Steelseries has had the Steelseries Arctis 9 Wireless on the market for quite some time now. Today, it’s time to put these to the test. How do these headphones perform? You can read that here!
Let’s start with a product video of the Arctis 9 Wireless, and then the specifications!
Headphone Frequency Response
Headphone Total Harmonic Distortion
Headphone Volume Control
On Ear Cup
Headphone Chat Mix
On Ear Cup
Microphone Frequency Response
40 ft / 12 m
A2DP, HFP, HSP
Product Information Guide
Download Product Information Guide
Arctis 9 Headset
USB charging cable
I received several products to review from Steelseries
– Steelseries Apex 7 TKL
– Steelseries Rival 3 Wireless
– Steelseries Arctis 9 Wireless – what this review is all about!
– Steelseries Arctis 7P Wireless
In this case, this review is about the Arctis 9!
For Sparta!!! mean For Glory.
Steelseries supplies a hub with the Arctis 9, allowing the Arctis 9 to function wirelessly as well as a charging cable with it. This cable also allows the Arctis 9 to be used directly connected.
The hub contains 2 additional connections – Game In and Line Out that can be connected using a 3.5mm jack. At the bottom of the hub is a connect button (to pair the headphones) and a switch for a Console or PC.
The hub lights up (continuously) when connected, and blinks/breathes when it searches for the wireless Arctis 9.
Of course, Steelseries also provides the necessary information in a manual.
In terms of connections, the Steelseries Arctis 9 Wireless is very nice, after all, it’s in the name! In addition to the options on the small hub, you also have a button to connect Bluetooth devices (for example, to connect your phone or another device – after all, you can also play games via Bluetooth with these headphones).
The Steelseries Arctis 9 Wireless has a 3.5 mm jack and micro-USB connection to connect the headphones wired to a lot of different devices.
The ear cups of the Arctis 9 Wireless are fixed. The battery cannot be replaced either. This in my opinion is quite a shame. The Pro, on the other hand, does, as the battery can easily be replaced there.
In addition, the ear cups are somewhat sensitive to greasy stains. But I think that applies to almost all headphones – or whatever you’re eating at that moment…. 😉
On the left earcup is the ‘dial’ to switch between speech and gaming sound. For example, Discord/Teamspeak or the like can be set via a special sound channel. The game can then be played via the ‘main’ audio. When someone is playing/screaming too enthusiastically, you can use the dial to turn it down a bit. Ideal option!
On the right earcup is a volume button/mute button (if the button is up, you are muted).
With the Arctis 9, the microphone, as with many Steelseries headphones, is neatly placed in the left earcup. You have to ‘pull it out’ to be able to place it neatly in front of your mouth.
It’s a little cold in the house…
Once the heating is turned on, the microphone does a lot better.
Compared to the disadvantage that the ear cups cannot be opened on the outside, the ear cups can be replaced on the inside. Especially nice if they run out after a few years.
The headband is also easy to adjust/replace.
Furthermore, the Arctis 9 is a neat/nice headphone in my opinion. The 9 has no RGB lighting on the outside – which of course would not benefit the battery life either.
The great thing about the Steelseries Arctis 9 Wireless is that it – as the name may indicate – is wireless. The headphones have a reasonable range. Some headphones allow me to go all over the house, unfortunately, that is not possible with this one. Fortunately, with the Bluetooth connection, this is a bit ‘better’, but not like others.
In the end, you are more behind your system than you are walking around. So, in my opinion, no loss. And meeting on the toilet is not always convenient either.
Latency? No, that doesn’t bother you either. You can hear both, sound from games and speech from movies, without any delay.
Steelseries uses the Steelseries Engine with all its products. In my opinion, this is a very successful app in terms of functions. An application for which you do not need an account, where everything is easy to manage, and something that does not run ‘heavily’ on your system.
The advantage of Steelseries is that it uses unified software which in turn can control the different devices (of Steelseries). And as you can see I test quite a few Steelseries products!
The Steelseries Arctis 9 Wireless can be used with a 7.1 or 2.0 setting.
However, the 7.1 setting is only software-based, where of course only two speakers are used (one for each ear cup).
Steelseries also gives the option of using Live Mic Preview and Sidetone with a closed headset, so you do not hear yourself, soft or loud in the headset. This is how the ambient sound is projected when using the high under Mic Sidetone.
When using 7.1, additional options are available – such as adjusting the surround profile, stereo profile, bass enhancement, and dialogue enhancement.
Of course, a custom EQ can be added, but a predefined preset can also be used.
Under the settings heading, two more things can also be adjusted: Power options and Bluetooth auto-startup.
