Last year, SteelSeries came out with their Arctis gaming headset lineup. It consisted of three models simply dubbed the Arctis 3, 5, and 7. All of them use the very same so-called S3 speaker drivers and sound identical. Thanks to that, buyers are able to decide which one to get based on other features, as well as the price they're willing to pay. The $70 Arctis 3 is an analogue headset, the $75 Arctis 5 comes with a USB sound card and RGB lighting system, and the $130 Arctis 7 is wireless and sports a more luxurious design with a metal headband instead of a plastic one. The latter was in fact named "the best gaming headset of 2017" in our "Best of 2017" article.
Even though SteelSeries is well aware that they had produced a terrific line of gaming headsets, they didn't simply sit back with their hands crossed. On the contrary: as of today, the Arctis gaming headset family is officially growing by three new members. They're called the Arctis Pro, Arctis Pro + GameDAC and Arctis Pro Wireless. SteelSeries was kind enough to provide us with two of them about a week ahead of their official launch, and I used that time to extensively test the $250/€280 Arctis Pro + GameDAC. Worry not if wireless gaming headsets are what interests you the most—I will also fully test and review the $330/€350 Arctis Pro Wireless at a later date.
By looking at its name and the $250/€280 price tag, it's quite obvious that the Arctis Pro + GameDAC is meant for very demanding gamers, those who won't hesitate to pay a hefty sum of money if that gets them terrific sound and microphone performance, luxurious build quality, and exceptional wearing comfort. The design of both new Arctis Pro headsets is a direct copy of what we saw on the wireless Arctis 7. The "GameDAC" part of the name of this exact model is the SteeSeries way of telling us that the headset comes with a dedicated sound card it plugs into. The sound card is equipped with a very respectable ESS Sabre 9018Q2C DAC and works as a one-stop solution that, with a help of a built-in OLED display and two buttons used for navigation, lets us configure every possible aspect of the headset, its microphone, and the sound card itself. It works without any drivers and can be used for both the PC and PlayStation 4. The entire system is Hi-Res Audio certified, which means that the sound card can handle 24-bit/96 kHz audio files with the headset being capable of reproducing frequencies of up to 40 kHz.
- 40-mm dynamic drivers (neodymium magnet)
- 32 Ω impedance
- 20-40,000 Hz frequency response (specified by the manufacturer)
- DTS Headphone:X 2.0
- Closed-back, over-ear design
- Retractable bidirectional noise canceling microphone
- RGB lighting system
- Built-in volume dial and microphone mute button
- GameDAC (external sound card) with ESS Sabre 9018Q2C DAC and amplifier (109 dB SnR)
- OLED display for driverless configuration (EQ, ChatMix, equalizer, microphone monitoring, RGB effects)
- Headset input/output, line-out, optical out, AUX in
- Rubberized, detachable 1.5 m cable (headset to GameDAC)
- 1.55 m rubberized USB cable (GameDAC to PC/PS4)
- Mini-USB to 3.5-mm TRRS adapter (headset to mobile device)
- 1.85 m optical cable
- Microphone windscreen
- Weight: 349 g