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We've recently released our Test Bench 1.6 update for Headphones! Read the Latency R&D Article to learn more.

SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.6
Review updated Nov 11, 2020 at 02:05 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 26, 2024 at 01:48 pm
SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless Picture
7.8
Neutral Sound
6.5
Commute/Travel
7.0
Sports/Fitness
7.1
Office
7.5
Wireless Gaming
7.7
Wired Gaming
7.5
Phone Calls

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are wireless gaming headphones that are compatible with Xbox One consoles. These comfortable over-ears have a neutral sound profile and a long 28-hour continuous battery life. However, their audio delivery isn't very consistent across different users. However, the SteelSeries Engine companion software offers lots of gaming-oriented customization features, which is convenient. Unfortunately, some users have reported that their unit disconnects from their console when using Xbox Wireless. They have also reported that their audio sounds clicky, muffled, or stutters. You can read more about these issues in our Sound Profile and Wireless Connection (Dongle) tests. There have been user reports of their units' hinges breaking over a short amount of time, and you can read more in our Build Quality section.

Our Verdict

7.8 Neutral Sound

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are satisfactory for neutral sound. They have a neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for lots of types of audio content, though they're lacking a bit of low-bass. You can even customize their sound using a graphic EQ and presets. However, their audio delivery isn't very consistent across different users.

Pros
  • Comfortable design.
  • Graphic EQ plus presets available via companion software.
Cons
  • May fit tightly on some users.
  • Inconsistent bass and treble delivery.
6.5 Commute/Travel

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are fair for commute and travel. They can be comfortably worn for long periods of time without a lot of fatigue, and their 28-hour continuous battery life can get you through long international flights. Unfortunately, their bulky design isn't very portable, and they don't really block out the sound of bus or plane engines.

Pros
  • Comfortable design.
  • 28-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • May fit tightly on some users.
  • Poor noise isolation.
7.0 Sports/Fitness

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are decent for sports and fitness. These headphones are comfortable and stable, but they aren't intended for use in a sports setting due to their bulky design that doesn't let your ears breathe.

Pros
  • Comfortable design.
Cons
  • May fit tightly on some users.
7.1 Office

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are adequate for office use. These comfortable headphones have a long 28-hour continuous battery life that can easily get you through your day. They don't leak a lot of noise, either. However, they struggle to isolate against background noise typically found in an office, like chatter from nearby coworkers.

Pros
  • Comfortable design.
  • 28-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • May fit tightly on some users.
  • Poor noise isolation.
7.5 Wireless Gaming

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are good for wireless gaming. They're comfortable enough to wear for long gaming sessions and are wirelessly compatible with Xbox consoles, thanks to Xbox Wireless Technology. Their boom microphone lets you easily communicate with your teammates, and the SteelSeries Engine software offers many gaming-oriented customization options. However, their wireless connection has a bit of latency, which can make all the difference during competitive gaming. Some users also have experienced their units disconnecting on their own. They have noted that the audio stutters, sounds muffled, or there's a clicky sound present.

Pros
  • Great-performing boom microphone.
  • Comfortable design.
  • Can be used via Xbox Wireless.
  • 28-hour continuous battery life.
  • Graphic EQ plus presets available via companion software.
Cons
  • May fit tightly on some users.
  • Restrictive since they're designed to only work with Xbox One.
  • Not compatible for PS4 and non-Xbox One Wireless enabled PCs.
7.7 Wired Gaming

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are impressive for wired gaming. You can plug them into your Xbox One or PS4 controller using their 1/8" TRS connection, but they're audio-only compatible, so you can't use their microphone over a wired connection. However, they're very comfortable, and they have low latency over a wired connection.

Pros
  • Comfortable design.
  • Graphic EQ plus presets available via companion software.
Cons
  • May fit tightly on some users.
  • No microphone support on any console when used wired.
7.5 Phone Calls

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are decent for phone calls. Their retractable boom microphone has an impressive recording quality, and your voice sounds clear and natural even if you're calling from a noisy environment. Unfortunately, they have a poor noise isolation performance, which may be distracting during your calls.

