SteelSeries is a well-known manufacturer in the PC accessory space, and have been in the gaming headset market for some time. Today they are launching two new products at the top of their Arctis lineup, and both of them offer some interesting new features. The first is the Arctis Pro + GameDAC, which is the first Hi-Res Certified gaming headset on the market. The second is the Arctis Pro Wireless headset, which takes many of the features of the wired model, and adds wireless to the mix. We see a lot of accessory announcements, but when SteelSeries briefed us on these two new headset models, there was a lot of interesting technology they were bringing to the table, which is always something to get excited about.

The Arctis Pro + GameDAC is really the star of the show. SteelSeries has recognized that the majority of people use onboard audio, and although a few motherboards do ship with high quality audio components, the majority do not. SteelSeries has an answer to that problem with the GameDAC, which is a USB DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) and amplifier which has been tuned specifically for the Arctis Pro headset. We’ll dig into the GameDAC in a bit, but there’s a lot to like here.

Both the Arctis Pro wired and wireless model both feature the same drivers, which SteelSeries has said are the highest quality drivers they’ve ever used in a gaming headset. They feature neodymium magnets, and can produce frequencies from around 10 Hz to 40,000 Hz, which you’ll notice is both well below and well above the thresholds for human hearing. This gave them some flexibility in tuning the response.

SteelSeries Arctis Pro Lineup
Component Arctis Pro + GameDAC Arctis Pro Wireless
Compatibility PC and PlayStation 4
Speaker Drivers 40 mm Neodymium
Headphone Frequency Response 10 Hz to 40 KHz
Headphone Sensitivity 102 dBSPL
Headphone Impedance 32 Ohm
Headhone THD < 1%
Microphone Bi-directional noise cancelling
Microphone Frequency Response 100 Hz to 10 KHz
Microphone Sensitivity -38 dBV/Pa
Microphone Impedance 2200 Ohm
Audio Formats Hi-Res Certified 24-bit 96 KHz 16-bit 44 KHz
Bluetooth 4.1
THD + N < 0.0032% Not Rated
Box Contents Arctis Pro Headset
Main Headset Cable
USB Audio Cable
Toslink Optical Cable
4-Pole 3.5mm adapter
Microphone Windscreen
Arctis Pro Wireless Headset
Transmitter Base Station
USB Audio Cable
Toslink Optical Cable
Mobile Audio Cable
Mobile Charging Cable
Microphone Windscreen
Price $179.99 Headset Only
$249.99 Headset and GameDAC

SteelSeries officially promotes the Arctis Pro models as headsets that work on both the PC and the PlayStation 4. Xbox will work with audio only. Both models do come with a 3.5mm headset adapter as well, for connection to almost anything, and assuming you have a newer model Xbox One controller, this would also provide full headset capabilities.

SteelSeries also offers the ClearCast microphone on both of the Arctis Pro headsets we’re looking at today. ClearCast is a bidirectional microphone setup which offers active noise cancellation. With a bidirectional microphone, noises that are heard on both sides of the microphones can be cancelled out, since they are likely background noises, which leaves your voice stronger and clearer, without sounds from outside that window having much of an impact on the sound recording. In practice, this setup is very effective. Sounds from the keyboard are muted, and noises further away are completely eliminated.

SteelSeries is replacing their older Siberia 800 and 840 models with these new ones, and will be offering three combinations. You can get the Arctis Pro headset only, the Arctis Pro + Game DAC combo, and the Arctis Pro Wireless. These aren’t inexpensive headsets, but neither are they the most expensive models around. But to see if they are worth the asking price, we first must check out how they fared in the couple of weeks of testing.

Arctis Pro Headset
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  • halcyon - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    Sorry, but it totally reads like an advertisement. Just regurgitating basic marketing material.

    Real headphone reviews, read head-fi, innerfidelity, many other sites.

    And the proof-reading:

    "back design, when is amazing for isolation,"

    Sure. I wonder if the writers get paid for just producing characters.
  • Dribble - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    It's an advert imo. It sings the praises of a usb dac like its some sort of revelation, and not the way that most surround sound gaming headsets have been made for years.
  • halcyon - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    Also, the review states:

    " pretty easy to say that the Arctis Pro is one of the best gaming headsets on the market."

