For a very long time, the SteelSeries Arctis line of headsets has seemed on the most sensible of our record of gaming headset suggestions. They are a very simple and common select: comfy, great-sounding and to be had in quite a lot of codecs to fit all means of platforms, connection sorts and budgets. However 5 years after the primary Arctis headsets have been printed, the full system hasn’t modified a lot – and so, it is time for one thing new. That one thing is the Arctis Nova Professional, a well timed redesign that recaptures the road’s strengths whilst additionally marking probably the most substantive evolution in its historical past.
The £250/$250 Arctis Nova Professional and £330/$350 Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi are high-spec, feature-rich, all-platform headsets, so I’m going to focal point on what I consider are probably the most significant adjustments and additions. Those come with a extra comfy and adjustable design, progressed dual-input base stations and higher sound – plus lively noise cancelling and a handy twin battery machine for the Nova Professional Wi-fi style.
Let’s take a look at the Nova Professional’s design first. The glance could be very harking back to the sooner Arctis fashions, whole with a material suspension headscarf, however SteelSeries audio czar Brian Fallon says it used to be redesigned from scratch – albeit to rather an identical ideas. The dense plastic body is a special form and extra adjustable to make sure it will get a just right seal across the ears – some of the few lawsuits levelled on the unique design used to be that reaching that seal may well be tricky for some people, resulting in inconsistent sound.
The athletic cloth used for the earpads within the earlier lineup has additionally modified to a leatherette for a similar explanation why – even though I would gladly sacrifice a little bit of sound high quality for cooler and extra glasses-friendly velour if I used to be given the choice. The scarf now has 3 are compatible ‘settings’ to deal with a much wider vary of skulls, and the earcups fold flat to relaxation extra conveniently in your shoulders.
Outdoor of convenience, there are different tweaks too, with round steel discs on every earcup that hide the wi-fi style’s swappable battery and USB-C charging ports and a microphone that now retracts totally to change into flush with the headset. The entire meeting feels extremely powerful and extra top rate, which issues us against an general design purpose of manufacturing a headset that is sensible out on the planet fairly than simply subsequent in your gaming platform of selection.
The lively noise cancelling at the wi-fi style may also be wrapped into a better theme of ‘way of life’ compatibility that make the Nova Professional a lot more helpful when it is clear of a online game machine than its predecessors have been. Just like the Arctis 9X, the Nova Professional Wi-fi helps each 2.4GHz wi-fi by means of a base station (for low-latency situations like gaming) and direct Bluetooth (for wider tool compatibility and use at the pass). Each wi-fi strategies can be utilized independently, with separate controls, and the 2 can be utilized in live performance, eg if you wish to chat to somebody in your telephone whilst taking part in your console.
I examined the ANPW on a few flights, and located that the ANC is superb at disposing of deeper, duller sounds, however struggled to drown out nearer conversations and the whine of the engines. I additionally spotted that the perspective of my head made a giant distinction – mendacity again used to be one of the best, ANC-wise, whilst leaning ahead led to the engines to change into noticeably louder. Nonetheless, enabling it made a favorable distinction, and longevity used to be cast at round 20 hours in step with battery – although recharging by means of USB-C seems a little bit bizarre because the port is within the centre of the left earcup, giving the headset gentle Apple Magic Mouse vibes.
The one primary factor I encountered used to be the loss of a cellular app, as there is no technique to alter settings at the pass if you end up the use of the headset in Bluetooth mode by myself. At the moment, you want to attach the headset to its base station to make adjustments to the EQ, facet tone and so forth, which is not in reality handy for vacations. There may be no less than a cushy case supplied with the ANPW to make throwing it for your bag rather less nerve-wracking.
Whilst cellular use is way progressed, the Nova Professional and Nova Professional Wi-fi are nonetheless at their preferrred at house due to the bottom stations that accompany every unit. The stressed style accommodates a formidable Sabre quad-DAC which supplies a noticeable uplift to sound high quality as opposed to the use of the headset by means of a three.5mm cable, whilst the wi-fi base station pumps out dependable 2.4GHz wi-fi to a stunning vary whilst charging your 2nd battery, making sure you by no means need to look ahead to the headset to recharge in customary use. Converting batteries takes part a minute, and in case you put the brand new battery in briefly sufficient it will energy up routinely to save lots of you an additional button press.
