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Steelseries Arctis 7P/X vs Pulse 3D. My Final Direct Comparison/Review/Reference for Future Owners

why was the original post deleted? reposting

after spending 2 weeks with both the sony pulse 3d headset and the steelseries arctis 7x/p (i personally have the x) on the PS5, i thought i'd share a mini-review of sorts to hopefully help others who are on the fence as to which one to buy.

Sony Pulse 3D Headset

build quality seems ok. good but not great. it's plastic throughout with very little adjustability if you need that sort of thing (i didn't). as for comfort, let me put it this way. for the first 2 minutes of every gaming session, i wanted to rip these things off of my ears out of sheer agony. the fake leather earcups and vice-like grip on my head (especially when i was wearing glasses) were EXTREMELY uncomfortable. after the magic 2 minute mark i was able to get used to them and proceed with the gaming, but they were never actually comfortable to wear. after an hour or so you really start to feel them squeezing your head. ymmv obviously, but wearing the pulse 3d headset is not what i would ever call pleasurable. the controls are another annoyance. idk who came up with the bright idea to cram every control for the headset on the left side, but it was a stupid design choice. after a solid week of using them i was still fumbling around regularly to adjust volume, hit the mute button (more on this in a sec) or to power them off via the hard switch. one of the dual mics is right next to the power switch, which meant that 95% of the time i was getting a loud earful of mic-fondling when i was trying to power them off. the dual embedded mics work ok and are of decent quality, but they're definitely not what i would consider "good". acceptable at best. i was told i sounded "distant" and like i was speaking from within a box or tin can. to mute them, you must physically find and use the mic button on the headset, as the mic mute button on the dualsense controller doesn't work with this headset. weird and annoying.

as for sound quality, the pulse 3d sounds great. if this is your only concern, at $99 i think you'd be hard pressed to find better sounding headphones. out of the box they sound louder, clearer and just better than the arctis 7p/x. rich, full sound stage with nice deep base that was clearly tuned to the system. they integrate quite well with the ps5 as well (outside of the ridiculous mute button issue). when you turn them on, the ps5 switches to headphone audio. when you turn them off, the ps5 switches back to tv/av/sb audio. you also get an on screen battery indicator, which is a nice touch. sony says these provide 12 hours of usage, and by my rough math that's pretty much exactly what i got as well. range is decent. i think sony says 40ft, but in my house they disconnect after 20 or so ft

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Arctis 7P/X

it was pretty clear from the start that these are of higher build quality than the pulse 3d. the earcups swivel and have removable pads, and the headset is adjustable via a nice velcro band. really comfortable to wear with zero issues after 3 or 4 hours of continued wear. i never felt the vise-like grip like i did with the pulse 3ds, and they stayed affixed nicely to my head throughout. hands down these were better for me from a comfort perspective vs the pulse 3d. controls are distributed nicely between the earcups with power and chat mix on the right side and volume, mute and the extended mic on the left side. the dualsense mic mute button DOES work with the arctis, which is hilarious. when you turn on the arctis, the ps5 will switch audio to the headset, but when you turn them off the ps5 will not re-route the audio to the tv/av/sb. i thought this would be a much bigger annoyance than it actually is (the mic mute thing with pulse is far more annoying). if you hit the ps button and call up the quick settings, you can easily switch audio in a few seconds when necessary. there's no on-screen battery indicator, but you can control the headset volume from the ps5 settings menu (i think it was at 80% or so by default. turn it up to 100% out of the box). the microphone on this actually sounds GREAT. i was shocked when listening back to recordings of my voice at how clear and concise my voice sounded. easily better than the pulse 3d solution. battery life is ever bit the 24hrs they promise, which is great because these use micro usb for charging so be sure to keep that stupid old cable handy. no usb c to be seen. as for range, they also claim 40ft, and these definitely have a better range than the pulse 3d's in my house. i can pretty much make it to the bathroom, kitchen, living room etc without losing connection (no connection at any of these places with the pulses)

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if you buy both the arctis 7p/x and the pulse 3d and do nothing other than open them up and plug them into the ps5, the pulse 3d will sound better. the sound on the arctis is just ok and i was honestly a bit disappointed when doing a direct a/b comparison with the pulse headset. arctis is a bit anemic out of the box. volume was lower and there wasn't as much presence or bass as with the pulses. if you stop here, the pulse 3d wins as far as sound quality and the arctis goes back to the store. there is, as they say though, much more to the story here. as mentioned, the volume for arctis in the ps5 menu is set to 80% or so for some reason by default. turn it to 100%, leave it there and adjust the volume as needed via the headset itself. the killer feature the arctis has over the pulse is that you can connect them to a pc or mac and adjust the sound quality. they're set to a flat eq curve out of the box, which is probably what accounts for the poor sound. change that to performance for fps games or immersive for action/adventure games and you'll hear a DRAMATIC improvement. or you can do what i did and tune them to a combination of the two curves and be very, very happy using them with anything you throw at them (4.1, 1.9, 0.3, 0.1, 4.2, 5.7. you're welcome :)). once you fine tune these, they easily outclass the pulse 3d sound quality in every game i've been playing with direct a/b comparison (CODCW, Village, RE7, Astro, Control, Destiny 2, R&C, MK11, Outriders, afew others i can't remember)

final verdict

if you have $100 to spend and need some good headphones for your ps5, you can't go wrong with the pulse 3d. i personally did not find them to be comfortable at all, but i know from experience that headset feel is a very personal thing, so take that with a grain of salt. i love the integration with the ps5, but the mic mute button issue (which i use probably 10x a gaming session) is just ridiculous and seriously detracts from the integration aspect. they do sound excellent however, with a "meh" mic quality. the arctis 7p/x, however, are every bit the $50 better at $150. if you have access to a pc and can change the eq curve, this is the easy choice to make as they are just better headphones. they feel better, they sound better, they record audio better, they have better battery life, better range, better adjustability, better build quality and are the better headset, and it's not even close.

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and just to clear up some misconceptions regarding tempest 3d compatibility, the steelseries arctis 7x/p and any other headset out there are 100% compatible with the ps5 audio engine. i've seen post after post claiming that it was necessary to buy the pulse 3d headset in order to listen to 3d audio. that's just not true and misses the whole point of sony's new codec (built to be hadware agnostic). so it works perfectly fine with 3d audio. lastly, the arctis 7P and 7X are functionally identical. if you only expect to ever game on PS5, get the 7P version. if however there is some chance that one day you'll end up picking up an XBX, you're far better off with the 7X for the same price as the 7P will not be compatible. that's what i did. hope this helps


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