SteelSeries just launched its first line of gaming-focused desktop speakers – the Arena 3 (2.0), 7 (2.1), and 9 (5.1). The problem with desktop speakers, however, is that they’re generally better for home entertainment and don’t make much sense in many online gaming and streaming setups where you need both audio outputs and Entry.
But… maybe her could, featuring the Arena Wireless Mic – an on-ear, noise-cancelling microphone designed for use with speakers (and launched alongside the Arena range). Thanks to a supercardioid polar pattern and amplification powered by SteelSeries AI-powered noise-cancellation software, the Arena Wireless Mic gives you the best of both worlds: immersive surround-sound speaker audio and noise-free, crystal clear team chat.
The Arena Wireless Mic offers 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, 4.5 hours of battery life, has a lightweight, comfortable design, and performs as advertised – it picks up the wearer’s voice without picking up everything that’s coming out of their speakers. The Arena Wireless Mic is available now and costs $100, which is mid-range in terms of that The best gaming microphones. But this isn’t really a gaming mic; it’s more of a niche product – and I’m not entirely sure it has a niche.
The design and comfort of the Arena Wireless Mic
The Arena Wireless Mic is a wireless on-ear microphone designed for use with speakers. SteelSeries’ new Arena speakers in particular, but they work with all speakers – they don’t have any particular interaction with the Arena line.
The Arena Wireless Mic consists of a supercardioid microphone at the end of a flexible arm attached to a battery that sits behind your ear. The battery is held by a flexible earhook that can be swapped out for a better fit depending on ear size.
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On the back of the battery is a USB-C charging port, a small LED indicator, and a multifunction button for power/pairing/mute. Press and hold the button for one second to turn on the microphone; Tap the button while the microphone is on to toggle mute on/off. When the microphone is muted, you will see a red light on the microphone itself – the light is bright enough to see out of the corner of your eye when wearing the microphone, even with the pop filter in place.
The Arena Wireless Microphone comes with three different sizes of flexible ear hooks (small, medium, large), a 2.4GHz USB-C wireless dongle, a USB-C to USB-A converter, a pop screen and a USB-C to USB-A charging cable supplied. The ear hooks attach to the microphone with a simple twist and are easy to swap out.
Carrying the Arena Wireless Mic is fine – it’s comfortable, especially since it’s so light you’ll forget it’s even there. But the way the earhook fits – it hugs the front of your ear and tucks under the antihelix – doesn’t feel particularly secure (and this also varies by ear anatomy). I found the medium-sized earhook fit me best (and I’d say I have medium-sized ears), and even with the mic securely attached, it still seemed a little wobbly. It didn’t fall off during my testing, but I definitely had a few tight calls when I quickly turned my head.
|frequency response||100 – 10,000Hz|
|resolution and sample rate||16bit/48kHz|
|software||SteelSeries GG (Sonar)|
|Dimensions||7.5 inch / 190 mm (length)|
|weight||0.59oz / 17g|
Performance of the Arena Wireless Mic
The Arena Wireless Mic is supercardioid (unidirectional) with a 150-degree pick-up angle—narrower than the 180-degree pick-up angle of a standard cardioid microphone. This allows it to pick up your voice and nothing else – even as music, gunfire and chatter from teammates blast through a surround-sound speaker setup.
I tested the Arena Wireless Mic in a variety of situations over the course of a week — work conferences, group video chats with friends, online gaming with strangers — and it worked shockingly well. When my speakers were set to a reasonable volume, none of my co-workers, friends, or randomly assigned teammates could audibly tell that I wasn’t wearing headphones. This was the case regardless of what came out of my speakers – music, explosions, voices, or a combination of these.
It wasn’t until I cranked my speakers to an uncomfortably high volume that others began to mention the background noise at my side. Even then, background noise wasn’t an issue when I spoke – the mic still picked up my voice loud and clear – it wasn’t until I wasn’t speaking that the audience began to hear my music.
The Arena Wireless Mic is a supercardioid microphone, which means it basically needs to be pointed directly at your mouth to work. The microphone’s 10 cm flexible arm is easy to position correctly, and when positioned correctly, the microphone is clearly visible (“You look like an air traffic controller,” my colleagues said). That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but one of the main reasons to upgrade your mic is so you can hide it – and send/stream/create content without the strain of a headset.
Software for the Arena Wireless Mic
The Arena Wireless Mic doesn’t require any software to work, and in fact doesn’t come bundled with any software – it doesn’t have a profile or settings in the SteelSeries GG Engine, although it does run in Sonar, SteelSeries’ relatively robust companion software for its audio products (headsets, speakers, microphones) as the default input.
Sonar features an independent 10-band mic EQ that you can use to tweak the tone of your voice (a handful of presets with names like “Less Nasal” and “Broadcast High Pitch” are included if you’re not sure where to go ). Begin). There are also several noise reduction settings that you may or may not need, including AI-assisted noise reduction (still in early access). These settings do a good job of improving noisy environments on headset mics (albeit at the expense of audio quality), but weren’t as necessary on the Arena Wireless Mic, which is already good at isolating noise.
Arena Wireless Mic battery life
The Arena Wireless Mic has a battery life of 4.5 hours, which probably seems a bit dismal in comparison best wireless headsets, which last between 24 and 300 hours. But this isn’t a headset, it’s a microphone – and it’s much, much smaller and lighter than any gaming headset. There aren’t many (or any) handheld wireless gaming mics on the market; Lavalier mics can last anywhere from six to 10 hours, but they also have larger, heavier hidden batteries.
Considering how light the Arena Wireless Mic is, 4.5 hours of battery life is still not particularly impressive, but it’s reasonable. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make you feel any better if your mic cuts out during a marathon streaming session. Luckily, the Arena Wireless Mic has fast charging (15 minutes net for an hour of use) and can also be used while charging. The status LED on the microphone’s battery flashes different colors to indicate the remaining battery life (green, yellow, red); When the battery is very low, the red mute LED on the microphone will flash rapidly.
The Arena Wireless Mic is… interesting. It has a lot going for it – it’s light and comfortable and works flawlessly with speakers. But that’s the way it looks — a speaker accessory, not an additional $100 purchase on top of a $550 speaker system.
The Arena Wireless Mic is very good at one thing – voice isolation for chat, video conferencing, and casual streaming. But it’s not very versatile; it doesn’t have multiple polar patterns like that HyperX QuadCastit can’t record in Hi-Res 24-bit/96kHz like that Beyerdynamic Fox USB studio microphone, and it can’t be mounted on a boom (or even switchers on the right side of your face). If you’re determined to hear all audio out loud through surround sound speakers, the Arena Wireless Mic might work for you — otherwise, you might just want to dump that $100 into one of the The best gaming headsets.