Steelseries Arctis 9 Review

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The SteelSeries Arctis 9 has comfort, extensive controls and customization, and great connectivity and battery life. However, it lacks performance in key areas like sound and mic quality.

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Product Snapshot


First launched in 2021, the SteelSeries Arctis 9 headphones are an entry-level variant that feature a retractable boom microphone, and their sound output can be easily configured through the SteelSeries Engine app. The headphones can last up to 20.3 hours, but they’ll take up to 5.6 hours to get to a full charge.

Fortunately, they can be used while charging – just like many of the highest-rated gaming headsets. They have a ski band headband, a nice range of adjustability on the ear cups, and are well-padded for added comfort. The headphones don’t support NFC pairing. They also have 40mm drivers and controls for the volume and microphone.

Best For

  • Wireless Microphones


our Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 headset ultimately stumbles when it comes to key gaming elements. Its audio production is imbalanced, producing strong, overpowering bass and treble that can drown out mids. However, users can access the company software to customize sound to make up for the subpar drivers. Another large drawback is the microphone recording quality. The mic was rated 5.9/10, as it failed to pick up the voice clearly and naturally.

The headset does have some positives, like comfort. Its thick cushioning makes it ideal for long listening sessions and has significant adjustability to help distribute pressure. On top of this, the 20.3 hours of continuous playback and 303 ft line of sight connectivity range.

ReasonS to Buy

  • Comfortable Design
    • The headset works well for long gaming sessions, given its impressive padding on the headband and earcups. It has good adjustability. However, the headset runs on the smaller side, so those with larger heads should exercise caution.

  • Robust Companion Software
    • Users can alter sound and mic settings through the SteelSeries Engine Companion software, which comes with tools such as audio presets, graphic EQ, surround sound, and mic volume adjustment.

  • Intuitive Controls
    • Gamers can easily access a range of controls to set up and adjust for gameplay. The headset has controls for volume, mic muting, Bluetooth connectivity, and chat mixing.

Reason to Avoid

  • Unbalanced Audio Quality
    • The speakers don’t produce the most accurate sound environment, given they produce clear mids but imbalance bass and trebles. Additionally, the sound quality depends largely on correct fit and positioning.

  • Microphone Quality Issues
    • The mic struggles to record sound that picks up deeper bass and higher mids, as the frequency extension is limited to 88-6,500 Hz. Also, overall mic quality was rated 5.9/10, placing it at the bottom 25% of gaming headsets.

  • Some Noticeable Latency
    • Gamers experience some synching issues between audio and visuals. The headset tests in at 28 ms latency via the USB dongle connection, which isn’t terrible but slightly below average.

Steelseries Arctis 9 Specs

Adjustable HeadbandAdjustable HeadbandYes
Auto-Adjusting HeadbandAuto-Adjusting HeadbandYes
Battery LifeBattery Life20 hrs
Compatible PlatformsCompatible PlatformsAndroid, iOS, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Connector SizeConnector Size3.5mm
Detachable MicDetachable MicNo
Driver SizeDriver Size40mm
Earcup Foam MaterialEarcup Foam MaterialAirWeave Fabric
Headphone FitHeadphone FitOver-ear
Max Frequency ResponseMax Frequency Response20,000 Hz
Min Frequency ResponseMin Frequency Response20Hz
Noise CancelingNoise CancelingNo
Product WeightProduct Weight0.81 lbs
Programmable ButtonsProgrammable ButtonsNo
Wireless ConnectivityWireless Connectivity2.4GHz Wireless, Bluetooth

All Specs

Test Results

Max Volume (dB)0
Microphone Sound Quality Rating (out of 10.0)7
Speech To Noise Ratio (dB)32.44
BT Latency (ms)194
Non-BT Latency (ms)0
Low End Roll Off (Hz)59.932
High End Roll Off (Hz)8,487.328

All Tests

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Score Card


Expert Score



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Customer Score



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Expert Scores

  • Rtings

    Category Trust Rating

    The SteelSeries Arctis 9 are passable for neutral sound. They struggle to deliver audio consistently… Read More


  • Tom’s Guide

    Category Trust Rating

    The SteelSeries Arctis 9 feels great and sounds good, although it’s quite expensive, even taking… Read More


  • Sound Guys

    Category Trust Rating

    The SteelSeries Arctis 9 is well-made headset you can wear for hours without issue, and… Read More


  • Tom’s Hardware

    Category Trust Rating

    SteelSeries brings forward the same award-winning design of previous Arctis headsets with the Arctis 9… Read More


  • Techradar

    Category Trust Rating

    SteelSeries proves with the Arctis 9 Wireless that a cordless headset can still deliver excellent,… Read More


  • Business Insider

    Category Trust Rating

    The SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless is a very capable headset. Its design, comfort, and performance… Read More


Customer Scores

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