SteelSeries Arctis Prime Review (2024)

Type Over-ear

Enclosure Closed-Back

Wireless No

Transducer Dynamic

Noise Cancelling No

Mic Yes

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime are wired gaming headphones designed for competitive esports and tournaments. They have a comfortable fit and feel well-built. Their boom mic also has excellent recording quality, and it can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise around you. However, while they have a somewhat neutral sound profile, they lack companion software to help you customize their sound. Our unit's L/R drivers are mismatched, and there's a small difference in level with real-life content. That said, this may be unique to our model.

Our Verdict

7.4 Neutral Sound

TheSteelSeries Arctis Prime are satisfactory for neutral sound. While they have a fairly neutral sound profile, the high-mid to low-treble is recessed, so vocals and lead instruments sound somewhat weak and veiled. Our unit's L/R drivers are also mismatched, although this issue may be unique to our model. Unfortunately, they lack companion software to help customize their sound. They're very prone to inconsistencies in bass and treble delivery, so you may need to adjust them each time you use them to get a more consistent sound.

Pros

  • Comfortable, well-built design.

Cons

  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.

See our Neutral Sound Recommendations

5.0 Commute/Travel

TheSteelSeries Arctis Prime are disappointing for commute and travel. They struggle to block out background noise like the low rumble of bus or plane engines and have a bulky design, making it difficult to take them with you on the move. They also lack music-related controls like play, pause, or track skipping. On the upside, they have a comfortable fit.

Pros

  • Comfortable, well-built design.

Cons

  • They struggle to block out ambient noise.

  • Not very portable.

See our Commute/Travel Recommendations

5.7 Sports/Fitness

TheSteelSeries Arctis Prime are sub-par for sports and fitness. They're not designed for this purpose as they can easily fall off your head with moderate movement and trap in some heat, which may make you sweat. Since they're wired headphones, the cable can also snag on something, pulling them off your head. Although we don't currently test for it, they lack an IP rating for water resistance.

Pros

  • Comfortable, well-built design.

Cons

  • Can fall off your head with moderate movement.

  • No IP rating for water resistance.

See our Sports/Fitness Recommendations

6.2 Office

TheSteelSeries Arctis Prime are fair for office use. They have a comfortable fit and feel well-built. They also don't leak a lot of audio at high volumes. However, they struggle to block out ambient chatter around you and don't support multi-device pairing.

Pros

  • Comfortable, well-built design.

Cons

  • They struggle to block out ambient noise.

See our Office Recommendations

5.3 Wireless Gaming

TheSteelSeries Arctis Prime are wired-only headphones and can't be used wirelessly.

See our Wireless Gaming Recommendations

7.3 Wired Gaming

TheSteelSeries Arctis Prime are decent for wired gaming. They have a comfortable fit, and their wired design ensures a virtually latency-free gaming experience. Their boom mic also does an excellent job of recording your voice, even in moderately noisy environments. However, the headphones are prone to inconsistent bass and treble delivery and don't have companion software to help you adjust their sound to your liking.

Pros

  • Comfortable, well-built design.

  • Excellent recording quality.

Cons

  • No companion software.

  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.

7.1 Phone Calls

TheSteelSeries Arctis Prime are decent for phone calls. Their retractable boom mic can capture your voice clearly, even in moderately noisy environments like a busy street. That said, since they don't have active noise cancelling (ANC), they struggle to block out the noise around you, which can make it hard to hear your conversation.

Pros

  • Comfortable, well-built design.

  • Excellent recording quality.

Cons

  • They struggle to block out ambient noise.

  • Limited call-related controls.

  • 7.4 Neutral Sound
  • 5.0 Commute/Travel
  • 5.7 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.2 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.3 Wired Gaming
  • 7.1 Phone Calls

+ Create your own

  1. Updated Jul 15, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Jul 12, 2021: Early access published.
  3. Updated Jun 30, 2021: Our testers have started testing this product.
  4. Updated Jun 29, 2021: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  5. Updated Jun 11, 2021: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

TheSteelSeries Arctis Prime Headset comes in one color variant: Black;you can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant,let us know in the discussions,and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime are wired gaming headphones designed for competitive gaming. Their retractable boom mic does an excellent job of recording your voice, even in moderately noisy settings. That said, unlike most SteelSeries headphones, they aren't compatible with SteelSeries Engine software, and they don't have a graphic EQ or presets to help adjust their sound. They also lack more robust controls like channel mixing, which some users may find disappointing.

