How much would you be willing to pay for a gaming headset? What features would you expect it to have? With the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, the $350 price point is jarring, but once you see the feature set, it all sounds pretty intriguing. With ANC, Bluetooth, and hot-swappable batteries, there is a lot to talk about. Be sure to hit the video below to see all of the details.
If the price didn’t give it away, the Arctis Pro Wireless is the new flagship from SteelSeries. There are versions for both PC/Playstation and also for Xbox, but considering that the Xbox version also works on PC and PlayStation, that seems like the one to go for at no additional cost.
First off, the design of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is very familiar. I’ve spent a lot of time with the 7X and 9X on the Xbox, but the Nova Pro Wireless changes things up a bit.
Like other SteelSeries headsets, the Nova Pro Wireless features a ski-goggle headband design, but it has been updated a bit. Rather than the Velcro straps that tighten and loosen the band, there are three attachment points on either side to tighten or loosen the strap. The earcups will extend and rotate 90 degrees to lay flat on your shoulders when not in use.
SteelSeries also offers replacement “booster packs” with different colors for the headband and earcup covers.
Nova Pro Wireless: Video
Rather than the flat side of the ear cups that we’re used to, these stick out a little bit. Both plates are removable. On one side there is a USB-C port and on the other side, a removable battery. The hot swap battery can be exchanged with another battery that is charging in the base station – more on that in a bit.
One notable update is the microphone, which, like other SteelSeries headsets, is extendable but will sit flush with the body of the headset when not in use. This really cleans up the design without the need to remove the microphone completely.
Otherwise, most of the controls are located on the left earcup. From top to bottom, there is a power button, microphone mute button, and volume control. The volume control is stepped and easy to adjust, but because it’s on a higher level than the bottom of the earcup, there isn’t much concern of accidentally moving the dial. Lastly, the left earcup also has a 3.5mm port for more flexibility.
Over on the right earcup is a Bluetooth button.
This updated design doesn’t stand out as a gaming headset like the Sony Inzone H9 and also means that you might want to take this with you when on the go or traveling thanks to both ANC and Bluetooth connectivity.
Wireless Base station
For even more functionality, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless comes with a base station that recharges the swappable battery, has two USB inputs for seamless swapping between two different sources, and controls settings and EQ from the multi-function dial.
On the right side of the base station is a port that houses the second battery that comes with the headset. This way, it’s easy to always have one topped off and can be swapped when the one in the headset starts to get low.
Additionally on the back are 3.5mm line in and out ports.
One other function of the volume dial on the headset is that it can be pressed in. When pressed in, controlling the headset’s settings is easy from the dial itself. Or you can do it from the base station.
Battery life isn’t much of an issue when near the base station thanks to the swappable batteries. When on the go, since the headset is also compatible with Bluetooth and has ANC, each battery can last for 18-22 hours alone.
How does it sound?
All of these features don’t matter if the headset doesn’t sound good for gaming, and thankfully SteelSeries has delivered in spades with the Acrtis Nova Pro Wireless. Using 40mm drivers, the wireless frequency response is rated at 10-22,000 Hz while wired goes all the way up to 40,000 Hz.
Detail, clarity, positioning – it’s all there with the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. In its default EQ mode, the headset sounds great with full, punchy bass that keeps things clear in the mids and highs at the same time. It is a real treat for playing games like Battlefield 2042 where there is always a lot going on. The clarity in the mids and highs makes picking out gunfire and positions relatively easy.
It may be on the darker side in the default EQ setting, but that is easily rectified if it needs to be brightened up a bit.
Moving on to the software side of things, SteelSeries has built a lot of usable functionality into its GG app. There are deep EQ controls with a few basic presets like bass boost, focus, and smiley, but it’s also easy to build out a custom EQ profile.
Moving on are controls for mic volume, a headset gain toggle, mic sidetone controls, and an output selection. The streaming option allows for further control of main, aux, and mic volumes for sending audio through the line out on the back of the wireless base station.
Where things start to get really interesting, though, is by turning on Sonar from the settings tab. Sonar divides audio into a few different sections with an overall mixer, game, chat, and microphone controls.
In the game tab, Sonar will override the EQ settings from the normal SteelSeries engine, but there are many more options for configurations in Sonar. Hitting the drop-down next to configuration reveals a wide assortment of pre-built EQ profiles for games, music, and other media.
This is exactly what I felt was missing from the Sony Inzone H9. It’s great to have the ability to customize your own EQ, but it’s even better to have a starting point for different types of media and even specific games.
There are profiles for COD Warzone, Destiny 2, Escape from Tarkov, Forza Horizon 5, and plenty more. Additionally, there are profiles for punchy music, bright music, and focusing on vocals. It’s great to have these as a starting point for EQ profiles.
It also appears that Sonar works with any other headset, speakers, or mic as well. In the mixer tab, playback can be changed from the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless to other options. It even worked on the receiver that powers my speakers, and when I changed the configuration from the game tab, all of those changes transferred over as well. So maybe give it a try and see what it can do for your current headset.
There are also spatial options from Sonar, but I never cared for having that setting turned on in most games that I’ve played. And when listening to music it changes everything enough that I would not recommend it.
Nova Pro Wireless: ANC
Another huge feature of the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is ANC. Using a 4-mic hybrid design, ANC has been a lifesaver for me during these hot summer months. With a portable AC unit and a fan running in my office, the ANC from the Nova Pro Wireless worked really well to reduce background noise when gaming. It really helps to keep the focus on the game without having to crank up the volume to hear the small details.
And while I don’t think it’s quite as good as that from the Sony Inzone H9, it’s pretty darn close in my testing.
Mic test – Sonar saves the day
By itself the microphone on the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless sounds fine – I wouldn’t call it great like the Corsair HS80 or terrible like the Inzone H9, but it has a powerful trick up its sleeve with Sonar.
Within the microphone tab in Sonar are a wide variety of configurations for microphone sound as well. From balanced and low broadcast presets to clarity and a walkie-talkie mode, there is a lot of control for the microphone. It’s also easy to build a custom profile with the 10-band EQ panel. And just like the game tab works for other audio outputs, the Microphone tab also works with other mics – even the Sony Inzone H9. I was able to tweak the mic a bit and get it to sound a little better, in my opinion. Check the video for an example of what is possible.
Nova Pro Wireless: Comfort
Usually, I start with comfort, but we’re saving that for last because this is the only area that falls short for me. That’s really surprising considering that on the Xbox side of things, the Arctis 7X and 9X have been some of the most comfortable headsets that I’ve tried.
It’s not all bad and for other people, it could be totally fine – much like the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT. For me, the combination of clamping force and ANC bumps inside the earcups gives too much pressure and causes them to fatigue my ears. It’s not the soft, spacious earcup feel that I loved from the Arctis 7X, nor does it have the same level of comfort for me as the Sony Inzone H9.
Considering how impressive everything else is and how much this headset costs, that’s a huge bummer. For me, that makes the Sony Inzone H9 much more appealing as that headset is more affordable and is one that I can actually wear all day.
At $350 there’s no denying that the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro wireless is very expensive, but when you look at everything that it has – that makes sense. From a dual input hot-swap battery-wielding wireless base station to ANC, Bluetooth, and deep audio customization, what else could you ask for? Combine that with the clarity and positioning right out of the box that is necessary for competitive gaming and maybe we can say it’s worth that price point.
The only thing keeping me from saying this is the best wireless gaming headset is the comfort. While I can still wear them for extended gaming sessions and there were other headsets that are less comfortable, for this price, it doesn’t quite tick that box for me.
Buy SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless
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