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Icemat Audio Siberia Review

 

An Audio Whiteout!

 

by Ryan Rayda

 

An illuminating review of the Icemat Audio Siberia Headphones

First thing’s first: until these cans1 crossed my desk, I had never even heard of Icemat Audio.  After a little research (which basically consisted of a visit to their website, www.icemat.com, shocking, I know) I realized why I had never heard of them before—these are their first-ever audio products.  Icemat has made quite a name for themselves in the mousing surface department, making some apparently more or less great pads, but is just now breaking into the audio market.  And what a great first impression these Siberia phones are: unique styling, an ultra-comfortable harness design, decent transducers, and outstanding fit-and-finish make these a very attractive package.  I’ve been listening to these for far longer than I probably should have before writing this review, and I basically have one thing to say about them: yum.

1An arguably important note on what exactly I’m doing here diction-wise: I guess the product in question here, the Icemat Audio Siberias, should technically be referred to as “headphones.”  Now, I’m not much of a typist, and I am definitely lazy when it comes to applying the three-fingers-+-a-thumb-here-and-there method I have been perfecting for some years now, so when you see “phones” or “cans” or anything else that looks like it might mean headphones, rest assured, that is almost certainly what I mean. 

Opening the Box

My heading here is really pretty much a lie because I never even actually saw a box for these phones, but it was a good way to get this started.  In reality what happened was Josh brought these in to me covered in pizza grease and grape juice spatter (not at all related to my declaration of “Yum” earlier) and said something like: “Review these, now.”  Luckily, in my researching of these phones, I did see a picture of the box, and it looks like these are packaged pretty nicely, really.

 

Editor’s Note: They were packaged very nicely, as evidenced by this picture.  Sharp packaging all around and well protected too.  There were also no food-products present on the headphones when they were delivered to Ryan.

So then, my first impression was that they looked pretty darned good, in that post-iPod industrial design sort of way.  White is the flavor here; white plastic, with a nice black fuzzy material covering the muffs and headband.  You can see from the pictures that any part of these phones that touch you, the user, is covered in a luxurious black fuzzy material.  Think fluffy fleece jacket, think stuffed plush bat toy (ed. bat toy?  What exactly did your parents give you growing up?), think super-deluxe comfort, because indeed, these may be the most comfortable cans you will ever have on your head.  They cradle you like nothing else and really are a delight to wear.  I used these at a marathon-type LAN a while back, probably had them strapped on for 10 hours straight, and never once did I think “Man, these phones are just brutalizing my head.” 

The over-the-ear design is a big part of this maximized comfort level, if you’ve ever used on-the-ear phones, you know exactly what I mean.  The other thing that makes these cans a joy to wear and a gas to look at is the unique harness design.  A rigid plastic double tube frame soars like the St. Louis Gateway Arch above your head while underneath is a nice, soft, black fuzzy headband suspended from….springs.  The springs stretch and change length quite easily, as springs often do, in order to adjust the fit of the phones for maximum comfort.  It really does seem like they are riding on air, and these are indeed the Cadillacs of cans in that respect.  The positioning of the muffs seems to fit my head well, they never seemed too far forward or rotated in the wrong direction, they fit just right.

The entire package is quite nice, not to mention well filled out.

Further inspection of the Siberias reveals a grotesquely long and thick interconnect cable; this thing is seriously like ten feet long.  Well, sort of.  The phones actually have a captive interconnect cable that is quite short (one meter per Icemat’s website) but can be extended to just under three meters (2.8 meters to be exact) with the included multi-function interconnect extension/volume control cable.  Both cables have the standard, audiophile-esque gold-plated1/8” stereo jack on the end (I would have dropped the -esque from audiophile before had they been terminated with ¼” jacks, but they weren’t and aren’t).  And let me tell you, these are thick cables.  None of this cheapo earbud-style piano wire stuff here, these cables have to be ¼” thick and have a nice corrugated white rubber sleeve enrobing their lengths.  The captive cable is perfect for mobile listening while the fully extended version includes an in-line volume control (more on this later) and works well for desktop gaming and such. 

 

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