SteelSeries Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi evaluation: A latest commonplace

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi

MSRP $350.00

“ANC, top-shelf audio high quality, and expansive software program are only the beginning of what the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi has to supply.”

Professionals

  • High-tier audio high quality
  • Expansive Sonar software program
  • Excessive-quality ANC
  • Snug match with a number of adjustment factors
  • Absolutely retractable microphone
  • Twin USB inputs

Cons

  • GameDAC would not totally combine with Sonar
  • Microphone is vulnerable to choose up noise
  • Spatial audio can have nasty interactions with EQ

SteelSeries makes the most effective gaming headset you may purchase, so I used to be shocked when the corporate informed me a few pair that might revolutionize even the highest canine: the Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi headset. The Arctis Professional Wi-fi didn’t want an replace, however SteelSeries did one anyway. And I’m glad it did.

With a shocking redesign, glorious software program help, excellent connectivity choices, and sound high quality solely worthy of a flagship SteelSeries headset, the Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi units a latest commonplace. SteelSeries got down to beat itself with the Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi, and it succeeded.

Design

Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro headset sitting on a stand.Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

Design is the most important factor that separates the Nova Professional from the common Arctis Professional. Corsair, Razer, and a number of different headset distributors have tried to make a headset which you could use in entrance of your monitor and whilst you’re round city. However the Arctis Nova Professional is the primary pair to get that steadiness proper.

For starters, you may retract the microphone all the way in which again into the earcup, reworking them into a traditional headset, not a gaming headset masquerading. SteelSeries doesn’t embody RGB on the headset, both, as an alternative going with a brushed aluminum end on the earcups that appears unbelievable. Substitute the SteelSeries brand with a Bose or Sony brand, and you possibly can persuade me the Arctis Nova Professionals got here from considered one of these manufacturers.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro mic retracted into earcup.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro microphone extended.

The Arctis Nova Professional is constructed like a premium headset, too. The plastic building doesn’t even trace at flimsiness, and your complete shell is supported by a chunky aluminum headband. That makes the Arctis Nova Professional a bit heavier than different gaming headsets, however fortunately that doesn’t get in the way in which of consolation.

I actually have one minor concern with the design: the position of the USB-C port. SteelSeries clearly intends so that you can use the hot-swappable battery as an alternative of charging with a wire, however that ignores once you’re utilizing the headset aside from your PC. The USB-C is below a magnetic plate on the left earcup, forcing the cable to stay straight out for wired charging. This is unquestionably an Apple Magic Mouse-type charging scenario.

Usually, although, you’ll simply be swapping the battery out. SteelSeries consists of two, considered one of which expenses within the GameDAC continually. Battery life isn’t very lengthy, a lot decrease than the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wi-fi, however you’ll hardly ever have a lifeless headset with two batteries at your disposal.

USB cable sticking out of the Arctis Nova Pro headset.Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

The headset is barely half of the bundle: you furthermore mght get the redesigned GameDAC. I just like the bigger base, and getting across the GameDAC is simply as simple with a big quantity wheel and a single again button. The massive change is that the GameDAC comes with two USB outputs now, permitting you to swap between a console and PC or two consoles with a single press.

SteelSeries GameDAC 2 sitting on a desk.Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

Even higher, the 2 inputs can nonetheless run to the three.5mm output on the GameDAC. For the wi-fi model, meaning I used to be in a position to change between the headset and my AudioEngine A2+ audio system routinely, in addition to bounce between my PS5 and PC with out touching a single cable. I’m shocked we haven’t seen a design like this earlier than since it’s rattling helpful.

Consolation

I may use the Arctis Nova Professional as an on a regular basis headset, and lots of that comes right down to the consolation. The leatherette earcups are extraordinarily mushy and plump, and the clamping drive isn’t almost as sturdy because the Arctis Wi-fi Professional. SteelSeries actually honed in on making its flagship headset as snug as doable, and it exhibits.

Adjustable headband on the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro headset.Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

As common, the suspended headband does lots of the heavy lifting. SteelSeries took a unique method this time round with adjustable factors for the scarf. When mixed with impartial top adjustment for every of the earcups, the Arctis Nova Professionals is probably the most versatile headset SteelSeries has to supply.

I’d take a while to regulate them, although. I finally arrived on a snug match, however the drivers press towards the material contained in the earcups, which irritated the highest of my ears once I first began utilizing the headset.

Sound high quality

Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro headset sitting on a stand.Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

I’ve used half a dozen SteelSeries headsets, and so they at all times sound unbelievable in video games. The Arctis Nova Professional isn’t any totally different. From Future 2 to Elden Ring to Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, the headset was dynamic and energetic throughout the frequency spectrum. A part of it’s the GameDAC, however SteelSeries headsets are tuned completely themselves — every little thing sounds pure.