Check out our recommendations for thebest gaming headsets,thebest headsets for PS5, and thebest headsets for Xbox Series S|X.

SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition

The SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition are slightly better gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis Prime. While both headphones are similarly comfortable, the 5 are compatible with SteelSeries Engine software, which allows you to customize their sound profile using the graphic EQ and presets. They also come with a dock that has a channel mixing knob. However, the Prime are better built, and their mic has a better recording quality.

Compare Side-by-Side

SEE OUR REVIEW

Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset

The Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset are somewhat better wired gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis Prime. The Logitech are more comfortable, better-built, and have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer. They also have a virtual soundstage feature, although we don't currently test its performance. They're also compatible with Logitech G HUB software, which offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. However, the SteelSeries' boom mic delivers a significantly better recording quality.

Compare Side-by-Side

SEE OUR REVIEW

SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless are better overall gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis Prime. You can use the Arctis Pro wired or wirelessly. They're compatible with companion software so that you can customize their sound to your liking using the graphic EQ and presets, and their boom mic offers better overall performance. They also support Bluetooth, so you can listen to audio from your phone while you're connected to your console.

Compare Side-by-Side

SEE OUR REVIEW

HyperX Cloud Alpha

The HyperX Cloud Alpha are somewhat better wired gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis Prime. The HyperX are more comfortable andbetter built. Their boom micalso offers a better noise-handling performance.However, the SteelSeries' mic hasa better recording quality.

Compare Side-by-Side

SEE OUR REVIEW

SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC are better gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Arctis Prime. While both headphones are comfortable, the Arctis Pro GameDAChave more robust controls, and are compatible with SteelSeries Engine software, allowing you to customize their sound with a graphic EQ or presets. Their mic also does a better job of separating your voice from ambient noise around you. However, the Arctis Prime are better-built, and theirboom mic deliversa better recording quality.

Compare Side-by-Side

SEE OUR REVIEW

SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition Wireless are better overall gaming headphones than the SteelSeriesArctis Prime. While both headphones are comfortable, the 7 can be used wired or wirelessly. They're better-built, compatible with SteelSeries Engine software, so you're able to customize their sound to your liking using the graphic EQ or presets, and their mic has a better noise handling performance. However, the Arctis Prime's mic has a better recording quality.

Compare Side-by-Side

SEE OUR REVIEW

SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless and the SteelSeries Arctis Prime have different strengths. While both headphones are comfortable, the Arctis 9 are better built; you can also use them wirelessly, which some users may prefer. They're also compatible with SteelSeries Engine software, which allows you to adjust their sound to your liking using the graphic EQ or presets. However, the Prime are wired-only headphones, and this connection ensures a virtually latency-free gaming experience. Their L/R drivers are also better matched, and their sound profile is more neutral, which some users may prefer.

Compare Side-by-Side

SEE OUR REVIEW

SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless are better gaming headphones than the SteelSeries Artcis Prime. While both headphones are comfortable, the 7X are better-built and can be used wirelessly withlow latency, which some users may prefer. However, the Prime's mic has a better recording quality.

Compare Side-by-Side

SEE OUR REVIEW

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime are better for wired gaming while the Beats Solo Pro Wireless are more suitable for casual use. The SteelSeries are over-ears that are more comfortable, have a more immersive passive soundstage, and can connect to consoles via analog with full audio and mic compatibility. Their boom mic also offers better overall performance.However, the Beats are on-ears with a wireless design, which some users may prefer. They'rebetter-built, have a great noise isolation performance thanks to their ANC, and have an H1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair them with your Apple devices.

Compare Side-by-Side

SEE OUR REVIEW

ROCCAT Syn Pro Air Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime and the ROCCAT Syn Pro Air Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either. The ROCCAT are wireless headphones. Their boom mic has a much better noise handling performance, and they have an app with a graphic EQ. On the other hand, the SteelSeries have a wired design and a more stable fit. Their boom mic also has a much better recording quality. While both headphones are compatible with PCs, PS4, and PS5, only the SteelSeries work with Xbox consoles. However, the ROCCAT are compatible with Android devices with a USB-C input, unlike the SteelSeries.