Pros
  • Great-performing boom microphone.
  • Comfortable design.
  • Call/music management controls on ear cups.
Cons
  • May fit tightly on some users.
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • 7.8 Neutral Sound
  • 6.5 Commute/Travel
  • 7.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.1 Office
  • 7.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.7 Wired Gaming
  • 7.5 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jan 26, 2024: The following test groups have been updated following TB 1.6: Bluetooth Connection, and Wireless Connection (Dongle). There have also been text changes made throughout the review, including to the usages and product comparisons to match these results.
  2. Updated Jan 26, 2024: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.6 , which updates how we measure latency. We've updated and renamed the following test groups: Wired Connection, Bluetooth Connection, and Wireless Connection (Dongle). We've also added new codec latency measurements and provided an audio sample of recorded latency.
  3. Updated Feb 10, 2023: We've re-evaluated Build Quality based on user reports about the hinges cracking and breaking from regular use. The scoring of this test has changed from 8.0 to 6.0.
  4. Updated Jan 17, 2023: We've added information regarding user reports of poor muffled sound in theSound Profile and Non-Bluetooth Wireless tests. However, the scoring of these tests hasn't changed.
  5. Updated Sep 29, 2022: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7X Wireless in Wired.
  6. Updated Sep 22, 2021: We've retested 'Multi-Device Pairing'.
  7. Updated Sep 09, 2021: Retested Bluetooth for negative latency values and updated 'Noise Handling' test results.
  8. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  9. Updated May 25, 2021: We've tested for audio stuttering and sporadic disconnecting when the headphones are used via non-Bluetooth wireless.
  10. Updated Nov 11, 2020: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  11. Updated Aug 24, 2020: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  12. Updated Feb 07, 2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  13. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  14. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  15. Updated Jun 19, 2019: We've updated the Xbox One compatibility value of the 9X to reflect support for both mic and audio.
  16. Updated Jun 04, 2019: Review published.
  17. Updated Jun 02, 2019: Our testers have started testing this product.
  18. Updated Jun 02, 2019: Early access published.
  19. Updated May 31, 2019: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  20. Updated May 21, 2019: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Compared To Other Headphones

The SteelSeries 9X are good wireless gaming headphones that set themselves apart by being specifically designed for the Xbox One. They use Xbox Wireless Technology to connect to this console, just like you would with an Xbox controller. However, these headphones won’t be as versatile as other models as they're not compatible with PS4 consoles or with PCs that don't have an adapter. They work with PCs that use Xbox Wireless Technology, though. See our recommendations for the best gaming headsets for Xbox One, the best gaming headsets for PS4, and the best wireless gaming headsets.

Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are slightly more versatile than the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Wireless. The SteelSeries have a more comfortable fit, an easier-to-use control scheme, and a more neutral default sound profile, not to mention superior microphone noise handling. They also have longer battery life, take less time to charge, and have lower non-Bluetooth wireless latency. The Turtle Beach have a more stable fit.

Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are much better wireless gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Wireless. While they both can mix audio from a Bluetooth source, the SteelSeries have a better microphone, their battery lasts over twice as long, and they feel much better-built.

Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019

The SteelSeries Arctis 9x Wireless and the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 are both very good wireless gaming headphones for the Xbox One, but the Astro perform better overall. The Astro are more comfortable as they have a more ergonomic headband design, and they deliver sound much more consistently than the SteelSeries. They also have a better-performing microphone and come with a full-featured charging dock. However, the SteelSeries connect more conveniently via Xbox Wireless and support Bluetooth so you can mix in audio from your mobile device while gaming. The SteelSeries battery also lasts longer, and they charge much more quickly.

Xbox Wireless Headset

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better gaming headphones for Xbox consoles than the Xbox Wireless Headset. The SteelSeries are better-built, more stable, and have a more neutral default sound profile. Their boom mic also delivers better overall performance, they have a longer continuous battery life, and lower wireless latency.  

