The SteelSeries Arctis series of gaming headphones are known for their build quality, customization features, and sound quality. We review the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro premium gaming headphone and here are our thoughts about it.
The Arctis Nova Pro is designed to be a pro-level gaming headphone for PC, Mac, PlayStation, or Switch owners. The device features a premium construction as compared to the previous models that we have reviewed before and the headphone weighs about 298g. The outer earcup design is different from the likes of the SteelSeries Arctis 7P+ or the Arctis 9 Wireless headphones.
The outer portion of both the earcups features replaceable speaker plates and definitely looks and feels premium. The plates also include the SteelSeries insignia on each side. SteelSeries offers different colors of speaker plates if users feel the need to personalize the headphone. Another difference that we have seen between the Nova Pro and the 7P+/9 headphones is the material used on the ear cushions. While headphones such as the Arctis 7P+ and the Arctis 9 Wireless use athletics-inspired AirWeave fabric-based material, the Nova Pro features the Leatherette Arctis Nova ear cushions made of premium vegan leather.
Just as with other Arctis headphones, users will be able to adjust the tension of the elastic band under the main headband for a personalized fit. The elastic band features a gamer-centric design pattern. The height of the earcups can also be adjusted and the pivoting hangers and rotating design of the earcups are an added bonus for a comfortable wearing experience. This is crucial when gamers tend to move their heads around while the headphone stays fit. SteelSeries calls this entire setup as the ComfortMax System.
The ports and mic are located on the left earcup. The buttons include a smooth volume wheel, a dedicated microphone mute button, a 3.5mm audio jack, and the retractable ClearCast Gen 2 microphone. Speaking of microphones, unlike the previous Arctis headphones we had reviewed, the ClearCast Gen 2 microphone is fully hidden and blends in with the design of the headphone. The mic does not protrude outwards as seen on other Arctis \headphones.
The GameDAC Gen 2 which is included in the package, features a slanted design where the main control wheel and the display are facing the user while the device remains firm with the surface. There are two USB-C connections on the rear side, along with separate jacks for line-in/ line-out signals. The headphone jack is located on the left side of the device. We should also mention that the GameDAC Gen 2 uses an OLED screen.
The presence of two USB-C connections means gamers will be able to connect the DAC to two devices at once and switch between them at will with the press of a button. The multi-connect system is compatible with PC, Mac, PlayStation, or Switch consoles. That said, the contents of the headphone’s packaging include the Arctis Nova Pro headset, GameDAC Gen 2, a 1.2m 3.5mm to 3.5mm Audio Cable – 5 pole to 4 poles, two 1.5m USB-C to USB-A cables, two removable magnetic ear plates, a microphone pop filter, and product guides.
The Nova Pro is designed to offer premium levels of audio, thanks to its high-fidelity audio drivers. The device features 40mm Neodymium drivers that can handle a frequency response ranging between 10Hz and 40,000Hz. The sensitivity of the headphones is rated at 93 dBSPL and the impedance is 38 Ohm. SteelSeries also tuned the total harmonic distortion to less than 1 percent.
SteelSeries also mentions that the headphone is capable of 360° Spatial Audio that gives users an immersive audio-visual gaming experience and the headphone is fully compatible with audio technologies such as PS5’s Tempest 3D audio and Microsoft Spatial Sound. And with the help of the Sonar Audio Software Suite, the audio can be fined tuned to the level that sounds best for you. There is an EQ preset called the Parametric EQ that lets users customize critical elements of audio that happen in gaming and this includes vocals, walking, and the reloading of weapons.
Then comes the GameDAC Gen 2 where the audio signals from the games are boosted to help achieve 78% purity, thanks to the new ESS Sabre Quad-DAC. The resolution of the audio signals is increased to 96KHz/24-Bit with Hi-Res Audio certification. The frequency response ranges between 5Hz and 40,000Hz.
With the help of the dial, gamers will be able to configure the sound profiles in the 10-band equalizer mode and tune the bass and treble to their liking. The headphone’s ClearCast Gen 2 retractable microphone features broadcast-quality bidirectional characteristics that help to reduce noise by 25dB. And with the help of Sonar Software’s AI algorithms, the mic is capable of cutting out background noise such as the sound when you tap the keyboard, mashing the buttons, or the clicking sounds of your mouse. The frequency response of the mic is between 100Hz and 10,000 Hz, the sensitivity rated at -38 dBV/Pa, and the impedance at 2200 Ohm.
If you’re looking for a pro-grade gaming headphone that is compatible with multiple platforms, along with heavy customization options, then take a look a the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. The headphone features a premium construction with replaceable speaker plates and the Leatherette Arctis Nova ear cushions are made of premium vegan leather. The buttons and controls are located on the left earcup and the ClearCast Gen 2 retractable microphone blends with the chassis to stay perfectly hidden when not opened.
The adjustable and pivoting earcups, along with the elastic headband helps users to personalize their fitting style for a comfortable gaming experience. The GameDAC Gen 2 brings support for multi-device connectivity and with the press of a button, users will be able to switch between devices. The GameDAC Gen 2 also brings EQ customizations and enhances the audio quality. The headphone houses 40mm Neodymium audio drivers with 10–40,000 Hz as the frequency response and the ClearCast Gen 2 microphone is capable of cutting out background noise while gaming.