SteelSeries released their new Arctis Pro Wireless, their best of the best headset available at the time of this review and it comes with a digital to analog converter (DAC). I’m going to go through both pros and cons to help you make that next gaming headset purchase.
I have both the Arctis Pro +GameDAC and the Arctis Pro Wireless. Both of these were for PC and PlayStation 4 and both headsets look nearly identical. The same metal band up top wrapped in a soft and stretchy fabric with a matte black finish all the way around with the same durable plastic arms extending to the ear cups.
I performed a bend test which I know is overkill, I’m not trying to break these, but I am trying to see if there’s any kind of creaking or rattling that would show any kind of weak spots or cheap build quality. I don’t see any or hear any issues whatsoever, but ear cups are closed back with back plates which are easily removable.
The craftsmanship and detail on this headset is one of the best for sure. I my assessment, the buttons and dials feel and look very premium and are super grippy with no issues whatsoever in determining where you are trying to button locate during game play.
The Arctis Pro Wireless charges through the micro USB port on their right ear cup where you also have power and bluetooth pairing buttons.
You can use the headset with the wireless transmitter for in-game audio of course and you’re able to activate bluetooth at the same time to let’s say, listen to music in the background or for those who use Discord you can use the chat feature on discord while playing PlayStation 4.
For those who might intend on using these as regular headphones, basically for music listening away from home and transit with your smartphone, I was able to go 64 linear feet before the signal started to crackle. For gaming with the wireless transmitter it does use 2.4 gigahertz frequency with low latency and I was able to confirm 48 linear feet before the audio started to crackle.
One feature I absolutely love with these is that you can share your audio from one of these headsets to any other pair of headphones, regardless of brand. You just connect the 3.5mm cord from the Arctis Pro Wireless to another headset and split the audio connection your friend just won’t have these same surround sound performance but at least both you guys can sit there and hear what’s going on the screen.
Getting to the physical features, let’s talk about comfort. This headset is comparable in weight with other premiums headsets which comes in at 375 grams. I must say, a slight disappointment for me, I was hoping they would be lighter. While wearing these for several hours straight, it took some time to get used to at first and I did feel a slight pinch at the crown of my head but after extending the band and finding that sweet spot these performed on par with the competitors. They are comfortable enough, but I was again hoping for even lighter.
The ear pads are comfortable and didn’t get too hot in a 72-degree room office where I wore them for a little over 2 hours straight gaming. I’ve never had any kind of ear sweat or fatigue around the ears.
Behind the backplate there is a replaceable battery. The retail package does offer two batteries and each one of these lasts up to 10 hours which is a huge benefit when one battery dies there’s already another one that’s pushed in or inside the gaming wireless transmitter itself so that way you’ll never have to recharge your batteries essentially you might never have to be encountered or encounter a dead battery situation.
The headset includes a retractable mic which is highly positionable. Regarding the mic, the sound is completely natural. We’ve tested some pretty darn good headsets with some very good mics in the past, and I’ve noticed even the good ones sound nasally and make me sound a little bit congested. This is one of the best microphones for gaming that I have used.
As for background noise, the mic did an excellent job of not picking anything but the loudest noises in our tests.
Getting into the digital to analog converter, SteelSeries utilizes their own DAC. SteelSeries is claiming up to 40,000hz are reproduced while standard headsets produced 22,000hz. They also claimed their ESS Saber chip gives off high fidelity full resolution audio, plus this is the first ever headset to offer DTS X version 2. That sounds promising but let’s see what the DAC offers first and then I’ll give you my audio test right afterwards.
The Pro Plus GameDAC module is a small module that’s connected via USB, no need to connect the supplied optical cable. If you’re using this on PlayStation 4 you need to then connect both connections. Everything feels high quality and responsive just like the headset themselves but the plastic screen covering the OLED display it’s unfortunately very to scratch.
The informational screen is very viewable even in bright rooms and it’s very straightforward and easy to use. The Arctis Pro Wireless offers a built-in equalizer and these headsets tune very well. Making subtle adjustments does reflect in the audio experience and thankfully it doesn’t distort. The audio mixer makes fine tuning the in-game chat and your gaming audio very easy as well.
You can adjust your own volume’s tone, allowing you to control how much you can hear your own voice in game. This headset performed very well and was able to get loud enough for competitive gaming. Putting these on for the first time they’re going to sound extremely well balanced but also very flat across the board. I would highly recommend customizing the sound signature with the equalizer to the way that you want it.
Once I tuned it the bass was much deeper for explosions footsteps and objects dropping in-game. The mid-range and high notes were pushed a bit more forward making the more minute new details much more apparent, not to mention my spatial awareness was increased quite a bit.
The audio from footsteps to directions of gunshots were improved and maybe immersion that much more enjoyable and it does give you a much more competitive edge. Fortnite worked well with hearing gunshots off in a distance and hearing where it was coming from. Identifying where the competition might be perched up and sniping.
During my time testing, there’s no question that these gaming headphones are highly detailed, and I experienced no listening fatigue. This is a very balanced headset which has a flat response curve out of the box but is also highly tuneable when you use the EQ.
Overall, the biggest highlight from the Arctis Pro is how clean the audio is and how accurate it can be. The only critique is I wished there was more of an open soundstage in general. I wanted just a little bit more audio separation and just an airiness that you get some from games at times.
The last benefit is that these headsets also work on the PlayStation 4 and it makes a world of difference. I had the same performance on my PlayStation 4 as I did on my PC, but I’ve been using a typical 3.5mm pair of headphones or earphones and when playing over the years making that transition over to the DAC for the first time helps bring out the surround sound experience tremendously.
Considering this is an all-in-one audio system that works across multiple platforms, there’s definitely value there rather than buying two separate headsets. I hope this review helped you in some way to make that next gaming headset purchase.
The Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless made our Best Wireless Gaming Headsets of 2018 which you should definitely check out to see how it stacked up against the rest of the competition.