Razer Kaira Pro Wireless

The Razer Kaira Pro Wireless and SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless each have their own strengths, so which you prefer comes down to your own needs and preferences. The Razer block out a little more ambient noise, have superior mic recording quality, and lower Bluetooth and Xbox Wireless latency. The SteelSeries can be used for passive audio playback with their included 1/8" TRS cable, have a better-balanced default sound profile, and last longer off of a single charge.

SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless perform similarly overall but suit different audiences. The 9X are Xbox One-compatible and use essentially the same connection as Xbox One controllers to seamlessly connect to Xbox One consoles and PCs that have Xbox One Wireless Technology without the need for a dongle. The 9 use a USB dongle allowing them to wirelessly connect to PC, PS4, and PS5 systems but not Xbox One consoles.

Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better headphones for gaming than the Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset. The SteelSeries have a longer continuous battery life and better onboard controls, including channel mixing and EQ cycling. They're also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can listen to music on your phone while connected to your Xbox console. You can also use them to receive audio from PCs and Playstation consoles via a wired connection. On the other hand, the Logitech offer full compatibility with PCs and Playstation consoles using their wireless USB dongle. 

Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Wireless. The SteelSeries are better-built and have a more stable fit. Their boom microphone has a better recording quality and noise handling performance, making it easier to communicate with your teammates. They also have a longer continuous battery life, and their companion software gives you a lot more customization options.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless [7, 7P, 7X]

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless (and their variants) are similarly performing gaming headphones. The 9X are better-built, have a more out-of-head soundstage performance, and their mic does a better job recording your voice clearly. However, the Nova 7 and their variants have better battery life.

SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and the SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless are similarly performing gaming headphones, and depending on your usage, you may prefer one over the other. Both are comfortable, but the 9X support Bluetooth. However, the 7X have a dongle that allows you to use them wirelessly on PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless [PC, PS, Xbox]

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless [PC, PS, Xbox] are better gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless. The Arctis Nova Pro deliver audio more consistently, and have ANC, which can help block some background sound. They also have a longer total battery life, lower wireless latency, thanks to their transmitter bas, and come with a dock that allows you to make adjustments, like tweaking the EQ on the fly. However, Arctis 9X have a somewhat better microphone performance.

SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless are better-suited for PC and PS4 gaming while the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better for gaming on the Xbox One. Although you can EQ both headphones using SteelSeries Engine software, the Pro have a nice dual-battery system that lets you charge one battery while using the other one. Both are Bluetooth-compatible too, but the Pro also have full mic and audio support when used wired on all consoles. However, if you mainly game on Xbox One, the 9X will still offer better value as they support Xbox One Wireless, unlike the Pro.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro

Depending on your usage, you may prefer either the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless or SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. While both headphones are comfortable, you can use the Arctis 9X wired and wirelessly, but they're primarily designed for Xbox consoles. They even support Bluetooth, so you can receive audio from your smartphone while gaming on a console. They're better-built, have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their boom mic offers better overall performance. However, the Arctis Nova Pro are wired headphones that come with the second generation of the GameDAC, which puts inputs and controls such as channel mixing and EQs right at your fingertips.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless and the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are fairly similar headphones, but the 7 2019 Edition may be a better option for most, since the 9X are designed specifically for Xbox. When used wirelessly, the 7 2019 Edition support voice chat when used wired. However, they have very high wireless latency via their dongle. On the other hand, the Arctis 9X are also Bluetooth-compatible, meaning you can use them on-the-go with your phone. Other than that, they're equally comfortable.

Corsair VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless XT

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Corsair VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless XT if you're an Xbox gamer. The SteelSeries support Xbox Wireless, which is great if Xbox is your preferred console of choice. They're also more comfortable, have a longer continuous battery life, and have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer. However, the Corsair can be used wirelessly with PlayStation consoles and their boom mic has a better recording quality.

