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HomeTechnologySteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro review: our new favourite gaming headset

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro review: our new favourite gaming headset

For a long time, the SteelSeries Arctis headset line has been at the top of the recommended list of gaming headsets. They are easy and popular choices. Comfortable and great sound, available in a variety of formats to suit all types of platforms, connection types and budgets. But five years after the first Arctis headset was announced, the overall formula hasn’t changed much. So I need something new. That is Arctis Nova Pro. This is a timely redesign that shows the most substantial evolution in its history while regaining the strength of the line.

The £ 250 / $ 250 Arctis Nova Pro and the £ 330 / $ 350 Arctis Nova Pro Wireless are high-spec, feature-rich, all-platform headsets that focus on what I believe are the most meaningful changes and additions. .. These include a more comfortable and adjustable design, an improved dual input base station, better sound, plus active noise canceling and a convenient dual battery system for Nova Pro Wireless models.

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

Which headset is which? Wireless has additional microphones and additional buttons, but they look the same at first glance.

First, let’s take a look at the design of NovaPro. The look is very reminiscent of the previous Arctis model and features a fabric suspension headband, but SteelSeries audio tour Brian Fallon says the principles are pretty similar, but redesigned from scratch. The high density plastic frame has a different shape and is adjustable to provide a tight seal around your ears. One of the few complaints leveled out in the original design was that for some people it was difficult to achieve a seal and the sound could be unstable.

The athletic fabric used for earpads in the previous lineup has also been changed to leatherette for the same reason, but given the option, it sacrifices a bit of sound quality for a cooler, more eyeglass-friendly velor. .. The headband has three fit “settings” to accommodate a wider range of skulls, and the earcups fold flat to allow you to ride comfortably on your shoulders.

Besides comfort, there are other adjustments such as a circular metal disc that hides the interchangeable battery and USB-C charging port of the wireless model, and a microphone that is fully stowed to be flush with the headset. .. The whole assembly feels incredibly robust and premium. This is not right next to the gaming platform of your choice, but towards the overall design goal of producing meaningful headsets in the world.

Active noise canceling on wireless models can be summarized in the larger theme of “lifestyle” compatibility. This makes Nova Pro much more convenient when you are farther away from the video gaming system than previous models. Like the Arctis 9X, Nova Pro Wireless supports both 2.4GHz wireless over the base station (for low latency scenarios such as games) and direct Bluetooth (for wider device compatibility and on-the-go use). increase. Both wireless schemes can be used independently with separate controls and can be used in combination, such as when you want to chat with someone on the phone while the console is playing.

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

The wireless model comes with two batteries, one can be charged at the base station while the other can be used. You can also charge via USB-C. This is great for vacations, but it looks a bit tricky.

I tested ANPW on a few flights and found that ANC was good at getting rid of deeper, dull sounds, but had a hard time drowning out closer conversations and engine barks. I also angle There was a big difference in my mind-lying down was the most effective, and for ANC, leaning forward made the engine significantly larger. Still, enabling it made a positive difference, with a stable life of about 20 hours per battery-the port is in the center of the left earcup, so recharging with USB-C is a bit strange. Even if you can see it, it gives the headset a mild Apple Magic Mouse atmosphere.

The only big problem I encountered was the lack of a mobile app when using the headset alone in Bluetooth mode, as there is no way to adjust the settings on the go. For now, I need to connect the headset to the base station and change the EQ, side tones, etc., which isn’t very useful on holidays. At least ANPW comes with a soft case, which makes it a little less nervous to put in a bag.

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

Both models have two USB-C inputs, making it easy to use Nova Pro with two consoles or consoles and a PC. Plus: screen, large control dial, dual 3.5mm for line input / output … but no optical audio.

Mobile usage has improved significantly, but Nova Pro and Nova Pro Wireless are still at their best at home, thanks to the base stations that come with each unit. The wired model includes a powerful Sabrequad-DAC, which significantly improves sound quality compared to using a headset over a 3.5mm cable. Wireless base stations, on the other hand, charge a second battery while delivering reliable 2.4GHz wireless to an astonishing range. In normal use, you don’t have to wait for the headset to recharge. It takes 30 minutes to replace the battery. If you insert a new battery immediately, it will automatically turn on and you will not have to press a button.