On stressed and wi-fi fashions, you get the power to switch the sound profile by means of preset and customized EQs, alter the sport/chat combine (on PC/Xbox) and change between the 2 USB-C inputs that run in your PC or video games console of selection. The bottom stations are artful sufficient to change to the opposite enter in the event that they discover the present enter has misplaced energy (eg you’ve gotten became off your console), however in case you use sleep mode then you will have to make the trade your self. Fortunately, the conveniently massive knob and smaller round button are handy sufficient to perform briefly. The bottom stations also are simply delightful items of apparatus to have at your table, with somewhat excessive refresh charge presentations reflecting the present sound ranges on every channel, the set quantity, the lively enter and battery ranges for each batteries. (When photographing the bottom stations, I did understand that those presentations are some distance from flicker loose – probably not to be a subject matter for one thing you look at now and again I guess!)
We’ve not mentioned sound high quality but, however in all probability we are saving the most efficient for ultimate. The stressed style gives in all probability the most efficient sound I have skilled out of doors of a planar magnetic headset for years, with a an identical general sound signature to previous Arctis fashions – somewhat impartial, with numerous width and element however a brighter vibe general. I used to be choosing up tools and background vocals that I would by no means spotted earlier than, even in albums like London Calling that I have listened to masses of instances earlier than, and that’s the reason indubitably the mark of a distinct headset.
The Nova Professional Wi-fi is a bit more unusual in that recognize, however it is nonetheless some of the best-sounding wi-fi headsets I have used. If you are no longer partial to the default combine, then converting to one thing extra V-shaped or bass-heavy takes only some seconds with the bottom station, and the Sonar function constructed into the SteelSeries engine instrument means that you can craft much more detailed parametric EQs – that finally shall be shareable among different customers, which may well be tremendous for crowd-sourcing EQs for particular video games. Simulated 7.1 encompass sound may be introduced – one thing SteelSeries name ‘360° Spatial Audio’ – and the headset may be appropriate with quite a lot of three-D audio answers introduced on PS5, Xbox and Home windows. In my opinion, I desire easy stereo with in-game HRTF, however you do you!
In the end, mic high quality. As same old, the stressed model plays higher than the wi-fi, and also you do in reality wish to carry the pull-out mic in entrance of your mouth to get just right effects – leaving it in seems cleaner, however makes you sound understandably far away. Fortunately, it remains in place smartly, and sounds cheap too – no longer the most efficient I have attempted, however no longer the worst both. There may be AI noise cancelling to be had by means of the GG app on Home windows, which makes the mic a lot better in louder environments. I had no issues the use of the mic for convention calls and Counter-Strike classes, even with out the instrument working, however I would nonetheless go for a correct USB or XLR mic for something like streaming or recording VO.
So: a comfy are compatible that are supposed to go well with extra other folks, higher base stations with twin inputs and an approach to life focal point with a powerful construct, USB-C charging and ANC at the wi-fi style. It is all beautiful spectacular stuff, however after all it comes at a value – the Arctis Nova Professional and Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi are significantly dearer than the (now closely discounted) Arctis Professional and Arctis Professional Wi-fi. Through and big, that build up in worth is mirrored within the higher construct and added options, however in case you are not looking for the ones enhancements – you simply desire a just right comfortable headset for a unmarried PC or console at a time – then the sooner fashions are a greater worth. Alternatively, because the PS5, Xbox Sequence and Nintendo Transfer consoles are all getting inexpensive (or no less than extra readily to be had), I feel there’s a marketplace that may be capable to in reality experience the entire new options and for which the Nova Professional headsets make sense.
In the event you are not looking for a headset to take out with you into the sector, then the stressed Arctis Nova Professional sounds higher than its wi-fi counterpart and prices much less – that is almost certainly what I would select up if I have been in a special line of labor that did not function gaming headsets showing as though via magic within the publish. Alternatively, the Arctis Nova Professional Wi-fi looks like without equal type of the brand new design, a real do-anything headset that places up a in reality just right appearing in opposition to the most efficient headsets in a couple of classes. Its ANC is not moderately at the stage of the most efficient from Bose or Sony, however it is also a dramatically higher gaming headset than something the ones firms have produced. Towards the likes of Razer and Corsair, the Nova Professional fashions additionally provoke, although the contest is a little bit tighter.
The again to fundamentals way has in reality labored for SteelSeries right here, and I hope to look a few of these design enhancements clear out all the way down to extra reasonably priced headsets quickly – no longer everybody can drop £250 on a gaming headset, but when you’ll be able to you are in for a deal with.
Disclosure: SteelSeries paid for flights and lodging to look the Arctis Nova Professional headsets previous to release.
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