SteelSeries Arctis 7P Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and the SteelSeries Arctis 7P Wireless have different strengths and depending on your needs, you may prefer one over the other. While both are comfortable, the Arctis 9X are more versatile since they support Bluetooth and have a more balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. They also support Xbox Wireless. However, the Arctis 7P are more designed for strictly gaming and offer full audio and mic support via analog on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Their non-Bluetooth wireless can also be used on PCs and PS4/PS5s.

Plantronics RIG 800LX Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better performing gaming headphones, but the Plantronics RIG 800LX Wireless are more versatile since they can be used with PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The SteelSeries are designed for the Xbox One only. The Plantronics also have better wireless latency. On the other hand, the SteelSeries have a nice companion app with customization options, they are also Bluetooth compatible, and they don’t require a transmitter to work. Their microphone recording quality is noticeably better too. If you only play on Xbox One, the SteelSeries are the better option, but if you need a versatile headset, the Plantronics might be a better alternative.

Razer Nari Ultimate Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better overall gaming headphones than the Razer Nari Ultimate Wireless, especially if you game exclusively on the Xbox One. The SteelSeries have better controls, they're more stable, and they leak less audio. Their boom microphone also performs better and their continuous battery life is much higher than the Razer's 5.3 hours. They support Bluetooth as well as Xbox Wireless too, which is nice if you like to chat with your friends using your mobile device while you game. 

Astro A50 Gen 3 Wireless 2017

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and Astro A50 Gen 3 Wireless 2017 are both good gaming headphones, but for different reasons. The SteelSeries have a better microphone recording quality, and their battery life is also noticeably longer. With the SteelSeries, you can stream music from a Bluetooth source at the same time as playing games. They can also be used passively with a 1/8” audio cable, while the Astro don’t have the appropriate jack. On the other hand, the Astro are more comfortable and deliver sound more consistently across users than the SteelSeries.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal. The SteelSeries have a more stable fit and a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. Also, their microphone performs better, and they have longer continuous battery life. However, the Bang & Olufsen offers better noise isolation. Also, they come with cables that you can plug into your PlayStation or Xbox controllers for full audio and microphone compatibility, although you have to turn the headphones on to use the TRRS cable. In comparison, the SteelSeries' analog cable only offers audio support.

Corsair HS75 XB WIRELESS

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are better wireless gaming headphones than the Corsair HS75 XB WIRELESS. The SteelSeries have a more stable fit and a better-balanced sound profile. They also leak less noise. However, the Corsair's boom microphone is detachable, unlike the SteelSeries. Both headphones use Xbox Wireless technology to connect to your Xbox One.

Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017

While the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017 and the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are similarly performing wired gaming headphones, the SteelSeries are particularly suited for those who game exclusively on Xbox. The Astro are slightly more comfortable and have a MixAmp that some may enjoy for making adjustments to their audio. They're more versatile since they can easily be plugged into most consoles and receive both audio and microphone support. The SteelSeries, on the other hand, have a virtual surround feature, leak less sound, and can be used wirelessly. They also have a 28-hour battery life that can also be used passively when you're out of battery.

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless and the Beats Solo Pro Wireless are designed for different purposes. The SteelSeries are wireless gaming headphones. They're more comfortable, have a virtual soundstage feature, and a significantly better overall boom mic performance. They also have a longer continuous battery life, a customizable sound profile thanks to their companion software, and they support Xbox Wireless for a lower latency connection suitable for gaming. Conversely, the Beats are casual use headphones. They have an ANC system that's able to block out more ambient noise, and they have an H1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair them with your Apple devices. 

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Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are very similar to the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless Xbox One variant as they have a green accent color on the headband. The rest of the headphones are all black. They also have a unique ski-band headband design and wide ear cups. Their boom microphone is retractable, and their headband frame is one piece of metal, unlike the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless and SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition's plastic build.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.82 lbs
Clamping Force
1 lbs

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are comfortable gaming headphones that have the same design as most Arctis headsets. The ear cups are well-padded, and there’s room for most ear sizes and shapes. The padding material is also soft and porous, which allows for a bit of airflow. However, some people may find the cups a bit shallow. The headphones can also feel a bit tight, especially on larger heads, as the length of the strap limits the size adjustment options.

