A photo of the SteelSeries Arena 7 speaker set.

Gadget Review: SteelSeries Arena 7 Speaker System

Your new best friend for all-purpose sound walls.

8 mins read

SteelSeries has nailed home entertainment speakers with the SteelSeries Arena 7. Not only are these excellent speakers to set up with your PC, laptop, or game console to enjoy as the “gaming speakers” that they’re being sold as, but they’re also brilliant for the home entertainment system, listening to your favourite music playlists, or just about everything else that you’ll want to listen to (like the Digitally Uploaded podcast! God Alan sounds good over these, though nothing will save my voice, it seems).

Right out of the box, the Arena 7 leaves a positive impression. It’s a big, heavy box, which is going to have people living in small places concerned, but in practice it’s all very nicely designed to be discrete. There are two speakers, of a good size to be placed on a desk or shelf, and then there’s the 6.5” subwoofer which is, yes, bulky, but also not so bad that there won’t be a spot for it somewhere on the floor.

It’s incredibly easy to set up, and offers multiple connectivity options. If you’re playing on your console, or PC, then a single USB from the subwoofer is fine. However, there’s also a fast Bluetooth connection available, meaning that it’ll connect with your smart TV, Apple TV or phone with just a few button presses. Lag through Bluetooth is totally unnoticeable in the context of a film, streamed footage or a music track, meaning that despite being normally “gaming” speakers, I’ve actually been using them for movies and TV a lot more. See, I’m currently hooked on the Disney+ App’s Shogun, which is not only an adaptation of a classic novel, but also may just be the best white guy take on Japanese samurai stuff ever. I’m annoyed that it’s on a weekly release schedule so I can’t binge it, but also it’s just so good…

A photo of SteelSeries 7 Arena speakers

I digress. I did think that the Arena 7 wouldn’t really be a general entertainment option, since most “gaming” sound equipment aims to hit you with so much bass you can’t hear anything else as you develop tinnitus, but that’s not the case here. Yes, those speakers and subwoofer fill the room with a wall of booming noise, and if you’re playing a big, bassy game you’re going to get a visceral feeling from the sound, but it’s also incredibly well balanced to be perfectly clear when you’re watching something less reliant on the bass impact.

If you do plan on hooking it up to your PC at some point, then the Arena 7 works with the SteelSeries GG application, and that allows you to fine-tune the experience and balancing even further. This is enormously useful if you’ve got an unusual room design or, simply, like to tinker, but the settings out of the box are also ideal for most users.

What may have people hooking their PCs up to use SteelSeries GG just once is to adjust the RGB lighting engine, however. Thankfully the subwoofer doesn’t have any lighting, but the two speakers (the things likely to be placed within sight range) have come down with a case of the disco party. SteelSeries has by default designed these speakers to both cycle through a series of lights and brighten or dim based on the sound that’s running through them. This means that during dialogue conversations, where the volume spikes and drops constantly, they’re flashing like they were aspiring to be strobe lights. During deeper and richer music, the lights stay on and create ambient pools of lighting.

A photo of the SteelSeries Arena 7 Speakers and Subwoofer

This is great for games, where the lighting can subtly reinforce the impact of gunfire and other sharp actions. The lighting is deep, rich, and very pleasant to look at for the most part, too. For watching films, however, the constant phasing in and out can be distracting, especially when there isn’t any music or background noise, so the flashing is tuned to speech patterns. This is where the SteelSeries GG management platform is a lifesaver.

What I really liked about these speakers is how they allow you to bring immersion with you. The subwoofer and speakers are light enough that you can move them from room to room – say from the computer room to your lounge, or even the TV in the bedroom. If you only have enough space to place them on the desk on either side of the screen, then you’ll still get a great experience with the sound directly hitting you. If, however, there’s room to space them out a little more then you can get a more surround experience without losing the volume. There’s a practical limit in that this is just two speakers rather than the five+ speaker full surround system (which is also available as the Arena 9), but five-speaker systems tend to be permanently nailed in place and not as versatile as this one. You could even bring it outside to the balcony, deck, or friend’s house and use it as the entertainment system for a BBQ or party. Aqua’s Barbie Girl sounds great over these things, even with the volume turned right up over a crowd of people.

The Arena 7 is only a modest investment, given its application, at around $600 Australian. Thanks to the sheer versatility and quality of it across gaming, film, music and, hell, even Zoom/Teams calls, I’ve got to say that this has come as close to truly essential as any gadget I’ve ever reviewed on this website. If you like good sound, then you’re going to get your money’s worth with this.

Buy these speakers from Amazon US.

(By buying from this Amazon link you support DigitallyDownloaded.net, which earns a small commission from each sale)

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Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

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