Rarely do we find a pair of cans that can do everything that we want it to, and do it well. Audiophiles flood the forums arguing which pair of headphones are the best and probably grimace at the simple mention of a pair of crap quality headphones. We here at Gadgetmac value sound just as much as the other guy, and SteelSeries' Flux Luxury Edition on-ear headphones really blew us away with their audio versatility. Typically known for their quality gaming peripherals, SteelSeries tries their hand at high quality audio geared for more than just gaming with their latest headphones. See if they have what it takes it stand up against the big names in the audio industry after the break.
Presented in an unique package are the Flux Luxury edition headphones that packs a punch that we never expected. Once you get inside, you'll find the headphones themselves, an extra set of 3.5mm audio cables, a cable extender for the audio cable, an extra set of side-plates, a soft carrying case, a SteelSeries sticker, and the literature.
The Flux Luxury edition is fantastically built as you can feel right out of the box. They are coated in a matte black finish that we are a fan of due to its fingerprint-proof qualities. It is also much grippier than its glossy counterpart. The construction is solid and will be able to stand up to everyday abuse as you take it out on your commute or as you slam it down onto your keyboard after raging during your gaming session. The included assortment of detachable audio cables are also durable and tangle-free.
The headband is sturdy and can be a bit more on the stiff side at first. Naturally, this goes away with continuous use as you break them in. Instead of traditional headband padding, SteelSeries went for a soft rubbery coating that we feel may have been the wrong decision. Without the soft padding for your head, long listening sessions can become uncomfortable. However, I found that after a while, the matte rubber begins to bend and shape to your head's shape, similar to memory foam.
While they may have short-changed us on the headband padding, SteelSeries packed an extraordinary amount of fluff into the pleather ear-cups. These are as soft as they get with optimal padding that make them feel like pillows. However, it seems SteelSeries just doesn't want you to have these cans on for too long as with pleather, you can imagine the heat that ends up stored inside there. Within the hour, the ear-cups become like ear-muffs, making them hard to use for an extended period of time without periodically taking breaks.
The Flux are able to turn a full 90-degrees to lay flat on the desk, and can then be folded again to store inside the storage bag for easy transport. Both the interchangeable 3.5mm cables come in a matching Luxury Edition themed orange and are about 2 meters long. One of the cables will be for your daily use on your iOS device as it comes with an integrated mic and volume/call controls. The other cable sports a split mic with a larger sized control module and headphone connection to plug in to your gaming setups at home.
By now, you may have noticed the unique and bold design of the side plates. Its circuitry-esque design may be the perfect theme for the hardcore gamer, but you'll just look silly with it out on the streets. Thankfully, the side-plates are attached through a single magnet that clings on surprisingly tight which can be removed and exchanged for something more subtle, such as the glossy black colored side-plates which are included.
An interesting and useful feature that not many other headphones have is the dual inputs on the headphones which allow you to share what you're listening to with a buddy, assuming they have their own set of cans. This is a nice feature which allows you to easily and conveniently share your music to someone beside you.
Of course, everything about the Flux Luxury series sounds like it lives up to the moniker, but what about the sound? Coming from a well known gaming company, these cans will definitely surprise you, in more than just one way. For music, the pair of 40mm drivers will pump out amble sound to satisfy just about any genre. The highs, mids, and lows are loud and are distinctive from one another, even at high volumes. Play some soothing Mozart and you'll hear the entire orchestra, or if you're looking to party, throw down some bass-y House music and you'll rattle your skull.
Let's change it up and switch to gaming. When playing games involving loud noises such as first-person shooters, I found that while the sound itself was high quality and immersive, the surround sound effect you'd find from gaming headphones such as Turtle Beaches were just not there. It would be difficult to hear footsteps and know appropriately where they were coming from in-game, resulting in abnormally high blood pressure and inappropriate spouts of rage comments flying through the mic.
Unfortunately for my fellow teammates, they could hear me loud and clear through the included mic, which is a huge plus for the Flux Luxury edition headphones. Audio was at a satisfying level so that people could hear me clearly without a problem. Background noise was fairly manageable as well.
The Flux are clearly better suitable for gaming than listening to music. The Flux's powerful lows and thumpy bass are particularly great for explosions and gun fire. Mids and highs sound slightly dark, and need an extra dosage of treble and clarity to brighten the sound up more.
SteelSeries has outdone itself and its competitors to supply a high quality set of cans that will satisfy just about anybody looking for their next pair of headphones. The Flux Luxury edition is loaded with features and premium quality sound that usually can't be found in the same package. Although its $130 price tag leads us to wonder what the extra $30 is going towards when compared to the normal Flux headphones which are only $100 as the specs for both are the exact same, albeit the extra few accessories which accompany the Luxury edition.
Either way, the Flux series headphones are definitely worth giving a go, whether if you are a gamer or not. Because of it's jam-packed features, premium quality sound, and versatility, we can't help but award the SteelSeries Flux Luxury edition Gadgetmac's Editors' Choice Award.