Someone at SteelSeries really knows headphones. Why do I say this? Because SteelSeries' recent line of headsets sound really good. Good enough that if they were sold as headphones for audio, they’d sell well. In fact, they were originally compared with several Sennheiser headphones in my large roundup from a while back. Crazy, I know.
During my testing, I used a professional sound analysis tool called SoundCheck. It's a $10,000 analysis tool used by industry professionals to design and fine tune audio related products—and not just headphones. Little did I know, one of the folks that worked on SoundCheck actually went to SteelSeries to work on the company's audio products. The results spoke for themselves. Not only did SteelSeries produce an excellent line of Siberia headsets, it went on to launch an all new line focused on bringing excellent audio without the gaudy designs of "gaming" products.
The Arctis 7 is the company's flagship in the series.
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SteelSeries kept its excellent audio performance from the Siberia series, fine tuned the sound signature, and packaged everything into a sleek, wireless package—yes, you can also plug an analog cable into the Arctis 7.
I found the cans performed well above its price grade while testing. Gaming, movies, music, I threw a variety of demanding audio content at the Arctis 7 expecting to be pleased. I wasn't let down. I'd go as far to say that if you're not willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for a "high-end" headphone, any of SteelSeries headsets will handle the duties well. Best of all, SteelSeries says that its Arctis 7 has lag-free lossless audio streaming, which I found to be true, even though it uses the 2.4GHz wireless band.
Microphone performance is good as well. Clear, precise, and never nasal sounding, I never found myself reaching for my desk mic. Battery life is decent, and should last you several hours but be sure to plug them in overnight—or the day if you live at night and sleep when the sun comes up.
One complaint I did have though was the self-adjusting headband. I'm not a fan of these headbands on any headphone because they're never sitting exactly the way I want them to. Also, I think SteelSeries can option out for larger heads. The custom bands however, are a nice touch, which you can customize at the time of order.
Minor warts aside, the Arctis 7 is my favorite wireless headset this year.