Fans of esports, namely the CS:GO discipline, who followed the fifth season of the StarSeries tournament, the playoffs of which took place in the Kiev Palace «Ukraine», will surely recognize the headset from today’s review. It’s hard enough not to remember it, and the Danish team North, who used it, showed a good game, reaching the semi-finals of the tournament.
From the moment I wrote a review about the junior model of the Steelseries Arctis line, I really wanted to see one of the older ones in action. And finally, we have Arctis Pro in front of us.
|Model||SteelSeries Arctis Pro|
|Principle of operation||Closed|
|Frequency range, Hz||10–40 000|
|Headset connection interface||4-pole mini plug (3.5 mm)/USB|
|Frequency range, Hz||100–10 000|
Contents of delivery
Steelseries is still true to itself and does not use huge boxes to inspire awe and awe at first sight. The packaging is very compact and has a laconic design. The front side is not particularly informative, there is actually only an image of the product and its name.
The reverse side is full of descriptions of various features of the model and only on one of the side faces can one find a very brief summary of the characteristics. The packaging itself has a very rigid structure and will ensure the safety of the product during transportation.
To call a complete set a rich language does not turn. In addition to the headphones themselves, there are only two cables, one of which has a built-in sound source and an adapter for a four-pole mini-jack. According to the official website, the set also had to have a windscreen, but we were not lucky with it, apparently, it was lost on the way.
A feature that is quite convenient during transportation is a completely disconnected cable. But the proprietary nature of the connectors is no longer so pleasing, because in case of loss or damage, it will not be so easy to replace the desired cord. On the other hand, you can also connect a regular cable with a 3.5 mm jack to the headset, which will at least allow you to use it while you are looking for a replacement for the complete one.
The control panel is named USB ChatMix Dial by the manufacturer and allows the user to change the volume balance between the game sound and the voices of comrades in the audio chat. The headset is Discord Certified and this «feature» works without problems. A very convenient feature for people who like to play with friends and at the same time do not sit in the same game — it allows you to adjust volume fluctuations on the go without changing the game settings and audio chat.
The design of the entire Arctis line is pretty much the same, and it’s certainly good, to say the least. In my opinion, it is the best among all gaming headsets. The manufacturer did not try to attract attention with bright colors, “inflated” shapes and other attributes of a “gaming” style. Everything is concise and strict.
The gap between the outer and inner headband is minimal, which allows the design to look more neat. Moreover, I would say that the headset has a fit close to designs with a single headband, just that the internal suspension can be adjusted, thereby providing a “custom” fit and a comfortable pressure on top.
To adjust the clamping force, it is enough to carry out elementary manipulations with Velcro, marked with the Steelseries corporate logo. Well, the soft headband itself is made of rubberized fabric, which is often used in sporting goods.
The bowls are adjustable both in the horizontal and vertical plane, which allows you to comfortably place the headset on your head without excessive pressure in certain areas.
The 90-degree horizontal swivel also adds convenience, as it allows you to easily place the headset in a backpack or bag without taking up much space.
The outer panels of the bowls are covered with matte soft-touch plastic. The headset is really nice to look at and feel in your hands.
The controls are placed classically — on the left head phone. Here are located: a 3.5 mm jack, a proprietary connector for a complete cable, as well as a volume control wheel and a microphone mute button. From experience, I can say that placing all the elements on the headset itself is always convenient and allows you to operate them by touch, without being distracted from the process in search of a control panel or buttons on the keyboard. By the way, the 3.5mm jack can also be used to share sound with other headphones. Not the most used function, but nevertheless very useful, for example, on the go.
A bi-directional noise-canceling microphone is placed on a flexible stem and hides in the bowels of the left headphone.
And, of course, one of the top models of the line could not do without RGB lighting. As much as I usually do not welcome such decisions, but in this case it only emphasizes and contributes to the excellent design of the headset. A thin strip of illumination along the outer edge of the headphones can glow in any of 16 million colors. And, of course, a convenient feature — deactivation of the microphone is always easy to identify by the characteristic orange glow.
