The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are the wired counterpart of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox. Released in 2022, these headphones come with the GameDAC Gen 2, a digital to analog converter that offers several inputs and customization features like an EQ and channel mixing right at your fingertips. That said, even though they're wired, they come in either a PC/PlayStation or Xbox variant, as the Xbox model's DAC has a dedicated port for this console. There are also a few minor differences between this model's performance and the wireless model, particularly in build quality and noise isolation.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are good for neutral sound. They have a fairly neutral sound profile out of the box, although their treble range is uneven, resulting in vocals and lead instruments sounding harsh yet veiled. Sibilants like cymbals are also piercing. These headphones are very prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery too, and you may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses. Luckily, you can use their companion software to fine-tune their sound to your liking or use the DAC's built-in EQs on the fly.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are poor for commute and travel. They're not really designed for this purpose as they have a bulky, gamer-centric design. They also struggle to block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines as well as passenger chatter. They lack call and music-related controls, so you'll need to pull out your device if you want to do even the simplest of commands, like playing and pausing audio. On the upside, they're comfortable and well-built.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are sub-par for sports and fitness. They're not designed for this purpose as they're bulky and the audio cable can snag on something and pull them off of your head. The headphones can also fall off your head with moderate physical movement. That said, they have a comfortable and well-built design.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are mediocre for office use. They have a comfortable fit suitable for long listening sessions and don't leak much audio at high volumes. If you need to take calls, they have a retractable boom mic, which does a very good job capturing your voice clearly, even in moderately noisy environments. Unfortunately, they struggle to block out mid-range sounds like ambient chatter.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are wired headphones, and you can't use them wirelessly.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are very good for wired gaming. Thanks to their GameDAC, you can connect them to your console while keeping controls like channel mixing and EQs close by. These headphones have a comfortable fit suitable for long gaming sessions, and their boom mic ensures that your teammates hear you clearly. You can customize their performance to your liking using their companion software's EQ and presets.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are satisfactory for phone calls. If you don't mind their gamer-centric design, they have a comfortable and well-built fit. Their retractable mic ensures your voice sounds clear, even in moderately noisy environments. That said, the headphones don't block out much when it comes to background noise, so if you're taking a call in a noisy environment, you may have some trouble hearing your call clearly.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are the wired variant of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox. These headphones also come in either a PC/PlayStation or an Xbox variant, so it's important to ensure you have the right model for your console. We tested the PC/PlayStation variant, which only comes in one color variant: 'Black'. You can see our model's label here. The Xbox variant's GameDAC has a dedicated port for this console.
If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are wired headphones with a lot of customization options. They come with the second generation of the GameDAC. Much like its predecessor found with the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC, you can easily customize their performance with features like built-in EQs and channel mixing. They also have robust companion app support with a ton of extra features to help you get the most out of these headphones. They don't feel as well-built as the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox due to their squishy padding, and they aren't as comfortable.
Check out our recommendations for the best gaming headsets, the best headsets for PS5, and the best headsets for Xbox Series X/S.
Depending on how you game, you may prefer either the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 or the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. The Astro are wireless gaming headphones that are more comfortable, better built, and have more consistent audio delivery. Their default sound profile is more neutral too, and the boom mic has a significantly better overall performance. However, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro are wired headphones that come with a GameDAC so that you can make control adjustments as you game. Their companion software offers significant customization features too.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro and the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC are similarly performing wired gaming headphones, meaning you may prefer either one. While both headphones are comfortable and have similar sound profiles, Arctis Nova Pro's boom mic offers a better recording quality. They also have more customizability via their companion app, and they use a 1/8" TRRRS cable instead of a mini B 8-pin, which makes it easier to replace if it gets damaged.
If versatility is important to you, then the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless have the edge over the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. The Arctis Pro are wireless headphones that you can use wired. They support Bluetooth, which means you can use them more casually. They're also better built, have a more neutral default sound profile, and their microphone performance is a bit better. However, the Arctis Nova Pro offer a bit more customizability, thanks to their companion software.
The SteelSeries Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox are more versatile gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. You can use the Wireless variant wired or wirelessly and have ANC to help block out some background noise. They're better built, and have more consistent audio delivery. However, the wired Nova Pro have a more immersive passive soundstage.
The Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019 have a slight edge over the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for gaming. The Astro are open-back headphones that are more comfortable, better built, and have a more immersive passive soundstage. Their sound profile is also more neutral, and the overall microphone performance is better. However, the SteelSeries have a more customizable performance, and their GameDAC makes it easy to adjust controls on the fly.
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.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro and the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset have different strengths, and you may enjoy either one. The SteelSeries are dedicated wired gaming headphones. Their boom mic has a significantly better overall recording quality, and the headphones have more customization features thanks to their robust companion software. However, if you're looking for wireless casual-use headphones that you can also use for gaming, you'll want to check out the Bose instead. Their sound profile is a lot more neutral, which some users may prefer, they have an excellent ANC system, and they support multi-device pairing, meaning you can connect them to your PC and smartphone simultaneously. However, they're designed for wired gaming if you want to take advantage of their boom mic.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro look nearly identical to the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox. They have a shiny plastic frame with a ski-band headband design to help distribute weight across your head. Although the headphones themselves only come in 'Black', if you're looking to add a pop of color to your setup, you can purchase the Arctis Nova Booster Pack separately. This pack comes with one set of speaker plates and a nylon strap in one of several colors: 'Cherry Red', 'Lilac', 'Mint', and 'Rose Quartz'.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro have a comfortable fit. They don't clamp as tightly on the head as other SteelSeries headphones, and they're lighter too. That said, they still have a bulky design, which is normal for gaming headphones. While the padding feels soft, it also feels squishier than the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox. As a result, you can feel the plastic edge of the ear cups against your head more than with the wireless variant. Due to their ski band headband design, you can only expand the headphones to the limit of the metal headband too, which is a little frustrating if you have a large or wide head.
These headphones have passable controls. There are only two controls, which are both found on the left ear cup, but they're easy to use. There's a volume wheel with a min and max stop and a mic mute button. Different tones let you know when you're muted, and the mic has an LED light that turns red when muted.
These headphones come with a DAC that provides controls at your fingertips. You can access channel mixing, EQs, the virtual soundstage feature, gain, sidetone, and mic volume. However, it can be tricky to use since there are only two buttons.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro aren't very portable, but that's normal for gaming headphones. The ear cups can swivel to lay flat, but the headphones can't fold to take up less space. In their default position, they still have a somewhat large footprint.
These headphones, like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox come with a cloth pouch to help protect them from dust. The fabric feels sheer, and you can even see through it, so it won't protect the headphones from water or drop damage. The drawstring also doesn't fully close the pouch, which is a little disappointing.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro have a good build quality. Like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, they're mostly made of plastic with a metal headband plate and nylon sling. The mic is retractable too, and you can remove the ear plates if you want to swap them out for a different color. However, the ear cups feel less stiff than the wireless variant's and seem like you can easily remove them from the frame, making them seem a little cheap.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro have a somewhat neutral sound profile. They sound very similar to the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, with a touch of extra bass to help bring out sound effects while gaming. However, the treble range is uneven, resulting in vocals and lead instruments sounding harsh as well as veiled. Sibilants like cymbals are also piercing. Luckily, the GameDAC offers a couple of EQ presets that you can fine-tune to your liking.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro have disappointing frequency response consistency. They're very prone to inconsistencies in bass and treble delivery due to fit, positioning, and seal. You may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses, as this can break the ear cup's seal.
The bass accuracy is outstanding. The response is slightly overemphasized, which can help add a touch of extra thump and boom to mixes. It can also help bring out sound effects like footsteps in gameplay. However, extra bass won't overwhelm vocals and lead instruments.
These headphones have excellent mid accuracy. The range is fairly flat, so vocals and lead instruments sound present and clear. However, a small bump in the high-mid can make the upper harmonics of these sounds harsh. In the second verse of Loretta by Ginger Root, the synth violins are a bit honky, especially compared to the groovy baseline and lead singer's vocals.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro's treble accuracy is sub-par. The response is a bit uneven, so vocals and lead instruments lack detail while sibilants like S and T sounds are piercing. The high synth melody in the middle of Glass Ocean from Neon White's soundtrack sounds a bit veiled instead of bright.
