Preferred store
  1. Table of Contents
  2. Intro
  3. Design
    1. Style
    2. Comfort
    3. Controls
    4. Stability
    5. Portability
    6. Case
    7. Build Quality
    8. Breathability
    9. Cable
    10. Front
    11. Angled
    12. Side
    13. Rear
    14. Top
  4. Sound
    1. Bass
    2. Mid
    3. Treble
    4. Frequency Response Consistency
    5. Raw Frequency Response
    6. Soundstage
    7. Imaging
    8. Total Harmonic Distortion
  5. Isolation
    1. Noise Isolation
    2. Leakage
  6. Microphone
    1. Recording Quality
    2. Noise Handling
  7. Active Features
    1. Wireless Range
    2. Latency
    3. Battery
    4. App Support
  8. In the box
  9. Conclusion
  10. Q&A
Reviewed on Nov 28, 2017 , Marc Henney, Yannick Khong

SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless Gaming Headset
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.1
Show Help

Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.3 Mixed Usage
Show Help
What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.8 Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
6.8 Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
7.1 Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
7.2 Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
8.1 Home Theater
8.2 Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 are a versatile gaming headset, with a good sound and a great mic. They also have a long-lasting battery life, and a standard audio jack so that you can use them passively like casual headphones. Unfortunately, they're a bit bulky, and the headband frame is not adjustable so they may be a little tight for some listeners. They also won't be ideal to use in loud environments because they don't block a lot of noise.

Test Results
Design 7.2
Sound 7.8
Isolation 5.5
Microphone 8.4
Active Features 8.1
Pros
  • Versatile and durable design.
  • Low latency for gaming and home theater.
  • Good active features and app support.
  • Good audio and microphone reproduction.
Cons
  • Subpar noise isolation.
  • Slightly bulky.
  • Can be a bit tight for some listeners.

Check Price

7.2

Design

Show Help
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Design Picture

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a well-built and comfortable wireless design. They have breathable and well-padded ear cups that fit well around most ears. Their headband is comfortable with a unique, snow goggle elastic band that adjusts for different head shapes and sizes. However, the fit may be a bit tighter on some heads as the headband frame doesn't extend and isn't adjustable. They're also somewhat bulky and limited by their USB transmitter if you want to use them wirelessly. On the upside, they have a standard audio jack and a retractable mic, so they're a bit more versatile to use outdoors than some of the other gaming headsets we've reviewed.

Style
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Design Picture 2

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless Gaming Headset have a simple but polished design that looks good enough for gaming and casual use. They have a wide metal frame, with an elastic strap reminiscent of ski goggles, which helps adjust the fit of the headband. The mic conveniently retracts into the left ear cup, and the overall build quality of these headphones feels premium and durable. They are not the flashiest gaming headsets, but the understated look will work for most, especially if you want to use them outdoors. Also, you can always purchase a more colorful headband strap directly on their website if you want your headphones to stand out a bit more.

7.5 Comfort
Show Help
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.9 lbs
Clamping Force
Show Help
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
1.3 lbs

The Arctis 7 are comfortable gaming headphones that may feel slightly tight on some heads. The ear cups are large, spacious and coated with a breathable and soft padding material that feels nice on the skin. The headband is just a thin strip of elastic fabric threaded through the metal frame which adjusts to different head sizes. Unfortunately, the length of this fabric is limited, and the metal frame doesn't expand further than its original shape so they may feel a little tight for some listeners.

6.9 Controls
Show Help
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Controls Picture
Ease of use : Above-average
Feedback : Great
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : Adjustable
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through : N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The control scheme for the Arctis 7 is responsive and easy-to-use. They have two dials, to control the volume and microphone levels, and a dedicated button to completely disable the mic. It's not the most versatile of control schemes since it doesn't give you call/music, or a multi-function button that could work with mobile devices but that's not very common for gaming headphones.

7.5 Stability
Show Help
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Stability Picture

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a tight yet comfortable fit that prevents them from moving much once on your head. They're also wireless, so they won't get yanked off your ears because the audio cable got hooked on something. They're still quite bulky so they won't be ideal for more strenuous exercises, but thanks to their tight and decently stable fit, you can jog with them if you want to.

5.9 Portability
Show Help
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Portability Picture
L : 7.6 "
W : 7 "
H : 3.9 "
Volume : 207 Cu. Inches
Stand required : No

The Arctis 7 are not the most portable headphones. They have large ear cups, a rigid headband and do not fold into a more compact format to save space. Also, they have to be within the range of their USB transmitter, if you plan on using them wirelessly, so their portability is even more limited.

