SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless gaming headset review: The Whole 9 Yards

SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless gaming headset review: The Whole 9 Yards

SteelSeries makes a few of the finest video gaming headsets on the marketplace today. The business’s unbelievable noise engineering and no-nonsense style have actually developed numerous, lots of top quality video gaming headsets with a vast array of functions and costs. Amongst them, the SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless sticks out for its unbelievable noise and a well-rounded function set that makes it especially appealing for gamers that divide their time in between numerous consoles or perhaps a PC. Its 2.4 GHz cordless connection just works with PCs and PlayStation consoles, the headset likewise works with the Nintendo Switch and phones by means of Bluetooth or with Xbox consoles by means of a 3.5 mm analog earphone jack. It isn’t inexpensive, however the Arctis 9 is a simple financial investment for gamers who desire something near to a one-size-fits-all video gaming audio service.

Dressed to the Nines.

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless is the very best balance of functions and rate amongst SteelSeries numerous Arctis headsets. Mike Epstein

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SteelSeries Arctis 9!? What took place to Arctis 1-8?

The “9” in SteelSeries Arctis 9 notes its station in the Arctis household, instead of the generation. SteelSeries in fact offers 7 various Arctis designs, a few of which function several variations. Technically, Arctis 9 is the second-highest sounded on the ladder, behind the a lot more pricey and feature-packed Arctis Pro.

For referral, here’s an abridged list of the active headset styles from SteelSeries’ Arctis series since fall 2021, noted from a lot of to least pricey:

  • Arctis Pro
  • Arctis 9
  • Arctis 7
  • Arctis Prime
  • Arctis 5
  • Arctis 3
  • Arctis 1

Some of these, consisting of the Arctis 9, are particularly wired or cordless headsets. Others, like the Arctis Pro and Arctis 1, have actually wired and cordless versions.

As the headset near the top of the food cycle, however not rather the peak predator, the Arctis 9 has the majority of the core includes you ‘d get out of a high-end video gaming headset, without a few of the most lavish high-ends. At $19999, it’s reasonably costly compared to other high-end video gaming headsets, which may lead you to anticipate some flashier functions, like those you ‘d discover on the Arctis Pro. The Arctis 9’s essentialist technique isn’t lacking unique functions, however, and the core components– its sound quality, its microphone, its commercial style– function little flourishes that show worthwhile of its greater cost.

SteelSeries Arctis 9: Design & Features

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 headset has a basic, traditional appearance that radiates quality. The complete metal and plastic frame is black, conserve for some white accent stripes on the flexible leading band. The cans are made from smooth, matte plastic. Its memory-foam ear cup cushioning is covered with SteelSeries’ proprietary “airweave” material, which is remarkably thin and creamy. I usually choose artificial leather ear cup cushioning, as it’s less scratchy, however the material does not just begin to feel irksome when you’re being in a hot space, which is much better than many.

The flexible “suspended” headband disperses the weight of the headset so it does not feel heavy. Mike Epstein

Weighing 13.30 ounces, the SteelSeries Arctis 9 is, honestly, quite heavy. To make up for that, it includes a self-adjusting suspended or “drifting” headband. Instead of cushioning the metal frame, the Arctis 9 functions a rubber band that extends when you put it on, distributing the weight throughout your head so you do not feel the pressure. In spite of its relative heft, the Arctis 9 does not begin to weigh your head down or otherwise seem like a concern throughout long gameplay sessions.

Onboard controls

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 cordless headet has a relatively basic choice of onboard controls and ports. Stacked on the back of the best ear cup, it includes a volume wheel, an XL mute button, Bluetooth combining button, power button, a micro-USB port for charging, and 3.5 mm earphone jack to make it possible for wired listening. On the left ear cup, there’s a 2nd wheel for changing the balance in between video game audio and chat.

Most of the Arctis 9’s onboard controls sit behind the best ear cup. Mike Epstein

One thing worth keeping in mind: The Arctis 9 supports wired listening through analog audio however does not featured a male-to-male 3.5 mm earphone cable television, which you’ll require to plug the headset into a controller. With the Arctis 9 billed as a cordless headset, it makes good sense that wired listening is a low top priority. Still, it would still be great if the headset came totally practical for each platform out of package.

Let’s discuss the microphone

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 appears like a standard headset microphone however drifts from the pack in lots of methods. The bidirectional noise-cancelling mic focuses on the noise of your voice over sound originating from other instructions. My voice quality in self-recorded microphone tests was extremely clear, with really little ambient sound coming through.

A closeup of the Arctis 9’s retractable noise-cancelling microphone. Mike Epstein

Like many video gaming headsets, the microphone is connected by means of an adjustable wire boom, which is successfully an extra-thick cable television. Where most headsets provide you the choice to eliminate the microphone, the Arctis 9’s is retractable, so you can press it back into the headset when you aren’t utilizing it. The distinction in between a retractable and removable boom appears unimportant, extending and pulling back the microphone is much faster than connecting and removing, and the capability to move the mic out of your face without taking it off minimizes the opportunities of you losing an additional part.

