Before using a SteelSeries headset, I always wondered what the fuss was about. The brand always came up in recommendations on social and other media for their comfort and quality, but I never felt like I had to switch from my trusty Razer headsets. After trying the Arctis 7P and 7P Plus I understood what everyone was talking about. Now that I’ve been able to use the new SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for a few weeks, I don’t think I’ll ever trust another brand as much. SteelSeries has all had homeruns and no strikeouts yet.
The Nova Pro is the company’s high-end, premium headset with all the bells and whistles users could wish for. It comes with a hefty price tag to reflect that, which may turn some buyers off, but this is one headset you really can’t get much better for the cost.
Arctis Nova Pro: price and availability
The price tag may come as a shock at $350 for the wireless version, but SteelSeries also offers a wired model for $250, removing Bluetooth and 2.4GHz compatibility. Both are definitely more expensive than other headsets on the market, though they also have premium features to boot as they each come with a GameDAC Gen 2.
You can buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro from most major retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, along with SteelSeries’ own online storefront.
Arctis Nova Pro: What is excellent
From the moment you open the box, it’s clear that the Arctis Nova Pro should be taken seriously as a premium headset. Everything from the presentation to the overall construction and materials used screams “expensiveThat’s not just for show either. That translates into the audio experience it delivers, which is by far the most important aspect of any headset.
The built-in acoustic system delivers advanced directional and spatial audio that can be granularly adjusted to pick up the exact sounds and feedback you want in a game; whether it’s footsteps approaching from behind, or bullets flying past your head. No matter what kind of situation you’re in or what game you’re playing, the Arctis Nova Pro masterfully produces the sound.
|Driver Diameter:||Neodymium 40mm|
|Frequency Response||10-40 kHz (wired), 10-22 kHz (wireless)|
|Microphone Pattern||Bi-directional noise reduction|
|Active Noise Canceling||Hybrid design with 4 microphones and Transparency mode|
|Connection type||2.4GHz and Bluetooth|
|Wireless range||40 feet|
|battery life||44 hours (2.4GHz), 22 hours (Bluetooth)|
Profiles can also be set in the app for different games to accommodate the variety of audio experiences you prefer. It’s not a one-size-fits-all option, although it can be if you’d rather not mess with the EQ settings. I found that once I turned off the microphone monitoring sidetone, which for some reason was turned on by default and caused an echo, I was quite happy with most of the headset’s default audio settings.
While I’ve come to prefer the cloth ear cups on other Arctis models over the leatherette on the Nova Pro, it’s really just a matter of personal preference. The Arctis Nova Pro is about as comfortable as its siblings, with an elastic band stretched over the frame to absorb pressure on your head. The ear cups mold perfectly over the ears for a secure fit without feeling too tight, and feature pivoting hangars for added comfort.
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The GameDAC Gen 2 is fantastic with an easy to read LED display. The volume knob also serves as a navigation wheel between different menus with a long button press. Players can adjust audio settings such as the equalizer, gain, sidetone, and microphone volume, along with active noise cancellation options. There’s even a system settings menu where users can adjust the screen brightness, auto-off timer, access tutorials, and more.
While many of these settings can be adjusted via the companion SteelSeries GG and Sonar app on PC, the GameDAC offers direct control on consoles such as PS5. While the short USB-C cable limits how far you can get from the console without full access to the range of features, the volume wheel on the headset itself will suffice for some people.
What’s even cooler about the GameDAC is that it has a space to charge the second rechargeable battery that comes with the headset, effectively never running out of charge. These batteries can be easily changed by removing the magnetic plate on the back of the left earcup and simply replace it like any other battery.
Arctis Nova Pro: What you don’t like?
While the GameDAC Gen 2 works with PS5, it’s not ideal unless your setup is close. The included USB-C cable only extends a few feet, and it’s unrealistic to imagine having to get up from your couch every time you want to fine-tune the audio experience. While there is a volume wheel on the headset itself, it’s not as smooth when rolling back and forth, creating a slight echo.
I’ve noticed a few times that if I played music loud enough on the PC there would be occasional static feedback during a low bass section, almost like a faint popping sound. This didn’t always happen, or even enough for me to discern another pattern, but it was something I thought worth mentioning.
And as usual with SteelSeries ClearCast mics, the sound is just good. It’s similar to what you’d get from other headsets, perfectly suited for gaming, but not so much for professional audio recording.
Arctis Nova Pro: The Competition
When it comes to other premium headsets, the Astro A50 with base station costs $300 with a set of high-end features. We noted in our review that a separate adapter for full PS5 compatibility wasn’t ideal, but it still offers clear audio reproduction nonetheless. The built-in MixAmp makes for easy game and voice chat balance on PC, and the base station doubles as a charger to make up for the Astro A50’s disappointing 15 hours of battery life.
There is also the comparably priced Audeze Penrose, compatible with multiple devices and taking advantage of the Audeze HQ app on PC. It provides crystal-clear audio that impressively distinguishes between nuanced instruments and tones thanks to its 100mm planar magnetic drivers. It doesn’t have the most premium feeling build from the forest, but it delivers where it counts.
For a much cheaper headset within the SteelSeries brand, there is the Arctic 7P Plus† It’s between the best PS5 headsets there, and it’s my go-to for its wireless connection. While it has a subpar mic and lacks most of what you get with the GameDAC, its solid 30-hour battery life and next-level comfort make it a steal at $170.
Arctis Nova Pro: Should You Buy It?
You should buy this if:
- You want a range of premium features through the PC app
- You are not turned off by the high price
- You like the idea of connecting multiple devices at the same time
- You want interchangeable batteries so you never run out of charge
You should not buy this if:
- $350 is just too much money for you
- You mostly play from your couch
- You think a cheaper headset suits you better on console
While the price may be too high for some people’s blood, I’d still say it’s worth every penny. The simultaneous 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connection is a game changer and the GameDac Gen 2 offers an amazing amount of control, along with an LED display for easy sound monitoring and adjustments. That amount of granular control may seem excessive to some, but it’s exactly what a premium headset should offer.
Combined with a solid and comfortable build, active noise cancellation and interchangeable batteries, the Arctis Nova Pro offers almost everything. The value and audio delivery are second to none, putting it above almost any other headset on the market.
I called the SteelSeries Arctis 7P+ the king of all PS5 headsets, but I feel like the Arctis Nova Pro has usurped that throne.
SteelSeries Arctic Nova Pro
A beautiful GameDAC comes with an excellent headset with just about every feature you want to give you a premium audio experience.
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