    I doubt the reviewer has EVER tried even 1/10th of the gaming headsets on the market.

    No, THIS is a proper Gaming Headset review:
  • Samus - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    The Steelseries Siberia is in an entirely different league than what Asus and Kingston make. Which is why the review you link too didn't even review the Siberia. For the last 4 years, the Steelseries H-series has been the benchmark to beat for gaming headphones and nobody has seemingly even tried to compete with them. Sure, the breakout boxes with OLED displays could be considered gimmicks, if they actually were gimmicks. But they are useful. Every feature in the package is useful.
  • Brett Howse - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    Not an advertisement. Of course other devices have DACs. Every audio device that hooks to a PC has a DAC.

    The THD+N on this GameDAC is fantastic. It has a quality amplifier built-in. It offers features that you'd not get with a normal headset.

    It doesn't need ANY software installed on your PC to use it or configure it. Some companies have software that's required, and that also requires a login. And it updates every day and asks for a restart. This doesn't need any of that for the full functionality.

    Not an advertisement. Just a good product.
  • Brett Howse - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    So no, this isn't an advertisement. This is a new product, and we were able to try out the product and provide our experience with them.

    Originally this was going to be just a news piece for the launch, but SteelSeries got us the product several weeks ago which gave a chance to actually use them for more than the 5 minutes you'd see in a hands-on.

    Just like any other product review I've done, I've used it, tested it, and provided explanations as to where I think the product excels, and where I think improvements should be made. We don't have all of the test equipment for full testing on headphones, but maybe that's something we'd look at doing in the future. Maybe not with the response this set of headphones received. If you look around, no one else even bothered to show the frequency response.

    I've been looking for a set of headphones with almost all of what the Arctis Pro has to offer for some time. This lineup solves actual pain points I've had with other products. They are, in fact, very good.

    Have I used every set of headphones ever? Of course not. But I've probably used several dozen.

    I like quality audio. I'm not an audiophile, and I wouldn't want to be labeled as one, but if I'm looking for a set of headphones, I'd be looking for clarity, tight bass, and of course comfort, and this lineup offers all of that.

    Not an advertisement. Just an experience with a product that lives up to what we were promised when discussing it with the company, and that's not always the case.
  • Kerdal - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    Hi Brett, I was wondering something. Have you tried the Sennheiser Game One (open back) or the older PC360? I have a few of each but I'm always on the lookout for an upgrade.

    I'm wondering how these compare to the Sennheiser in terms of sound quality.

    My motherboard is the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Code with the Sabre ES9023P and TI RC4850 amp so the gameDAC isn't all that necessary in my case.

    Thanks in advance.
  • Brett Howse - Saturday, March 17, 2018 - link

    My headset of choice is the Sennheiser HD 598 SR open back headphones. The Arctis lineup has an advantage over those though with offering better DACs so I don't have to worry about where I'm plugging in the Sennheisers.

    In terms of sound quality, compared to my HD 598 SRs, I would say the Arctis Pro is ahead, but the 598s are a bit more comfortable. I prefer open back though since it works better in my environment.
  • halcyon - Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - link

    Brett, my advice, for what it is worth:
    1. Compare to something. Give a reference. Saying "The best" is useless, unless we know what your "best" earlier was.
    2. Please try to do some semi-objective analysis of the different parts of what are the key points for a gaming headset: sound quality, sound fatigue during long term gaming sessions, wearing erconomics (headband tightness, crushing on ears, sweating), positional accuracy (using built-in 3D headphone virtualization AND/OR using the game's built-in like in Overwatch, again give us a comparison reference), microphone quality (it takes less than 5mins to fire up a recorder, record 15secs of speech, save it as 128kbps mp3, tag it into the review html).

    Yes, we know you liked them, but you were mostly going ooh-aaah, about the "feature" that are basically marketing material.

    We want to know how it performs. Compared to something else good.

    That's why reviews are done, imho.
  • Brett Howse - Saturday, March 17, 2018 - link

    This was going to be a first toe in the water for headphones, to get some more objective data for the future, but it might be the last.
    Your point 2 - I went over all those points except positional accuracy.

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