SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless gaming headset overview: The Complete 9 Yards

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SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless gaming headset overview: The Complete 9 Yards
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SteelSeries makes about a of the finest gaming headsets in the marketplace appropriate now. The firm’s wonderful sound engineering and no-nonsense plot dangle created many, many excessive-quality gaming headsets with a gargantuan sequence of parts and costs. Amongst them, the SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless stands out for its wonderful sound and a effectively-rounded characteristic set up that makes it particularly magnificent for gamers that smash up their time between plenty of consoles or perhaps a PC. Though its 2.4GHz wi-fi connection finest works with PCs and PlayStation consoles, the headset additionally works with the Nintendo Swap and telephones thru Bluetooth or with Xbox consoles thru a 3.5mm analog headphone jack. It isn’t low-price, however the Arctis 9 is an straightforward investment for gamers who desire one thing finish to a one-size-suits-all gaming audio solution.

SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless Gaming Headset

Dressed to the Nines

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless is the finest balance of parts and price among SteelSeries many Arctis headsets. Mike Epstein

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SteelSeries Arctis 9!? What took set up to Arctis 1-8?

The “9” in SteelSeries Arctis 9 notes its station in the Arctis family, instead of the technology. SteelSeries in actuality sells seven various Arctis items, about a of which characteristic plenty of variants. Technically, Arctis 9 is the 2d-absolute top rung on the ladder, in the reduction of the great extra costly and characteristic-packed Arctis Professional.

For reference, right here’s an abridged checklist of the absorbing headset designs from SteelSeries’ Arctis series as of descend 2021, listed from most to most price-effective:

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

These forms of, including the Arctis 9, are namely wired or wi-fi headsets. Others, fancy the Arctis Professional and Arctis 1, dangle wired and wi-fi variants.

Because the headset come the tip of the meals chain, however no longer rather the apex predator, the Arctis 9 has lots of the core parts you’d predict from a excessive-cease gaming headset, with out about a of essentially the most extravagant luxuries. At $199.99, it’s comparatively costly as compared with various excessive-cease gaming headsets, which might per chance most probably well most probably lead on you to predict some flashier parts, fancy these you’d accumulate on the Arctis Professional. The Arctis 9’s essentialist system isn’t devoid of particular parts, though, and the core system—its sound quality, its microphone, its industrial plot—characteristic miniature prospers that expose noteworthy of its better stamp.

SteelSeries Arctis 9: Originate & Aspects

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 headset has a straightforward, traditional label that exudes quality. The elephantine steel and plastic physique is gloomy, do for some white accent stripes on the elastic high band. The cans are fabricated from tender, matte plastic. Its reminiscence-foam ear cup padding is lined with SteelSeries’ proprietary “airweave” cloth, which is surprisingly thin and velvety. I usually fetch finish synthetic leather ear cup padding, as it’s much less scratchy, however the fabric doesn’t finest open to in actuality feel irksome in case you’re sitting in a sizzling room, which is better than most.

SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless Gaming Headset
The elastic “suspended” headscarf distributes the weight of the headset so it doesn’t in actuality feel heavy. Mike Epstein

Weighing 13.30 oz., the SteelSeries Arctis 9 is, frankly, aesthetic heavy. To atone for that, it parts a self-adjusting suspended or “floating” headscarf. Reasonably than cushioning the steel physique, the Arctis 9 parts an elastic band that stretches in case you set it on, dispersing the weight across your head so you don’t in actuality feel the tension. In spite of its relative heft, the Arctis 9 doesn’t open to weigh your head down or in another case in actuality feel fancy a burden all the map thru prolonged gameplay courses.

Onboard controls

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 wi-fi headet has a pretty frequent sequence of onboard controls and ports. Stacked on the reduction of the suitable ear cup, it parts a quantity wheel, an XL still button, Bluetooth pairing button, energy button, a micro-USB port for charging, and 3.5mm headphone jack to enable wired listening. On the left ear cup, there’s a 2d wheel for adjusting the balance between game audio and chat.

SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless gaming headset
Loads of the Arctis 9’s onboard controls sit down in the reduction of the suitable ear cup. Mike Epstein

One thing price noting: The Arctis 9 helps wired listening thru analog audio however doesn’t reach with a male-to-male 3.5mm headphone cable, which you’ll wish to hunch the headset staunch into a controller. With the Arctis 9 billed as a wi-fi headset, it makes sense that wired listening is a low priority. Serene, it will composed be good if the headset came fully handy for every platform out of the box.

Let’s direct about the microphone

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 looks fancy a historical headset microphone however veers from the pack in lots of programs. The bidirectional noise-cancelling mic prioritizes the sound of your yelp over sound coming from various directions. My yelp quality in self-recorded microphone tests used to be very obvious, with very little ambient noise coming thru.

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

Fancy most gaming headsets, the microphone is attached thru an adjustable wire enhance, which is effectively an further-thick cable. Where most headsets give you the answer to purchase away the microphone, the Arctis 9’s is retractable, so you will most probably be in a situation to push it reduction into the headset in case you aren’t utilizing it. Though the incompatibility between a retractable and removable enhance seems insignificant, extending and retracting the microphone is sooner than attaching and detaching, and the ability to hotfoot the mic out of your face with out taking it off reduces the potentialities of you shedding an further share.

Battery life and wi-fi connectivity

Wireless connectivity is believed to be one of many Arctis 9’s many solid suits. Its necessary wi-fi connection, a low-latency 2.4GHz wi-fi signal, comes thru a round USB dongle about the scale of a Double Stuf Oreo. The headset parts separate connection settings for PlayStation and PC, which you will most probably be in a situation to toggle between utilizing a swap on the dongle.

