The Danish manufacturer SteelSeries is mainly known for its convincing peripherals in the form of gaming headsets like the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless (our review) or the Apex Pro TKL (our review) keyboard. Now they are venturing into the microphone segment, starting with a USB and an XLR variant. What the USB microphone has on the box, clarifies our SteelSeries Alias test.
|Microphone Diaphragm:||25 mm (condenser)|
|Frequency response:||50 Hz – 20,000 Hz|
|Sampling rate:||48 kHz / 24 bit|
|Dimensions:||Height: 190 mm (microphone); 230 mm (with stand).
Width: 52 mm (microphone); 111 mm (with stand)
|Dimensions (incl. stand):||230 mm x 111 mm x 130 mm|
|Weight:||758 g (with tripod); 205 g (without tripod)|
|Connectors:||USB-C; 3.5mm jack|
|Price:||RP: 199.99 euros|
SteelSeries Alias review: scope of delivery, design and workmanship
- Elegant, sleek design
- Robust stand
- Excellent workmanship
In typical manufacturer fashion, the SteelSeries Alias comes in an orange-gray cardboard box that includes the microphone itself, a two-meter USB-A to USB-C cable, a mount for the microphone boom, and the manual.
Visually, the microphone makes an excellent impression. In terms of design, the Danes go for a simple, but modern appearance. The microphone itself is mostly covered by a gray fabric on the front and features a rotary control and a capacitive touch button for muting in addition to the manufacturer’s logo on the front.
At the back, we find a gain control, as well as a USB-C port for connecting to a PC and a 3.5mm jack for connecting to headphones.
The Alias itself is around 19 centimeters tall and just under 5.2 cm wide. Here, the microphone sits in a sturdy spider complete with a metal stand with a rubberized bottom, and the angle of the mount can be adjusted on the back.
Combined, the composite weighs 758 grams, so a secure and non-slip grip is guaranteed here. The build quality is once again excellent, as the SteelSeries Alias feels enormously robust and high-quality
Commissioning, practice and RGB lighting
- Quick and easy to set up
- Flexibly positionable
As befits a USB microphone, the SteelSeries Alias is of course quick and easy to set up. According to the manufacturer, the device is only compatible with Windows PCs and is recognized there after plugging on immediately.
So, in principle, it can be used immediately without software, but we recommend downloading the SteelSeries Engine companion app because it unlocks powerful additional features. But more about that later.
Precise alignment is easily possible with the help of the stand. To do so, simply point the microphone at you at a slight angle. According to the manufacturer, a distance of around 60 centimeters from the mouth is ideal.
If you prefer to use the Alias on a microphone boom, you can simply unscrew the microphone and spider and use it on a microphone boom with the included adapter.
The adapter is compatible with a 3/8- and a 5/8-inch thread, which means that it can be used with almost all additional devices. You are completely free to rotate the Alias microphone. Both upwards and downwards and sideways oriented, the mic can be used without compromising the audio quality.
Practical RGB lighting of the SteelSeries Alias
- RGB light ring on the bottom
- Practical illuminated gain and mute indicators
However, the SteelSeries Alias features one more special feature, and it comes in the form of RGB lighting. For example, there is the small ring on the bottom of the microphone, which shines with a customizable lighting on the stand or just down. Here, the color can be freely adjusted within the software.
More than a nice gimmick, however, marks the RGB lighting located behind the fabric cover on the front. This serves as a gain indicator and informs with a red X when the Alias is muted.
The gain indicator has a total of five light points, which are composed of three green, one yellow and one red point at the factory (and can also be freely adjusted in color in the software).
Ideally, the gain should be set so that the three green LEDs are visible when speaking into it, and the yellow LED when speaking really loudly. If the red LED also lights up, clipping occurs – here the gain should then be reduced again somewhat.
A practical function that lets you see at first glance whether you are speaking too loudly or too softly. Who likes can deactivate this lighting but also completely.
Recording quality of the SteelSeries Alias
- Very good sound
- Dynamic sound; warm mix
For recording, the SteelSeries Alias relies on a 25 mm ClearCast condenser capsule with a cardioid pattern and the cardioid pattern, respectively. A cardioid microphone picks up sound primarily from the front, less from the sides, and almost not at all from the back. This is useful for reducing unwanted background noise or targeting a sound source.
Recordings are possible at up to 24 bits and 48 kHz, covering a frequency range of 50 Hz to 20,000 Hz. These are – at least on paper – all good, but not outstanding values. An Endgame Gear XSTRM (our review), for example, achieves a significantly higher quality of up to 192,000 Hz here.
Accordingly, the XSTRM also extracts more fine details from the recordings. However, the SteelSeries Alias also scores with a clear, detailed and absolutely pleasing sound. The quite warm mix is pleasing and the integrated wind filter also does an impeccable job of effectively dampening sharp S and plosive sounds.
Even without any software settings out-of-the-box, the microphone sounds very good, as can be seen in the following test recording. I made this without any additional settings.
Mighty Software: SteelSeries GG / Sonar
- Comprehensive companion app
- A number of sound presets
- Equalizer, noise gate, compressor and more
But the SteelSeries Alias still has a powerful ace up its sleeve in the form of companion software. Within SteelSeries GG, you can customize the RGB lighting, as well as add a sidetone if you wish, so you can hear your own voice through connected headphones, for example.
However, things get really exciting in the Sonar tab. This opens up incredibly detailed customizations that we’ve already positively highlighted on SteelSeries’ last few headsets.
If you select Sonar, you can first choose between different presets for the sound. These include a balanced option, two broadcast equalizers, and options for a clearer or more voluminous voice – the effects are immediately audible.
Once that’s done, however, you can fine-tune the sound down to the smallest detail. For example, a 10-band equalizer is available. In addition, noise reduction, a compressor and a noise gate can be added with a slider, while AI-assisted noise reduction can also be switched on if desired.
The latter works quite well, but has a slight impact on the level of detail in the recordings. In my eyes, however, noise cancellation is only necessary in very loud environments anyway, as the Alias muffles ambient noise very well anyway.
SteelSeries Alias review: conclusion
The SteelSeries Alias scores in the test with a chic design, excellent build quality and a very good sound. The RGB lighting is also more than just a nice visual detail and offers absolute added value, especially thanks to the gain display.
Once again, the companion software is set up excellently thanks to Sonar, which allows for detailed adjustments. The sturdy and massive stand should also be emphasized, which holds the microphone in position without any problems.
The only real point of criticism in my eyes is the price, which is a bit too high to start with. Many competitors deliver a similar result at a much lower price – although the flexibility through the companion software might tip the scales here. No other USB microphone offers such extensive adjustments.
In any case, those who like fine-tuning or are at home in the SteelSeries ecosystem anyway will find an excellent USB microphone in the SteelSeries Alias.