Excessive-end gaming headsets can get dear, even after they aren’t wi-fi. Whereas we’ve not but examined a pair dearer than the wonderful, audiophile-worthy Beyerdynamic MMX 300, the SteelSeries Arctis Professional + GameDAC comes shut with its $249.99 price ticket. After all, SteelSeries’ new flagship wired gaming headset additionally comes with its personal eponymous GameDAC, a digital-to-analog converter and mixing gadget that offers the Arctis Professional a ton of energy and adaptability you will not discover with only a Three.5mm-equipped headset.

Design

The Arctis Professional is matte black and low-key, no less than till you plug it in. The rounded earcups are coated in black plastic, with a soft-touch rubberized again panel and well-padded earpads coated in breathable black cloth. The headscarf is anodized black steel, right down to the quarter-circle arms on which they’re mounted. There is no padding on the headscarf, however an adjustable elastic strap runs alongside the size of it, offering springy suspension that retains the steel lifted above the scalp. The result’s a light-weight, comfy match you may put on for fairly lengthy intervals of time. It is not overwhelmed with padding just like the Turtle Beach Elite Pro.

All controls, ports, and the growth mic sit alongside the sting of the left earcup. A microphone mute button sits on the again, with a quantity wheel beneath it (that works separate from the GameDAC’s quantity changes) and the proprietary headset connector and a Three.5mm output for sharing headset audio with one other consumer (you may join the headset to any gadget that makes use of a Three.5mm audio port utilizing the connector, included cable, and included Three.5mm cellular adapter). The microphone sits on a brief, versatile arm, and stays retracted contained in the left earcup when not in use.

Whereas the headset is totally black if you take it out of the field, it brightens up if you plug it into the GameDAC. A hoop across the again of every earcup gives coloured lighting, gently shifting via colours by default. You possibly can change the lighting to glow a single shade, or flip it off fully, via the GameDAC. The microphone capsule additionally glows when muted, pink by default however providing the identical shade choices as the sunshine piping on the headset. Should you use the included pop filter, the sunshine turns into very arduous to see.

GameDAC

The Arctis Professional connects to your PC or PlayStation four via the included GameDAC, a digital-to-analog converter that handles the entire headset’s audio, much like the MixAmp included with the Astro Gaming A40 TR + MixAmp, or the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tactical Audio Command (T.A.C.) designed to be paired with the Turtle Seashore Elite Professional headset.

It is a 5.Zero-by-2.Three-inch (HW) black plastic capsule that plugs into your PC or PS4 and provides each controls and data fully separate out of your TV or monitor. The highest of the GameDAC holds a monochrome OLED display screen, a clickable dial, and a separate Again button (that additionally toggles DTS simulated encompass sound on and off). The again holds optical, micro USB, and three.5mm line out and cellular gadget in ports, and the left aspect holds the proprietary connector for the headset.

The display screen exhibits the headset’s quantity ranges and sport/voice chat steadiness, together with the left and proper channel audio ranges at present going via the headset. Clicking the dial switches between utilizing it to regulate quantity and sport/voice combine, whereas holding it down for a number of seconds brings up the on-device menu. The menu allows you to change the enter and output gadgets (like switching to hearken to or communicate via your smartphone), allow or disable DTS Headphone:X processing, change between EQ presets or arrange a customized EQ mode utilizing a 10-band adjustable equalizer, and tweak the lighting of the headset and microphone. It may really feel a bit cumbersome flipping via menus utilizing only a jog dial and a button, however having all of that performance in entrance of you while not having to dive into an app or menu in your PC or PS4 is helpful.

Microphone and Connectivity

The mic picked up my voice very clearly in take a look at recordings, providing quantity of element with out sounding notably sibilant, particularly with the pop filter on the capsule. Nonetheless, recordings on a PC had a notable low-level hiss I could not eliminate with any microphone changes. I observed no hiss when utilizing the headset with the PlayStation four in a special room, which signifies that the hiss got here from the microphone selecting up the overzealous air flow system of our take a look at lab greater than any interference or audio processing. Hold that in thoughts if in case you have a loud air conditioner.