For wired and wireless models, change the sound profile via presets and custom EQs, adjust the game / chat mix (on PC / Xbox), and switch between the two USB-C inputs running on your PC or game console. I can. Of choice. The base station is smart enough to switch to another input if it detects that the current input has been turned off (for example, if the console has been turned off), but if it uses sleep mode, it will do it itself. Need to be changed in. Thankfully, the large knobs and small circular buttons are comfortable enough to operate quickly. The base station is just right to put on your desk, with a relatively high refresh rate display that reflects the current sound level of each channel, the set volume, the active input, and the battery level of both batteries. It’s a good kit. (When I shot the base station, I noticed that these displays weren’t flickering. It doesn’t matter what I see occasionally!)

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

The base station flickers before you know it, but it’s packed with useful information and controls, including custom EQ.

I haven’t talked about sound quality yet, but I’m probably doing my best to the end. The wired model offers perhaps the best sound I’ve experienced for years outside of a planar magnetic headset, and has the same overall sound signature as the previous Arctis model. It’s relatively neutral, with plenty of width and detail, but an overall bright atmosphere. Even an album that I’ve listened to hundreds of times, like London Calling, picked up instruments and background vocals that I hadn’t noticed before. This is certainly a special headset feature.

The Nova Pro Wireless is a bit more normal in that regard, but it’s still one of the best-sounding wireless headsets I’ve used. If you’re not a fan of your default mix, it only takes a few seconds to change to a V-shaped or heavy bass on your base station. You can also create more with the Sonar feature built into the SteelSeries engine software. Detailed Parametric EQ-Ultimately it can be shared with other users and may be optimal for crowdsourcing EQ for a particular game. It also provides simulated 7.1 surround sound-SteelSeries calls it “360 ° Spatial Audio” -the headset is also compatible with a variety of 3D audio solutions available on PS5, Xbox, and Windows. Personally, I like simple stereos with in-game HRTFs, but you do!

Sonar software offers several powerful EQ options and is worth enabling early access “Clearcast” AI noise canceling (both inbound and outbound chat).

Finally, the quality of the microphone. As always, the wired version outperforms the wireless version, and you’ll need to bring the drawer microphone in front of your mouth for good results. It looks neat, but of course it sounds far away. Thankfully, it stays in place and sounds reasonable-not the best, but not the worst, I’ve tried. There is also AI noise canceling available via the Windows GG app. This makes the microphone much better in loud environments. It was okay to use the microphone for phone conferences and Counter-Strike sessions without running the software, but I chose the right USB or XLR microphone for things like streaming and VO recording.

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

steelseries arctis nova pro and nova pro wireless gaming headsets and their base stations

Especially on PCs with SteelSeries AI noise canceling enabled, the quality of the microphone is stable enough.

That means a lifestyle-focused fit with a comfortable fit for more people, a better base station with dual inputs, a rugged build, USB-C charging, and a wireless model ANC. It’s all pretty impressive, but of course it costs money-Arctis Nova Pro and Arctis Nova Pro Wireless are considerably more expensive than Arctis Pro and Arctis Pro Wireless (currently significantly discounted). In general, that price increase is reflected in better builds and added features, but if you don’t need these improvements (if you need a comfortable headset for one PC or console at a time). Earlier models have better values. However, the PS5, Xbox Series, and Nintendo Switch consoles are all cheaper (or at least easily available), so you can really enjoy all the new features and there’s a market where you can use NovaPro headsets. think. Recognize.

If you can take it out to the world without the need for a headset, the wired Arctis Nova Pro will sound better and cost less than its wireless counterpart. Works without a gaming headset that looks magical in posts. However, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless feels like the ultimate form of new design. It’s a true do-it-yourself headset that performs truly well against the best headsets in multiple categories. Its ANC isn’t at the highest level of Bose or Sony, but it’s also a gaming headset that’s dramatically better than those manufactured by these companies. For things like the Razer and Corsair, the Nova Pro model is impressive, even if the competition is a bit more fierce.

Going back to the basic approach worked really well with SteelSeries here. We hope that some of these design improvements will be filtered to more affordable headsets. Not everyone can drop £ 250 on a gaming headset, but hopefully for a treat.

Disclosure: SteelSeries paid for flights and accommodation to confirm the Arctis NovaPro headset prior to launch.

Want to know about these headsets and how they work? Please hit me with the comments below. Stick to answering questions for at least a few days!

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