Over Black Friday, I bought an Arctis Pro + Game DAC for $188. The high-end headset is not quite as steeply discounted as we approach the new year: it's $210 on the Steelseries website right now, and $201 on Amazon. It regularly sells for its full price of $250, though, so these are actual sales, even if they aren't as good as November's. And if you've got the budget for it and want to treat your ears—or someone else's—this thing is worth it.
We've already gushed about the Arctis Pro in our guide to the best gaming headsets, but I'll gush again from the perspective of an average user (read: asks the PC Gamer hardware team what to buy) who just splurged on one and was afraid it wouldn't live up to the price.
The over-the-ear cups are infinitely more comfortable than those of my previous headset, a hulking G.Skill Ripjaws I picked up somewhere along the way. The Game DAC—a digital to analog converter that sits on your desk—has a rubber grip, so it doesn't slide around, even with a bit of tension from the cable. That's a small detail, but it was actually an annoying problem with my previous set: I resorted to using double-sided tape to keep its flat plastic box from constantly being tugged off the edge of my desk.
I haven't used it this way, but the screen on the DAC can also be paired with Discord to tell you who's talking, which is pretty cool, if less practical than just using the Discord overlay.
Speaking of, my Discord friends immediately commented on the improved mic quality—apparently I sounded like a different person—and the sound on my end has been phenomenal. I can quickly switch between DTS:X surround mode and Hi-Res mode using the DAC or Steelseries' software, and I'd describe the quality as loud, snappy, and deep. I'm the type who usually can't tell the difference between a crappy wine and a good wine—it just tastes like wine—but now and then, I'll try a really special bottle and, in that one case, I get it. This is the audio equivalent of that. I feel like I've robbed myself of properly hearing my favorite music for years.
The most audio-obsessed among us will probably scoff at me and recommend a good studio set paired with a desk mic, and that's fair, but I like the simplicity of the included USB DAC and the built-in mic, because I do a lot of video calls and Discord chatting, and I don't have much room on my desk. My only complaint is that, while it is comfortable, the band is slightly tight on my fat head.
If you've already invested in your audio setup, I can't guarantee the Arctis Pro is going to blow you away. But if you've been getting by with a cheaper set like I was, spending more is worth it if you can swing it. This thing's going to be on my ears just about every day for years, so I don't regret it. (Or, you know, you could buy it for someone else and delight them. 'Tis the season.)
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