The Arctis Professional + GameDAC is designed to be used with a PC or PlayStation four. For PCs, you simply have to plug it into your laptop over USB and it’ll begin to work. For PS4s, it’s essential to plug it into USB for the microphone after which join it via the optical enter for the sport audio. This is usually a drawback if in case you have a PS4 Slim, which does not have an optical audio output. If that is the case, you may plug the included optical cable into your TV’s optical output (except your TV does not have an optical output, through which case this is not the headset for you).

Moreover the headset and GameDAC, the entire essential cables are included. You get a USB-to-micro USB cable, an optical audio cable, a proprietary headphone cable, and a cellular adapter that plugs into the headphone cable to allow you to plug it into your smartphone. A typical Three.5mm audio cable is not included, however the adapter will work in the event you simply need to hear immediately via your cellular gadget, with out the GameDAC.

Music Efficiency

The Arctis Professional may be very succesful at dealing with music, with highly effective low-end and good readability within the highs. At most and borderline unsafe volumes, the headset reproduces the kick drum hits and bass synth notes in our bass take a look at monitor, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” with none distortion. The beneficiant low frequency thumping of Run The Jewels “Legend Has It” additionally comes via with virtually head-rattling pressure with out getting in the best way of the vocals or the shaker backing the monitor.

The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” additionally sounds good on the Arctis Professional, and exhibits how the adjustable EQ may help. Whereas a flat profile is out there, the Smiley profile sculpts the high and low frequencies to make tracks sound extra dynamic, whereas the Reference profile boosts center frequencies (not a real reference sound, which must be a flat response, however it helps counteract the tuning of the headset’s drivers). Whereas the tune sounds full and highly effective within the Smiley profile, Keith Richards’ vocals sat barely within the background in contrast with the Reference profile, the place it had extra even footing towards the guitar and bassline.

Sport Efficiency

True encompass sound is unattainable in headphones because of the nature of acoustics, particularly when headphones use single drivers for every ear, just like the Arctis Professional’s 40mm drivers. Nonetheless, audio processing and good mixing can produce simulated encompass sound with the stereo drivers, creating a giant audio area even when it could possibly’t generate correct entrance and rear imaging. The Arctis Professional makes use of DTS Headphone:X simulated encompass sound, which makes sport audio sound a lot greater and extra dynamic than stereo channels. You will not get a lot of a tactical benefit from it, however it’s an immersive impact.

Monster Hunter World sounds detailed and clear via the Arctis Professional. Positive sound results just like the scrape of utilizing a whetstone or the clink of mining come via with loads of excessive frequency finesse. The smashes and explosions of a bomb hammer weapon have enough punch, although the headset does not attempt to generate extra low-end rumble than what little is already there. The lateral imaging may be very robust with DTS Headphone:X simulated encompass, with completely different sound sources like my Palico enjoying the drums discernible from left to proper.

Nier: Automata additionally sounds excellent on the Arctis Professional. The sport’s glorious rating comes via clearly, with loads of low-mid presence to offer the decrease register devices gravitas. The upper frequency sound results like dodge cues and laser blasts keep outstanding within the combine, and the in depth dialogue may be heard simply even in the midst of fight.

Conclusions

The SteelSeries Arctis Professional + GameDAC is a great-sounding, comfy gaming headset with its personal DAC/mixer/controller. Its $250 price ticket nonetheless feels a bit steep when put next with equally priced, wi-fi headsets, however for severe aggressive players the wired choice and on-desk management may be very important. The Arctis Professional + GameDAC stands alongside the Astro Gaming A40 TR & MixAmp and the mixture of the Turtle Seashore Elite Professional T.A.C. as a really compelling wired choice in case your price range can deal with it.

If you need wired voice chat with out spending fairly a lot, the Astro Gaming A10 is considered one of our favourite price range headsets. If cash isn’t any object and also you need to go wi-fi, you can even spend $70 extra on the wi-fi model of the Arctis Professional, the clearly named SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. It provides the identical glorious match and good audio high quality, with wi-fi connectivity and even Bluetooth, although it lacks the high-res audio help of the GameDAC.