These headphones have mediocre peaks and dips performance that looks a lot like that of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox. The dip between the low to mid-bass lessens the amount of thump and punch in your mixes, while a bump in the high-bass adds extra boom. Another dip in between the low to mid-mid nudges vocals and lead instruments to the back of mixes as a continuous peak in the high-mid to low-treble makes their upper harmonics sound harsh. The large dip in the low-treble veils vocals and lead instruments while a massive peak in the mid-treble makes sibilants like cymbals piercing.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro's imaging performance is outstanding. This test allows us to see the alignment of the left and right drivers. It indicates how well headphones accurately reproduce and place spatial objects like footsteps in the stereo image.
The group delay falls below the audibility threshold, which results in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers of our unit are matched in terms of phase, amplitude, and frequency response. It's important so that objects like voices or footsteps are accurately reproduced in the stereo image. Keep in mind that imaging can vary between units, and it can indicate a manufacturer's quality control and ergonomics.
The passive soundstage performance is sub-par. They're closed-back headphones, so their soundstage won't feel as open or spacious as that created by open-back headphones. That said, the soundstage still seems wide and as if audio is coming from speakers placed in the room around you rather than from inside your head, which can make for a more immersive audio experience.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro have a spatial audio feature available in their companion software. It has settings to better suit gaming or movies, and you can even move a slider to change the distance of the passive soundstage. If you're gaming on the PS5, you can also access Tempest 3D AudioTech in the console's settings.
These headphones have a good weighted harmonic distortion performance. Like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, there's a peak at normal listening volumes in the low-treble range. It can be hard to hear with real-life content, though. That said, the rest of the frequency response falls within good limits, which results in mostly clean and pure audio reproduction.
These are the settings used to test the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro's noise isolation performance is poor. Unlike the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, they lack active noise cancelling (ANC). As a result, they don't block out any of the low rumble of bus or plane engines. While they do a better job of tackling ambient chatter and the high-pitched hum of an AC unit, they still struggle in this regard. While this shouldn't be a problem if you're gaming in a quiet area, it can be more annoying if you share a gaming space with others.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro's leakage performance is very good. The leakage is mostly concentrated in the mid to treble range. Escaping audio sounds a bit thin. If you like to game with the volume cranked up to high, it's unlikely you'll bother those around you.
The boom mic has an excellent recording quality. It performs better than that of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox as its advertised frequency response range is wider (100-10000Hz) than the wireless variant (100-6500Hz). As a result, your voice sounds clear and easy to understand. However, there's a bump in the low to mid-treble range, which can make parts of your voice sound bright and piercing.
The boom mic's noise handling performance is decent. With the noise gate turned off, your voice is still easy to understand, even in moderately noisy environments. However, there's a bit more background noise audible in recorded speech than what we measured in the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox's performance.
The companion software offers two additional features to help improve noise handling: 'ClearCast AI Noise Cancellation' and 'Noise Gate On'. However, we didn't notice a difference in performance while using these settings.
SteelSeries GG and Sonar are excellent companion software. GG is the default software, and it offers a graphic EQ and presets as well as volume control and mic side tone. That said, if you're looking for even more features, GG supports Sonar, which is another software integrated into the GG ecosystem. This software offers a parametric EQ and presets plus dedicated pages for microphone and chat features like the mic's EQ.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro come with two USB-A to USB-C cables so that you can connect them to a console and your PC at the same time. They also come with a 1/8" TRRRS cable, which allows you to use the mic and receive audio. That said, there's still some latency present if you connect the DAC to your PC using USB. If you use an analog connection directly to your audio source, you shouldn't experience latency issues.
These headphones are fully compatible with PCs, whether you use an analog or wired USB connection.
You can connect to PS4 and PS5 consoles via analog or wired USB. Either connection results in full audio and mic compatibility.
Unfortunately, the PC/PlayStation variant can't connect via wired USB to Xbox consoles. If you want to use wired USB, you'll need to purchase the Xbox variant instead. However, you can still use the PC/PlayStation variant with an analog connection for full audio and mic support on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro come with the second generation of the GameDAC. It offers multiple connectivity options as well as controls that you can adjust on the fly. Overall, it offers a lot more versatility and function than inline controls from other high-end gaming headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset.