SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless
Price : € 199.99
Connection : 2.4Ghz Wireless, bluetooth, minijack
Compatibility : Fully compatible through 2.4Ghz with Windows, Mac, PS4 and PS5 and limited compatibility with all devices that support bluetooth or mini jack connections
RGB features : No
Battery Life : 20 hours
It’s not the first time we’ve taken a closer look at a SteelSeries headset. In last year’s De Grote Gameheadset Round-Up, the SteelSeries Artcis Pro with accompanying game dac even came out on top in the test. The Arctis 9 Wireless does not have an external DAC, but focuses a lot more on the gamer who wants a single headset solution for both game use and on the go. As mentioned, the Arctis 9 Wireless wants to provide this by means of Dual Wireless and a long battery life, but also the ease of use and comfort have been thought of. All these options come with a hefty price tag, the Arctic 9 will cost you 199.99 euros but is it worth it?
The ear cushions on SteelSeries Arctis headsets are arguably the most comfortable cushions to be found on a gaming headset. The cushions themselves are incredibly soft and the fabric cover breathes well, creating virtually no heat build-up with prolonged use. The well-known elastic in the headband is also present again. That elastic makes the headset float on your head, as it were, and that certainly benefits the comfort of the Arctis 9 Wireless. To perfect the fit, the height of the shells can be adjusted by making this elastic longer or shorter.
The battery of the Artcis 9 delivers no less than twenty hours of listening pleasure on a full charge. You might expect such a large battery to have negative implications for the weight of the headset, but in practice that turns out not to be the case at all. The Arctis 9 Wireless is reasonably light and also feels sturdy and reliable. The hard, plastic shells are connected with a single hinge to the metal-reinforced headband. The shells can rotate a full 90 degrees allowing the headset to hang around your neck. However, because the shells themselves are not adjustable in height, but the adjustment mechanism is in the headband, they do press slightly against the neck in this position.
On the right earcup you will find a volume wheel, a microphone mute button, an on / off button and the bluetooth connect button. Both the bluetooth button and the microphone mute button provide an audio cue when used. At the bottom of the right shell is also a charging input and a share port. You can use the share port to plug a second headset or earplugs into the Arctis 9. For example, you can easily provide your fellow player with sound during a couch co-op without having to deal with complicated wiring. Listening to music together is of course also possible. You can also use the share port to connect the headset to your desired device via a minjack cable: enough connection options.
On the left shell of the Arctic 9 there is a second wheel to find the balance between control game and chat sound. The characteristic retractable microphone is also present here. A small, red LED light is mounted on the end of the microphone that indicates whether the mute function is on or off and the sidetone turns on automatically when the microphone is extended. The microphone is a great option for the average multiplayer game, but not convincing enough if you like to stream
Connection options and software
We briefly mentioned the bluetooth and mini jack connections, but the Arctis 9 Wireless is mainly connected via a 2.4Ghz wireless connection. The included dongle makes it compatible with Windows, Mac, PS4 and PS5, but with the mini jack connection, this headset can of course be connected to almost any conceivable game device. You connect the round dongle via a very long USB-A cable, which makes it easy to position it ideally: right out of sight, or closer for a better connection. In addition, you will also find two mini jack inputs on the back of this small circular connector: a game-in and a line-out. This way you can also connect another headset via this dongle or connect a microphone. However, once these inputs are used, the wireless connectivity of the dongle will expire.
Like many of the Arctis headsets, the Arctis 9 can also be used ‘dual wireless’. In practice, this means that you can be connected to this headset via both the 2.4Ghz connection and via bluetooth at the same time. For example, while gaming, you can listen to music from a second device or record your phone. Making both wireless and bluetooth connections is incredibly streamlined. Both connections are easy to use, very stable and reach quite far. The only minor downside when using the bluetooth connection is that it occasionally goes into sleep mode if no audio is played for too long. When the connection is then prompted for action again, there may be momentary soft taps or pops.
If you connect the Arctis 9 to a Windows PC, you can use the SteelSeries Engine 3. In this software hub you can adjust equalizer settings, save different sound profiles and switch on the Dts Headphone X 2.0 7.1 surround sound. The Dts codec is used in several headsets to create surround sound effects and the codec is often characterized by its subtlety, also with the Arctis 9. The surround sound gives just a little bit more spaciousness in the sound, which while gaming can make you more concerned with ambient noise. It mainly benefits slower, narrative games. For music, this surround sound is a less good match, because some precision and definition disappears from the sound.
Without 7.1 surround sound, the Arctis 9 sounds Wireless pretty decent. What is immediately noticeable when listening to music is that there is quite a lot of spice in the higher frequency regions. With more modern, electronic music, this sometimes makes for a bit of an unpleasant harshness, but overall it produces a pleasant definition. Despite the smaller 40mm drivers, the bass is well organized. That is to say, there is a fair amount of it. Certainly not disturbing, but clearly emphasized. This certainly benefits the impact and conviction in some genres, but there are – as is the case with the higher frequency regions – also times when things get a bit much.
The Arctis 9 Wireless is a very comfortable, well-built headset with a fair amount of connection options. That means that this headset, provided you are at peace with not being able to use the excellent 7.1 surround sound or equalization, offers a great option for almost all game platforms. The sound of the headset is also convincing and lends itself well to the multi-usability that SteelSeries has in mind – with the small side note that with electronic genres the highs occasionally sound a bit shrill.
The exceptionally long battery life and the simplicity and speed with which bluetooth connections are made, also ensure that the Arctis 9 is a headset that you can take with you. This immediately emphasizes the most positive point of this headset: the ease of use. The Arctis 9 works exceptionally smoothly with both bluetooth and the 2.4Ghz wireless connection. This ensures that you quickly pick up this headset to listen or watch a bit; everything works in an instant. That makes the Arctis 9 the perfect headset for the gamer looking for multi-functionality, good sound, excellent comfort.
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