SteelSeries Arctis 9X vs Arctis 7 (2019 edition) – RTINGS.com

SteelSeries Arctis 9X vs Arctis 7 (2019 edition) – RTINGS.com


Hey guys, Marc here from Rtings.com and today
we will be comparing the SteelSeries Arctis 9X to the Arctis 7 2019 edition. SteelSeries makes great gaming headsets that
typically work best with your PC and PS4, but there are some round about ways to get
them working on your Xbox One but it’s often a hassle and only has partial support. However, the Arctis 9x are specifically made
for the Xbox and shouldn’t have this issue so how do they stack up to the rest of the
series. Also, we’ve tested the 9X with the Microsoft
Wireless Adapter on PC since we cannot plug our Xbox One directly into our testbench set
up for now, but we expect very similar results since the adapter uses the same wireless technology
as the Xbox’s controllers. With that being said in this video we will
be comparing their design, sound quality, microphone, isolation, leakage, active features
and connectivity options to see if there are any major differences apart from console support,
since this may be especially important if you also game on PC or use them with your
phone. But as always let’s start with what’s
in the box. So for the 9X you get you don’t get much
just a micro USB to USB cable to access the app on your PC, the manual and the 9x headset. However as mentioned we also go the Microsoft
wireless adapter so we could test it on out testbench PC. However, this is sold separately. As for the Arctis 7, you get a USB Dongle,
a Proprietary USB audio cable, a 1/8” TRRS mobile audio cable, the Manuals, and the Arctis
7 headset and that’s it now lets get the boxes out of the way and compare their design. For their build quality, there’s essentially
no difference between the Arctis 9X and the Arctis 7. They both have the same design, with a metal
frame and the ski-google like headband of the rest of the series. However, unlike, the lower-end Arctis 3 and
Arctis 5 the elastic band goes around the frame instead of having hooks inside the headband,
which should last a bit longer. The earcups, the padding and retractable mic
all look practically identical and both the Arctis 9x and Arctis 7 do not have removable
backplates like the higher-end Arctis Pro, Pro Game+dac and Pro Wireless. Also, no RGB lighting which will be a little
disappointing for some since the Arctis 5 has it, but it does save a little on battery
life at least. The yokes are also pretty much identical which
is the weakest part of the Arctis design overall, but the 9x and Artcis 7 still feel like well-built
and sturdy gaming headsets that should last you a while. As for comfort here too, there’s basically
no difference between the two models. They have the same type of pads on both headsets
and the ear cups are the same size, so there won’t be any significant differences when
gaming on PC or either consoles. The fit of the Arctis line up however is not
for everyone. Since the metal frame itself does not expand,
the only way to adjust the fit is with the elastic band, and there’s not much room
or position to set the band to for a better fit on your head. This tends to make both headsets feel tight
on head, especially for those with bigger head sizes. They won’t be the most comfortable headphones
to wear for very long gaming sessions but if they fit you well then the soft decently
breathable fabric of the pads, and the relatively large opening or the cup will be good enough
for most. Also, the mic being very malleable does come
in handy in the overall ergonomics and comfort of the headsets. Lastly, for their control scheme. For gaming both headphones are about the same
with slight aesthetic and design differences that shouldn’t matter much. But for casual use the 9x are a lot better. Since one of the key differences between the
9X and the Arctis 7 is that the 9x also Bluetooth headphones, at the bottom of the right ear
cups you have you have a Bluetooth pairing button that doubles as the multi-function
play/pause and media management control when paired to your phone. So, two presses to skips tracks and 3 presses
rewind, like most Bluetooth headsets. This makes them a lot better for casual use
than the Arctis 7. However, for gaming, they are about the same
with very slight tweaks and design differences. They both have their power button on the bottom
of the right ear cup but the 9x’s volume control and mic mute are also on the right
cup instead of the left like the rest of the series. The mic mute button is slightly larger and
easier to use than that of the Arctis 7, but not by much, and the chat mix dial is flipped. So for the 9x it’s on the left and near
the top of the ear cup and for the Arctis 7 it’s on the right and closer to the bottom. It doesn’t make a big difference since you
get use to the set up rather quickly the only issue would be if you have other Arctis headsets
and often switch between them and the 9x. Overall, all the button are easy to use and
provide good tactile feedback for both headsets making them some of the easiest gaming headsets
to use for most. In short design-wise the Arctis 9x seem to
be a copy of the Arctis 7 2019 edition but for the Xbox. They have the same build quality comfort and
overall button design but the 9x being Bluetooth ready makes them more practical for casual
use with your phone. however, the tight headband of the steelseries
design in general won’t be for everyone. Ands that’s it for their design now lets
compare their sound quality, isolation leakage and microphone quality with sam. Both the Arctis 9X and the Arctis 7 are very
good and accurate sounding headphones, with a similar sound profile. However, we found the Artcis 9X to lack a
bit of sub-bass and our Arctis 7 test unit had slightly mis-matched drivers. But before discussing their sound in more
detail, let’s listen to a recording we have made with these headphones, so you can get
an idea about their differences for yourself. Just keep in mind that this is a relative
comparison, and not an absolute one. So it is good for seeing which headphone has
more bass or treble for example, but you won’t be able to judge their actual sound profile. And if you get one of these headphones and
listen to the same track that we’ve used here, you most likely won’t hear the same
thing. Here we have the frequency response of the
Arctis 9X on the left and the Arctis 7 on the right. As you can see they both lack a bit of thump
and rumble in the sub-bass region, but this is more pronounced on the Arctis 9X. The good news here is that lack of sub-bass
is not very noticeable on headphones and most audio content doesn’t have much sub-bass
anyway. The mid-bass region, which is important for
the body and punch of kick drums and bass instruments is reproduced accurately by both
headphones, but high-bass is overemphasized by as much as 3dB. This makes the overall sound a little boomy
and muddy. The mid-range on the Arctis 9X is nearly flawless,
and the Arctis 7 doesn’t perform too bad either. So they will reproduce vocals and lead instruments
accurately. But as you can see we measured a bit of mis-match
between the drivers of our test units, especially on the Arctis 7. This will have a negative effect on the imaging
of these headphones, but this could be unique to our test unit and they one you buy may
or may not have this issue. These headphones perform similarly in the
treble-range too and they do a pretty good job. So cymbals and other high-frequency sounds
will be reproduced accurately, but some people may find the S and T sounds a little bit too
sharp on these headphones. In terms of frequency response consistency,
they seem to be quite sensitive to positioning especially the Arctis 9X and their bass and
treble delivery can vary significantly across users depending on the shape and size of their
head and whether they wear glasses. On the upside, these headphones come with
a decent EQ, so you should be able tune the sound to your liking and to compensate for
these variations. Now for isolation and leakage, we have also
recorded a comparison, which we’re going to play now. First up, is isolation. The isolation of performance of these headphones
is again, very similar, and typical of closed-back over-ear headphones that don’t have noise
cancelling. So they don’t provide any isolation in the
bass range, meaning they won’t block the rumbling noises like the sound of a truck
outside. In the mid-range they do an average job, and
they can reduce outside chatter a little bit, but may not be enough for loud places. You can always mask the noise by increasing
the volume of your headphones a bit. The Arctis 9X doesn’t perform as well in
the treble range, which could also explain their lack of sub-bass in their sound since
sub-bass can be affected by poor seal and isolation. Overall they both perform well-enough in the
treble range, so you don’t need to worry about hearing subtle high frequency noises,
like the sound of a fan, through these headphones. Now let’s listen to the leakage recording. Again, the leakage profile of these headphones
is nearly identical. Neither of these headphones leak much in the
bass and treble ranges, but they leak noticeably in the mid-range. So you don’t need to worry about leakage
at moderate volumes, but if you don’t want to disturb anyone around you, make sure you
are not blasting the headphones. Since both of these headphones are made for
gaming, we’re going to discuss their microphone quality as well. And like before, we have prepared a couple
of recordings for you to listen to. First, let’s listen to a recording done
in a quiet environment. As you probably heard both the Arctis 9X and
the Arctis 7 are great at recording speech. Their response is definitely on the bright
side meaning they won’t sound perfectly neutral, but this may actually help speech
to cut through the game audio better. The Arctis 9X lack some bass below 100Hz,
but this won’t matter much since human voice generally doesn’t go that low. So speech will still sound full-bodied on
them. Their flat mid-range means speech will be
quite natural on them and won’t sound too thin or too thick. The treble range of these microphone however
is overemphasized by as much as 8dB. So although this is good for cutting through
other sounds, it may be too bright or harsh for some. I would like to point out that we measured
the microphone of the 9X with the Microsoft wireless adapter which is sold separately,
and this gave them a bit more extension in the treble range, making their sound a bit
more open and airy. The Arctis 7 was measured using their stock
wireless transmitter which seems to cut off at around 6.5kHz. This is still significantly higher than the
3.5kHz cut off point of regular Bluetooth microphones, but slightly less than the 10kHz
limit of the Arctis 9X. Now let’s listen to another recording to
see how these microphones handle a noisy environments. Again, both of these headphones perform nearly
identically and achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 34dB which is excellent. This means they won’t have any trouble at
separating speech from background noise even in very loud environments and should be able
to handle all usage scenarios. Now let’s go back to Marc, for the active
features. For their active features starting with their
wireless range. The Arctis 7 with their dedicated transmitter
included in the box did better than the Arctis 9x with the wireless adapter. The Arctis 7 went up to fifty-five feet when
obstructed compared to the 9x’s forty one feet. The Arctis 7 also did much better in direct
line-of-sight going all the way up to 120ft compared to 70ft. Fortunately, this shouldn’t matter too much
when gaming in front of your tv or PC although the 9x may not be the ideal option when walking
around the house listening to music. On the upside, the 9x are Bluetooth compatible
which means if you pair them with your phone of PC via Bluetooth, they have a much better
range than with the wireless adapter or Arctis 7 wireless transmitter at Fifty-five feet
when obstructed and hundred and forty feet in direct line of sight. So if you do want to listen to music and walk
about your home you can just use them that way. As for latency the Arctis 7 did much better
than the Arctis 9x. The Arctis 7 had twelve milliseconds of latency
with their dedicated wireless transmitter which is a lot bettery than the Arctis 9x
at seventy-seven milliseconds with the wireless adapter and much better than on Bluetooth
which is expected. Unfortunately, since we couldn’t plug the
Xbox directly into our testbench to for latency we use the Microsoft wireless adapter which
should give you an idea of the latency on PC but may not be perfectly representative
for the Xbox latency. On the upside we tried them while playing
a game of CSGO and the seventy-seconds wasn’t too noticeable overall. We also expect a slightly better performance
on the Xbox. [Battery life]
For battery life the Arctis 9x last longer but are a bit worse overall since they do
not have an auto-off timer like the Arctis 7. The 9x lasted about 28Hrs compared to the
Arctis 7’s twenty-five hours. They should both be more than enough for most
gaming marathons but thanks Arctis 7’s auto off timer that you can control in the app
they generally last a bit longer overall. On the upside the 9X charge much faster at
two-point-four hours compared to the Arctis 7 at three-point-three hours, which is convenient
since it puts them in the range of most Bluetooth headsets. For their software support both headsets work
with Steelseries engine. But the Arctis 7 has a much more in-depth
implementation with more customization options and features. The 9x do not have support for the app over
the wireless adapter you have to plug them in and even then, they will not work wired
with your pc since the connection is only to access the ap and eq modes. On the upside the EQ modes do hold when switching
back to your Xbox and you can set the Bluetooth connection to be on by default when powering
on the headset. You also get a mic volume slider and side
tone presets but that’s it. So no surround sound features, stereo profile,
power options, bass and dialogue enhancements and dynamic range compressions that you get
with the Arctis 7. Overall the app feels slightly lacking with
the 9x then when compared to the other headsets in the series. Lastly, for their connection options. And here the Arctis 7 have a bit more versatility
especially for gaming than the 9x. The Arctis 7 come with a dedicated transmitter
that has a USB input, a line in and a line out. This makes them a bit more suitable for your
home theater set up, since you can easily get an AUX cable and wirelessly transmit any
audio to the headset although the mic will not work this way. On the upside when used via usb they will
have mic and audio support on PC and PS4 but only audio support on xbox. You can also use them wired with the mobile
adapter and plug them into the your console controller and that way you will have mic
and audio support for both consoles, PC and your phone. The 9X on the other hand connect to the xbox
via their proprietary wireless connection like the controllers which is why we had to
get the xbox wireless adapter for pc. The 9x also have a audio jack but unfortunately
it’s not a mobile adapter like the Arctis 7 so you wont have any mic support when plugging
them in directly into the controllers. On the upside being Bluetooth compatible they
will work with your phone so you can stream audio from your phone source or even answer
calls while gaming on your xbox which is pretty convenient So overall, which headset should you get. Well if your primary gaming device is you
Xbox one then the 9x are the best fit since they are made for it and a bit more convenient
to use wirelessly with your Xbox. They will connect seamlessly like your Xbox
controllers and also support Bluetooth so if you often use headsets with your phone
the wireless design will be more practical than using the mobile cable adapter of the
Arctis 7. However, for most the versatility of the Arctis
7 and their cheaper price point makes them a better value especially if you primarily
game on PC or PS4. They both have the same great design and ease
of use but the Arctis 7 will have audio and mic support when wired with both the PS4 and
Xbox controllers and also with your phone. They also have a more practical wireless transmitter
that comes included in the box and a more in-depth implementation of the SteelSeries
engine software with more customization options and features that feel lacking on the 9x. Most Xbox owners will be happy with the 9X
and the Bluetooth capability is great for casual use answering calls and streaming audio
from another source while connected to the Xbox but in general the Arctis 7 are a slightly
better choice. And that’s pretty much it. You can check out all of the measurements
on our website and If you like this video, subscribe to our channel, or become an insider. Also, we are always looking for great people
to join our team in Montreal. So, if you want to help people find the best
product for their needs, have a look at the careers page on our website. Thank you for watching and see you next time.


