SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC

High-end gaming headsets can get pricey, even when they aren’t wireless. While we haven’t yet tested a pair more expensive than the excellent, audiophile-worthy Beyerdynamic MMX 300 , the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC comes close with its $249.99 price tag. Of course, SteelSeries’ new flagship wired gaming headset also comes with its own eponymous GameDAC, a digital-to-analog converter and mixing device that gives the Arctis Pro a ton of power and flexibility you won’t find with just a 3.5mm-equipped headset.

can get pricey, even when they aren’t wireless. While we haven’t yet tested a pair more expensive than the excellent, audiophile-worthy

, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC comes close with its $249.99 price tag. Of course, SteelSeries’ new flagship wired gaming headset also comes with its own eponymous GameDAC, a digital-to-analog converter and mixing device that gives the Arctis Pro a ton of power and flexibility you won’t find with just a 3.5mm-equipped headset.

The Arctis Pro is matte black and low-key, at least until you plug it in. The rounded earcups are covered in black plastic, with a soft-touch rubberized back panel and well-padded earpads covered in breathable black fabric. The headband is anodized black metal, down to the quarter-circle arms on which they’re mounted. There isn’t any padding on the headband, but an adjustable elastic strap runs along the length of it, providing springy suspension that keeps the metal lifted above the scalp. The result is a light, comfortable fit you can wear for reasonably long periods of time. It isn’t overwhelmed with padding like the Turtle Beach Elite Pro .

The Arctis Pro is matte black and low-key, at least until you plug it in. The rounded earcups are covered in black plastic, with a soft-touch rubberized back panel and well-padded earpads covered in breathable black fabric. The headband is anodized black metal, down to the quarter-circle arms on which they’re mounted. There isn’t any padding on the headband, but an adjustable elastic strap runs along the length of it, providing springy suspension that keeps the metal lifted above the scalp. The result is a light, comfortable fit you can wear for reasonably long periods of time. It isn’t overwhelmed with padding like the

All controls, ports, and the boom mic sit along the edge of the left earcup. A microphone mute button sits on the back, with a volume wheel below it (that works separate from the GameDAC’s volume adjustments) and the proprietary headset connector and a 3.5mm output for sharing headset audio with another user (you can connect the headset to any device that uses a 3.5mm audio port using the connector, included cable, and included 3.5mm mobile adapter). The microphone sits on a short, flexible arm, and stays retracted inside the left earcup when not in use.

While the headset is completely black when you take it out of the box, it brightens up when you plug it into the GameDAC. A ring around the back of each earcup provides colored lighting, gently shifting through colors by default. You can change the lighting to glow a single color, or turn it off completely, through the GameDAC. The microphone capsule also glows when muted, red by default but offering the same color options as the light piping on the headset. If you use the included pop filter, the light becomes very hard to see.

The Arctis Pro connects to your PC or PlayStation 4 through the included GameDAC, a digital-to-analog converter that handles all of the headset’s audio, similar to 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 Beach Elite Pro headset.

The Arctis Pro connects to your PC or PlayStation 4 through the included GameDAC, a digital-to-analog converter that handles all of the headset’s audio, similar to the MixAmp included with the

It’s a 5.0-by-2.3-inch (HW) black plastic capsule that plugs into your PC or PS4 and offers both controls and information completely separate from your TV or monitor. The top of the GameDAC holds a monochrome OLED screen, a clickable dial, and a separate Back button (that also toggles DTS simulated surround sound on and off). The back holds optical, micro USB, and 3.5mm line out and mobile device in ports, and the left side holds the proprietary connector for the headset.

The screen shows the headset’s volume levels and game/voice chat balance, along with the left and right channel audio levels currently going through the headset. Clicking the dial switches between using it to adjust volume and game/voice mix, while holding it down for a few seconds brings up the on-device menu. The menu lets you change the input and output devices (like switching to listen to or speak through your smartphone), enable or disable DTS Headphone:X processing, switch between EQ presets or set up a custom EQ mode using a 10-band adjustable equalizer, and tweak the lighting of the headset and microphone. It can feel a bit cumbersome flipping through menus using just a jog dial and a button, but having all of that functionality in front of you without needing to dive into an app or menu on your PC or PS4 is handy.

