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Reviewed on May 17, 2018 , Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.8
Mixed Usage
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:
8.0
Critical Listening
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:
5.9
Commute/Travel
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.
Score components:
6.3
Sports/Fitness
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.
Score components:
6.4
Office
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:
7.0
TV
Score components:
8.1
Gaming
Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro+GameDAC is an excellent gaming headset with a lot of customization options, great sound quality, and a sturdy, comfortable design. They look fairly similar to the Arctis 7, but they are wired and come with a DAC that provides a lot of connection options and settings you can tweak without needing the SteelSeries Engine software. Unfortunately, they will not have the convenience of a wireless headset when gaming on consoles or watching TV.

Test Results
Design 7.0
Sound 8.0
Isolation 5.2
Microphone 8.1
Active Features 8.0
Connectivity 6.5
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.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
Update 12/12/2018: We've updated the microphone category text.

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Arctis Pro GameDAC
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Amazon.com
7.0

Design

Score components:
SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC Design Picture

The SteelSeries Arctis PRO+GameDAC have the same look and feel as the Arctis 7. They have almost the same design, with similar ear cups, but a more rounded headband that better fits the contours of your head. They also have a simple elastic strap to adjust the fit of the headphones which works well, but also makes the headphones feel a bit tight on the head since the frame itself doesn't extend further to accommodate for bigger head sizes. On the other hand, they are comfortable headphones for most, thanks to their spacious and well-padded ear cups and ergonomic controls. They also have a retractable mic and a 1/8" TRS adapter so you can use them as casual headphones outdoors, although they are a little bulky and even less portable if you also consider the DAC (digital to analog convertor).

Style
SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC Design Picture 2

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro+GameDAC looks very similar to the Arctis 7. They have the same wide metal frame, with an elastic strap reminiscent of ski goggles to adjust the fit. The headband of the Arctis Pro, however, is slightly more curved to better fit the contours of your head. Overall the build quality of these headphones feels as premium and durable as the Arctis 7's and they also have a retractable mic which makes them look a bit more like casual headphones. They are not the flashiest gaming headsets, but the understated look will work for most, especially if you want to use them outdoors.

7.5 Comfort
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 Pro GameDAC Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.9 lbs
Clamping Force
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.
:
1.2 lbs

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC are fairly similar in design to the Arctis 7. They have the same headband strap with the ski goggle-like elastic band to adjust the fit. The ear cups are large, spacious and coated with a breathable and soft padding. The headband is also slightly less tight on the head. Unfortunately, the length of the elastic strap is limited by the Velcro latch on top of the headband which doesn't expand further than its original shape. This means they do not extend far enough for all head shapes and sizes and may feel a little tight for some listeners.

6.8 Controls
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 Pro GameDAC Controls Picture
Ease of use : Above-average
Feedback : Great
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : Yes
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
Adjustable
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through : N/A
Additional Buttons :

The Arctis Pro's control scheme is a little different from that of the Arctis 7 since they're wired and come with a DAC (digital to analog convertor). On the headset, there is a volume dial as well as a microphone mute switch, and on the DAC, you have the channel mixing dial that also acts as a multi-function button when you press and hold. It allows you to switch between presets and EQ modes. All the buttons have great feedback and do not take a lot of time to get used to.

6.6 Breathability
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 Pro GameDAC Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5.2 C

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC have a somewhat breathable design, thanks to the porous padding on their ear cups. However, they are still closed-back over-ear headsets, so they will make you sweat if used while working out. They're not the most suitable option for sports or exercising but should be fine for more casual gaming and listening sessions.

5.9 Portability
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 Pro GameDAC Portability Picture
L : 7.4 "
W : 6.8 "
H : 3 "
Volume : 150 Cu. Inches
Stand required : No

Like most gaming headsets, these headphones are not the most portable. They have large ear cups, a rigid headband and do not fold into a more compact format to save space. Also, they come with a DAC that further reduces their portability but you can also use them passively with the provided audio cable and adapter. Overall though they won't be the easiest headphones to carry around on your person unless you have a bag or a backpack.

0 Case
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

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC do not come with a case or pouch.