Compare Side-by-Side

SEE OUR REVIEW

+ Show more

Test Results

SteelSeries Arctis Prime Review (1)

Design

Design

Style

Type Over-ear

Enclosure Closed-Back

Wireless No

Transducer Dynamic

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime look very similar to other SteelSeries headphones as they have the same unique ski-band headband design. Both ear cups have SteelSeries' logo, and overall, the headphones look very plain and minimalistic. They only come in black.

7.5

Design

Comfort

Weight 0.76 lbs

Clamping Force

1.2 lbs

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime are comfortable headphones. They have good clamping force, but some users may find their ear cups a bit shallow. The ski-band headband design also may not be for everyone.

LEARN ABOUT COMFORT

5.7

Design

Controls

OS Compatibility

Not OS specific

Ease Of Use Good

Feedback Good

Call/Music Control No

Volume Control Yes

Microphone Control Mute/Unmute

Channel Mixing

No

Noise Cancelling Control No

Talk-Through

No

Additional Controls No

These headphones have sub-par controls. There are only two physical buttons: a volume wheel that stops at min and max and a microphone mute button. The buttons are also clicky. However, they lack controls like channel mixing.

LEARN ABOUT CONTROLS

6.1

Design

Breathability

Avg.Temp.Difference 6.8 °C

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime have mediocre breathability. They're not designed for use during physical activities and can trap heat, which may make you sweat over time. That said, you shouldn't feel a noticeable difference if you're sitting in front of your console gaming.

LEARN ABOUT BREATHABILITY

5.7

Design

Portability

L 8.3" (21.2 cm)

W 8.3" (21.2 cm)

H 2.0" (5.1 cm)

Volume 139.87 in³ (2,292.00 cm³)

Transmitter Required No

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime have sub-par portability. They have a bulky design, and while the ear cups can swivel to lay flat, they can't fold into a more compact form. You can see another image of the headphones' default position here. They also don't come with a case to help protect them when you're traveling.

LEARN ABOUT PORTABILITY

N/A

Design

Case

Type No case

L N/A

W N/A

H N/A

Volume N/A

LEARN ABOUT CASE

7.5

Design

Build Quality

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime have a good build quality. They're mostly plastic, with a metal headband and elastic ski-band headband. The faux leather padding feels good against the skin. However, the hinges and yokes seem to be the weakest point of the build. Although we don't currently test for it, they also lack an IP rating for water resistance. That said, they should be able to withstand most bumps or drops without taking too much damage.

LEARN ABOUT BUILD QUALITY

7.0

Design

Stability

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime have decent stability. They're not designed for use during sports and can go flying off your head during moderate head movements. However, they should remain stable while you're gaming at your desk or on your couch.

LEARN ABOUT STABILITY

Design

Headshots 1

Design

Headshots 2

Design

Top

Design

In The Box

  • SteelSeries Arctis Prime Headset
  • Mini-B 8-pin to 1/8" TRRS audio cable
  • Y-splitter extension cable
  • Boom microphone windscreen
  • Manuals

Sound

Sound

Sound Profile

Bass Amount

-0.88 dB

Treble Amount

-0.98 dB

These headphones have a fairly neutral sound profile. It's balanced enough for most audio content, although vocals and lead instruments are a bit veiled. Unfortunately, they lack companion software support, so you can't customize their sound to your liking.

Note: There's a noticeable mismatch between our unit's left and right drivers. However, the difference is more apparent during our test sweeps. With real-life content, there's a small difference in level between the drivers. However, this issue may be limited to our unit. If you experience similar issues, please let us know in the discussion section below.

LEARN ABOUT SOUND PROFILE

5.3

Sound

Frequency Response Consistency

Avg. Std. Deviation

1.5 dB

Like most SteelSeries headphones, the SteelSeries Arctis Prime have disappointing frequency response consistency. They're prone to inconsistencies in bass and treble delivery, and you may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses. You may have to adjust their fit on your head each time you wear them to get a more consistent sound.

LEARN ABOUT FREQUENCY RESPONSE CONSISTENCY

Sound

Raw Frequency Response

LEARN ABOUT RAW FREQUENCY RESPONSE

8.3

Sound

Bass Accuracy

Std. Err.

2.36 dB

Low-Frequency Extension

20.59 Hz

Low-Bass

-3.19 dB

Mid-Bass

-2.31 dB

High-Bass

0.75 dB

The bass accuracy is great. It's fairly flat, although a bit underemphasized in the low to mid-bass. Mixes lack a bit of boom and punch. However, the high-bass is more neutral, resulting in adequate boom. However, note that their bass delivery varies significantly across users and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses or have thick hair. The response here represents the average bass response, and your experience may vary.