7.7
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Great
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Adjustable Level
Channel Mixing
Yes
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Bluetooth Sync + Presets

The control scheme of the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is good. There's plenty of buttons and wheels that are not only well-suited for gaming but also nice to use with your phone for casual listening sessions. You get access to a mic-mute button, a channel mixing wheel, and a volume wheel. Also, there’s a Bluetooth button that additionally offers limited music and call management, such as play/pause and answering/hanging up when pressed. The power button lets you cycle between EQ presets.

6.3
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 6.2 °C

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are passably breathable. The porous padding on the ear cups slightly helps with airflow, but you may still feel a difference in temperature when wearing them for long periods. While they won’t be suitable for most sports, they should be fine for casual gaming sessions. If you want more breathable gaming headphones, you may prefer the ROCCAT Syn Pro Air Wireless.

5.4
Design
Portability
L 8.6" (21.8 cm)
W 7.0" (17.8 cm)
H 3.5" (8.9 cm)
Volume 211.00 in³ (3,457.66 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

Just like many other gaming headphones such as the Audeze Penrose Wireless, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a bulky design. They're not very portable as they don’t fold into a more compact form. However, their cups swivel to lay flat, which makes it easier to slide them in a bag or to wear comfortably around your neck.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones don’t come with a pouch or case.

6.0
Design
Build Quality

These headphones have a mediocre build quality. Some users reported that their unit's yoke and hinge areas are prone to cracking. This area can even completely break off, rendering the headphones unusable. If you've encountered issues with the build quality of your SteelSeries headset, please let us know in the discussions.

These headphones are mostly made of plastic. They have dense cups and a metal headband frame, which is sturdy yet flexible. The retractable microphone is also malleable.

7.5
Design
Stability

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are very stable headphones. They shouldn't fall off your head while you're gaming. However, these bulky headphones aren't intended for use while working out, and they may fall off during high-intensity movements. Consider the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Wireless if you're looking for gaming headphones with an even more stable fit.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • SteelSeries Arctis 9X headphones
  • USB to micro-USB charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-3.5 dB
Treble Amount
-1.51 dB

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a pretty neutral, well-balanced default sound profile. Vocals and lead instruments are clear and present in the mix, so they're suitable for listening to different types of audio content. However, they're lacking a bit of low-bass, which may be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy music genres like EDM. You can customize their sound using the graphic EQ and presets available in the SteelSeries Engine software.

Some users have reported that their audio sounds muffled and are unable to fix this via the EQ. There have been several issues with this headset, including clicking and audio stutter, that we've reported in our Non-Bluetooth Wireless test. Although we haven't experienced muffled audio, we have encountered clipping and stuttering when connected via Xbox Wireless to our PC. SteelSeries has provided support for these issues, but we can't verify whether this will solve the issue for all users.

5.3
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.47 dB

These headphones have a disappointing frequency response consistency. They have an inconsistent bass and treble delivery, so their audio delivery may be inconsistent depending on their fit, seal, and positioning on your head.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.6
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.2 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
59.07 Hz
Low-Bass
-6.1 dB
Mid-Bass
-0.36 dB
High-Bass
2.35 dB

These headphones have good bass accuracy. The range is quite neutral, so you feel the punch and body of bass-heavy instruments. However, the low-bass is underemphasized, so you may not feel the deep thump and rumble from action-packed scenes. Their bass delivery is inconsistent, so your experience may vary.

8.9
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.45 dB
Low-Mid
0.93 dB
Mid-Mid
0.13 dB
High-Mid
-1.33 dB

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have excellent mid accuracy. For the most part, the range is very flat and neutral, which results in present and clear vocals and lead instruments.

