As with all of the headsets that I review, I used the Arctis Pro for over 30 hours. Within these 30 hours, I played games such as Apex Legends, Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Call of Duty Warzone. I also listened to music extensively and watched a couple of movies. Was I impressed with what the Arctis Pro delivered? In short, yes, I was extremely impressed.
The first game I jumped into once I connected the Arctis Pro + DAC to my PC was Apex Legends. The reason I tested Apex Legends first is to get a good benchmark for how the headset should sound in one of the most popular games on the market. Apex Legends has great directional audio, even when not enabling the 7.1 surround sound feature. Not only is directional audio great, but so is the sound effects of the guns, grenades, footsteps, and bullets.
Playing Apex Legends with the Arctis Pro + DAC was like jumping into a dream, and that isn't an overestimation in the slightest. The Arctis Pro combined with the DAC provided some of the most clean-cut audio I've heard in Apex, the gun sounds had a lovely pop to them, the grenades had a deep rumble, the dialogue of the champions was great, and finally, the sounds of your enemies dying was unmatched. The DAC really kicked things up a notch and shows a noticeable difference in overall audio quality when compared to the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless.
After thoroughly enjoying my experience with Apex Legends, I decided to move onto Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, and while you might consider this type of game to be a peculiar choice to review a headset with, here's why I decided to do it. Gamers aren't just looking to play multiplayer titles when purchasing an expensive headset such as the Arctis Pro + DAC, they will most likely be playing a range of different games, and some of those include RPG titles, MMO's and even strategy games. So, with that in mind, I decided to take 2019's Game Of The Year (Sekiro Shadows Die Twice) and see how the audio holds up with the Arctis Pro + DAC, this test will give you an idea of how the headset does in an RPG environment.
Immediately I was impressed with Sekiro Shadows Die Twice; each of the sword clashes, parries, and dodges sounded intense and immersive. The highs sounded great, and the lows had a nice deep bass rumble to it. I would have liked the lows to have been even deeper bass, but this could be a limitation of the game, a no fault of the headset. I did tweak the bass in the EQ settings, which achieved some noticeably deeper bass.
Moving onto Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone. Directional audio in this game is all kinds of screwed up, but this is no fault of the headset, it's the game itself. When in multistory buildings, I couldn't tell if the enemy player was above or on the same level as me, even when playing with the Arctis Pro + DAC. Other than the directional audio, everything else sounded great. Gunfire sounded crisp, and killstreaks were hauntingly loud and immersive.
I listened to a few hours of music with the Arctis Pro through both the DAC on my PC and on my phone through the provided adapter. On my PC, music sounded great, and it sounded even better when enabling the Hi-Res Audio setting. Enabling this opened up the sound stage a whole lot more and allowed me to clearly distinguish between specific instruments on the tracks.
The microphone on the Arctis Pro sounds fairly good; it's about what you would expect from a headset microphone. The DAC allows users to control the gain as well as the microphone volume; both are a nice touch for users. Users can also preview how the microphone sounds in the SteelSeries software. I tested the microphone over Discord, as well as in the preview in the SteelSeries software, and found it's a more than a passable microphone. It's not better than a desktop microphone, but teammates won't be upset listening to your voice over chatting services or in-game (depending on the game).
As I previously mentioned, the DAC has a fantastic design, I love the big control wheel, and the tension it has behind it when I cycle through options. I also love the OLED display and the overall compactness of the unit. As for the performance side of things, I found the DAC to be really easy to use, and I even believe that users who aren't audiophiles will have a great time navigating its settings. I also love that can toggle between DTS surround sound at the push of a button.
Holding down the large control wheel brings up the DAC's settings, which allow users to change things such as the microphone sidetone, microphone gain, equalizer, input, output, display settings for the DAC, and the DAC's illumination. Basically, all of the settings that you can find in the SteelSeries Engine 3 software can be accessed by using the DAC.
So what are the problems with the DAC? Well, firstly all the cables are far too short. SteelSeries says this headset is aimed at PS4 users as well as PC users; I find that hard to believe, considering the cables are extremely short and most console gamers are sitting decently fair away from their TV/console. In my experience with the Arctis Pro + DAC, I believe this headset is aimed more specifically at PC gamers who are sitting close to their rig and have a desk to place the DAC on. I also previously mentioned that the main headset port is located on the left-hand side of the DAC, I believe many users would prefer it if SteelSeries relocated this port to the back of the DAC for maximum desk placement customization.
Other than those small things I mentioned, SteelSeries has done a fantastic job with the DAC.
- Page 1 [Introduction & Specification Details and Close-up]
- Page 2 [Design & Software]
- Page 3 [Performance, Microphone, DAC]
- Page 4 [Final Thoughts]