SteelSeries spent most of 2022 releasing updates on their higher-end gaming products, including their Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox.
The Arctis Nova Pro follows the company’s Arctis Pro+ Game DAC and offers a similar experience. Of course, it has some hardware and aesthetic updates that come with it.
It’s an excellent headset with notable features integrated, and it’s also on the pricier side of things.
We spent a week using the headset to see if its perks and features outweighed its trade-offs.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset Packaging
Let’s start our SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset review by checking its packaging and contents.
The Arctis Nova Pro arrived in a grey-coloured box with numerous details. The front displays the headset’s image, the company’s branding, its name, and its selling features. Looking at the box’s side, you’ll find a list of its other key features.
Inside, you will find everything packed neatly and in an organised manner. Aside from the Arctis Nova Pro for the Xbox, you’ll find a GameDAC Gen2 and a mic pop filter. There’s also a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable (5-pole to 4-pole) and two USB-C to A cables.
SteelSeries also included two removable magnetic ear plates and the product information guide for your reference.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset Review – Design and Functionality
For the first time after many years, the company updated the Arctis headset’s appearance. It’s still part of this line, but the tweaks and updates it received set it apart.
The top of the product has a lightweight metallic plate. You can find it above a plastic base at the top of a flexible band that rests on your head’s crown.
Its two earpieces are also plastic-made except for its transposable metal speaker plates. These allow you to customise the appearance of the cans.
The earcups of the Arctis Nova Pro use leatherette around the plush, soft pads that fit the ears well. If they don’t feel right on your ears or if you aren’t comfortable with them, you can remove these instead.
The result of these design optimisations is a headset that feels and looks robust on hand but is somewhat lightweight. Even with hours of gaming, you won’t feel any fatigue or discomfort when wearing it.
To put it simply, these were one of the comfiest headphones we’ve ever used.
All the connections and controls are on the left earcup of the Arctis Nova Pro. This area holds the mute button, retractable boom mic, volume dial, and a 3.5mm headphone input port.
You can easily find the mute button and the volume dial.
We also took notice of the mic while writing this SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset Review. We appreciate SteelSeries for adding a retracting boom mic, and we love that you can choose not to connect it. The company designed the mic to be pushed in and concealed in the left earcup of the Arctis Nova Pro.
It’s an ideal choice, and it keeps the entire headset looking neat and pleasing to the eyes. The microphone also pulls out conveniently and retracts smoothly in a quick motion.
Arctis Nova Pro sports SteelSeries’ GameDAC. It’s a command deck with a big dial that works like a button. To the left of the dial is a little touch-sensitive button that works as a back command.
When you first use the GameDAC, it will lead you through a tutorial on how to change the settings. It also teaches you how to navigate through the menu.
Turning the dial from its standby position alters the volume. When pressing the dial, it will take you to a menu where turning the dial right/left moves through options.
The back button brings you back to one stage. These input options are everything you need to change different settings within the GameDAC.
Options in the GameDAC
Different options are present in the GameDAC. You can change the headphone volume and the mic volume in this area. You can even alter the volume level of your voice through the mic (sidetone) and other audio options.
We think the GameDAC’s best feature is that it allows linking two audio sources simultaneously and toggling between them. You can connect it to your PC and a console, and also a Mac and, say, a PS5, simultaneously.
You can also shift back and forth between them without having problems with other cables.
We should also mention that the Arctis Nova Pro can work without the GameDAC. However, the headset works great when paired with it. Additionally, you can use other types of 3.5mm wired headphones with SteelSeries’ GameDAC.
Key Features of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset
Here in our SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset review, we’ll share the product’s features. These make the Arctis Nova Pro stand out from the crowd. But are these elements adequate for your needs?
Let’s find out.
When using the Arctis Nova Pro, you’ll hear in-game audio like never before. Its immersive Almighty Audio will bring you to another world.
Nova Pro Acoustic System
The Nova Pro Acoustic System combines ultimate audio quality and clarity, raising the standard for gaming audio. SteelSeries’ engineers used Premium High Fidelity Drivers to deliver legendary performance by achieving sound purity that’s better than other headsets.
This technology also offers a 360° Spatial Audio soundscape that enhances overall sound quality. You can also use the SteelSeries Sonar Audio Software Suite to take the currently impressive audio to the next level.
This software provides total control of every sonic element with precision. It also highlights the critical steps and vocals using the Pro-grade Parametric EQ.
2nd-generation GameDAC of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset
The new ESS Sabre Quad-DAC supercharges your in-game audio and achieves a 78% purer signal with low noise and distortion. It offers higher audio resolution to a sublime 96KHz/24-Bit with Hi-Res audio certification. As a result, the Arctis Nova Pro stands out from the competition with more detailed sounds.
Connect Multiple Devices
The hub is your home base for connecting multiple systems at once. You can seamlessly swap between these with a press of a button. This feature allows you to bring one of the connected devices into play anytime you need it.