8.0 Build Quality
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 Pro GameDAC Build Quality Picture

The build quality of the SteelSeries Arctis Pro is slightly better than the Arctis 7 but not significantly so. They have slightly stronger hinges/yokes but the same great and sturdy metal design. The ear cups are dense and durable and have magnetic back plates which you can remove. Overall they feel strong enough to withstand multiple accidental drops, and even the mic is well made and flexible enough that you can bend it all sort of ways without damaging it. It also conveniently retracts into the left ear cup so that you can use the Arctis Pro outdoors as a regular wired headset.

7.0 Stability
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 Pro GameDAC Stability Picture

The SteelSeries Arctis PRO +GameDac have a decently tight fit on the head that prevents them from moving much once on your head. They're stable enough for most activities but are still quite bulky and cumbersome headphones so they won't be the ideal choice for more physically demanding exercises. Also, since they are wired, unlike the Arctis 7, there are more chances that they get yanked off your head because the audio cable got hooked on something.

Cable
SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

They come with 3 cables: a USB power cable for the DAC, a proprietary audio cable, a 1/8" TRS adapter and an optical audio cable.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
8.0

Sound

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 Pro GameDAC Frequency Response

The Steelseries Arctis Pro GameDac is a great sounding pair of closed-back over-ear gaming headphones. They have a deep, thumpy, and punchy bass, a well-balanced and even mid-range, and a detailed and present treble. This makes them a well-suited for a wide variety of genres, from EDM, movies, and video games, to rock, indie, and audiobooks. However, their bass and treble delivery is prone to inconsistencies across different users and positions, and their mid-range could sound a tad thick on vocals. Additionally, they have great imaging, but like most other headphones, they don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.

This headphone was measured with the Flat EQ setting.

9.1 Bass
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 Pro GameDAC Bass
Std. Err.
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
:
1.29 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
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
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
:
1.6 dB
Mid-Bass
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
:
-0.41 dB
High-Bass
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
:
0.74 dB

They have an excellent bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is great. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass-heavy genres like EDM and Hip-hop is flat, but over our neutral target by 1.6dB. Fans of bass may appreciate the extra thump. Mid-bass, responsible for punch, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are within 0.7dB of our neutral target. Overall, the bass of the Arctis is deep and thumpy, similar to the Arctis 7, but without sounding too heavy or boomy. Also, their bass delivery varies significantly across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

8.6 Mid
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 Pro GameDAC Mid
Std. Err.
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
:
1.92 dB
Low-Mid
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
:
2.35 dB
Mid-Mid
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
:
1.42 dB
High-Mid
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
:
-1.0 dB

The Arctis Pro have a great mid-range. The response, throughout the range, is even and flat. However, low-mid is overemphasized by more than 2dB, adding a tad of thickness to vocals and clutter to the overall mix.

8.2 Treble
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 Pro GameDAC Treble
Std. Err.
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
:
3.29 dB
Low-Treble
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
:
-2.67 dB
Mid-Treble
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
:
0.15 dB
High-Treble
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
:
-2.27 dB

The treble of the Artics Pro is very good. Low-treble shows a narrow 7dB dip around 3.5KHz, which will have a subtle but negative effect on the detail and presence of vocals and leads. The rest of the range is relatively even and well-balanced, with mid-treble being within 0.15dB of our neutral target. Also, their treble delivery varies noticeably across users. The response here represents the average response and your experience may vary.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
Score components:
5.4 Frequency Response Consistency
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 Pro GameDAC Consistency L SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
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
:
1.33 dB

The Arctis Pro has a sub-par frequency response consistency. In the bass range, the deviation across our five human subjects is quite wide and deep, reaching almost 7dB. This will be easily noticeable. Also, having glasses on seems to increase chances of experiencing a drop in bass. In the treble range, there's close to 9dB of deviation depending on the position of the headphone on our dummy head.

8.6 Imaging
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 Pro GameDAC Group Delay SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.16
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
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: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.71
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
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: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.03
Weighted Phase Mismatch
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: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
3.55

The imaging is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.16, which is within very good limits. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay is below the audibility threshold, suggesting a tight bass and a transparent treble. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase. This is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field.

6.8 Soundstage
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.
SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC PRTF
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
5.02 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
6.68 dB
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
18.19 dB
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. 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, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage 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
:
5.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
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 will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
4.0
Correlated Crosstalk
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

The soundstage of the Arctis Pro is about average. The shape of the PRTF response isn't very accurate, but it shows a lot of activation around 4.5KHz. This suggests that their soundstage may be perceived as relatively large, but a bit unnautral. The dip around 10KHz helps with bringing the soudnstage out of the listener's head and to the front.

