When it comes to gaming audio, most of us default to gaming headsets. While these usually do provide the best audio and immersive experience for games, not everyone wants to wear these. I wear them when I’m gaming late at night and don’t want to disturb my wife or kids, but when I’m alone, I normally pump my audio through some speakers, but they never really sound that great for games. SteelSeries, the leader in gaming and esports peripherals, solved this problem with the release of the Arena – their new line of gaming-focused speakers. We’ll be looking at the SteelSeries Arena 7, a 2.1 channel setup with some serious oomph.
In typical SteelSeries fashion, there are three different “tiers” to choose from, each with increasingly more features. There’s the Arena 3, a starter setup with just two speakers and the Arena 9, which is the hardcore 5.1 channel gaming setup for those who are super serious about immersion. I chose to go for the mid-tier, which is the Arena 7 which features two main speakers and a larger 6.5″ subwoofer. This model was chosen due to space limitations and not really having anywhere to put the rear speakers. I also didn’t go for the Arena 3 setup because I wanted those sweet-looking RGBs on the speakers, which the Arena 3 doesn’t have.
So as you can tell already, the SteelSeries Arena 7 is the middle ground between the Arena 3 and the Arena 9. The kit consists of two main speakers and one subwoofer. We’ll start with the main speaker units.
The main speakers are a 2-way speaker design consisting of a separate 3″ driver (woofer) and 3/4″ tweeter. These are housed in a beautifully designed and modern-looking speaker enclosure which is primarily made of plastic. The plastic feels very thick and the construction feels rock solid. On the back of each speaker is a translucent cover that houses six LEDs with 16.8 million RGB colors. The base of the speaker is circular shaped and also features an LED ring which also has the same 16.8 million RGB colors. The bottom of the speaker is rubberized for better grip as well. The stand for the speaker is also fairly unique in the fact that you can tilt them. That’s something I haven’t seen on other speakers before.
The right speaker has easy-to-reach controls, which means you don’t have to change the volume from your desktop. It consists of a rotating dial for volume control and a button that is used to change modes – mute on/off, RGB on/off, and Bluetooth. And yes, you can pair a Bluetooth device to these. Not only that, there is an AUX port on the back of the right speaker so you can also plug your headset into them if you want. Both left and right speakers have a long cable that must be plugged into the subwoofer.
Moving to the subwoofer, it’s a fairly large box that looks like most subwoofers you’d find in a home entertainment setup. The large 6″ speaker is a down-facing setup with a large port that comes out of the front. It has four large rubberized feet that keep it firmly planted while also insulating any vibrations from the box to the floor. On the back of the subwoofer enclosure, you’ll find the “control center” where all the speaker cables, power cable, USB-C cable, power switch, and volume knob are located. There’s also an AUX jack here as well as an optical in and out port. If you opt for the Arena 9, the subwoofer connections will be a bit different to accommodate the extra speakers.
All-in-all, a very clean and modern design from SteelSeries. If you have other SteelSeries gear, the Arena 7 matches up perfectly with them and will help complete your gaming setup.
Let’s start with the setup experience. For the most part, setting the SteelSeries Arena 7 was pretty simple and only required a few cable connections and most of it goes into the subwoofer. The power cable goes to the subwoofer, the USB-C cable goes to the subwoofer, and the two speakers get plugged into the subwoofer as well. The only thing that gets plugged into your computer is the other end of the USB-C cable.
You will need to download the SteelSeries GG app in order to get the latest firmware if there is one, as well as set up all your audio preferences for the speakers. The SteelSeries GG app is also where you can adjust the RGB lighting. You’ll also want to use the app for SteelSeries Sonar, which is the main command center for all things audio from SteelSeries. Here you can adjust so many things such as separate volume settings for game, chat, and microphone, as well as things like spatial audio, configurations for different games, chat noise cancelation, and more. It seriously is a great app and one that unifies all their products.
Once setup is complete, you’re ready to enjoy what the SteelSeries Arena 7 has to offer.
To say that the SteelSeries Arena 7 speakers are good would be a serious understatement. The fact that these speakers have separate midrange woofers and tweeters means that your highs are always clear and crisp and the mids are rich and deep. For the extra thump, the subwoofer provides some serious bass to the point where I can shake my whole floor. I obviously don’t turn it up all the way because I don’t want to possibly disturb the neighbors. Either way, the subwoofer provides all the bass you’ll ever need and more.
When you’re gaming, these things really shine. You wouldn’t think that speakers would be as immersive as headphones, but you’d be wrong in this case. The Arena 7 speakers are very immersive and I can actually hear sounds I normally couldn’t hear on regular speakers. I attribute that to having separate drivers and tweeters. If you’re playing a competitive FPS, you literally can hear every footstep, every gunshot, and every explosion. You can also turn the volume on this way up with almost no distortion. I don’t because they’re super loud and usually just have them set to about halfway.
In terms of whether I like the Arena 7 speakers over something like their Arctis Nova Pro headsets, I’d say that they both have their advantages and disadvantages. For starters, you don’t get quite that surround feel that you’d get from headphones, but I honestly didn’t notice much of a difference. You are however more comfortable not having headphones on your head and don’t have to worry about messing up your hair. The downside to speakers though is that you will need a mic if you want to chat, but SteelSeries has that covered with their new Arena Wireless Mic, which we will talk about in a separate post.
I will note that I do have both the Arena 7 and the Arctis Nova Pro hooked up on my computer, but they need to be installed separately. They don’t really work in conjunction with each other, though I wish they did. Basically to use either or, I have to just change some settings in SteelSeries Sonar to choose the output device.
I am really enjoying the new SteelSeries Arena 7. For starters, I don’t normally wear gaming headsets unless I’m in a blobby with friends and need to talk to them. Otherwise, I’ll normally default to my PC speakers, which in the past have been pretty lackluster. Although, I didn’t know they were lackluster until I started using the SteelSeries Arena 7. These speakers blow everything out of the water that I’ve used in the past.
The main reason for this I believe is the separate drivers, tweeters, and subwoofer. The gives each range of sound its own dedicated speaker and you can really hear the difference. Aside from the audio, the RGB effects are really great and add some ambiance to your gaming setup.
So with all that said, if you hate headsets or just want something you can blast out loud at home that sounds really good for not only music but also games, check out the new SteelSeries Arena 7.
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