LEARN ABOUT BASS ACCURACY

8.1

Sound

Mid Accuracy

Std. Err.

2.56 dB

Low-Mid

0.54 dB

Mid-Mid

-0.57 dB

High-Mid

-3.7 dB

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime have great mid accuracy. The low and mid-mid are very well-balanced and neutral, so vocals and lead instruments are present and clear. However, a dip in the high-mid weakens these same instruments.

7.3

Sound

Treble Accuracy

Std. Err.

4.06 dB

Low-Treble

-3.11 dB

Mid-Treble

2.77 dB

High-Treble

-7 dB

The treble accuracy of these headphones is decent. It's underemphasized in the low-treble, so vocals and lead instruments are veiled. However, the mid-treble is overemphasized, making sibilants like cymbals piercing. Note that their treble delivery varies depending on the headphones' fit and seal. The response here represents the average treble response, and your experience may vary.

LEARN ABOUT TREBLE ACCURACY

7.0

Sound

Peaks/Dips

Peaks

1.97 dB

Dips

1.42 dB

The peaks and dips performance of the SteelSeries Arctis Prime is decent. There's significant mismatch between the left and right driver, so while the left driver is overemphasized across the bass range, which adds boom, punch, and thump, the right driver is underemphasized, lacking rumble and warmth. The left driver is overemphasized in the mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments are muddy and a bit forward. Both drivers dip in the high-mid to low-treble, making the upper harmonic of these sounds weak and veiled. Silibants like cymbals are very sharp and piercing.

LEARN ABOUT PEAKS/DIPS

7.4

Sound

Imaging

Weighted Group Delay

0.52

Weighted Phase Mismatch

7.09

Weighted Amplitude Mismatch

1.52

Weighted Frequency Mismatch

3.11

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime have decent imaging. There are some peaks in the group delay response, which suggests a loose bass. Treble reproduction is transparent, though. There are also some peaks in the phase response's bass range, and although the mismatch falls within good levels, the bass seems stronger from the left ear cup. Although the L/R drivers are somewhat well-matched in amplitude, there's some frequency mismatch present as well. This mismatch can indicate holes in the stereo imaging and inaccuracies in the placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

LEARN ABOUT IMAGING

5.5

Sound

Passive Soundstage

PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)

2.98 dB

PRTF Size (Avg.)

6.5 dB

PRTF Distance

10.62 dB

Openness

4.9

Acoustic Space Excitation

3.1

The passive soundstage of the SteelSeries Arctis Prime is sub-par. The soundstage is perceived as natural and large. However, sound seems like it's coming from inside your head, rather than coming from speakers placed in the room around you. Since these headphones also have a closed-back design, their soundstage won't seem as spacious or open as open-back headphones.

LEARN ABOUT PASSIVE SOUNDSTAGE

0

Sound

Virtual Soundstage

Head Modeling

No

Speaker Modeling

No

Room Ambience

No

Head Tracking

No

Virtual Surround

No App

LEARN ABOUT VIRTUAL SOUNDSTAGE

8.0

Sound

Weighted Harmonic Distortion

WHD @ 90

0.285

WHD @ 100

0.093

The weighted harmonic distortion performance of the SteelSeries Arctis Prime is very good. There's a peak in the low-bass range, but it may be hard to hear with real-life content. That said, most of the frequencies fall within good limits, resulting in fairly clean and pure audio reproduction.

LEARN ABOUT WEIGHTED HARMONIC DISTORTION

Sound

Test Settings

Firmware

No Firmware

Power

On

Connection

Wired

Codec

PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz

EQ

No EQ

ANC

No ANC

Tip/Pad

Default

Microphone

Boom

These are the settings used to test the SteelSeries Arctis Prime Headset. Our results are only valid when using these settings.

LEARN ABOUT TEST SETTINGS

Isolation

5.1

Isolation

Noise Isolation

Isolation Audio

Overall Attenuation

-15.67 dB

Noise Cancelling No

Bass

-0.14 dB

Mid

-10.98 dB

Treble

-36.71 dB

The noise isolation performance of the SteelSeries Arctis Prime is disappointing. They can't block out any of the low rumbles from bus or plane engines. While they do a slightly better job of cutting down office chatter, it may not be enough for moderately noisy environments. They can significantly block out the high-pitched hums of an AC unit, though.

