SteelSeries launches a 'hi-res certified headset' for gamers tired of crappy audio

SteelSeries has added three new headsets to its lineup, one of which stands to the be the company's flagship model. That would be the Arctis Pro + GameDAC, which was able to earn a Hi-Res logo from the Japanese Audio Society and is being billed as "gaming's first complete hi-res audio system."

We asked SteelSeries for clarification on where the hi-res certification comes from and the company told us it was issued by the Japanese Audio Society. According to our contact at SteelSeries, the certification is more than just a licensing play: "they make you rigorously prove that the headset can produce hi-res frequencies and support that high resolution audio." It's also apparently "super tough" to achieve and requires the vendor to "provide tons of data."

Roccat was actually first to market with a hi-res certified gaming headset (that we're aware of), the Khan Pro that was introduced last year. However, SteelSeries makes a distinction between first to market with a hi-res certified headset and gaming's first complete hi-res audio system, the latter of which the company lays claim to with the combo of the GameDAC and Arctis Pro headset itself.

The headset uses 40mm neodymium drivers to bang your eardrums with audio at up to 40,000 Hz. It also supports hi-res 96 kHz, 24-bit audio with no need for down-sampling. This is aided by an "audiophile-grade" ESS Sabre DAC and amp that make up the GameDAC component.

"With 121 decibels (dB) of dynamic range and -95dB Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise, the Arctis Pro + GameDAC performs as well as high-end audiophile equipment. For gamers, this means they hear the cleanest and purest audio possible," SteelSeries says.

We haven't tested the new headset ourselves, but both Forbes and Windows Central had mostly good things to say about it.

SteelSeries also introduced two other versions, the regular Arctis Pro and Arctis Pro Wireless. They use the same drivers as the Arctis Pro + GameDAC, but lack the DAC and therefore are not hi-res certified. Interestingly, the Arctic Pro Wireless is actually the most expensive of the bunch. It offers dual wireless support by way of 2.4G lossless and Bluetooth. It also features a swappable dual-battery system.

All three are available now. The Arctis Pro sells for the $180, the Arctis Pro Wireless goes for $330, and the Arctis Pro + GameDAC goes for $250.