8.5
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.29 dB
Low-Treble
-2.03 dB
Mid-Treble
1.13 dB
High-Treble
-5.88 dB

These headphones have an impressive treble accuracy. The range is quite balanced and neutral, so vocals, lead instruments, and sibilants like cymbals are present and detailed in the mix. However, their treble delivery can vary across users, so your experience may vary.

7.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.49 dB
Dips
0.64 dB

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have very good peaks and dips performance. There's a sustained peak throughout the bass range, which adds a touch of warmth, thump, and punch to your mix. The slight dip in the low-treble can hurt the comprehensibility of vocals, while the peak in the mid-treble overemphasizes sibilants like cymbals and makes them a bit piercing.

8.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.45
Weighted Phase Mismatch
5.59
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.65
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.34

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a great imaging performance. There are some peaks in the bass range, but it's not enough to affect the tightness of the bass significantly. Also, the L/R drivers of our test unit are well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, ensuring the accurate placement and localization of objects such as voices, instruments, and footsteps in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our test unit, and yours may perform differently.

6.3
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.49 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
5.73 dB
PRTF Distance
21.61 dB
Openness
5.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.6

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have an acceptable passive soundstage performance. There's a lot of outer ear activation, but it’s not very accurate. That said, the soundstage is perceived as being relatively large as if it's coming from in front of your head. It's a bit unnatural-sounding, though, and their closed-back design makes them less open-sounding than some open-back headphones like the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017.

2.0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
On/Off
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
Windows Sonic Spatial Audio

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a virtual soundstage feature via Windows Sonic Spatial Audio.

7.4
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.316
WHD @ 100
0.176

These headphones have decent weighted harmonic distortion performance. Although there's a small peak in the high-treble, it likely won't be audible to most listeners. Overall, all frequencies fall within good limits, which should result in clear and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Wireless (Proprietary)
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Default
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Boom

These are the settings used to test the SteelSeries Arctis 9X, and our results are only valid when using these settings.

Isolation
4.2
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-10.57 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
0.06 dB
Mid
-9.61 dB
Treble
-23.05 dB

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a poor noise isolation performance. They struggle to block out bass-heavy sounds like bus and plane engines. While they perform a bit better against higher-frequency noises like voices or the hum of nearby AC units, these sounds may still be audible. For gaming headphones that offer better noise isolation thanks to their ANC feature, check out the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless or the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal.

7.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
35.49 dB

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a good leakage performance. They don't leak a lot of sound, and it shouldn't be noticeable to the people around you in an average office setting.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
Yes
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have a retractable boom microphone. If you're looking for gaming headphones with a detachable boom mic, check out the Corsair HS75 XB WIRELESS.

8.3
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
85.99 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.36 dB
HFE
9,805.86 Hz
Weighted THD
0.46
Gain
15.13 dB

The boom microphone has a great recording quality. Your voice sounds full-bodied, clear, and detailed. However, the mic is noticeably bright, which could help with cutting through the game audio, but it won't sound neutral.

8.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
34.17 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
8.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
8.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

Update 09/09/2021: These headphones have been updated to test bench 1.5. In this update, we made changes to the way we test noise handling. We now use a subjective evaluation of our audio clips. This new method has resulted in different results than what we had reported in our previous test bench. As a result, the scoring of this box has changed and we have updated our results.

The boom microphone has a great noise handling performance. It can separate speech from moderate ambient noise such as a car passing by an open window.

Active Features
8.1
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
28 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
28 hrs
Charge Time
2.4 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port micro-USB

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X's battery performance is great. The battery offers about 28 hours of continuous playback and only takes about two hours to fully charge. You can also still receive audio while they're charging, which is convenient. However, while they can be used passively with a 1/8" audio cable, there isn't one included in the box.

8.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name SteelSeries Engine
iOS No
Android No
macOS Yes
Windows Yes
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
No
Mic Control Adjustable Level
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
Yes

These headphones have great companion software called SteelSeries Engine. To use it, you need to connect these headphones via a USB cable. You won't be able to use them wired via USB on a PC. This easy-to-use software has a 10-band graphic EQ, four editable presets, and microphone level adjustment as well as sidetone control. You can also save different profiles and switch between them. Also, you can disable the Bluetooth auto-startup when the headphones are turned on. While these headphones support Xbox's native Windows Sonic Spatial Audio, you can't control it inside the app.