LEARN ABOUT NOISE ISOLATION

7.2

Isolation

Leakage

Leakage Audio

Overall Leakage @ 1ft

38.16 dB

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime have a decent leakage performance. Most of the leakage falls below the noise floor of an average office, so you can listen to audio at high volumes without disturbing others around you.

LEARN ABOUT LEAKAGE

Microphone

Microphone

Microphone Style

Integrated

No

In-Line

No

Boom

Yes

Detachable Boom

No

Mic Yes

LEARN ABOUT MICROPHONE STYLE

8.6

Microphone

Recording Quality

Recorded Speech

LFE

20 Hz

FR Std. Dev.

2.94 dB

HFE

9,805.86 Hz

Weighted THD

0.101

Gain

26.25 dB

The mic's recording quality is excellent. Your voice sounds clear, full-bodied, and natural.

LEARN ABOUT RECORDING QUALITY

7.2

Microphone

Noise Handling

SpNR

37.14 dB

Noise Gate

Always On

Speech + Pink Noise Handling

7.0

Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample

Speech + Subway Noise Handling

7.5

Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The mic's noise handling performance is decent. It can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise around you, so whoever's on the other end of the line can still hear you.

LEARN ABOUT NOISE HANDLING

Active Features

0

Active Features

Battery

Battery Type

No Battery

Continuous Battery Life

N/A

Additional Charges

N/A

Total Battery Life

N/A

Charge Time

N/A

Power-Saving Feature

No

Audio While Charging

No

Passive Playback

Passive Headphone

Charging Port None

LEARN ABOUT BATTERY

0

Active Features

App Support

App Name No App

iOS No

Android No

macOS No

Windows No

Equalizer

No

ANC Control

No

Mic Control No

Room Effects

No

Playback Control

No

Button Mapping No

Surround Support

No

LEARN ABOUT APP SUPPORT

Connectivity

0

Connectivity

Bluetooth

Bluetooth Version

No Bluetooth

Multi-Device Pairing

No

NFC Pairing

No

Line Of Sight Range

N/A

PC Latency (SBC)

N/A

PC Latency (aptX)

N/A

PC Latency (aptX HD)

N/A

PC Latency (aptX-LL)

N/A

iOS Latency

N/A

Android Latency

N/A

LEARN ABOUT BLUETOOTH

0

Connectivity

Non-Bluetooth Wireless

Non-BT Line Of Sight Range

N/A

Non-BT Latency

N/A

LEARN ABOUT NON-BLUETOOTH WIRELESS

9.5

Connectivity

Wired

Analog Audio

Yes

USB Audio

No

Detachable Yes

Length 4.17 ft (1.27 m)

Connection

Mini B 8-Pin

Analog/USB Audio Latency

0 ms

These headphones come with a mini-B 8-pin to 1/8" TRRS audio cable. They also have a Y-splitter extension cable that you can use to connect them to your PC.

LEARN ABOUT WIRED

Connectivity

PC Compatibility

Analog

Audio + Microphone

Wired USB

No

Non-BT Wireless

No

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime have full audio and mic compatibility when you use their mini-B 8-pin to 1/8" TRRS cable on PCs.

Connectivity

PlayStation Compatibility

PS4 Analog

Audio + Microphone

PS4 Wired USB

No

PS4 Non-BT Wireless

No

PS5 Analog

Audio + Microphone

PS5 Wired USB

No

PS5 Non-BT Wireless

No

These headphones have full audio and mic compatibility with PlayStation consoles via their analog cable.

LEARN ABOUT PLAYSTATION COMPATIBILITY

Connectivity

Xbox Compatibility

Xbox One Analog

Audio + Microphone

Xbox One Wired USB

No

Xbox One Non-BT Wireless

No

Xbox Series X|S Analog

Audio + Microphone

Xbox Series X|S Wired USB

No

Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless

No

These headphones are fully compatible with Xbox consoles when you plug their analog cable into your controller.

LEARN ABOUT XBOX COMPATIBILITY

0

Connectivity

Base/Dock

Type

No Base/Dock

USB Input

No

Line In

No

Line Out

No

Optical Input

No

RCA Input

No

Dock Charging

No

Power Supply

No Base/Dock

LEARN ABOUT BASE/DOCK

SteelSeries Arctis Prime Review (2024)

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