The mic picked up my voice very clearly in test recordings, offering a good amount of detail without sounding particularly sibilant, especially with the pop filter on the capsule. However, recordings on a PC had a notable low-level hiss I couldn’t get rid of with any microphone adjustments. I noticed no hiss when using the headset with the PlayStation 4 in a different room, which indicates that the hiss came from the microphone picking up the overzealous ventilation system of our test lab more than any interference or audio processing. Keep that in mind if you have a noisy air conditioner.

The Arctis Pro + GameDAC is designed for use with a PC or PlayStation 4. For PCs, you just need to plug it into your computer over USB and it will start to work. For PS4s, you need to plug it into USB for the microphone and then connect it through the optical input for the game audio. This can be a problem if you have a PS4 Slim , which doesn’t have an optical audio output. If that’s the case, you can plug the included optical cable into your TV’s optical output (unless your TV doesn’t have an optical output, in which case this isn’t the headset for you).

The Arctis Pro + GameDAC is designed for use with a PC or PlayStation 4. For PCs, you just need to plug it into your computer over USB and it will start to work. For PS4s, you need to plug it into USB for the microphone and then connect it through the optical input for the game audio. This can be a problem if you have a

, which doesn’t have an optical audio output. If that’s the case, you can plug the included optical cable into your TV’s optical output (unless your TV doesn’t have an optical output, in which case this isn’t the headset for you).

Besides the headset and GameDAC, all of the necessary cables are included. You get a USB-to-micro USB cable, an optical audio cable, a proprietary headphone cable, and a mobile adapter that plugs into the headphone cable to let you plug it into your smartphone. A standard 3.5mm audio cable isn’t included, but the adapter will work if you just want to listen directly through your mobile device, without the GameDAC.

The Arctis Pro is very capable at handling music, with powerful low-end and good clarity in the highs. At maximum and borderline unsafe volumes, the headset reproduces the kick drum hits and bass synth notes in our bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” without any distortion. The generous low frequency thumping of Run The Jewels “Legend Has It” also comes through with almost head-rattling force without getting in the way of the vocals or the shaker backing the track.

The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” also sounds good on the Arctis Pro, and shows how the adjustable EQ can help. While a flat profile is available, the Smiley profile sculpts the low and high frequencies to make tracks sound more dynamic, while the Reference profile boosts middle frequencies (not a true reference sound, which should be a flat response, but it helps counteract the tuning of the headset’s drivers). While the song sounds full and powerful in the Smiley profile, Keith Richards’ vocals sat slightly in the background compared with the Reference profile, where it had more even footing against the guitar and bassline.

True surround sound is impossible in headphones due to the nature of acoustics, especially when headphones use single drivers for each ear, like the Arctis Pro’s 40mm drivers. However, audio processing and smart mixing can produce simulated surround sound with the stereo drivers, creating a big audio field even if it can’t generate accurate front and rear imaging. The Arctis Pro uses DTS Headphone:X simulated surround sound, which makes game audio sound much bigger and more dynamic than stereo channels. You won’t get much of a tactical advantage from it, but it’s an immersive effect.

Monster Hunter World sounds detailed and clean through the Arctis Pro. Fine sound effects like the scrape of using a whetstone or the clink of mining come through with plenty of high frequency finesse. The smashes and explosions of a bomb hammer weapon have adequate punch, though the headset doesn’t try to generate more low-end rumble than what little is already there. The lateral imaging is very strong with DTS Headphone:X simulated surround, with different sound sources like my Palico playing the drums discernible from left to right.

Nier: Automata also sounds very good on the Arctis Pro. The game’s excellent score comes through clearly, with plenty of low-mid presence to give the lower register instruments gravitas. The higher frequency sound effects like dodge cues and laser blasts stay prominent in the mix, and the extensive dialogue can be heard easily even in the middle of combat.

