Manufacturers of gaming peripherals do not stop even for a second in pursuit of gamers’ attention and their market share. The company SteelSeries certainly is not a beginner in this field and is well aware of its successful models of headsets. This time we are not waiting for rebranding hit products, but something completely new.
SteelSeries Arctis 3 gaming headset is the youngest model in the new line of devices from SteelSeries. It comes in a relatively small box with an interesting design. In the upper corner there is a proud inscription: “The best gaming headset”, however, above the small text is written, “from the creators” – really very impressive.
In general, the information on the package is very small: images of the headset in different projections and a short description of the brand features. No technical characteristics or even indication of connection interfaces.
Inside, everything is modest enough and our eyes immediately appear headphones SteelSeries Arctis 3. If you thought that they do not lead to the wires – so it is. True, it’s not the wireless interface, but the fact that the wire is removable and it’s always convenient.
In the kit, in addition to the headset itself, we find instructions, a serial number card for activation on the manufacturer’s website and a set of stickers.
There is also a meter cable with proprietary connectors, which connects to the headphones with one end, and the other to the corresponding extension cables with connectors.
One of them has a length of 1.5 meters and serves to connect to a computer and has two 3.5-mm mini jack plugs – separately for headphones and a microphone. The second, 10 cm long, has a four-pin 3.5 mm jack for connection to game consoles and mobile devices.
To be frank, SteelSeries Arctis 3 has, from my point of view, literally one of the best external types among all gaming sets. No pretentiousness, no red “gamer” accents, no backlight. In fact, they are easily confused with the headphones of the music series and this is a plus.
The outer headband is made of thick, matte plastic. Its part turned towards the head is filled with a gray soft-touch silicone, through which, with a strong push, several metal guides are probed. The inner headband is the know-how from SteelSeries and the description on the box says that it is made in the form of ski goggles. Not the most understandable comparison, but in fact everything is simpler.
The inner hanger is not rigid and is a rubberized fabric, from which the puffs in sports equipment are often made. Ideally, the owner can adjust the depth of planting using two Velcro. In addition, you can always wash the contaminated fabric with time. By the way, this is one of the options for customizing this headset, because in addition to the different colors of the headphones themselves, the manufacturer offers a whole range of colors for the fabric suspension.
The planes of the bowls have a soft-touch coating, and the circle is made of the same matte plastic as the headband. Simply excellent design and, by the way, there are no fingerprints left.
The bowls rotate 90 degrees and have a small angle of inclination vertically, so they are positioned quite accurately on the head and do not create discomfort with an uneven clamp.
The ear-pads are made of some firm sports fabric AirWeave. Indeed, its texture and profiling resembles a breathable fabric for sportswear. This should have a positive effect on comfort in the hot season. It’s a pity that, sensation, the filler does not have a so-called “memory effect”.
All controls, as well as the cable jack, are on the bottom edge of the left headset. There is also a socket for a 3.5 mm plug. To it you can connect one more headphones and thus share audio content. By the way, quite a popular feature among portable music headphones.
The volume wheel has a textured surface and a smooth adjustment stroke. It is unclear why only the manufacturer hung on it the function of simultaneous adjustment of the sound volume and recording level – very inconvenient. In fact, you lose the opportunity to use it in game cases with teammates, you want to make the sound quieter and you do not hear comrades. The button for turning off the microphone is on-off and there are no complaints about it.
The microphone in this headset is hidden just for “five plus”. Indeed, in assembled form, not everyone will understand that it is he, and not just some serving control element. Why was to do the outer part of the glossy – it is not known, because there is no more glossy plastic in the design and it pleases.
Neither in the assembled nor in the extended state the microphone does not hang out. The microphone foot is flexible enough to remember its position after you push it. The microphone is bi-directional and declared by the manufacturer as “the best in gaming”.
Despite the fact that SteelSeries Arctis 3 headphones are represented by “the creator of the best gaming headset,” there is nothing from the classical “Siberia” here. And if we talk about design, it’s even for the better. Strict forms and successfully hidden microphone, as well as the presence of a four-pin “mini-jack” will allow the owner to walk quietly down the street to the music from the phone without fear of looking weird.