0 Case
Show Help
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

8.5 Build Quality
Show Help
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Build Quality Picture

The build quality of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is excellent. They're built with comfortable and sturdy materials that feel very durable. The ear cups are dense and well-made, the headband is a thin but wide metal frame, that's decently flexible, and the overall build feels sturdy enough to handle multiple drops without getting damaged. Even the mic feels well made. It's malleable and conveniently retracts into the left ear cup. This makes the Arctis 7 one of the best built gaming headphones that we've tested so far.

6.6 Breathability
Show Help
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Breathability Before Picture SteelSeries Arctis 7 Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5 C

Cable
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.2 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

Comes with 3 cables. A USB transmitter, a USB charging, and a 1/8 TRS adapter cable.

Front
Angled
Side
Rear
Top
7.8

Sound

Show Help
What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Frequency Response

The Steelseries Arctis 7 is a good sounding pair of closed-back over-ear gaming headsets. They have a very good and deep bass, a very good mid-range, and an excellent treble. However, their frequency response is prone to inconsistencies across users, their bass is slightly boomy, their mid range is a tad muddy, and they don't have a spacious soundstage.

8.4 Bass
Show Help
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Bass
Std. Err.
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.42 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
Show Help
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.9 dB
Mid-Bass
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.69 dB
High-Bass
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.6 dB

Very good bass range performance. LFE is extended down to 10Hz, which is excellent. Low-bass, which is responsible for thump and rumble is lacking by about 2dB. The 4dB bump between 100Hz and 250Hz will make the sound of these headphones slightly boomy.

8.5 Mid
Show Help
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Mid
Std. Err.
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.03 dB
Low-Mid
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.44 dB
Mid-Mid
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.91 dB
High-Mid
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.75 dB

Very good mid-range performance. Low-mid is overemphasized by more than 2dB, making mixes sound a bit cluttered and muddy. The rest of the response is very good and within 1dB of our target.

9.0 Treble
Show Help
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Treble
Std. Err.
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.23 dB
Low-Treble
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.57 dB
Mid-Treble
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.01 dB
High-Treble
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.41 dB

Excellent treble range performance for the SteelSeries Arctis 7. The response is mostly flat and quite consistent, even up to 18KHz. The narrow 5dB dip around 5KHz will have a small but negligible negative effect on detail and articulation of vocals/leads.

5.4 Frequency Response Consistency
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Consistency L SteelSeries Arctis 7 Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.27 dB

Sub-par consistency performance. In the bass range, the Steelseries Arctis 7 deliver bass quite consistently across our human subjects, with the exception of the one wearing glasses. We experienced a 6dB drop in bass at 20Hz. In the treble range, we measured more than 6dB of deviation in response at 2KHz, which is poor.

6.2 Soundstage
Show Help
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
PRTF Error
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of deviation in Pinna-Related Transfer Function of the headphones, compared to that of a loudspeaker. Whether the soundstage is perceived to be unnatural, located inside or in front of the head, is dependent on this quality. The more the headphones activate the HRTF resonances of the ear (similar to what loudspeakers do), the more the soundstage will be pulled out from inside the listener's head. This quality affects both stereo and mono content.
When it matters: When a natural, in-the-front soundstage is desired, similar to that of a loudspeaker.
Good value: <5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
6.03 dB
Openness
Show Help
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality affects both stereo and mono content. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score.
When it matters: When an open, wide and roomy sound is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
6.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
Show Help
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones takes some of the characteristic of its environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality affects both stereo and mono content. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: When an open, wide and roomy sound is desired.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
2.9
Correlated Crosstalk
Show Help
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

Mediocre soundstage performance. Due to the closed-back design, the Arctis 7 headphones won't have an open sounding and spacious soundstage, similar to loudspeakers would be able to create.

6.1 Imaging
Show Help
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Phase Response
Phase Error
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of deviation in the phase, from the ideal flat response.
When it matters: When an accurate and transparent imaging is desired.
Good value: <60°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
153.84 °
Driver Mismatch (Amplitude)
Show Help
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <0.3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.02 dB
Driver Mismatch (Frequency)
Show Help
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.31 dB
Driver Mismatch (Phase)
Show Help
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <90°
Noticeable difference: 30°
:
31.86 °

Mediocre imaging. Phase error is quite high, but most of it won't be audible to humans. We also measured about 32 degrees of phase mismatch between the L/R drivers of our test unit, which could skew the stereo image of the Steelseries Arctis 7 a bit.