Battery life and cordless connection

Wireless connection is among the Arctis 9‘s numerous strengths. Its main cordless connection, a low-latency 2.4 GHz cordless signal, comes through a round USB dongle about the size of a Double Stuf Oreo. The headset includes different connection settings for PlayStation and PC, which you can toggle in between utilizing a turn on the dongle.

It likewise supports Bluetooth wireless, which unlocks to get in touch with the Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android gadgets. Just like the majority of gadgets, Bluetooth imparts an obvious quantity of audio lag, which can be sidetracking for video games that need exact timing and/or depend on audio hints. That stated, the Bluetooth connection is really steady, even in an environment with great deals of Bluetooth signals, so it’s usually helpful and steady for more casual play.

I didn’t have an Oreo on-hand for a contrast, however it’s what I believed finest explained the shapes and size of the Arctis 9’s USB dongle. Mike Epstein

Here’s where things get fascinating: The 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth cordless connection have different pairing procedures, which permits you to combine one gadget over Bluetooth and one gadget over 2.4 GHz cordless and listen to them at the same time. You can link your PS5 and a phone, permitting you to talk with good friends over Discord while you play a PS5 video game. (Or you can live the dream like me and listen to a podcast while you’re playing a video game in the exact same earphones.) This isn’t a special function however it is still fairly brand-new, and an extremely great touch for gamers who either wish to leap backward and forward in between console or PC and a phone, or who require a dual-audio service.

When you discuss cordless connection, you likewise need to discuss battery life. In the Arctis 9’s case, that’s an enjoyable discussion. According to SteelSeries, it ought to last through as much as 20 hours of gameplay on a single charge, which remains in line with the high-end of the market requirement. My screening discovered comparable outcomes, though you can anticipate somewhat less time when utilizing the 2.4 GHz cordless, versus Bluetooth.

SteelSeries Arctis 9: How’s it sound?

In my mind, the SteelSeries Arctis 9’s soundscape embodies the platonic perfect of how a video gaming headset need to sound. Video gaming headsets have actually long held a track record for typically excessively bass-heavy audio. The Arctis 9 does not try to overturn those expectations: It is bass-forward, for sure. It handles to accomplish deep bass while providing tidy, clear noise throughout its variety.

The Arctis 9 functions comfy memory foam cushioning covered in an “airweave” material. Mike Epstein

In both Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War on PC and the Call of Duty: Vanguard beta on PlayStation 5, the Arctis 9 produced deep, textured surges from grenades and rocket launchers, developing the roller-coaster-esque booms. The distinction in between the thud of a bullet’s effect and the sweet, high ping of it whooshing previous your head was really clear, and unique from other in-game noises.

For my part, strong audio separation is the quality that separates an excellent video gaming headset from a fantastic one. Games typically produce a great deal of untidy audio circumstances, where music is playing, however likewise somebody is talking, and perhaps some is likewise shooting a weapon or utilizing some sort of unique capability that makes a great deal of sound. The Arctis 9 can normally play all those various noises at the exact same time with no of them bleeding into each other.

Listening to podcasts and music, the experience is comparable. In Dua Lipa’s ” Love Again,” you can plainly hear and focus the various instruments that consist of the track. In ” Blue in Green” by Miles Davis, you can close your eyes and follow the drums playing gently in the background. Its clearness extends beyond making sure the main noise is clear and guaranteeing the little information are present.

What about surround noise?

In the tail-end of the last console generation, simulated 7.1 surround noise has actually ended up being a de facto requirement for premium headsets. At launch, the SteelSeries Arctis 9 had what I ‘d refer to as an imbalanced technique to surround noise, however the increase of the PS5 has actually remedied the problem, to a degree.

On PC, the Arctis 9 supports DTS: X 2.0, a software-enabled virtual surround sound service that replicates spatial audio. DTS: X produces clear, smooth surround noise, which is excellent, however it just deals with the Arctis 9 on Windows PCs, which isn’t so fantastic for gamers on PS4 and Mac. (Most software-based surround sound emulation that I’ve seen needs either a USB wired or 2.4 GHz cordless connection.)

For PS5 gamers, the concern is basically solved due to the fact that the brand-new console functions hardware-enabled “tempest” spatial audio. While the Arctis 9 is, in result, a PC-first item, the PS5 brings its own to compensate. In playing video games on PS5, I discovered that the Arctis 9 leveraged that innovation well, enabling you to hear all around, above, and listed below you with no obvious hit to sound quality.

So, who should purchase the Arctis 9?

Bottom line: The SteelSeries Arctis 9 is a terrific cordless video gaming headset. Mike Epstein

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless uses a few of the very best sound quality I’ve spoken with a headset with no type of “ultra-high-end” or audiophile branding. Lows, mids, and highs all can be found in crisp, clear, full-bodied, with no scratchy, fuzzy, destruction around the edges. While it is not a “best” multiplatform headset, it is among the very best choices that I’ve attempted to date. If you’re a PC- and/or PS5-first gamer who desires a cordless video gaming headset that will work, in some capability, on every console you’ve got, you ‘d be hard-pressed to discover a much better alternative, even for a highish $200

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