7.4 Total Harmonic Distortion
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 Pro GameDAC Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
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
:
1.551
Weighted THD @ 100
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
:
3.0

The harmonic distortion performance of the Arctis Pro is above-average. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is slightly elevated, but not by much. Also, there's not a big change in THD under heavier loads, which is good.

5.2

Isolation

Score components:

The Steelseries Arctis Pro GameDAC have the same porous pads of the Arctis 7, which makes them a bit more comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions, but also lets noise seep into your audio. This, unfortunately, means they won't be the best headphones to use outdoors in public transit or at loud gaming competitions since your audio will be somewhat drowned out by the ambient noise. On the upside, they do not leak too much at moderate volumes so they won't be distracting to those around you, and you can turn your volume a bit higher than typical gaming headsets to mask some of the noise in loud environments.

4.5 Noise Isolation
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 Pro GameDAC Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
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
:
-13.24 dB
Bass
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
:
0.28 dB
Mid
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
:
-8.65 dB
Treble
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
:
-32.0 dB
Self-Noise
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
:
25.71 dB

The isolation performance is sub-par. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sits, they don't achieve any isolation. In the mid-range, important for blocking speech, they isolate by 9dB, which is about-average. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they achieved 32dB of isolation, which is good. It should also be noted that these headphones produce a considerable amount of self-noise at maximum volume.

6.6 Leakage
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 Pro GameDAC Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
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
:
42.08 dB

The SteelSeries Artics Pro have an average leakage performance. The significant portion of their leakage is spread between 500Hz and 3KHz, which is a relatively broad range. However, the overall level of leakage is not very loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away, averages at 42dB SPL and peaks at 55dB SPL, which is just above the noise floor of most offices.

8.1

Microphone

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:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
No

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro has a very good boom microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound deep, detailed, and intelligible. However, it could also sound overly bright and sharp at times. In noisy situations, it performs very well and can separate speech from background noise even in very loud environments, like a subway station.

Update: 12/12/2018: The SteelSeries Arctis Pro mic has quite a bit of buzzing white noise especially at high mic volumes which may be distracting and even a deal breaker for some. This seems to be a grounding issue since if you cover the mobile and line outputs on the DAC the buzzing is attenuated or stop completely depending on the volume level of the mic. We've added microphone self-noise to the list of potential test bench updates, however for now reducing the mic volume via the settings in the game DAC reduces the buzzing to a more tolerable level, while still reproducing your voice accurately and filtering background noise.

7.8 Recording Quality
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 Pro GameDAC Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
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
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
:
85.99 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
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
:
4.58 dB
HFE
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
:
10240.0 Hz
Weighted THD
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
:
5.105
Gain
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
:
34.67 dB

The Arctics Pro's boom mic has a good recording quality. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 86Hz, which is very good. This means speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound deep and full. The HFE of 10KHz is also very good, which ensures a detailed and present speech. However, the 10dB bump in treble, surrounding 5KHz, makes speech overly bright to the point of sounding sharp. On the plus side, speech is very clear and intelligible on this mic.

8.4 Noise Handling
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 Pro GameDAC SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
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
:
33.27 dB

The boom microphone is great at noise handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 33dB, which means they can separate speech from ambient noise to a great degree even in very loud and demanding situations.

8.0

Active Features

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 Pro GameDAC are a wired gaming headset with a DAC (digital to analog convertor) that draws its power from the USB port of your PC or console. This means the headphones have no battery and can also be used passively with the 1/8" TRS adapter. They also support the SteelSeries Engine which provides a lot of customization options for both the headphones and the DAC, which further enhances your gaming experience. You get a lot of control over the mic settings, a great parametric equalizer and customizable light settings for the LEDs on the ear cups of the headphones.

Battery
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.
Battery Type
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.
:
N/A
Battery Life
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
:
N/A
Charge Time
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
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
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.
:
N/A
Audio while charging
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.
:
N/A
Passive Playback
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

These headphones do not have a battery. They connect via the gameDAC or a USB port for power. You can also use them passively with the 1/8" TRS adapter.

