SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless Gaming Headset Review
Peter Donnell / 7 months ago
A Closer Look and Performance
This headset doesn’t come cheap, so anything less than a premium quality finish would simply be unacceptable. Thankfully, it delivers premium down to the finest details. This looks and feels every bit like a £200+ headset. The soft-touch finish on the rear of the ear cups has a stealthy finish to it, no glaring RGB here, just a very nice and professional looking bit of kit.
This is a wireless headset, so it makes sense that you’ll find a few controls on the side of it. There’s a nice mechanical switch for the microphone mute at the top. It’s nice, as you can feel and hear the little click on it when pressed, so you know for sure it’s on/off. There’s an infinity scroll wheel for the volume below that. The headset also employs some 3.5mm and USB jacks for charging and additional connectivity. A wireless headset this may be, but you don’t have to be “limited” to that if you don’t want to be.
On the other side, you’ll find two more switches for Bluetooth on/off, and a master power switch for saving power. However, you can configure a standby timeout on the DAC too, whichever option works best for you is available. Here you can also see a small lip on the rear cover, allowing you to remove them if needed.
Behind the covers, you’ll find an easily removable battery pack. It’s good for ten hours of usage on a single charge. However, you get two of them, and you can keep one charging in the DAC/hub unit while the other is in use.
When it gets low, swap them over, and you’re back in business in seconds. Now that’s awesome, it really is.
The durable headband, the aluminium construction, and the quick adjustment velcro strap, all make the headset strong, light, and super easy to use. You can fold the ear cups in, they’ll pitch and pivot on their mounts, and overall, you’ll find it very easy to get a comfortable fit.
The desktop amp and DAC is very nicely designed, with a fairly understated finish to match up with the headset. It features an OLED display on the front, a return button, and a nice mechanical scroll wheel for control.
Around the back, you’ll find a great range of connectivity too. There’s line in and out, as well as optical in and out. This means you can put it in a chain of devices without having to change cables when you switch. If you’re running another amp or speakers, they’ll pass-through with ease. Turn the headset on, it’ll break the chain and become the primary device. Simple as that.
Finally, with that slot in the side, you can slot in your spare battery and keep the power charged and ready to rock when the headset power runs low.
This headset is a beast on paper, with all the high-end features and capabilities you could ask for. First up, we have the built-in microphone, which slides into the ear cup when not in use. It’s got a super flexible boom, so it’s super easy to position too. The performance is sublime on this microphone. I rarely have praise for a microphone, but this one nails it with clear audio and great frequency range, making it good for Skype, streaming, even a bit of voice-over work.
The drivers use a closed back design, helping lock in the sound and block out ambient noise. That being said, the drivers aren’t completely enclosed, they do let some airflow through the softer earcup padding, and a little noise though. However, when you’ve got audio playing, good luck hearing people around you, as the drivers are pretty rocking. They create just enough of a seal to help tighten up the low-end of the bass frequencies, but not so much that they’re artificially boosted or losing accuracy.
The headset is plug and play ready, but keep in mind you’ll max out at 16kHz without the proper software and drivers. Using SteelSeries Engine, you can fully configure all the headset EQ settings and more. However, after the first install, you don’t need to run it, you can do everything else on the DAC. If you’re a big fan of hi-resolution music, like those found in FLAC files or services like Tidal, this is a killer headset. However, I pumped through a bit a Vinyl, CD, MP3, Amazon Prime, and more. It doesn’t matter what quality the audio is (within reason), it sounds freaking phenomenal on the Arctis. I’ve been using my Astro A40’s for all my PC audio for years now, but this is a new benchmark today.
Powerful bass, soaring highs, and some of the most detail midrange you’ll find on any headset on the market.
Things get more exciting when you move into gaming. Rocking Final Fantasy XV with Dolby Atmos Headphone running on PC, the sound that comes out of the game world is something to behold. The surround processing is top of its class and avoids any of those muddy or reverb artefacts which are still commonplace in many similar configurations.
EQ and More
The built-in EQ is powerful but plays it pretty safe with the default profiles. However, you can make your own with just a few turns of the dial. You can push the limiter on the EQ to damn near breaking point, but the headset still holds up well. I personally think the flat EQ is where you should leave it, it’s an incredibly accurate and pleasing sound. However, I can’t account for your source material or preference, so at least you can sculpt the sound to suit your needs with ease.
You can also add ambient noise monitoring with the microphone, adjust mobile audio levels, display brightness, sleep timers, the whole lot, all from directly on the DAC.