The lights are subtle but really add to the appearance of the Sirus headset, especially in dark, LAN-like environments. The mesh looks awesome with a red glow behind it, and the control panel LEDs are also nice, but they are diffused nicely where they aren't distracting or overly bright. The control pod acts much like a video card would, adding capability, and thus value for those looking to pick up a Sirus and don't currently have a dedicated sound card. The headset can be connected to either the control pod via 2 USB ports, or to sound card inputs with one USB for added power. One thing I'd have liked is that the sound card cables could be connected to the control pod, which would also allow you to use it with a current sound card and save one USB, while still utilizing the features of the control pod.
The included software makes fine-tuning your settings very quick and simple. The software itself is simple as well, with basic sliders for each channel's volume settings, as well as basic audio and mic toggling. It also has preset equalizer settings, such as "movie," "music," "gaming," etc and allows for custom profile options. Right clicking the speaker and mic buttons reveals environment effects, equalizer settings, 7.1 options, and many of the other tweaking options available with any aftermarket sound card. The great thing about this is that it allows even a notebook to have as good audio performance as a high performance computer, since the control pod effectively doubles as a sound card, adding value to the Sirus' price tag.
The Sirus sounds, to sum it up bluntly... great. The entire sound spectrum is well replicated, and the separate speakers create a very full sound. They compare very well in sound quality to my Sennheiser HD212 Pro DJ music headphones, which I've long used and adored. One of the first tests I performed was a basic surround-sound test, and I was very impressed at the range and depth that was created. Being that you have speakers in such close proximity to one another in relation to the ear, it's difficult to make a very accurate surround-sound experience, but the Sirus pulls through very well here.
The bass sounds full, and is also tight and crisp. The low-range of frequencies are also well-replicated, which comes through great in "bassy" songs, movies, and also games. There weren't any major frequency holes noticed in our frequency range tests, either. The Sirus can be fine-tuned to sound great for music, especially with the use of an equalizer. There is plenty of bass volume, and it's nice that a gaming headset can be just as pleasing as other DJ-oriented headphones, and also that it's not "all bass" and that the mids and highs are also full, tight, and well replicated.
The Sirus headset represents what could be called a "competitive advantage." In FPS games, especially more tactically-oriented games such as Battlefield: Bad Company 2, you can pinpoint approaching enemies' locations. It almost seems unfair. The sounds are great, and you get the feeling of being very immersed in the game environments. The bass makes explosions sound awesome, and as I've said, the 5.1 surround sound makes locating enemies and in-game awareness much easier. The microphone transmits clearly and crisply, and everything sets up in a very simple, plug-n-play manner.
The earcups are well-padded, and very comfortable, and I've found them to be continually comfortable during extended wearing times. The headband padding also adds to the long-term wearability of the Sirus. The microphone sits comfortably away from the face, and you don't even realize it's there. The headbands can be adjusted to fit you just how you please, and the sliders are snug and hold well.
Overall, the Sirus brings serious sound, and great comfort together in a fabulous gaming headset package, which also leaves me satisfied in using it for general music listening as well. Sound isolation is also an aspect that the Sirus headset does well, and the two earcup types also deliver an added level of customization.