The cool thing about the Steelseries Engine is that you can use different configs. The configs can also be attached to games/applications. For example, if the Spotify application is turned on, the headphones will go to the preset music, to movie on Netflix, to 7.1 at Battlefield 4 with bass enhancement, etc. You can make it as crazy as you want! 🙂
The moment was there, I could finally put on the Arctis 9 and with headphones of almost 200 euros, I have high expectations. In my opinion, these expectations were not met. Over the years I have been able to try out quite a few headphones, including wireless ones.
The Steelseries Arctis 9 uses 16-bit 48000 Hz (DVD Quality), and in my opinion that is audible. The sound is duller than I’m used to.
As a gamer, you also have to make a choice. Do you want the convenience of the software, possibilities with voice chat and wireless use (with reasonably good battery life), or do you think the audio quality is more important? With the latter, I would look at the Arctis Pro + GameDac or Arctis Pro.
Listening to the quality of the audio, I find the Arctis 9 quite dull. And that, in my view, is a waste. I get that if you’re using wireless headphones you have to make consensus, but that much?
For gaming – apart from the quality of the mids/highs – the bass/low tones are very nice. You do get a feeling that you are being sucked into a game.
However, if you expect high-end headphones for music/movies, then I have to disappoint you.
Now, one day later I am typing again, I have not put on any other headphones to hear whether the feeling (above) from the day before is still the same. And unfortunately, that is the case. Although they are nice headphones – they sit comfortably on your head and around your ears, they are wireless, have Bluetooth capabilities, and have reasonable battery life, I still notice that the music is not ‘finished’.
The funny thing is, even with the cable (3.5 mm) the quality doesn’t get much better. Overall, the drivers are decent, but not great.
And yet, when listening to Heldeep Radio #334, the headphones are ‘nice’ again. Then again, the bass is nice. That way you can enjoy such sets again. This also applies to hardstyle, techno, or the like.
Then when we listen to a song like the one below with Aretha Franklin & Tony Bennett, something is missing – a piece of sound. With some headphones, you are sucked into the studio as if you are there. Here it sounds like I’m plugging headphones into a Walkman (okay, maybe a bit exaggerated). But, as stated before, consensus must undoubtedly be done somewhere.
With the Steelseries Arctis 9, Steelseries has launched a new wireless headset on the market. The addition of Bluetooth compared to the Arctis 7 is quite a nice feature. This way you can easily connect the headphones to other devices – such as your phone.
In my opinion, the headphones are not great for listening to music, but they are extremely fast/direct and good for gaming. After all, it is about hearing ambient noise and being able to talk. Whether you’re chatting with your friends or streaming, the Arctis 9 works fine. The advantages of being wireless also provide a lot more possibilities. And that while there is still a reasonable battery life of 20 hours in the Steelseries Arctis 9.
In my opinion, the Arctis 9 is aimed at the gamer who just wants to be able to play/talk for hours. With an excellent battery life of ~20 hours, it works fine. However, I want to emphasize that these headphones are not high-end headphones. For that, I would rather look at an Arctis Pro (+ GAMEDAC). Then again, these headphones are 200 euros, and the Pro + GAMEDAC 350. So there is a considerable trade-off.
If you’re just looking for wireless headphones so you can chat on Discord/TeamSpeak and play games with your buddies, the Arctis 9 is quite fine. The option to split sound through the 2 different inputs (speech and audio) – and also be able to affect them through the dial on the headphones – also gives a lot of possibilities.
The range of the Arctis 9 is also excellent. I can walk around my home with the supplied dongle without being bothered by interference. However, Bluetooth still goes further!
What Steelseries does perfectly is to include the Steelseries Engine with all their products. This way everything works centrally from one program – for which you don’t even need an account.
There are also plenty of options to adjust the headphones to your liking.
What I do regret is that the batteries/battery are not replaceable. Should you run out of this after x years of use, you will be forced to look for another pair of headphones.
Despite everything, it is also ‘only’ a pair of headphones for 200 euros. Considering the options, wireless, reasonable battery life, Bluetooth, ability to use the headphones wired as well, materials, further, beyond that, I am – especially considering the price – moderately satisfied.
Still, the Steelseries Arctis 9 surprised me. Apparently, Steelseries doesn’t make continuous home runs – and that’s understandable. But I had hoped for more, especially since this (given the number sequence – Arctis 1, 3, etc.) makes it seem like this is top of the line.
I would give the headphones a 3.6/3.7 out of 5 stars. Because complete figures are used, I can’t make it 3.5 either. This makes the final score – under objection – 4 out of 5 stars.