Whereas everybody needs their video video games to sound nice, the concept of a Hello-Fi gaming headset is somewhat novel. Positive, there are probably a handful of audiophiles on the market who take pleasure in an occasional night indulging in multiplayer raids in Future 2 or going for the Rooster Dinner in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, and there have been a number of headsets up to now geared toward this crowd, however frankly, they by no means fairly hit the mark for us.
Enter SteelSeries’ latest evolution of its Arctis headset line, the Arctis Professional. Armed with premium drivers, highly effective peripherals, and constructing upon the already best-in-class design of the Arctis 7, the Arctis Professional has improved upon the greatness of its predecessors to change into the best gaming headset available.
Out of the Field
The Arctis Professional is available in three variations: a $250 wired model with GameDAC included, a $330 wi-fi Bluetooth model, and a scaled again $180 wired, headset-only model. Although there are three distinct fashions, SteelSeries retains the packaging and presentation basically an identical. Every are available in a thick carboard field, nestled in molded plastic together with any included peripherals. All obligatory cables are included, and the wi-fi model comes toting two rechargeable battery packs.
It could be straightforward to mistake the Arctis Professional headset for Arctis 7 – they appear just about an identical — the one vital distinction is a brand new matte black end that replaces the darkish matte gray discovered on earlier Arctis headsets. The Professional makes use of the identical one-size-fits-all, auto-fitting “ski goggle” strap round a thin-but-sturdy steel headband and gentle, easy, breathable ear padding because the Arctis 7. Given its gentle weight, the goggle strap permits the headset to relaxation gently in your head, making it extremely comfy to put on, and provides the Professional a way more minimalist profile than most different gaming headsets.
SteelSeries Arctis Professional In contrast To
On-ear controls embody a mute and quantity for the collapsible microphone dwelling on the left earcup. It’s value stating, too, that the mic retracts shortly and easily into the cup for straightforward hiding.
There are solely minimal design variations between the wired and wi-fi variations of the Arctis Professional. The wired options skinny, programmable LED rings on the earcups for customized coloration selections, whereas the wi-fi model has a magnetic plate on the correct earcup that hides the rechargeable battery pack together with further on-ear Bluetooth controls. In any other case, the 2 headsets really feel the identical, and are equally comfy.
Establishing the Arctis Professional shall be barely completely different relying on which model you purchase, as completely different parts are included with every. The dearer of the 2 wired variations ships with the GameDAC peripheral, whereas the wi-fi mannequin features a Bluetooth breakout field.
The Bluetooth field is obvious and black with an LED display, dial, and a single button for management. There’s additionally a slot on the facet for charging the wi-fi model’s reusable batteries.
The “ski goggle strap” design makes it extremely comfy to put on.
Conversely, the GameDAC is a rounded, pill-shaped system, however options the identical LED display and dial/button management scheme. Each hook up with PC by way of USB, and the PS4 by digital optical audio cable.
These gadgets get rid of the necessity for SteelSeries’ Metal Engine three software program to drive the encompass sound, mic controls, or EQ and blend settings like on the corporate’s earlier headsets, as a substitute dealing with all these features themselves. You may even customise the EQ your self utilizing the GameDAC or Bluetooth field and save your individual presets.
This is good news for PS4 customers particularly, because you’ll have the ability to get the complete performance out of the headset. Beforehand, the Arctis line’s performance was hamstrung on PS4 by software program necessities you possibly can solely entry on PC. These roadblocks are lifted completely with the Professional.
It’s value noting, although, that these further parts make setup extra concerned than most headsets. It’s additionally messier, particularly the wired model with the GameDAC. Relying in your setup, you possibly can have three or 4 further cables working throughout your desk, which might be annoying in the event you don’t make use of some intelligent cable administration. The Wi-fi model, fortunately, has a cleaner setup, requiring solely two cords — both two USB on PC, or a USB and a digital optical cable on PS4.
The considerably messy setup is our solely grievance concerning the Arctis Professional and comes from the fac that almost all different headsets are far less complicated, often requiring a single wire or USB dongle at most. Whilst you can circumvent this completely by merely buying the headset-only model of the Professional, the performance and sound high quality the GameDAC and wi-fi breakout field carry to the expertise steadiness out any setup annoyances.
The Arctis Professional is the most effective sounding headset we’ve ever used. Even with a easy wired USB or three.5mm cable connection, the Professional is a noticeable step up from the Arctis 7 (our earlier favourite) by way of total sound high quality. However when paired with both the GameDAC or Hello-Res wi-fi field, the whole listening expertise is elevated to ranges which can be concurrently ethereal and explosive.
The Arctis Professional is the most effective sounding headset we’ve ever used.
The wired GameDAC model boasts Hello-Res 24-bit sound, whereas the wi-fi model delivers lossless audio over Bluetooth connection. Thanks to those Hello-Res-capable parts, music has extra texture and element, and gentle sound results like footsteps are extra clearly audible — one thing that ought to attraction to the tens of thousands and thousands of Fortnight Battle Royal and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds gamers on the market.
