SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC Review – Achieving the utmost in audio quality is the aim of SteelSeries’ new Arctis Pro range, thanks to a new driver design that more than doubles the existing Arctis range’s frequency response range. Most headphones and headsets have a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz, while the standard Arctis series ups this range to 20-22,000Hz. The Arctis Pro, though, stretches the range to 10-40,000Hz. That’s the sort of level of fidelity normally only claimed by serious audiophile headphones.
At this point some of you may be wondering if there’s a benefit to such a range, given that human hearing can’t stretch much beyond 20-20,000Hz. Well, the answer is twofold. For one, the extended range is perceived by some people to be felt rather than heard, especially for powerful low frequencies from speakers. More importantly, the extra frequency range means manufacturers can ensure a more accurate, linear response in the frequencies we can hear.
Aside from its fancy new drivers, there’s no obvious difference between the Pro and the rest of the Arctis range. The overall styling is all but identical, with the same subtle stretched-circle earcup design, simple metal headband and elasticated strap. Instead, the differences are in the colouring. While the normal Arctis range has a variety of patterns on the elasticated bands and a prominent silver SteelSeries logo, here it’s just black, black and more black. The Arctis range was already good-looking, but the new all-black livery elevates its style even further.
Build quality is excellent too, with all the pieces and joints feeling solid and robust, and all the buttons and dials feeling well made. The elasticated band works wonders for distributing the weight of the headset over the top of your head too, and SteelSeries has slightly deepened the padding on the earcups, making the Pro more comfortable to wear than the standard Arctis.
The Arctis Pro isn’t wanting for features either. It includes a retractable microphone, a microphone mute button, a volume dial, the main proprietary audio input and a conventional jack input that means you can use this headset as a conventional passive pair of headphones.
Then there’s the optional GameDAC. This mini-USB sound interface includes a volume/control knob and OLED display, and can control some of the headsets features. As well as the main USB input that goes to your PC and the output for the headset, it also includes an optical input, a line-out jack and a line-in jack. It’s a really well-made little unit, plus it appears as two audio outputs in Windows, so you can assign chat to one input and in-game sound to another one, then mix the levels using the control knob.
It also includes a quality digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) with native 24-bit/96KHz audio support, enabling SteelSeries to slap the Hi-Res Audio label on this headset.
The Arctis Pro stretches the frequency range to 10-40,000Hz
However, this feature only works with virtual DTS surround sound turned off and without support for chat/game audio mixing, rendering it rather pointless in games.
Finally, we come to that all-important sound quality, and the Arctis Pro delivers on its promise, even without Hi-Res Audio. Comparing it with the already-good Arctis 7, the difference is like night and day, with a leap in clarity. The sound signature is also reasonably flat, so there’s no over- the-top bass muddying the sound, making for an accurate presentation in music and games. The DTS virtual surround works well too, and it’s handy that you can switch between surround and stereo at the touch of the GameDAC’s button.
- 1 Conclusion
- 2 VERDICT
- 2.1 SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Multi-System Gaming Headset - Premium Hi-Fi Drivers - Hi-Res Audio - 360° Spatial - GameDAC Gen 2 - Quad-DAC - Stealth Retractable Mic - Xbox, PC, PS5/PS4, Switch
- 2.2 SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC Wired Gaming Headset - Certified Hi-Res Audio - Dedicated DAC and Amp - for PS5/PS4 and PC - White
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro is a fine gaming headset. It boasts clarity that far surpasses most alternatives, it looks great, is reasonably comfortable to wear and is packed with useful features. The GameDAC also makes for a great addition, although it certainly isn’t an essential. It might be expensive, but the Arctis Pro delivers on all fronts.
A mighty pricey but mighty fine gaming headset that offers clarity far above the immediate competition.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Multi-System Gaming Headset - Premium Hi-Fi Drivers - Hi-Res Audio - 360° Spatial - GameDAC Gen 2 - Quad-DAC - Stealth Retractable Mic - Xbox, PC, PS5/PS4, Switch
£169.00 in stock
9 used from £123.10
- Almighty Audio - Experience ultimate clarity and sound clarity with Premium High Fidelity Drivers. Fully customize the sound experience with the Sonar Software by using a first-in-gaming Pro-grade Parametric EQ.
- 360° Spatial Audio - Immersive surround sound transports you to the gaming world, letting you hear every critical step, reload, or vocal cue to give you an advantage. *Fully compatible with Tempest 3D Audio for PS5 / Microsoft Spatial Sound
- Hi-Res Audio Certified - The GameDAC Gen 2 supercharges your game audio with 78% purer signal (in comparison to GameDAC Gen 1), elevating the resolution to 96KHz/24-Bit for a much more detailed, richer soundscape
- Multi-System Connect - Plug in two systems at once and switch between them with a press of a button. The GameDAC Gen 2 streamlines your experience to create the ultimate multimedia base.
- AI Powered Noise-Cancelling Mic -The ClearCast Gen 2 mic silences background noise to give you crystal clear comms, backed by Sonar Software's powerful AI algorithms. The stealth mic fully retracts into the earcup for a sleeker look.
SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC Wired Gaming Headset - Certified Hi-Res Audio - Dedicated DAC and Amp - for PS5/PS4 and PC - White
£153.68 in stock
6 used from £98.38
- The GameDAC dedicated DAC and headphone amp transforms any PS5, PS4 or PC into a high performance audio source by bypassing the low fidelity, poor quality DACs found in typical console controllers, USB headsets, and PC sound cards
- Gaming's first certified Hi-Res Audio system ensures that you hear high-fidelity 96 kHz / 24 bit audio at its purest full resolution with no down-sampling
- Arctis Pro + GameDAC is the first gaming headset system to include the legendary ESS Sabre DAC and amp for unsurpassed audio quality with 121 dB of dynamic range and -115 dB THD+N
- Premium Hi-Res speakers with high-density neodymium magnets reproduce a full, expansive frequency range from 10 - 40,000 Hz with stunning realism and clarity
- Luxurious polished steel and aluminum alloy construction offers maximum durability and a consistent fit