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SteelSeries Arctis 9 Dual Wireless Review

Steel Series has, from its inception, been associated with one thing above all else – Gaming headsets. This is for a very simple reason. They make some of the very best, if not the best gaming headsets you can buy. 

The last word…

The Arctis range has been their flagship since its launch. To many gamers, it’s been the final word for as long as anyone can remember. 

Great sound quality thanks to multi codecs support. Including lossless formats for real immersion. Microphones that isolate and boost only what needs isolating. And boosting for clear communication during gaming. 

And, of course, impeccable styling and long-lasting batteries. All are a given when you buy a SteelSeries headset.

Pursuing perfection…

The new Arctis 9 Dual wireless headset promises to take what is already incredible and make it even better. Is it possible to improve upon such a nearly flawless piece of tech? Even if it is, is it worth the user shelling out around $200? 

That’s why I decided to find the proof in this sleek metal-coated pudding with my in-depth SteelSeries Arctis 9 Dual Wireless Review.

Design and Build

SteelSeries Arctis 9 Dual Wireless
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

As far as looks, the Arctis headset has never been ugly. SteelSeries has found a look that works, and they’ve kept to it. The Arctis 9 Dual Wireless is minimal and understated; this is not the model for those who like lights and branding. 

The only bit of the headset one could describe as “decorative” would be the headband’s black and white slash motif. Furthermore, the headband is interchangeable should you desire another color or pattern.  

Build for comfort…

While the earcups are mostly plastic, the headband is made of high-quality metal. The earcups rotate a full 90 degrees to allow for comfort when worn around the neck and more compact storage. 

The earpads on Arctis’ headsets have always been, and still are, the most comfortable money can buy. It’s just that simple. The memory foam is of the highest quality; the inside edge is leatherette, while the top and outside edges are breathable mesh. 

Overall…

The design and build quality are what users have come to expect from SteelSeries. The Arctis 9 isn’t going to fall apart in a hurry, and it won’t lose any of its punch as the years go by. 

And, believe us when I say it’s got plenty of punch, but I’ll get to that in a bit. This is one of the most durable gaming headsets out there, period. 

In the box…

Along with the headset, you get a USB wireless dongle and a charging cable. The lack of a 3.5mm cable might be a grievance to some users. That’s because it is included in less expensive models from SteelSeries. 

Fit and Comfort

Arctis’ headsets have been called the most comfortable gaming headsets out there. And after having them on my head for a couple of days, I must resoundingly agree. Thanks to the high-quality materials and practical design, the Arctis 9 feels like it’s actually part of your head. 

Adjusting the fabric headband is easy, and it perfectly conforms to the shape of your head. The cups are spacious enough to allow for any ear size. Furthermore, users who wear glasses will find these a joy to game with. This headset is more comfortable than your favorite pillow.

Functionality and Battery Life


The Arctis 9 will connect to the platform of your choosing using a 2.4GHz USB wireless RF dongle. This produces the highest quality, lag-free audio. Additionally, you also get Bluetooth with a good range. But, you’re limited to SBC and AAC codecs, which is a bit of a letdown. 

Connectivity…

The Arctis 9 maintains a solid signal whether using the RF dongle or Bluetooth. I had no problems with dropouts or audio lag. The USB dongle has a nice long cable and rubberized feet to make it stable on whichever surface you place it on. 

It also has a simple switch at the bottom to select the platform you’re connecting to. When connected to a PC, the LED on the front of the dongle is White; when connected to a Playstation, it becomes Blue. 

Go wired…

The dongle also has an Aux port for wired use. Furthermore, when plugging in another pair of wired headphones, I noticed a marked boost in the audio output and quality. A very nice addition; well done, SteelSeries. 

Unfortunately, you can only connect one way. That means when a jack is plugged into the Aux port, all wireless connections are severed, and it becomes your only source of audio. 

Controls

On the back of the right earcup, there is a volume wheel and a mic mute button. This has a red label that’s only visible when muted. Also, you’ll find a Bluetooth button, a power button, and a charging port. The Bluetooth button has a multi-colored LED to indicate pairing and connection modes. 

Finally, there is a 3.5mm auxiliary port that also doubles as a Share port. This means that someone else can plug the 3.5 jack from their headset or earbuds into your Arctis 9 and effectively share your audio experience. 

On the back of the left earcup, you’ll find a non-continuous wheel that controls the chat-to-game volume mix. On the front, there is the distinctive retractable microphone that Arctis headsets are known for. The LED on the tip of the microphone lights-up red when muting is activated.  

Battery Life

The Arctis 9 is advertised as having a battery life of up to 20 hours. I found that it’s the “up to” part that you need to concern yourself with the most. While I mean in no way to put the folks over at SteelSeries down, I feel that I must be accurate for the sake of maintaining objectivity. 