But with the convenience of landing, everything is not so rosy. The outer headband has a fixed shape and the bowls are pressed against the head with some uncertainty. And if in constructions with a spring-loaded suspension its stroke is freer, then the elasticity of the suspension from the “rubber band” is not so high. It can not be said that this is bad, but the headset needs to be adjusted precisely for itself.
The depth of the ear cups leaves much to be desired. The ears touch the fabric that covers the speaker. I would like a little more space and volume – both for the sound itself, and just for the ears.
In general, the headphones sit on the head freely and do not press, a little dangle with sudden movements. Controls are quite easy.
The microphone is really good in terms of clarity and clarity of recording – it does not distort the voice and does not cut certain ranges, as it happens in gaming headsets. But with the declared “excellent” noise reduction everything is not so good – you can even hear the sound of pressing keys on the laptop.
The complete cables are thin and not tightened into the braid, they easily bend, but do not have the memory effect. The insulation has a soft-touch texture and slips over the surfaces worse than conventional PVC.
With the SteelSeries Arctis 3 model, an interesting situation has developed. Since it does not have a built-in audio device, it would seem that additional software is useless. Nevertheless, the manufacturer diligently positions the junior model as a 7.1-device (of course, now without 7.1 anywhere). Accordingly, we had to somehow justify the declared volume and organize the software processing of the sound. And in order to not use this processing with any other analog headphones, SteelSeries tied the corresponding “soft” to the account using a license key. This means that if you want to use the module for the headset inside the proprietary software package SteelSeries Engine 3, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 model must be registered to your account.
And all would be fine, but only the software is not fully implemented. There are a lot of settings, they are grouped perfectly and there is nothing to complain about, except that there is almost no effect from their use. The equalizer changes the sound slightly, the difference between the minimum and maximum bass enhancement is barely noticeable. All the positions of the two different noise reduction settings again have almost no effect. A kind of “dynamic range compressor”, designed to normalize the volume of the user’s voice, despite its impressive name, or is not noticeable, or greatly distorts the sound. The only clearly working control is the microphone listening button in the headset itself – it precisely turns on and off the corresponding function.
The results are, in principle, expected. I think the software will work fine with older models that have built-in sound cards. In our case, an unsuccessful attempt was made to programmatically process the outgoing signal in order to somehow justify the proud title of a 7.1-channel headset.
Now let’s pass to the direct listening and evaluation of sound quality. The headphones were tested in Battlefield 1 and 4, Rise of Tomb Raider and Mass Effect Andromeda, as well as classic online shooters. In addition, there was listening to a variety of music and evaluation of the sound in the films and serials.
As for the sound quality in games, there is nothing to complain about. A fairly good level of playback, given the emphasis on high, and normal, for stereo, positioning.
But the musical side looks a little worse. Well-detailed highs could pull this headset in the appropriate genres, if not for absolutely blurry and inexpressive midrange. In slightly saturated songs, everything just mixes into a bunch and you just want to put the play on pause. Low frequencies are very small and give out more of these dynamics just can not – the equalizer can not fix the situation. And this is even though the playback occurred through a far from the most budgetary device – ASUS Xonar U7.
Movies and TV shows are also not very good. If quiet scenes and dialogues are perceived well, then some action and a large number of sounds are again mixed into something not very digestible. Sound simply catastrophically lacks depth and elaboration of details.
The launch of a new series of gaming sets from the company SteelSeries was held. Model SteelSeries Arctis 3 has just an excellent concise design, which, along with a wide range of colors, can come to taste to many. Finally, there were headphones, which prove that the gaming headset does not have to be “visible from afar”. The only pity is that the memorable appearance is not supported by the corresponding sound. And if in games SteelSeries Arctis 3 copes with its task well, and the microphone is very good, then for music this is not the best option. Perhaps older models with built-in audio cards will be able to offer a better sound, but the younger one is still suitable for games.