Review – SteelSeries Flux Luxury Edition
+ Quite comfortable once fit is broken in
+ Sound is surprisingly clear, crisp, and rich
+ Design is eye-catching
+ Cable, jack, and fit options are impressive
- Fit requires a bit of break-in time
Premium sound, enduring comfort, and a killer feature that allows you to share music through dual built-in jacks make the Flux Luxury Edition a great headset for all casual needs.
The packing for the Flux Luxury Edition headset is what you might expect from SteelSeries; well designed, easily accessible, and showcasing the product like a work of art. The front clear panel is held on by plastic lips around each side, two of which are taped. Once removed, the inner molded carton comes out to reveal the instruction booklet, a couple of stickers, a storage bag, an alternate 3.5mm TRRS audio cable, and an extension for the cables.
The headphones themselves are held in by a few twist-ties, and the cables are fed through cutouts in the carton. It’s a bit of a pain to untangle the cables from the carton once the headphones are out, but you eventually see the one and only way to remove them without tearing the box apart. The displayed cable is the additional 3.5mm audio cable, only in a TRS format with split connectors for mic and headphone.
The Flux headphones have a solid build quality throughout, from the leather ear cushions to the carrying pouch to the foldable headset itself. The top portion of the headset that arcs over your head is actually a matte rubber piece that you can bend and flex so that it learns the fit you prefer. This isn’t a widely advertised feature but it is one of the more innovative fit aspects I have seen in a headset.
As mentioned, the headphones fold into the shape above, which fits cleanly into the supplied carrying bag. The bag is a water resistant neoprene material and the inside is a very highly durable and non-stick nylon mesh. The design of this bag, as simple as it may be, is absolutely necessary for easy deposit and removal of the headphones given their rubber top and rubber coated cables. Any other material would have made this a friction-laden mess.
The ear cups are cushioned by overstuffed leather covers and are very comfortable on your ears. I have mentioned before that I prefer circumaural style headphones, but these have to be the most comfortable supra-aurals I have ever worn. There is little to no discernable pressure on your ears despite a clean, airtight fit against your outer ear.
The supplied cables are coated in bright orange rubber to match the design schema of the Luxury Edition model, and are listed as 2 meters (~6.5 ft) in length. One cable features a 3.5mm TRRS connector with integrated mic and on-cable device controls. This button controls call answer and hang-up (iOS only), pause, play, forward, and back (both iOS and Android, as well as PC). The other included cable sports two 3.5mm TRS connectors for split mic and headphone configuration. Included as well is a black extension cable that can be used for either of the aforementioned.
One incredibly cool feature of the Flux headset is dual inputs for the detachable cables. With one on each earpiece, this allows for daisy-chaining between you and another headset so two people can listen to one device without the need of a separate splitter. I tested this feature with another headset that included its own on-line volume control and it was supported perfectly. The on-line device controls on the secondary headset did not control the device, which I find to be a useful feature so you don’t have to worry about getting trolled by your guest listener.
I cannot say I am an audio expert by any means, but with the Flux headphones I like what I hear, and I hear a lot. I was genuinely surprised by how rich the sound coming from the 40mm drivers came through. I tested these on an iPhone 4, Google Nexus 7, and Macbook Air. I tested the mic with a phone call as well as a voice memo. I caught a bit of background noise but overall it was very passable as a mic for phone use. On the tablet and laptop, I tested Netflix video and a FLAC album rip of Eraser by Thom Yorke. Both were crystal clear during quiet moments and booming during climactic scenes. There was no echo or feedback on my Skype test and both voices came through well.
The Flux headphones are similar in simple, bold design to the SteelSeries Siberia and 7H lines, and that’s a good thing. SteelSeries consistently releases some of the sexiest gadgets on the market, and the Flux Luxury Edition headphones continue the tradition. The mission behind the Flux line is to give you the freedom to customize the design to your own tastes. The Flux shop (coming soon) will feature a wide variety of replacement side-plates, ear cushions, and cables, in varied designs and colors. The options provided by so many customizable pieces really speaks to the Freedom campaign of which the Flux headphones are the flagship product.
The price for the standard version of the Flux headset is $99, so the question is whether or not this Luxury Edition is worth the added cost. What differentiates this offering is the carrying bag, leather ear cushions, and a special design with extra removable outside ear plates. Overall I would place the sweet spot for price a bit lower, but considering the quality of these additional pieces, I would say it is arguable that an additional $30 is a reasonable premium.