Peripherals manufacturer SteelSeries adds a new model to its own Arctis headset lineup: The SteelSeries Arctis Prime promises high-caliber sound quality at an affordable price. After all, the same high-fidelity audio drivers that are used in the popular Arctis Pro do their job inside. Our test reveals how well the gaming headset does.
|Frequency range:||10-40,000 Hz|
|Headphone sensitivity:||92 dB SPL|
|Frequency range (microphone):||100-10,000 Hz|
|Impedance (microphone):||2,200 ohms|
|Sensitivity (microphone):||-38 dBV/Pa|
|Cable length and type:||3.5mm jack, four-pin, 1.2 m
3.5mm double jack, three-pole, 1.5 m (including Y-switch)
|Price:||€ 75.13 *|
Scope of delivery
The Arctis Prime comes in a gray-orange box that represents the Danish manufacturer’s new e-sports line, designed by professionals for professionals. Opening the box immediately reveals the headset, which also comes with the obligatory product information and a pop shield for the microphone.
Since the headset is a purely analog device, there is also a detachable, four-pin jack cable with a length of 1.2m, as well as an additionally usable Y-switch to two three-pin plugs with another 1.5m in the box, which makes the cable length in combination look excellent.
Design & workmanship
The design of the matte black over-ear headset should be well known to connoisseurs of the brand and positions itself between its little brother Arctis 3 and the higher-priced Arctis Pro. The new device consistently does without technical features such as RGB lighting and DTS Headphone:X v2.0 of the Pro variant, but in terms of workmanship, the approximately € 119.90 expensive device is in no way inferior to the more expensive variant.
The Arctis Prime has a robust metal headband with rotating ear cups, which is made of a mixture of aluminum alloy and steel that is both light and robust and should withstand even intensive use over the long term. Once again, a ski goggle headband is used to adjust the headset to the shape of your head.
Similarly convincing are the faux leather ear pads that completely enclose the ear. In fact, the external noise shielding is also more than respectable, consistently shielding all background noise. However, you sometimes start to sweat quite quickly in high temperatures due to the chosen synthetic leather. Here, we would have liked to see a legacy of the Pro model’s AirWeave ear pads.
Interestingly, SteelSeries also relies on removable ear cup covers (called speaker cups) for the Prime, as we already know them from the Pro variant or the headsets from the manufacturer ASTRO Gaming, for example. The in-house SteelSeries store puts together bundles of headband and covers to further individualize the device’s look. The already mentioned breathable AirWeave ear pads can also be purchased here if needed.
The retractable, Discord-certified ClearCast microphone is located on the left ear cup, and the headset’s controls are also found here: a volume wheel and a button for muting the microphone, which we already know from other devices in terms of shape and color and feel high-quality.
However, there are deductions in the B grade. For one thing, the position of the mute button doesn’t seem fully thought out. It is not uncommon that the headset is accidentally muted when putting it on. On the other hand, the microphone boom is a bit too soft and can even be accidentally adjusted with the lightest of touches. But that’s complaining on a high level, because the SteelSeries Prime can easily compete with much more expensive devices in terms of build quality.
Comfort & Practice
With a weight of 348 grams, the SteelSeries Arctis Prime weighs a bit more than some competitors in this price segment. Nevertheless, there is hardly any reason for criticism in terms of wearing comfort.
Thanks to the adjustable headband, swiveling ear cups and soft pads, the headset fits comfortably to the user’s head even during several hours of gaming. The headset does not lose its grip even during fast, jerky movements. Only for very large heads the headband might be a bit too tight.
The operation of the Arctis Prime is also convincing in practical use. The mute button and volume wheel are easily accessible with the left hand and allow for quick fine-tuning.
Recording & Playback Quality
Let’s move on to probably the most important feature of a headset: the acoustics. Inside the ear cups, 40 mm neodymium drivers are at work, covering an above-average frequency range of 10-40,000 Hz. The same high-fidelity audio drivers are used that already convinced gamers and the trade press with the Arctis Pro – even if the Prime model can’t quite keep up in terms of headphone sensitivity.
While gaming headsets usually emphasize trebles and basses too much, the Arctis Prime convinces with a balanced and voluminous sound image, which makes the device an ideal companion in competitive gaming. Especially the mids are reproduced in detail, while even small details like footsteps and other important sounds are emphasized thanks to clear trebles.
However, the SteelSeries headset is not suitable for fans of massive, thunderous basses, because the manufacturer rather puts them in the background – which is especially useful in gaming to avoid being distracted by booming explosions or gunshots. The headset also masters spatial localization excellently, despite stereo sound. If you use the Arctis Prime with a sound card or the SteelSeries GameDAC, you can get the last bit of performance out of it.
We also liked the sound particularly well in combination with the PlayStation 5’s 3D sound engine Tempest. However, the open and broad sound is also suitable for enjoying music or movies, and the headset leaves many competitors in the same price segment behind. Unfortunately, you will not find a software-based control system.
There is little to complain about in the voice reproduction of the ClearCast microphone. This is largely undistorted, while breathing noises are filtered out well thanks to the included pop shield and ambient noise. Despite Discord certification, the recording quality cannot quite keep up with studio microphones, though. However, the quality is more than sufficient for in-game voice chat.
With the €119.90 Arctis Prime, SteelSeries delivers an all-around convincing and versatile gaming headset that can convince when used on PC as well as smartphone or consoles.
Above all, the sound is more than impressive and reproduces the mids and highs, which are so important for gaming, in detail. The spatial perception and the richness of detail of the acoustics are completely convincing and are simply outstanding in this price range. Only fans of rich basses might not be satisfied with the headset, since they are clearly positioned in the background.
The precursor of the new Prime series has also inherited many positive features from its big brother, the popular Arctis Pro. Thus, the manufacturer sticks to the design language of the series and also equips the new headset with the high-quality Hi-Res drivers. The combination of a lightweight and stable metal headband and soft leatherette ear pads ensures a high wearing comfort, while ambient noise is isolated excellently.
On the other hand, it is a bit of a shame that breathable pads are omitted. A stiffer microphone boom would also have been desirable, as it adjusts too easily in the heat of battle. All in all, however, there is little to complain about with the SteelSeries Arctis Prime. If you’re looking for a wired gaming headset for a variety of uses, you’ll get your money’s worth here.
SteelSeries Arctis Prime - Gaming-Headset für die anspruchsvollsten Spieler - HiFi-Audiotreiber - Für PC und Konsolen - Schwarz price comparison
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