It additionally helps Bluetooth wi-fi, which opens the door to join with the Nintendo Swap, iOS, and Android devices. As with most devices, Bluetooth imparts a noticeable amount of audio hunch, which is prepared to be distracting for games that require proper timing and/or rely on audio cues. That stated, the Bluetooth connection is awfully actual, even in an environment with tons of Bluetooth signals, so it’s usually helpful and actual for further informal play.

Arctis 9's USB dongle
I didn’t dangle an Oreo on-hand for a comparability, nonetheless it’s what I believed finest described the scale and form of the Arctis 9’s USB dongle. Mike Epstein

Here’s where things earn keen: The 2.4GHz and Bluetooth wi-fi connection dangle separate pairing processes, which allows you to pair one plot over Bluetooth and one plot over 2.4GHz wi-fi and hear to them simultaneously. It is probably you’ll most probably well most probably join your PS5 and a cellular phone, allowing you to chat with friends over Discord whereas you play a PS5 game. (Otherwise you will most probably be in a situation to are living the dream fancy me and hear to a podcast whereas you’re taking part in a game in the identical headphones.) This isn’t a queer characteristic nonetheless it is composed comparatively new, and a extremely good touch for gamers who both wish to bounce reduction and forth between console or PC and a cellular phone, or who need a twin-audio solution.

While you direct about wi-fi connectivity, you additionally dangle to chat about battery life. Within the Arctis 9’s case, that’s a relaxing conversation. Basically based fully on SteelSeries, it’ll composed closing thru as much as 20 hours of gameplay on a single fee, which is in step with the excessive-cease of the commerce frequent. My checking out stumbled on identical results, though you will most probably be in a situation to predict reasonably much less time when utilizing the two.4GHz wi-fi, versus Bluetooth.

SteelSeries Arctis 9: How’s it sound?

In my tips, the SteelSeries Arctis 9’s soundscape embodies the platonic finest of how a gaming headset might per chance most probably well composed sound. Gaming headsets dangle prolonged held a reputation for usually overly bass-heavy audio. The Arctis 9 doesn’t strive to subvert these expectations: It is bass-forward, for obvious. Nonetheless, it manages to enact deep bass whereas delivering clean, obvious sound across its range. 

Arctis 9's memory foam padding
The Arctis 9 parts chuffed reminiscence foam padding lined in an “airweave” cloth. Mike Epstein

In both Call of Accountability: Gloomy Ops Chilly Struggle on PC and the Call of Accountability: Main edge beta on PlayStation 5, the Arctis 9 produced deep, textured explosions from grenades and rocket launchers, developing the roller-coaster-esque booms. The incompatibility between the thud of a bullet’s affect and the sweet, excessive ping of it whizzing past your head used to be very obvious, and sure from various in-game sounds.

In my glimpse, solid audio separation is the standard that separates a correct gaming headset from a gargantuan one. Games usually perform plenty of messy audio eventualities, where tune is taking part in, however additionally someone is talking, and per chance some is additionally taking pictures a gun or utilizing some sort of particular ability that makes plenty of noise. The Arctis 9 can usually play all these various sounds at the identical time with out any of them bleeding into every various.

Paying consideration to podcasts and tune, the feeling is identical. In Dua Lipa’s “Fancy All over again,” you will most probably be in a situation to clearly hear and focal point the many devices that comprise the notice. In “Blue in Inexperienced” by Miles Davis, you will most probably be in a situation to finish your eyes and practice the drums taking part in softly in the background. Its clarity extends past making obvious the principle sound is legible and making certain the little info are demonstrate as effectively.

What about surround sound?

Within the tail-cease of the closing console technology, simulated 7.1 surround sound has develop into a de facto frequent for prime class headsets. At open, the SteelSeries Arctis 9 had what I’d record as an imbalanced system to surround sound, however the upward push of the PS5 has corrected the whisper, to a level.

On PC, the Arctis 9 helps DTS:X 2.0, a tool-enabled virtual surround sound solution that simulates spatial audio. DTS:X produces obvious, tender surround sound, which is gargantuan, nonetheless it finest works with the Arctis 9 on Windows PCs, which isn’t so gargantuan for gamers on PS4 and Mac. (Most tool-based fully mostly surround sound emulation that I’ve seen requires both a USB wired or 2.4GHz wi-fi connection.)

For PS5 gamers, the whisper is sort of resolved since the brand new console parts hardware-enabled “tempest” spatial audio. So whereas the Arctis 9 is, in fabricate, a PC-first product, the PS5 brings its dangle to compensate. In taking part in games on PS5, I stumbled on that the Arctis 9 leveraged that technology effectively, allowing you to listen to all round, above, and under you with out any noticeable hit to sound quality.

So, who might per chance most probably well composed bewitch the Arctis 9?

SteelSeries Arctis 9
Backside line: The SteelSeries Arctis 9 is a gargantuan wi-fi gaming headset. Mike Epstein

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless affords about a of the finest sound quality I’ve heard from a headset with out any sort of “extremely-excessive-cease” or audiophile branding. Lows, mids, and highs all reach in crisp, obvious, elephantine-bodied, with out any scratchy, fuzzy, degradation round the sides. Whereas it will not be a “finest” multiplatform headset, it is believed to be one of many finest options that I’ve tried so some distance. While you’re a PC- and/or PS5-first participant who wants a wi-fi gaming headset that will work, in some capability, on every console you’ve got, you’d be laborious-pressed to construct up a better option, even for a highish $200.

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