8.4 Total Harmonic Distortion
Show Help
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.781
Weighted THD @ 100
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.495

Very good harmonic distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is quite low, regardless of the level and frequency. The only remarkable note is the very small rise in THD at 100Hz at 100dB SPL.

5.5

Isolation

Show Help
Score components:

The Steelseries Arctis 7 headphones have breathable pads which make them a bit more comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions. Unfortunately, this also means that they do not block a lot of noise. They create a good seal around your ears that prevent some high-frequency sounds from seeping into your audio but it won't be enough if there's a lot rumbling bass in your environment, like a subwoofer at a competition. On the upside, the good seal stops a decent amount of leakage so at moderate volumes they won't be distracting to those around you.

4.7 Noise Isolation
Show Help
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-13.3 dB
Bass
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0.61 dB
Mid
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-7.37 dB
Treble
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-33.64 dB
Self-Noise
Show Help
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
21.13 dB

Sub-par isolation. These gaming headsets don't have active noise cancelling and do not isolate in the bass range. In the mid-range they achieve an isolation of about 7dB, which is sub-par. In the treble range, however, they reduce ambient noise by more than 33dB which is good.

7.1 Leakage
Show Help
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
Show Help
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
39.21 dB

Average leakage performance. The significant portion of leakage sits between 400Hz and 2KHz which is a relatively broad range. However, the overall level of leakage is not very loud.

8.4

Microphone

Show Help
What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:

Very good microphone performance. Speech recorded with the microphone of the SteelSeries Artics 7 will sound full and comprehensible, but slightly bright and lacking airiness. However, in noisy environments they are able to reject ambient noise to a great degree, making them ideal for use in environments such as a metro station.

8.0 Recording Quality
Show Help
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
Show Help
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
Show Help
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
84.76 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
Show Help
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
3.89 dB
HFE
Show Help
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
6736.4 Hz
Weighted THD
Show Help
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
0.52
Gain
Show Help
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
23.6 dB

Good recording quality. LFE is extended down to 85dB, which is very good. This means voice recorded with the Arctis 7 will sound full. However, HFE is limited to 6.7KHz, resulting in a recorded speech that sounds relatively detailed and easily comprehensible, but lacking in airiness and brilliance. Also, the bump from 2KHz to 6KHz makes the sound of this microphone noticeably bright.

8.8 Noise Handling
Show Help
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis 7 SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
Show Help
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
40.56 dB

Excellent noise handling. The microphone of the Arctis 7 achieves a speech-to-noise ratio of 41dB, which is remarkable. This means they can separate speech from noise even in the most demanding environments.

8.1

Active Features

Show Help
What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The Steelseries Arctis 7 headphones have a good wireless range, a long-lasting battery life with a lot of power saving features, and low latency for gaming and watching movies. They perform as well as Bluetooth headphones indoors and in direct-line-of-sight but the 20ms latency means there will rarely be any sync issues when using them to game or watch videos wirelessly. Additionally, the SteelSeries Engine offers a lot of customization options in an easy-to-use software that makes the Arctis 7 convenient and highly personalizable.

7.8 Wireless Range
Show Help
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Score components:
Type
Show Help
What it is: The type and version of the wireless network, the headphones use to connect to the audio source. This could either be Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: The Bluetooth version will determine how compatible the headphones are with your Bluetooth enabled devices. Typically, newer Bluetooth versions are backward compatible with older ones but may lack the additional features that more recent Bluetooth protocols provide.
:
USB Transmitter
Obstructed Range
Show Help
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
36 ft
Line of Sight Range
Show Help
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
125 ft
NFC
Show Help
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
:
N/A

The Steelseries Arctis 7 have a good wireless range. They reached up to 36ft when the USB transmitter was obstructed by walls and in another room and up to 125ft in direct-line-of-sight. They will rarely drop any audio if you're gaming directly in front of your TV and perform about as well as most typical Bluetooth headphones.

9.8 Latency
Show Help
What it is: The latency is how long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Base Latency
Show Help
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
20 ms
aptX Latency
Show Help
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
Show Help
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

The Arctis 7 have only 20ms of latency which is suitable for gaming and watching movies.

