Arctis Prime headset: Solid audio quality, not good for big heads

Source: SteelSeries (Edit Inven Global)

 

The Arctis Prime headset is the latest gaming-focused headset from SteelSeries. It is part of SteelSeeries new Prime series of competitive gaming products. Coming in at only $100, this wired headset is reasonably affordable.  It is compatible with PC, Xbox, Playstation, and Switch via a detachable 3.5mm cable.

 

The Arctis Prime brings all the features that we have come to expect from the Artis series, including a highly durable metal build, high fidelity audio drivers, and an overall slick aesthetic. The biggest drawbacks to this headset are the mic quality and its small design, which might not fit the heads of gamers with larger heads.

 

Overall, this is a great headset for those with small or medium-sized heads. But if you have a larger head I would try it before you buy.

 

The Arctis Prime's audio quality

 

The Arctis Prime headset delivers decent audio quality with very little distortion. Whether you are using it for in-game audio, to listen to music, or to watch a movie, the Arctis Prime’s 40mm audio drivers deliver a crisp, accurate audio response that covers the full audio frequency range. In fact, the prime features the same drivers that are featured in the more expensive Arctis Pro headset, a headset that I have given high marks to in the past. 

 

The included ear cushions also contribute to the audio experience of this headset by providing a noise isolation seal. I will touch on the comfort level of these ear pads in a later section. But as far as their contributions to your audio experience, I think they do a great job of blocking out external noise and keeping you focused while in-game.

 

The Arctis Prime won’t be replacing your audiophile headphones by any means, but the audio is more than workable, especially for the very affordable price.

 

The Arctis Prime's mic quality

 

 

The quality of the Discord-Certified Arctis Prime microphone was a little bit disappointing to me. While I have come to have relatively low expectations of most gaming headsets when it comes to the attached boom microphones, I was hoping that SteelSeries would step it up with the Arctis Prime. They didn't impress me with this microphone. 

 

The microphone produces a compressed result and in my experience lacks the effective noise cancellation that was featured on the Arctis Pro microphone. So while this microphone is marketed as a “bidirectional noise-canceling” mic that uses the same technology as airline pilots, in my experience the noise-canceling part at least was a misnomer. This microphone should work for social scenarios, but I wouldn't rely on it for professional ones.

 

All of that being said, I don’t think that this mic is significantly worse than the similarly priced competitors out there. Just don’t expect this headset to replace a high-quality, broadcast-style microphone if you are streaming o recording content.

 

The Arctis Prime's comfort and fit

 

When you are going to be wearing your headset for hours on end, comfort is everything. The Arctis Prime headset is a little bit hit or miss on comfort. For the folks that it fits, this headset is pretty damn comfortable. The earpads are soft but restrictive, and the adjustable band on top does a good job of holding the headset in place without putting undue pressure on top of your head.

 

 

However, this headset runs on the small side. Even at its most expanded settings, this headset rests directly on top of my head and puts too much pressure on my ears with its rounded ear pads. After a few hours of wearing this headset on the largest setting, I had an earache that lasted more than a day. 

 

So if you have a large head like me, you might want to try another headset, or at least try this headset on before purchasing it.

 

If your heart is set in the Arctis Prime headset, for whatever reason, consider trading out the default ear pads for something with a little bit more space online. Even if the headband had fit me, I don't particularly like these earpads from a comfort standpoint. They feel like they encroach too much on my ear for something I will be wearing for hours at a time.

 

On past versions of the Arctis headsets, I have had success using the WC Wicked replacement cushions, which provide a little longer ear cushion that functionally expands the size of the headset by around half an inch. In my experience, these can provide a lot of relief for the larger headset wearers, or just anyone who doesn't like overly tight ear cushions.

 

A note for glasses wearers, this headset is a little uncomfy with glasses due to the tight isolating seal. The discomfort did get better after a week or so of daily use, but even so, the headset is still pretty tight. I think glasses wearers can use this headset, but It wouldn’t be my first choice.

 

Verdict: 7/10

I think the Arctis Prime headset offers a lot of bang for your buck. For only $100, this headset delivers respectable audio quality, a durable build, and a tailored fit for those with small to medium-sized heads. I just wish they had addressed the same complaints many reviewers had about past versions of the Arctis headset by making it more suitable for those with larger heads and glasses.

 

Additionally, I wouldn’t purchase this headset for the microphone quality. The microphone works fine for Discord calls, but I wouldn’t describe the resulting audio as high-fidelity by any means.

Pros

 

  • High-quality audio powered by powerful, crisp audio drivers
  • Built to last many years
  • Works on a variety of devices
  • Comfortable headband, for those it fits
  • Affordable price

 

Cons

 

  • Microphone quality isn’t anything to write home about
  • Runs on the small side, leading to discomfort for those with larger heads
  • Not ideal for glasses wearers

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