10-band EQ Settings
Configure the Arctis Nova Pro’s audio profile on the fly with the 10-band equaliser without leaving your game.
Chat Mix, Optimised for Victory
The second-generation GameDAC lets you strike the perfect balance between game audio and team chat.
AI Noise-cancelling Microphone of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset
The Arctis Nova Pro features an AI noise-cancelling microphone that allows for crystal clear communication. It’s a broadcast-quality bidirectional microphone that reduces noise by 25 dB regardless of the platform. When retracted, it blends seamlessly into the earcup.
This microphone also works with Sonar Software’s AI algorithms to eliminate background noise like keyboard tapping and button smashing.
This part of our SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset Review focuses on the product’s specifications. The Arctis Nova Pro has 40mm neodymium drivers and a wired frequency response of 10-40,000Hz.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset Specs
Its sensitivity is 93 dB SPL, while the impedance is 38 Ohms. Then, the Arctis Nova Pro’s total harmonic distortion is less than 1%.
It’s a ClearCast Gen2 microphone with a fully-retractable boom and a bi-directional noise-cancelling polar pattern. It has a frequency response of 100-10000Hz and -38 dBV/Pa sensitivity. Then, its impedance measures 2200 Ohm.
For the GameDAC, you’ll need two USB-C system connections with one dedicated Xbox port. Specifically, these two connections are one line-in and one line-out.
It requires an ESS Sabre 9218-PQ40 and a maximum audio format of 96 kHz, 24-bit. The GameDAC also requires a frequency response of 5-40000 Hz and SNR of 111 dB.
Compatibility and Software Requirements
This Arctis Nova Pro headset we’re reviewing is compatible with your PC, Xbox, PS5, and Nintendo Switch.
To use the GG+ Engine, you will need Windows 8.1 and later versions. If you have a Mac, it requires macOS 10.13 or later versions. The GG+ Sonar Audio Software Suite only works with Windows 10 and later versions.
Hands-on with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset
We’re sharing our hands-on experience with the product in our SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset review. It’s to let you know if this headset’s performance can meet your needs and if it’s worth purchasing.
But first, let’s talk about the GG+ Engine software.
The SteelSeries GG+ Engine is where you can access all the settings to tweak the Arctis Nova Pro’s audio. You can install this on Windows and macOS systems. It also integrates with the GameDAC and provides firmware updates for it.
The interface of the GG+ Engine is new and well laid out. Here, you can also access the Sonar Audio Suite.
Two things happen when installing the GG+ Engine and updating the GameDAC. The advantage is it allows GameDAC to individually adjust the volume of SteelSeries Sonar’s separate audio channels. However, you’ll need to use the software to tweak the game and chat balance.
But despite that, everything worked well when we tried using the software.
The second thing that happens when installing the GG+ Engine is the SteelSeries Sonar EQ replacing the GameDAC’s integrated EQ. The software-based EQ is superior but will entirely disable your EQ control from the GameDAC.
Performance of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset
The Arctis Nova Pro is a great headset. When we tested the product, we were surprised by the detail retained in sound reproduction. We didn’t hear anything new, but everything was easier to recognise.
No matter how much we tweaked the EQ, the headset never reduced the detail. When gaming or watching movies, detail is a highly essential element. And to our surprise, the headset delivered high-quality audio that was rich in detail.
This headset was impressive for gaming in terms of comfort, ease of use, and audio quality. It was comfortable even for prolonged use, and setting up wasn’t a hassle since it was mostly plug-and-play.
We played several titles using the Arctis Nova Pro, and ambient sounds became more audible and clear. Footsteps were easier to hear, enemies’ actions & locations were more discernible, and the headset reproduced audio queues excellently. The highly immersive audio quality made us feel like we were in the scene.
Overall, the Arctis Nova Pro’s delivered excellent audio quality in our tests. Aside from impressive sounds, it was comfortable to use for long hours, and its software had many customisation options.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset Review Summary
Most people demand a lot from headsets. Sometimes, we want precise details, and there are other times when we need a great microphone. And while needing these features, we also want them to be comfortable when worn.
SteelSeries impressed us with this wired Arctis Nova Pro headset. It managed to have all these essential features and functions in a single package. This headset significantly improved our gaming experience with its immersive and detailed sound.
Another feature we liked was the GameDAC. Although it had some issues with the software, we consider it a convenient feature.
After our tests for our SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset review, we highly recommend it. We were satisfied with this product’s build quality, comfort, and sound quality.
If you’re okay with spending more money than usual on a wired gaming headset, that’s great. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox wired gaming headset is an ideal option for you. It’s easy to use, sounds great, and offers numerous excellent features for full enjoyment.
For more details about the Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox Wired Gaming Headset, visit SteelSeries’ official product page.