Gaming headsets have come a long way.
First there was wired headsets. The first generation headsets were either very simple and poor quality, or good quality but expensive. Both of them shared the real problem of being tied to your computer. Therefore, trying to fit a quick bathroom break during a raid was a problem. Do you hold up the entire clan/guild while you dash off for a quick biological break? What if you really can’t wait, drop your headset and make it quick, dash back in and everyone’s dead, oops my bad.
Next up was Bluetooth. Finally you could get up a stretch, move around a bit and still stay in touch with everyone. Better by far and still popular today, but there are still downsides. Bluetooth is short range, really short range. Go more than 10 feet or so and you start losing your connection or it drops all together. Definitely an improvement but still not the ideal.
Now we have the latest – Wifi. A major step up in gaming freedom. Wifi is longer range than Bluetooth, by a significant margin. Let’s take a look at the latest offering from SteelSeries, the Arctis 7 wireless gaming headset.
What Difference Does Wifi Make?
Interestingly quite a bit. Wifi has the ability to send and receive LOTS more data than Bluetooth. You probably use Wifi every day on your phone, computer, tablet or pad. You stream movies, play video games, transfer files and browse the internet. Bluetooth has a much lower capacity to transmit data, it’s just for short range transmission low bandwidth stuff like audio headphones.
How does the Arctis 7 work?
SteelSeries uses a small puck that plugs into your usb port on your PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Mac. This is the Wifi transmitter. You’ll want to place it so it has the best location for a signal. There are also “Line In” and “Line Out” jacks on the transmitter. You can hook a set of speakers up if you want to listen to music or some other type of audio to the “Line Out,” which will automatically mute when the headset is turned on. The “Line In” will send what ever type of audio you want to plug in it to the headset. You can use this feature if you have a game console without the necessary usb support.
Dual Audio Feeds
There are two audio feeds to the headset when connected to a compatible device. The “Game” channel is where you listen to music and game. There is a separate “Chat” channel as well for your chat software.
MonkeyHACKs: If the sound of your game or music sounds horrible, it’s more than likely a setup problem. If you send your music or game though the chat channel it will sound very thin, no base at all and the equalizer won’t have any effect on the sound. The chat channel seems to be optimized for voice only. Even if you set it up correctly when you first install it, disconnecting the usb connection or even moving it to a different usb port may cause you to have to redo the setup.
On the headphones there is a balance control that allows you to adjust the volume of both channels. Turn it all one way and you’ll have full volume chat only, the other full game volume and no chat. It has an indent or bump that you will notice when you turn it that is right in the middle for both. There is a separate master volume control.
First the Headset
The first thing you will notice when you pick them up is the weight. Mine clocked in at 11.92 ounces. Which doesn’t sound like much but it has more heft than you might expect. They have a separate adjustable inner headband that takes the weight. I suspect the weight has a lot to do with battery life.
They claim that the battery can last up to 24 hours. I haven’t given it a real world 24 hour gaming session, I’ll leave that to you. I have used them up to about 8-9 hours without any problems and I’ve seen posts that suggest 16 hours is probably a realistic average. There is a jack to allow you to use them plugged in as well, if you’ve burned up your battery.
Is it Comfortable?
The ear cups are very soft and fit over my ears quite well and they breathe. They don’t block out all room noise and this model doesn’t have a noise canceling feature. The controls are easy to find and adjust. The mic pulls out and is flexible so you can position it for the best performance or tuck it away when not in use. I wear glasses when gaming and they fit quite nicely over my glasses without any undue pressure. The soft ear cups are a nice touch to comfort.
The mic has good sound quality for voice. The mic mute button is recessed when off and up when muting. There is a red light on the mic when it is muted, to remind you that you have it muted. It can help avoid the embarrassment of chatting for 10 minutes and finding out you’ve been on mute the whole time.
SteelSeries has a decent interface and a good selection of controls. The 7.1 does a good job of spatial separation allowing you to pick out footsteps and other sounds coming from the sides and even behind. A must-have feature for a serious gamer.
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SteelSeries Arctis 7 (2019 Edition) Lossless Wireless Gaming Headset with DTS Headphone:X v2.0 Surround for PC and PlayStation 4 - Black
19 used from $100.12
How is the Sound?
I’ve done a comparison between my set of Sony studio headphones, that I use for audio work, and the Arctis 7 2019 edition. In a head-to-head comparison with game and music sources I find that my studio headphones and the Arctis 7 are pretty close. In a gaming environment the sound is good enough that I don’t think about it at all, I just play.
But What About the Bass?
I know many gamers really enjoy over the top, head-pounding bass. I mean if you want enough bass to vibrate the headphone off your head you will be disappointed. It does have good clarity and decent bass response and you can use the software to pump it up.
I listen to music sometimes when I’m just grinding out experience, some hard rock or something similar. The steel series does a good job and the volume is more than enough. I don’t do over-the-top volume, this can damage your ears and most modern headsets do allow excessive sound pressure levels. I want to be able to have good hearing my entire life, don’t forget to protect your ears.
Where are the Amazing Lights?
The only light on it is the mic and the power button; that’s one thing that rechargeable headsets generally lack. The reason, of course, is battery life. The lights look great, and I do like things that light up, but battery life is more important for a gaming headset.
The Arctis 7 2019 edition is a winner for all the following reasons. It combines all the elements that a good gaming headset needs. Long battery life, good sound and the use of Wifi that earned this a good review. I’ve used lots of various headsets for gaming, some were so uncomfortable that I just couldn’t wear them for very long. I can put these on and forget about the headset and just enjoy the game.
FAQ’s from around the Web
Easy answer for anyone confused about any 3rd party headsets on PS4–unless it has a mixer that takes the optical output from the PS4 then it won’t do surround. Only headsets that do simulated surround over USB are PlayStation branded headsets.
The quality and headset are the same. The only difference is the cables it comes with.
It’s got a dongle that needs to be plugged into the system, but isn’t at all attached to the headphone. Once its plugged in the headphones are wireless. It also comes with two different cords to have it wired to whatever system you’re using.
We listened to customers and made our amazing gaming headset even better. We made the cable from the ChatMix dial to the headset longer, increased the thickness of the ear cushions for greater comfort, and tweaked the sound for deeper bass output. All Arctis 5s now also include DTS Headphone: X v2.0, the latest surround sound technology from DTS.
No it needs to be connected with the wire to work with the switch. Since it creates a WiFi connection to the dongle it will not work with a wireless Bluetooth attachment to the switch either. However I have found using the wire with the switch to not be too cumbersome in handheld mode.
I found them incredibly comfortable with glasses with no issues at all unlike those headsets that are too grippy, these are not.
I’ve only used my headset while gaming but I don’t see why this couldn’t work in a call center setting. I routinely voice chat while gaming, both the sound quality and the mic seem to be great from what I hear and feedback I’ve gotten from others. The only reason I think you might not want to use this is if you need to hear what’s going on around you. Since these completely cover your ears you probably won’t be able to hear/notice what’s going on around you as much so if that’s a drawback it might be better to look into something else. On the other hand if you’re actively trying to block out the noise around you then I think these would be great.