In truth, Fortnight was among the many quite a few video games we examined on PC, together with Sea of Thieves, Warframe, and Overwatch, all of which gave a revealing indication of how the headset performs with multiplayer titles. Voice chat got here in loud and clear, and the power to regulate the mic-to-game combine on the fly was very useful.
It’s value noting that connecting the Arctis Professional on to a PC by way of USB means you’ll have the ability to use just about all these options by the Steelengine three software program, even with out the GameDAC or Bluetooth field, although you’ll be lacking out on the Hello-Res audio (extra on that under).
For testing on PlayStation four we took a extra single-player strategy, placing time into Monster Hunter World, Doom, and NieR: Automata. Every of those titles function epic soundtracks and gameplay that facilities closely round sound design or audio cues, and all of them benefitted from the Arctis Professional’s efficiency. Monster Hunter World was an particularly considerable improve. The atmosphere of the sport’s dense wilderness was boosted and, enabling the DTS digital encompass made the world really feel extra alive, with the sounds of distant wildlife precisely and clearly positioned.
For each platforms, we discovered the default EQ combine to be good, however we most well-liked the “smiley” EQ preset on the GameDAC and the “immersion” EQ on the wi-fi field, particularly for single participant video games as each made the in-game environment sound fuller. Every system contains a number of different presets, comparable to choices geared towards voice chat or particular sport genres.
For these situations the place you possibly can’t use the DAC or wi-fi field (or in the event you’ve bought a model with out these parts), you should utilize the included three.5mm adapter or USB cable. The three.5mm adapter is used to hook up with smartphones, tablets, the Nintendo Change, and even immediately into PS4 or an Xbox One controllers, audio system, TVs/screens — actually any three.5mm jack inside attain.
Even taking part in with the default stereo combine over three.5mm connection, the Arctis Professional nonetheless sounds higher than simply about some other headset presently obtainable.
We gave this connection sort a go on all of the aforementioned titles to check the efficiency, in addition to by taking part in Hearthstone on cell, and each Splatoon 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Change. We seen a barely-perceptible step down by way of total element, and a smidge of muddiness from the low finish — to not point out the lack of DTS digital encompass sound — however the efficiency was nonetheless very good. Even taking part in with the default stereo combine over three.5mm connection, the Arctis Professional nonetheless sounds higher than simply about some other headset presently obtainable.
Mic and voice chat
Any worthy headset wants a terrific mic, and unsurprisingly, the Arctis Professional’s Clearcast mic shines. Sea of Thieves was our major litmus check right here, since gameplay hinges on correct, clear communication along with your crew whereas crusing your galleon. Our teammates all commented on the readability of our voice, which they reported was clear even when utilizing the in-game proximity chat. A couple of Audacity check recordings proved that they weren’t mendacity — the sound is crisp and detailed. It nonetheless feels like a headset mic, however a rattling good one, so it might feasibly work for streaming in the event you don’t have a freestanding mic in your broadcasting or recording setup.
The Arctis Professional solves the few compatibility shortcomings the earlier Arctis headsets confronted and boosts the standard up throughout the board. It’s change into our new prime choose for gaming headsets, no matter system.
Is there a greater different?
The Cloud Revolvers S makes use of a USB dongle that works equally to the GameDAC and wi-fi breakout field, in that it circumvents software program necessities to allow encompass sound and EQ options for PS4 customers. It’s not going to succeed in the heights of the Arctis Professional, however it’s value consideration because it’s a lot cheaper.
However, whereas we nonetheless suggest the $180 headset-only Arctis Professional bundle if all you want is a headset utilizing a single three.5mm or USB connection, there’s additionally, in fact, the earlier entries within the Arctis line, the Arctis three, 5, and seven. We’ve already talked about them quite a few instances all through this overview, however with good motive, as they’re not that far faraway from the Arctis Professional by way of high quality or design and are all extra reasonably priced. The Arctis three even has an reasonably priced Bluetooth possibility, as properly.
Lastly, whereas the Arctis Professional might be related to the Xbox One by way of three.5mm and nonetheless performs phenomenally, for Xbox One house owners discouraged by the dearth of digital encompass and EQ manipulation obtainable on the bottom model of the Arctis Professional, we suggest the Astro A50 as a wi-fi different, and the Astro A40 TR for wired.
How lengthy will it final?
When it comes to sturdiness, it would take fairly a little bit of effort to break or break the Arctis Professional or its peripherals. As for the tech’s longevity, we anticipate the Arctis Professional’s reign atop the Greatest Gaming Headphones throne to final some time, however we’re additionally assured it would stay a superb and viable possibility years down the street because of its excessive efficiency.
Must you purchase it?
Sure. Except you fall into one of many few exceptions we mentioned within the options part above, the Arctis Professional is the most effective headset obtainable.