SteelSeries pulls out all the stops with the new Arctis Nova Pro line

Possibly the closest you can get to a Bang & Olufsen x SteelSeries collaboration.

by Justin Choo

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Series is the company’s attempt at pushing the performance boundaries of a gaming headset. In their marketing collateral, they stated that their goals were to “challenge the status quo, alleviate pain points in gaming, and design the ultimate sound experience.”

And SteelSeries has certainly been pulling out all the stops. They even called upon Jakob Wagner, a name that Bang & Olufsen fans will no doubt find familiar, to design these headphones. And you know what, they really do look more sophisticated than the typical gaming headset.

SteelSeries says they took their inspiration for the new series from dead quiet audiophile listening rooms, and with that as the foundation, provide the user with a comprehensive level of audio control within a gaming headset.

Features galore

The headband structure – ComfortMAX System improves fit with four points of adjustment. In addition, the ear cups can rotate and are height-adjustable, while a flexible tension band and pivoting hangers contribute to refining the ergonomics. The Nova line also uses a PVD-coated steel band for long-term durability.

Underpinning the headphones tech is the Sonar Audio Software Suite , which SteelSeries advocates is the first pro-grade, 10-band parametric EQ for gamers. It gives you complete control of your sound across games, team chat, and the microphone so that you can hear the sounds you want and exactly how you want it. You can even tweak the frequency response to emphasise specific sounds like footsteps or gunfire.

Sonar Audio also helps the new AI-POWERED Noise Cancelling Microphone system in silencing background noise. The system features a ClearCast Gen 2 mic with a bidirectional microphone design that SteelSeries says is used by Formula 1 crews for crystal clear, natural sound with flawless noise cancellation.

New wide-range drivers were also developed for the Nova range, with 10-22,000Hz drivers for the wireless unit and 10-40,000Hz drivers for the wired version. The Nova range also supports 360° Spatial Audio, which compatible with Microsoft Spatial Sound and Tempest 3D Audio for PS5.

The series also features a first-of-its-kind USB switching system that SteelSeries calls Multi-System Connect. With this hub, you can easily switch between USB devices with a press of a button, i.e. swapping between a PC, PlayStation or Xbox, Switch, or mobile device.

Wired for better audio

The Arctis Nova Pro for PC and Playstation and Arctis Nova Pro (Xbox) are the wired models in the series and it seems like SteelSeries has clearly marked them as the clear options for those who favour sound quality above all else. Aside from the drivers, which has a wider range, they both come paired with the GameDAC Gen 2, which is a Hi-Res Audio certified ESS Sabre Quad-DAC (24-bit/96kHz) and amplifier combo with a multi-function OLED display. Sabre is an established name in the audiophile game and the DAC brings low levels of noise and distortion. The multi-function display lets you store personal settings, adjust the EQ, input device, volume, ChatMix, and so much more with a touch of the finger.

Wireless for convenience and flexibility

Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for PC and Playstation and Arctis Nova Pro Wireless (Xbox) might lose out slightly in terms of audio prowess but they have more features by far: the Infinity Power System, Quantum 2.0 Wireless, Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), and a wireless base station.

Infinity Power System is just a fancy way of saying that the headset comes with a second battery that you can keep charged while the first battery is in use. Quantum 2.0 Wireless lets you mix audio (calls, Discord, music, or podcasts) over Bluetooth with your in-game audio over 2.4GHz wireless to maximise flexibility.

The wireless versions of the Arctis Nova Pro are equipped with a hybrid ANC system (two mics internal and two mics external) to remove external noise and balance the audio for optimal clarity. You also get a Transparency mode with adjustable hear-through levels.

Like the wired versions, the wireless units have a base station with a multifunction OLED display that also acts like a command center that enables you to make adjustments for EQ, input device, volume, ChatMix, etc. on the fly.

The Arctis Nova Pro ($439) and Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox ($620) are available at Steelseries official stores on Lazada and Shopee, Challenger, Courts, Endless passion, Gamemartz, Tec Drome, TOG, Xtreme and other major channels. The Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox ($449) and Arctis Nova Pro Wireless ($599) will be available in September 2022.