It should come as no surprise that the creator of one of the best audio headsets, SteelSeries has just launched some excellent speakers. The company has a strong reputation in the gaming industry with everything from keyboards to mousepads. But it’s their headset line that has really put SteelSeries on the map. Now they’re bringing that knowledge to the speaker industry and the reviews are fire.
Dubbed the SteelSeries Arena, the new gaming-focused speaker system comes in three setups for various price points. And if you’re excited to check it out then you’re in luck because the collection dropped today.
The Arena comes in three distinct setups – Arena 3, 7 and 9. All three setups feature both wired and Bluetooth connections. For those that are living that RGB life then you’ll want the Arena 7 and 9 that have reactive RGB lighting.
Arena 3 – $130
A pair of compact speakers for $130.
At $130, the Arena 3 is significantly cheaper than the other two setups. It comes with a pair of matching speakers, one for each side of your setup. These compact speakers are a bit different from the similarly sized ones in the other two setups. Though small, they make ample use of their real estate with 4-inch drivers. These cone-shaped drivers handle the entire audio range–lows, mids, and highs.
You can connect a wired headset (any headset really) directly to the speakers for private listening as well.
Arena 7 – $300
A three-piece setup that comes with a pair of two-way speakers and a subwoofer.
The two-way speakers separate the driver from the tweeter. You get 3-inch drivers with each of the two speakers that handle mid-range sounds and 0.75-inch tweeters that purely hone in on highs. The 6.5-inch subwoofer has a down-firing design that really helps deliver clear, deep lows. After all, many of the most popular games have plenty of sounds that rely on bass, so getting a subwoofer (whether here or with a soundbar) can drastically improve your audio experience.
For some added style, the Arena 7 features “Reactive PrismSync RGB” lighting effects. The LED lights are located around the base and on the back of the speakers. The result is a dynamic and colourful display that really shines when you position the speakers close to walls and play in a dark room. There are four lighting zones that react to the action on the screen. The reactive lighting is exclusive to PC, but you can configure set lighting effects for consoles.
The Arena 7 has a wealth of connectivity options, including USB 2.1, Bluetooth, optical, and auxiliary. Once again, you can connect a wired headset to the speakers and easily go from speaker audio to private listening.
Arena 9 – $550
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. 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.”
Yes, that price for the Arena 9 is pretty high, especially given there aren’t a ton of 5.1 surround options for gamers, a small pack more or less led by the $400 Logitech Z906. The standout novelty of the Arena 9 is its ability to connect to PC and PS5 via USB, in addition to a simultaneous Bluetooth or optical and 3.5mm analogue auxiliary jack.
The rear speakers, which have the same two-way audio design as the front speakers, can be mounted to the wall behind your setup. The centre channel adds yet another duo of drivers that bridge the gap between the left and right speakers. Ideally, you place this speaker directly in front of your monitor. While the Arena 7 and 3 just have controls on the actual speakers themselves, the 9 adds a handy little control pod with a small OLED display. You can use the control pod to adjust audio levels and settings, change your connection type, and turn on 5.1 Upmix surround sound. The Arena 9 supports all of the same connection types as the other setups in the lineup, which gives you plenty of versatility.
At $550, the Arena 9 is a big step up in price from the $300 Arena 7. Surround sound is also a big step up from stereo sound, though.
Arena Wireless Mic – $100
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-cancelling tech into the Arena Wireless Mic, which is the same mic technology found in the company’s gaming headsets.
It’s a good chat alternative with a low-key design that makes it an excellent videoconferencing option as well. The sound is very crisp and clear by default, and the dongle allows for a headset-like low-latency connection more suited to gaming than typical boom-mic uses, like teleconferencing.
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.
The Sonar App
When you’re buying audio equipment any audiophile knows that you’re not just paying for the hardware but the software as well. With the Arena speakers, you’ll have access to 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 favourite 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 being said, it works impressively well for any home entertainment and console setup.