The digital encompass sound works effectively in video games, however as I’ll get to in a second, it feels extra at residence in films. The massive plus for gaming is the lively noise cancellation and twin inputs. ANC works shockingly effectively. It’s not on the extent of Sony or Bose, but it surely’s shut.

For twin connections, 2.4GHz and Bluetooth is a deal with. Just like the earlier Arctis Wi-fi Professional, you may have each connections lively at the identical time, which is especially helpful for a console if you would like to entry Discord or Spotify with out an AirPod protruding of 1 ear.

Controls on the SteelSeries Acris Nova Pro headset.Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

I used to be shocked at how effectively films and music held up on the Arctis Nova Professional. SteelSeries clearly had them in thoughts when tuning the headset. For music, I listened by Smino’s blkswn, Spiritbox’s Everlasting Blue, and Tigran Hamasyan’s The Name Inside to solid as huge of a internet as doable, and so they all sounded unbelievable.

The Arctis Nova Professional has a presence within the mids, which is tough to search out in gaming headsets. Take the Corsair Virtuoso Wi-fi XT, which equally goal a gaming/way of life steadiness like this SteelSeries headset. The tone response has a number of cuts within the midrange to extend readability in video games, which makes the midrange heat essential for music to really feel prefer it’s misplaced.

Not the Arctis Nova Professional. I wouldn’t have any points taking them instead of my Sony WH-1000XM4s on a visit. Music is one half, however the Arctis Novas deal with films effectively, too. The encompass sound and parametric EQ actually get a likelihood to shine in films. For the primary time ever with a gaming headset, I’m snug saying the Arctis Nova Professionals present a theater-like expertise with bombastic sub-bass, glorious positioning, and huge dynamic vary.

My solely quibble is the microphone. The standard is tremendous, but it surely’s vulnerable to choose up noise. That’s particularly obvious with a noise gate turned on, the place the mic appears to choose up peripheral sound at random. Fortunately, the noise suppression in apps like Discord handles the noise a bit higher.

Software program

Steelseries Sonar software in the mixer view.

I’ve by no means been an enormous fan of SteelSeries GG — learn my SteelSeries Prime Wi-fi Mini evaluation for extra on that — however Sonar breaths latest life into this utility. It unlocks a latest stage of customization on the earth of gaming headsets, primarily on the again of its 10-band parametric EQ.

EQ isn’t something latest, however parametric EQs are a latest frontier. You possibly can drag the bands to any frequency you would like and regulate the Q (slope of the EQ curve) to hone in on the realm you would like to regulate. Sonar has a number of filters for every band (excessive go, low shelf, and many others.) for additional sculpting choices. You only don’t get this stage of customization with most headsets, not to mention gaming headsets.

The EQ presets are glorious, too. SteelSeries has a number of profiles for in style video games that regulate the curve to focus on totally different components — footsteps, gunshots, and the like. Sonar even has visible guides for in style video games like Rainbow Six Siege and Fortnite that present you the frequency areas the place important sound results stay (just like the revive sound in Name of Responsibility: Warzone).

EQ settings in the Steelseries Sonar software.

It’s a stage of freedom most gaming headsets don’t include, and consequently, most players are accustomed to. Sonar provides you close to limitless choices to form the sound, however that ends in some nasty interactions with the encompass sound. The excellent news is which you could save your individual presets in Sonar so yow will discover one thing you want and stick to it.

Exterior of the EQ, Sonar features a mixer that provides you management over ranges and routing. You possibly can route recreation and chat audio to totally different gadgets, and you may regulate the steadiness between them or the volumes independently. Even higher, you have got entry to the identical choices for chat audio as you do along with your personal microphone (helpful for including a noise gate to that good friend who loves making an excessive amount of background noise).

I want that SteelSeries took Sonar under consideration with the GameDAC, although. Because it stands now, you may’t entry the mixer you see in Sonar. You possibly can regulate the EQ and quantity ranges, however the unique GameDAC allowed you to regulate the steadiness on the house display screen, and I might’ve appreciated to see that stage of integration with the {hardware} right here.

Our take

Even though it has just a few minor points, it’s arduous to disregard the immense bundle the Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi is. ANC, top-notch sound high quality, and all-day consolation are only the beginning of what the headset has to supply, simply making it the most effective gaming headset you may purchase in 2022.

Are there any options?

Sure. SteelSeries’ personal Arctis Professional Wi-fi continues to be accessible, although it’s a strict downgrade from the Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi. The Astro A50 is one other premium headset on this vary, and it’s $50 cheaper. Nonetheless, it lacks ANC and it’s not constructed for on a regular basis use just like the Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi is.

How lengthy will it final?

I’ve owned a number of SteelSeries headsets over the previous couple of years, and I’ve but to interchange one. It’s best to get a few years of use out of the Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi. SteelSeries usually sells alternative components and improve kits for its flagship headsets, too, so the Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi shouldn’t be any totally different.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi is a latest commonplace for gaming headsets, and it’s the go-to choice within the premium gaming headset house.

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