SteelSeries has announced the release of what they claim to be the first high-fidelity and high-res audiophile line of gaming headsets. The new “Arctis Pro” line of headsets are now available with the “Arctis Pro + GameDAC” being the flagship of the two. They claim to impress sound-wise just as equally as the most popular graphic cards and monitors do for video.
“Until now, innovation in gaming graphics and displays have outpaced progress in gaming audio solutions,” said SteelSeries CEO, Ehtisham Rabbani. “The Arctis Pro is designed for gamers who seek high fidelity audio and who want to hear everything the sound engineers created, the same way they seek high-res, immersive visuals.”
Taking a look at some of these specs, I would say they have a good chance at delivering on their word. Of course, despite how interesting they sound like in words, we will judge them with our own opinion once/if we get the chance.
The flagship Arctis Pro + GameDAC USB headphones provide high-fidelity 96kHz/24-bit audio with no need for downsampling, as well as an ESS Sabre DAC and amp (found inside the in-line controller). These terms are usually reserved for music listening for those looking for reference level sound to go with their favorite Hi-Fi albums. Now gamers might be able to take advantage of this as well, while still keeping the mic and headphones consolidated down to just one line.
They feature high-density neodymium magnets that can supposedly reproduce hi-res audio up to 40,000 Hz (I would have expected 48,000 Hz, but I guess this is a start), with 121 dB of dynamic range and -95 dB total harmonic distortion + noise. They also feature/support DTS Headphone:X 2.0 technology that includes proximity cues and support for channel-based, scene-based and object-based audio, allowing for up to a 7.1 virtual surround experience.
The microphone features studio-quality sound with background noise cancellation, which would allow for clear communication without any distractions (say, your sister or roommate decides to vacuum the neighboring room, or listen to some loud music while you are playing).
The in-line controller (DAC/amp) features an OLED screen so that you can visually access all of the headphone settings directly from the headphones themselves vs having to download any specialized software (else you would miss out on things like surround if using them with a console system). Of course SteelSeries does provide software for PC in case you want to dig further into the settings and personalization. (SteelSeries Engine software).
The Arctis Pro + GameDAC headphones will run you around $249.99, and is available now.
Arctis Pro + GameDAC via Amazon
The Arctis Pro Wireless is a little different as it doesn’t have a cable with in-line remote/DAC. Instead, it provide wireless connectivity so you don’t have to worry about a wire running all over, and instead makes use of a 2.4 GHz USB transmitter to get the audio to your ears with. It also supports Bluetooth to mobile devices in case you want to walk around and listen to your music collection on your phone instead. You can connect both at the same time in case you want to listen to some music while gaming.
They went with a 2.4 GHz approach vs Bluetooth to the receiver itself in order to avoid the data throughput limitations that come with Bluetooth, and allows loss-less ultra-low latency wireless audio to reach your ears.
It also features hi-res audio up to 40,000 Hz with the same drivers as the Arctis Pro + GameDAC option. The battery is swappable allowing you to switch between two provided batteries while gaming, each giving you up to 10 hours of playtime (try to remember though, that there is a whole world outside of your house).
SteelSeries says you will be able to get up to 40 ft worth of range out of the headphones, just in case you don’t want to de-crown yourself during bathroom breaks. They also feature auto-channel hopping so that they can make sure you are on the best channel within the 2.4 GHz spectrum as possible, avoiding interference.
The transmitter features the same OLED screen as the other model, and you still have the option of using their software on a PC if that isn’t enough.
The Arctis Pro Wireless is available now, and will run you around $349.99.