SteelSeries Enters The Gaming Speakers Arena
The impressive SteelSeries Arena line is the gaming headset manufacturer's first foray into the desktop speaker market.
SteelSeries is arguably the best gaming audio manufacturer around thanks to its expansive lineup of headsets that just got more impressive with the new additions to the Arctis Nova line. Though the Arctis Nova line is exciting, SteelSeries is also entering a brand-new market: gaming speakers. Dubbed SteelSeries Arena, these new gaming-focused speaker system setups are available today from SteelSeries and major retailers. The Arena adapts the immersion of SteelSeries' personal listening devices into a robust room-scale format that is available at three price points. And thanks to support with wired headsets and a new wireless mic, you don’t have to lose a step by switching to speakers for your competitive multiplayer games.
The Arena comes in three distinct setups. The most basic setup, the Arena 3, offers a pair of compact speakers for $130. Step up to the Arena 7 and you get a pair of speakers and a down-firing subwoofer to add deep lows to your audio setup. Finally, the Arena 9 is a complete speaker system that offers 5.1 surround sound via USB. It comes with two front speakers, two rear speakers, the subwoofer, and a central speaker with a pair of drivers.
All three setups feature both wired and Bluetooth connections, and the Arena 7/9 have reactive RGB lighting effects. The Arena 9 is undoubtedly the most impressive of the bunch thanks to its surround sound. SteelSeries says it's the "world's first USB 5.1 gaming speaker system with surround sound from a single USB connection."
One of the standout features of the Arena speakers is that they support SteelSeries' brilliant Sonar app, which allows you to customize your sound profiles. This includes fine-tuning the audio to fit your preferences for each of your favorite games by pinpointing particular sounds to focus on. Sonar boasts parametric EQ settings that SteelSeries tuned with gaming in mind, and the software is just as useful with the Arena speakers as it is with SteelSeries headsets.
It’s worth noting that though all of the Arena speakers work with TVs and consoles, the Sonar app is only available for PC, so the ideal buyers here are PC gamers who are looking to improve their desktop setup. That said, I tested the Arena speakers with my TV while playing PS5 and Xbox Series X and watching movies. I was mightily impressed with performance, even when connecting via Bluetooth and not taking advantage of surround sound.
Let's take a closer look at each of three Arena models.
Though the Arena speakers can quickly filter audio through a wired headset, if you want to listen through the speakers and chat, SteelSeries is also offering a $100 wireless mic. The mic wraps around your ear but doesn’t block your eardrum. It comes with three different hook sizes to fit all ear sizes and has a soft rubbery design to help make it comfortable for lengthy sessions. SteelSeries implemented its ClearCast noise-canceling tech into the Arena Wireless Mic, which is the same mic technology found in the company’s gaming headsets. Like the speakers, the mic is compatible with the Sonar app so you can tweak your chat levels to your liking. The battery life isn’t super great at 4.5 hours, but it can give you one hour of runtime on a 15-minute charge. The mic connects via a 2.4GHz USB dongle and comes with a USB-C adapter to support a wider range of devices.
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