50 thoughts on “SteelSeries Arctis 9X vs Arctis 7 (2019 edition) – RTINGS.com

  1. A note that a lot of people don’t tell you. If you get the Arctic’s 7 for Ps4 their sound engine on pc or Mac will work in conjunction with ps4. Outside of the adding the virtual surround sound being unavailable, all other features transfer over once you disconnect!

  2. I'm still rocking with my Siberia 800X's

    So all I need to know is are these better than those? The Bluetooth connectivity alone justifies the purchase imo. I'm almost certain they are better. Great price too. Thx RTings.

  3. Also you guys give the best review on Headset and TV's Hands down. I bought the Arctis 7 because you had them rated #2 overall.

  4. Wow, best review on the internet, and very welcome improved microphone test with noise and without it.
    Artic 9 is much better on the microphone, but i think the 7 2019 sounded better particulary on the bass, not only extension but the bass punch felt more intense.

  5. So the bass makes things muddy? So for example explosions and gunshots would sound powerful and punchy but the other sounds like voices, footsteps will sound muddy? Right now I have the TB Elite 800x and I am using the music signature sound mode because the bass is fantastic but also the highs are still fine too. The battery life just isn't too great.

    So how would this bass compare to the Elite 800x?

  6. Why did they make these non compatible with PS4. Dumb dumb dumb. Will be buying Astros over Steelseries because of this.

  7. Might want to mention that a lot of people are complaining about the constant disconnects and crackling noises/stuttering that is going on with the 9x. I have my set for RMA right now to get a new one.

  8. This review is unlike any other review in my opinion. The video covers up nearly all important things that I need to know, despite the video being 18 minutes long I still enjoyed it!

  9. I get the impression you're a solid team. I love the reporting format and general professionalism, very well put together video. Subscribed!

  10. One thing I would like to see is, if it's available (for PC it most likely is), what settings should we change in the equalizer to get it to sound as close as possible to the reference sound/song you use for testing? And what sound mode should we use, game, cinematic, etc.?

  11. Out of all the headsets you have used which ones would you say are best for the Xbox one X? Cos my headset broke yesterday and I'm looking for a good one with surround sound 7.1 (or better if there is better) that are good for hearing footsteps from afar, I would prefer wired cos I'm not sure about wireless plus wired headsets are louder than wireless I think.
    I'd also like a good mic cos I tried Astro A40s in the past and the mic was rubbish (mates said I sound like I was trying to talk to them from the bathroom) as well as when I updated the mixamp the sound and mic just stopped working completely, not sure why that happened so I'm not sure on Astro A40 anymore.

  12. Does anyone know why the Steel Series 7 2019 Edition scored lower on sound quality than the 2017 Edition? From everything I have read they are the same besides a few design changes.

  13. Swap the ear cups for the leather ones, slightly been the headband to reduce the clamping force, and these become EXTREMELY comfortable

  14. i cant find an answer to this anywhere so hope someone can help. if you're connected to wireless and receive a phonecall via bluetooth, which one does your mic go to? your game chat? your phone call? or both (meaning both your team mates and the person calling you can hear what you're saying)?

  15. Absolutely amazing review, great depth on all qualities and fantastic personalities preseting the informartion.

  16. You don't need the xbox USB to connect to the pc. You can connect it via Bluetooth to your pc. Unless your pc doesn't have Bluetooth, but most do.

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