8.0 App Support
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 Pro GameDAC App Picture
App Name : SteelSeries Engine
iOS : No
Android : No
Mac OS : Yes
Windows : Yes
Equalizer
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
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.
:
No
Mic Control : Yes
Room effects
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.
:
No
Playback control
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.
:
Yes
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : DTS 7.1

The SteelSeries engine offers a lot of customization options when paired with the Arctis Pro + GameDAC. You get a great parametric equalizer with presets, DTS surround sound, live preview, mic monitoring, volume control for the mic and led settings for the headphones as well as the DAC. You can save your configuration under the config tab so you can quickly switch between your different settings. It's a great app overall that feels useful. It adds a lot of features to personalize your experience with these headphones.

6.5

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

These headphones are wired but come with a DAC (digital to analog convertor) that offers multiple connection options. The DAC has a regular audio jack input as well as an optical and the USB port works as the power source and audio input when connected to your PC or PS4. You can also use their audio cable with the 1/8" TRS adapter with most of your devices including your Xbox One which, unfortunately, isn't compatible with the DAC. They also won't have the range and convenience of the Arctis 7 since they are not wireless.

0 Bluetooth
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
N/A
NFC
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.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A

The Arctis PRO+ GameDAC do not have Bluetooth connectivity. If you want a gaming headset that also supports Bluetooth, check out the Turtle Beach Elite 800.

10 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : Not OS specific
Analog
What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB
What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone

The SteelSeries Arctis PRO+ GameDAC have a proprietary audio cable that isn't OS specific and comes with a 1/8" TRS adapter that makes them compatible with most devices. They will support voice chat if you connect them to your console controllers but via USB they will only have chat support for the PS4.

7.3 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
USB Dongle
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
Yes
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
No
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
USB
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
No

These headphones come with a proprietary DAC (digital to analog convertor) that has multiple inputs. They have an optical-in, a line-in, USB and a line-out. The DAC is much larger than the wireless dongle of the Arctis 7, but it also provides some onboard controls so that you do not have to use the SteelSeries engine software to change EQs or surround sound settings.

0 Wireless Range
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:
Obstructed Range
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
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
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
:
N/A

These headphones are wired so they have no wireless range.

10 Latency
What it 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:
Default Latency
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
:
7 ms
aptX Latency
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
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

These headphones are wired with a DAC that adds a negligible amount of latency. You will not notice any delay when gaming or watching movies.

In the box

SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC In the box Picture

  • SteelSeries Arctis PRO+GameDAC Headphones
  • USB DAC
  • USB Charging cable
  • Audio cable
  • 1/8'TRS adapter 
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC Compare Picture

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro+GameDAC are great gaming headphones. They have a good sound quality,  a sturdy, comfortable design and a lot of customization and connection options. They are wired and come with a DAC that makes them a good choice for gaming on PC (they're one of the best gaming headsets for PC we've reviewed so far) but won't be as convenient as some of the wireless models below for gaming on consoles. Unfortunately, they're about the same price as the Arctis 7 which are wireless so they might not be the ideal choice for all gamers. See our recommendations for the best headsets for Xbox One.

Audeze Mobius

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDac is a slightly better gaming headset overall when compared to the Audeze Mobius. The Arctis have a  more premium looking design and come with a Dac that gives them a lot of control over their active features. With the Dac you can easily change the EQ modes inputs, outputs, surround sound effects, and the RGB lighting options. They also have more customizable sound and microphone options via their app. on the other hand, the Mobius have a unique head-tracking feature that helps them build a larger soundstage (which unfortunately we couldn't measure with our current test bench). They also have a slightly better sound and an over-ear fit that also works for a wider variety of gamers, unlike the Arctis Pro's elastic strap design. Also, you can use the Mobius a bit more casually with your phone since they are also a Bluetooth headset.

Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 SuperAmp

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC is a better headset than the Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 SuperAmp. The DAC give them a lot more control over the active features than the AMP of the Elite Pro2. You can easily change EQ modes, surround sound effect and the RGB lighting options. The AMP only offers a volume knob. They have better sound quality and have better isolation performance. The Arctis Pro are compatible with every platform while you are a bit limited with the Elite Pro 2 since you have to get the right version of the headset for your console.  However, the Elite Pro 2 SuperAmp has a slightly better microphone and looks more solid thanks to the metallic headband support. It also has a more gaming look if that’s something you’re looking for. They also have an over-ear fit that works for a wider variety of gamers unlike the ski google strap headband of the Arctis Pro.