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC is a great-sounding, comfortable gaming headset with its own DAC/mixer/controller. Its $250 price tag still feels a bit steep when compared with similarly priced, wireless headsets, but for serious competitive gamers the wired option and on-desk control can be vital. The Arctis Pro + GameDAC stands alongside the Astro Gaming A40 TR & MixAmp and the combination of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro T.A.C. as a very compelling wired option if your budget can handle it.

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC is a great-sounding, comfortable gaming headset with its own DAC/mixer/controller. Its $250 price tag still feels a bit steep when compared with similarly priced, wireless headsets, but for serious competitive gamers the wired option and on-desk control can be vital. The Arctis Pro + GameDAC stands alongside the Astro Gaming A40 TR & MixAmp and the combination of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro T.A.C. as a very compelling wired option if your budget can handle it.

If you want wired voice chat without spending quite so much, the Astro Gaming A10 is one of our favorite budget headsets. If money is no object and you want to go wireless, you can also spend $70 more on the wireless version of the Arctis Pro, the obviously named SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless . It offers the same excellent fit and good audio quality, with wireless connectivity and even Bluetooth, though it lacks the high-res audio support of the GameDAC.

is one of our favorite budget headsets. If money is no object and you want to go wireless, you can also spend $70 more on the wireless version of the Arctis Pro, the obviously named

. It offers the same excellent fit and good audio quality, with wireless connectivity and even Bluetooth, though it lacks the high-res audio support of the GameDAC.

See Also : Best Gaming Headsets for PC, PS4, Xbox & Mac – SteelSeries

The Arctis line of gaming headsets is compatible with PC, Mac, Xbox, PS4, Nintendo Switch, VR, and mobile. Every Arctis headset comes with our flagship audio drivers, a ClearCast mic, and extraordinary comfort.

All the gaming headsets featured on this page are compatible with the PlayStation 4. However, the Siberia 650’s illumination and surround sound will not be supported when connected to the PS4.

The entire Arctis family of gaming headsets are compatible with the Xbox One. Additionally, the SteelSeries Siberia 800, Siberia 650, Siberia 200, and Siberia 100 are all compatible with the Xbox One as well. Please see individual product pages, as compatibility may rely on the use of an Xbox One Headset Adapter, or an Xbox One Elite Controller.

The entire family of Arctis headsets are compatible with mobile devices. Additionally, the SteelSeries Siberia 800, Siberia 650, Siberia 200, and Siberia 100 gaming headsets are all compatible with mobile devices.

The Arctis 7, Arctis 5, Siberia 650, Siberia 350, and Siberia 150 headsets all come with a plethora of customization options via SteelSeries Engine 3.

Great question! We’ve set up an interactive headset selection guide which you can view at the top of this page. The headset guide will ask you a few quick and simple questions, and then it will suggest you a gaming headset based on your answers.

Choosing what games you typically play can further help us determine what product we would recommend for you.

All the gaming headsets featured on this page are compatible with the PlayStation 4. However, the Siberia 650’s illumination and surround sound will not be supported when connected to the PS4.

The entire Arctis family of gaming headsets are compatible with the Xbox One. Additionally, the SteelSeries Siberia 800, Siberia 650, Siberia 200, and Siberia 100 are all compatible with the Xbox One as well. Please see individual product pages, as compatibility may rely on the use of an Xbox One Headset Adapter, or an Xbox One Elite Controller.

The entire family of Arctis headsets are compatible with mobile devices. Additionally, the SteelSeries Siberia 800, Siberia 650, Siberia 200, and Siberia 100 gaming headsets are all compatible with mobile devices.

The Arctis 7, Arctis 5, Siberia 650, Siberia 350, and Siberia 150 headsets all come with a plethora of customization options via SteelSeries Engine 3.

Great question! We’ve set up an interactive headset selection guide which you can view at the top of this page. The headset guide will ask you a few quick and simple questions, and then it will suggest you a gaming headset based on your answers.