Removable external soft-touch panels allow you to customize the headphones for yourself — make a laser engraving or order from the manufacturer.
The ear cushions are easy to remove and are made of «sporty» breathable fabric.
Inside, there are 40 mm neodymium magnet drivers that meet Hi-Res requirements, i.e. capable of reproducing sound up to 40 kHz.
Ergonomics and ease of use
Despite the external similarity with the younger model, Arctis Pro sits and feels different. In some ways, this is probably the merit of the materials used in production. Here the headband is made of steel, and the fasteners are made of aluminum.
Accordingly, we get a large mass, both due to materials and thanks to large speakers. But due to the metal headband, the pressure on the older model is uniform and dense, it doesn’t even smell of fragility or looseness. It is a little unclear why the manufacturer did not indicate the exact weight of the headset, but we can say with confidence that it is clearly not excessive. Although it’s not exactly easy to call it.
Various degrees of freedom allow the headset to distribute the pressure exerted by the headband evenly over the entire surface of the head and around the ears.
The soft headband, placed close to the main one, allows you to sort of remove the excessive pressure on the upper part of the head and everyone will be able to accurately select the effort for themselves.
I really liked the ear pads in Arctis Pro. First, it is impossible not to note the material from which they are made. It perfectly «breathes» from which the ears and head do not sweat even in the heat. Secondly, the profile of the ear pads is chosen correctly — they are deep enough and at the same time the edges have an excellent width, which allows them to fit evenly and not exert excessive pressure.
The microphone hides very conveniently and neatly, which will allow you to freely use the headphones on the street without looking a little strange. The leg is quite flexible and makes it easy to adjust to a comfortable position.
The bundled software allows you to adjust the sound, noise reduction levels, voice purification, as well as adjust or turn off the backlight. True, I can’t say that different levels of effects somehow differ significantly from each other, but no distortions were noticed during use.
The presented headset stands out a little among others, having the title of the first to use DTS Headphone X 2.0 technology. As for applications, our set is standard — the headphones were tested in the following games: Battlefield 1, Counter-Strike: GO. In addition, listening to diverse music and evaluating the sound in films and TV shows were performed.
And here we immediately come to a certain division. What headphones can do on their own and how they play when used with a bundled audio device. And these are, in fact, different categories in this case.
The built-in source allows the headset to play high frequencies perfectly, they are detailed and quite clean. Thanks to this, enemies are well positioned, the smallest details of movements are heard even at long distances. But the lower bass range is frankly small and it is not possible to rejoice at the colorful low. The middle is not very expressive and is a little lost when trying to reproduce deep bass.
And the headset starts playing in a completely different way when connected to a more serious device. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a Hi-Fi player or a serious DAC at hand, but even the ASUS Xonar U7 reveals the headphones in a new light. Highs become simply crystal, the middle is detailed, a tasty and collected bottom appears.
To be honest, I don’t even know how to relate to this phenomenon. Of course, the manufacturer used high-quality drivers, to which there are no complaints, but why not make the sound source appropriate? On the other hand, the company’s assets include the Arctis Pro + DAC model, by the name of which it is clear that the manufacturer clearly knows about the need for a DAC.
The quality of the microphone recording is quite high. The sound is very clear, without the characteristic sound usual for most headsets. Well, with the wind protection, which I did not get, there should be no complaints at all.
Recently, headset manufacturers are increasingly pleased with the use of high-quality drivers and, as a result, a new level of sound output. The Arctis Pro series uses different dynamics from the more budget Arctis models and these differences are clearly in a positive direction.
To advise the Pro modification, without a complete DAC, I would first of all become those who already have a high-quality portable or desktop source for listening to music. For gamers, lovers of beautiful action movies, looking for an all-in-one device, I can say that you will not get spectacular sound with a built-in solution. The headset is perfect for games that require precise positioning and good audibility, such as PUBG or CS:GO. And of course, it can be taken “for growth”, if in any case it is planned to purchase a separate source. And, of course, do not forget about the price, which will please not everyone.