Astro A50

The Astro A50 are one of the better gaming headsets that we've reviewed provided you get the dock for the right console. They have the same input options as SteelSeries Arctis  Pro+GameDAC but they're wireless so they're a bit more convenient for gaming and watching movies. They're comfortable, but their build quality does not feel as durable, especially for their price. The convenient dock of the A50 and great features make them an excellent alternative. However, if you're on a tighter budget and also want to use your gaming headphones outdoors, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro are the better option since they have a retractable mic and a 1/8" TRS adapter. 

Astro A20

The Astro A20 is a decent gaming headset with a good sound and build quality. These headphones come with a base that's limited to the console variant you purchased and doesn't have as many inputs SteelSeries Arctis Pro+GameDAC, but it offers a good wireless range and low enough latency for gaming. They have a decently comfortable design although they can be a bit tight on the head for some users. If you value a good sound quality for your gaming headset and you mostly game on one console or PC, then they're a good choice. However, they won't be as versatile as the SteelSeries since they are limited by their USB dongle, you can't remove their mic or use them outdoors passively.

SteelSeries Arctis 7

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 are one of highest rated gaming headphones that we've tested so far. They come with a great dongle that makes them wireless and a bit more convenient for gaming and watching TV but has fewer inputs than the Arctis Pro's DAC. They have a great metal build quality that feels durable, a very good and well-balanced sound and a comfortable design. Unfortunately, they're a bit tighter on the head than the Pros and their hinges/yokes feel a bit weaker. Overall, if you want a wireless gaming headset, the Arctis 7 are a great choice, but if you mostly game on PC and want to change your settings on the fly, then the Arctis Pro+GameDAC may be a better option.

Sennheiser Game One

The Sennheiser Game One is one of the few open headphones for gaming. They have a comfortable and well-padded design that's reminiscent of Sennheiser HD 598 series. They also have an excellent boom mic and a great frequency response that's made better by the open sound. If you need a headphone for gaming and listening to a lot of music, then they're a decent wired headset with low latency and a good sound quality. However, they are not as convenient as the SteelSeries  Arctis Pro+GameDAC due to their lack of connection options and non-removable mic. They also lack a lot of customization features that make the Arctis Pro the better gaming headset.

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Conclusion

6.8Mixed Usage
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:
Decent for mixed usage. The Arctis Pro+GameDAC are great gaming headphones with a regular audio jack so you can use them with your phone. This makes them versatile enough for outdoor use, but they won't be the ideal option for commuting or sports due to their poor isolation and relatively bulky design. On the upside, they are a good choice for watching videos thanks to their low latency wired connection, and they're also a great choice for critical listening since they have a balanced and customizable sound and a comfortable design you can wear for hours.
8.0Critical Listening
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:
Great for critical listening. They have a well balanced audio reproduction with a pronounced bass range that is better than that of the Arctis 7. It provides a bit more rumble and doesn't clutter the instruments and vocals in the lower mid-range. However, they also have the same dip in the high frequencies that results in a slight loss of clarity and detail, especially for some lead instruments. Overall, they have a very good sound that will satisfy most listeners, especially since you can customize it to your liking with the DAC or the SteelSeries software. Unfortunately, they won't have the soundstage of more critical listening focused headphones with an open-back design.
5.9Commute/Travel
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.
Score components:
Below-average for commuting. They provide a regular aux cable, and you can use them passively unlike some of the other gaming headsets we've tested. However, they do not isolate very well in loud environments and they're a bit bulky and cumbersome. They're even less portable if you also have to carry the GameDAC.
6.3Sports/Fitness
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.
Score components:
Above-average for sports. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro are 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.
6.4Office
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 and they 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.
7.0TV
Score components:
Good for home theater use. They have a low latency wired connection, a good sound, and a comfortable design. Unfortunately, they are wired unlike the Arctis 7 so they will not have the range to comfortably watch movies from your couch unless you have an extension cord for their relatively short audio cable or you watch movies on your tablet and/or PC.
8.1Gaming
Score components:
The Steelseries Arctis Pro+GAmeDac are great gaming headphones. They have a low latency wired connection, a very good and well-balanced sound that you can customize via the SteelSeries engine, and an excellent mic that filters a lot of noise. The added DAC offers a lot of connection options and customization features right at your fingertips without needing the software. 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.

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