7.9 Battery
Show Help
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Score components:
Battery Type
Show Help
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
Show Help
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
24 hrs
Charge Time
Show Help
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
3.5 hrs
Auto-off
Show Help
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
Yes
Audio while charging
Show Help
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
Yes
Passive Playback
Show Help
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
Yes

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 have a long battery life and good power saving options. They lasted about 24 hours on a single charge and took about 3.5 hours to charge fully. They also automatically switch off after being idle for more than 10 minutes and you can use them while they're charging so you will rarely run out of battery if you're at home and close to a power source. Furthermore, they can be used completely passively with the audio jack if ever the battery dies, which is great if you also plan on using the Arctis 7 as casual headphones.

8.0 App Support
Show Help
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
SteelSeries Arctis 7 App Picture
App Name : SteelSeries Engine
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : Yes
Windows : Yes
Equalizer
Show Help
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
Parametric + Presets
ANC control
Show Help
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Mic Control : Level
Room effects
Show Help
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
N/A
Playback control
Show Help
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
No
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound :

The SteelSeries engine is a pretty complete app that offers a lot of options for the Arctis 7. It provides a great parametric equalizer with presets and a compressor, DTS surround sound, live preview as well as volume control for the mic. You can save your configuration under the config tab so you can quickly switch between your different settings. It lacks some of the fancier auto-calibration features that some headsets have within their app support, but it's efficient, easy-to-use, and all the controls are under a single page, so you don't have to navigate between multiple tabs.

In the box

SteelSeries Arctis 7 In the box Picture

  • SteelSeries Arctis 7 Headphones
  • USB transmitter
  • USB Charging cable
  • Audio cable 
  • Manuals

Conclusion

7.3Mixed Usage
Show Help
What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
The Steelseries Arctis 7 are great gaming headphones with a few features that make them versatile enough for everyday use. They won't be the best for commuting or sports due to their low isolation and somewhat bulky design. However, their low latency and balanced sound is good for watching movies, gaming, and critical listening.
7.8Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Good for critical listening. They have a decently balanced audio reproduction with a pronounced bass range that doesn't overpower instruments and vocals. However, there is a dip in the high frequencies that results in a slight loss of clarity, especially for some lead instruments. Their frequency response also varies a bit from user to user and may lose a significant amount of bass if your glasses break the seal that the ear cups create around your ears.
6.8Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Decent for commuting. They have to be within the range of the USB transmitter if you want to use them wirelessly and they don't block a lot of noise. On the upside, they provide a regular aux cable, and you can use them passively unlike some of the other gaming headsets we've tested. The mic is also retractable, so if you don't mind the bulky design, they're a decent option for commuting.
7.1Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Above-average for sports. They're bulky but have breathable padding on their ear cups. You can also use them wired with mobile devices and they're decently stable thanks to their tight yet comfortable fit. However, they won't be the most practical for physical activities.
7.2Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Decent for office use. They have good customization options with the SteelSeries engine, and they're comfortable enough to wear for long hours. You can use them passively or while they're charging and they also do not leak as much as other gaming headsets. Unfortunately, they also do not block a lot of noise so you will hear the ambient chatter of a lively office.
Great for home theater use. They have very low latency, a good sound and a comfortable fit which makes them good for watching movies and videos.
The Steelseries Arctis 7 are great gaming headphones. They have very low latency which is essential for gaming, a good sound, and an excellent mic that filters a lot of noise. They have a useful and efficient software for Windows and MacOS that gives them a good amount of customization options. They won't be the most isolating headphones to use in loud environments but they perform well in all the important categories that matter for gaming.
Questions Found an error?

Let us know what is wrong in this question or in the answer.

Email:

Questions & Answers

2 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
1
Have you tried the Arctis 3 headset as well? They're cheaper and non portable for my gaming systems. Do they sound just as good as these?
We haven't reviewed the Arctis 3 yet, so can't comment on its sound quality, but we will add it to our suggestions list.
0
One thing to note is that all of the Arctis headphones use the exact same drivers, as indicated by the SteelSeries websites. If you do make reviews on the other headphones, the sound quality should either be extremely similar or the same.
Thanks for the information. I guess we'll see! But driver is not the only factor affecting sound quality, and enclosure design/type plays a big role too. So it is possible for the same driver to measure quite differently when housed differently.
Questions Have a question?

Before asking a question, make sure you use the search function of our website. The majority of the answers are already here.

Current estimated response time, based on # of pending questions: 3.2 business days.

:
:
A valid email is required. We answer most questions directly by email to prevent cluttering the site.