Everything depends on whether you’re using the dongle or Bluetooth. And what your average output is. That said, the Arctis 9 will deliver between 15 to 20 hours of playtime on a single charge, with volume ranging from 50 to 75 to above 80 percent.

Arctis 9 Companion Software 


The software for the Arctis 9 wireless headset is worth downloading and playing with. As always, the interface is simple, elegant, and yet stylish. More so, it’s easy to use and puts a lot of personalization power in the hands of the user.  

The left side of the screen will store a list of all the different profiles you’ve created and saved. Starting from the top, there is the option to turn the DTS 7.1 surround sound on or off. For my money, you’ll want this permanently on, but I’ll get to why later. 

Immerse yourself…

When DTS 7.1 is activated, you can select a surround profile from a drop-down list. Likewise, you can select a Stereo profile from a drop-down list. The profiles are well thought out and a good place to begin if you find yourself a bit in the deep or new to the “game,” so to speak. 

Next, two three-point sliders control the Bass and Dialogue enhancement, respectively. Each slider can be set to either off, medium, or high. 

However, there is something to note when you turn the DTS 7.1 surround sound off. The surround and stereo profiles, as well as the bass and dialogue enhancement features, are greyed out.

Dial-in the details…

The Arctis 9 software features one of the most comprehensive EQs of any wireless headset out there. Users have access to a total of ten bands and can boost or cut by 10dB in either direction. The EQ has one preset system meaning you can create different EQ profiles within a global profile.  

On the far right of the screen are controls for the microphone and its sound. There is a live preview and microphone volume control. There is also a 4-level switch to dial the sidetone to either off, low, medium, or high.

Finally, there are power options. The headset can be set to automatically turn off after a preset time of inactivity. You can also activate a feature that will automatically activate Bluetooth when the Arctis 9 is powered on.

Sound Quality


The Arctis 9 headset features those masterfully tuned 40mm SteelSeries drivers and has a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz.

Many competitors offer headsets with more capabilities and power on paper. But, these drivers have been developed over many years. As a result, they can outperform almost anything, even more, powerful competitors.

Sound signature… 

There is nothing new to boast about. But, this shouldn’t be a bad thing. Like all Arctis headsets before it, the Arctis 9 has impeccable balance. Easily one of the best sounding gaming headsets you can buy.

Bass and mids never bleed into one another or cause muddiness. Both are independent, present, and beautifully defined. The Arctis 9 delivered more than enough volume to suit the deafest of ears. And, it will lose none of its clarity as the volume goes up. 

The highs are clear and distinct but never in the foreground. Rather they dance above and around the mids like decorations on a tree, as a good high-end ought to. The roar of the crowd and the squeal of tires just cross your threshold of hearing when playing a racing game like Forza Horizon.  

Soundstage and separation… 

This will vary depending on whether you activate the DTS or not. But, even with the DTS turned off and the Arctis plugged in via 3.5mm cable, the soundstage was wide and immersive. Enough to draw you into whatever environment is being created on your screen. 

Noise Isolation and Mic Quality

The excellent materials used in the earpads make the Arctis 9 feel like your ears walk into their own little recording booths. Outside noises are dampened, and your ears are sealed well. 

The microphone does have a forward high-end, but it is in no way inadequate to get the job done. And when used with the software, your voice will be plenty loud and clear enough. Just don’t expect it to sound full of bass and natural.

SteelSeries Arctis 9 Dual Wireless Review – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent build quality.
  • Great sound quality.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Good battery life.
  • Superb software.
  • 3.5 jack that doubles as a shared port.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • No 3.5 cable included.
  • Bluetooth is limited to lossy codecs.

Need Some Awesome Gaming Gear?

We can help with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best PC Gaming Headsets, the Best Xbox One Headsets, the Best Nintendo Switch Gaming Headsets, the Best Wireless PlayStation 4 Headsets, and the Best Gaming Headset you can buy in 2022.

Also, take a look at our detailed reviews of the Most Comfortable Gaming Headsets, the Best Gaming Headsets for Big Heads, the Best Gaming Headphones Without Mic, the Best Wireless Gaming Headsets, and the Best Microphones For Gaming that are currently on the market.

SteelSeries Arctis 9 Dual Wireless Review – Conclusion

What we have here is currently the best wireless gaming headset money can buy. While the Arctis 9 does come at a premium price, it is worth every single penny. It looks, feels, and sounds great. 


You won’t find a better-made headset that is as comfortable and sounds so exquisite. Quite frankly, this is the final word. The final score is 10 out of 10.

Until next time, happy listening.

5/5 - (33 votes)
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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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