device or phone come with decent headphones? Not very often I tell you.
Let's take for example the Sony PSP, a cracking little thing, produces great sound, and Sony make great headphones, so why on God's earth do they bundle the PSP with a shockingly bad pair of earphones?? I mean they are absolutely pathetic, very quiet, and the sound just escapes out before it hits your ear, even if you hold them into your ears the quality is just non existent.. can you tell I was not happy?! What can you do? Go buy yourself some decent 'phones, you deserve better.
Now I'm slightly annoyed thinking about what Sony packaged with my PSP and I'm distracted.
Ok I think we'd better take a quick look at what goods have been bestowed upon me by Icemat.
Earphone with different earpiece:
You can see they are a nice trendy white colour, but they also come in Black flavour to if that is more your style. I think they are reasonably nice looking, and very slim stalks which I really like. Despite the fact of them being white, they do seem slightly discrete because they are so slim. The cables are quite thin also which I guess might put them at risk of snapping. Although I'm not going to try too hard to test this, as I don't want to break them.
You get an almost 2m long extension cable, which I personally think is excessive, especially for it's intended use, when added you have almost 3m of cable, I guess it's a nice addition, but I don't think it will be used very often, I think you might use it to extend the connection to the rear of your PC if you are using the earphones in this way, in this circumstance, the standard 1m cable is possibly too short, so yeah I guess it can be useful.
One thing I like is the connection jacks, they are straight rather then 90 degree angle like most earphones of this type, ok it's a pretty trivial point, but I just seem to prefer it this way, the connectors are much slimmer because of this to, practically it's just so the extension cables connect together flawlessly, but I'd prefer my other earphones to have this type of connector to.
The microphone is nice and shiny and white as well as you can see in the pic:
Actually it looks a bit nicer than the pic shows but you get the idea. The slider switch on the side allows you to mute the mic, and the clip does exactly what you would expect! The mic comes on a separate cable, and you just plug it into your PC if you need it. It's definitely a good thing to keep the mic separate, less to carry, and lets face it you don't even need a mic if you are listening to mp3's or gaming on your DS / PSP etc. If you do get around to needing a mic for your PC whether it be for VoIP or Teamspeak / Vent, then the quality is good. I've said before that it really doesn't make a difference how good your mic is because VoIP or voice comms is always worse quality and will degrade your sound. Ok it makes some difference, but this mic is good enough without doubt. I have a slight problem with using this combo for voice comms but I'll come back to it later.
This evening I've mostly been listening to metal and progressive psytrance (ok don't ask) through my Icemat In:Ear earphones which has been a truly enjoyable experience. I'm not into IPod's and mp3 players that much to be honest, I drive around most of the time as part of my job so I use the car stereo, I don't use public transport so I don't get chance to listen to music that way either, and when I'm at home I use my PC for music. I do however often use headphones if my housemates are back home or they have gone to bed, for example right now. Partly because I'm somewhat considerate and partly because my 7.1 surround sound has not arrived yet (nor is it looking to arrive in the foreseeable future).
As you can see from the pics, the 'phones fit into your ears to provide superior sound and reduce any outside noise which is often a problem if you are out and about. I can definitely say they are good for that, and pretty comfortable to. The set does come with a selection of earpieces for your comfort which is good because I don't like the ribbed one. If you have never owned a set of earphones that go right in the ear before you are seriously missing out, almost complete noise cancellation from outside, and as a consequence you need much less volume (which in turn is kinder on the ears) but you have a much better depth of sound.
The sound you get is much different than that of larger over the ear headphones, and to be honest both have advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes you just like the bass to thump a bit and feel the vibrations, which is something you don't get from in the ear phones. However you don't get the noise cancellation and they are big and bulky in comparison. There is no 'best of both worlds', you just have to buy both.
This is where my issue comes in when using the mic with the earphones. personally I find it weird to talk when I can't hear my voice. Try it, stick your fingers in your ear and start talking, weird dull nose? I suppose you can get used to it, but I just didn't like the experience when on teamspeak.
Other than that, I don't have any other problems with the set, I love how they look, they sound superb and are ideal for your mp3 or hand held console.