Note: Some users have reported an issue with the headphones' volume decreasing when EQ settings are applied. We did a test and can confirm that when connected via Bluetooth or USB and EQ changes are applied, the volume decreases. We aren't sure what causes this. Please leave a comment if you've experienced a similar issue.

Connectivity
9.1
Connectivity
Wired Connection
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable
No
Length
N/A
Connector
1/8" TRS
Latency - Analog
0.2 ms
Latency - USB
N/A
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Connection Analog

Although the SteelSeries Arctis 9X don’t come with a 1/8” audio cable in the box, they support audio over their 1/8” jack. However, you won't be able to use the microphone, even if you're using a TRRS connector. If you're looking for similar SteelSeries headphones with an included audio cable, check out the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7X Wireless instead.

6.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth Connection
Bluetooth Version
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
Bluetooth + Console/Non-BT Wireless
Quick Pair (Android)
No
Quick Pair (iOS)
No
Line Of Sight Range
139.00 ft (42.37 m)
Latency - SBC
242 ms
Latency - aptX
N/A
Latency - aptX Adaptive (High Quality)
N/A
Latency - aptX Adaptive (Low Latency)
N/A
Latency - LDAC
N/A
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Codec SBC
AAC Support
No

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X have okay Bluetooth connectivity. You can use them to stream music from your phone while gaming on the Xbox One, which is convenient if you like to use your headphones for more casual use. However, they only support the basic SBC codec. Their latency is quite high via this codec and isn't ideal for gaming, as your audio and visuals will be out of sync. Some apps and devices compensate for lag, though.

7.5
Connectivity
Wireless Connection (Dongle)
Line Of Sight Range
70.00 ft (21.34 m)
Latency - Dongle
56 ms
Recorded Latency

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X support Xbox Wireless. We used an Xbox Wireless adapter to test them on a PC and measured a slightly higher latency than most wireless gaming headsets. We also achieved similar results while using an Xbox console. Overall, audio lag is minor but still noticeable. If you're looking for a dedicated Xbox headset with lower non-Bluetooth latency, try the Xbox Wireless Headset or the SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless.

Unfortunately, some users have reported that their headset disconnects on its own and that the audio stutters or sounds clicky. We noticed this issue after using the headphones for a couple of days, even when using two different dongles. The headphones were also still showing as connected, even though they had disconnected, and we would have to turn them off and on again. SteelSeries has put out a troubleshooting guide to address this issue, noting it could be caused by minor interference. However, we are unable to adjust our router or turn off other devices to test for interference. Instead, we followed the steps to reset the headphones and Xbox, and this didn't solve this issue for us. If you've experienced this issue, please let us know in the comments.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only (Not included)
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only (Not included)
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only (Not Included)
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only (Not included)
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
Audio + Microphone
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only (Not included)
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
Audio + Microphone

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X are fully compatible with Xbox consoles. You can also plug these headphones into your controller with an audio cable, but you only receive audio.

Some users have reported that their headphones disconnect on their own or that their audio stutters or clicks. We have also experienced this issue, even after using two different dongles. SteelSeries has put out a troubleshooting guide to address this issue. However, it didn't solve this issue for us. If you have experienced this issue, please let us know in the comments.

3.4
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Wireless USB Dongle
USB Input
Yes
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
USB

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X work with the Xbox One thanks to the Xbox Wireless Technology, which is also available on some PCs, meaning a dock isn't necessarily needed. However, since our testing PC doesn't have this technology built-in, we purchased an Xbox Wireless Adapter to better represent the headset's performance on the Xbox One. With this adapter, you can fully use the headset on a PC, but it won't be compatible with the PS4 and won't be needed on the Xbox One.