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SteelSeries Arena 9 speakers
6:00 pm | August 23, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Mics & Speakers Peripherals & Accessories | Tags: | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: August 2022
• Still on sale
• Launch price:
$549 / €599 / AU$599
• Official price now: $499 / £470 / AU$230

Update: February 2024. While these computer speakers were first released almost two years ago, they remain some of the best computer speakers you can buy in 2024. This is because there are few PC speaker systems that offer discrete 5.1 surround sound - so if you want immersive audio and aren't impressed with virtual surround offered by some soundbars and headsets, this is still a great choice. You can also get full 5.1 surround sound via a USB connection, which can be a lot more convenient that using older audio connections. The price has also dropped since launch, making these much better value (though still pricey for computer speakers).

The SteelSeries Arena 9 speaker system is an anomaly among computer speakers, though it shouldn’t be. While 5.1 (and the more robust 7.1) speaker systems have been standard in home theaters for a long time now, PC gamers have had a very limited selection of options to pick from. Most computer speakers are typically either a 2.0 or 2.1 system, meaning you get just a left and a right speaker, sometimes with a subwoofer thrown in.

Considering all the gaming headsets out there emulating surround sound to varying degrees of success, it’s surprising that the SteelSeries Arena 9 only has a few surround sound capable rivals among all the computer speakers out there. Of course, just having surround sound isn’t enough. That three-dimensional audio has to sound good as does the stereo performance. And, the speaker system’s utility needs to meet gamers’ needs.

So, how well does it do that? The short answer is pretty close to excellent. The long answer is a bit more nuanced. But, it’s still pretty close to excellent.

SteelSeries Arena 9: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $549 (€599, AU$599)
  • When is it available? Available August 23rd
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

When comparing the SteelSeries Arena 9’s price of $549 (599€ / AU$599) to other 5.1 systems, remember that most of them are meant for home theaters. Klipsch has more than a few sets for example that cost about half. But, unlike the Arena 9, they’re generally not powered speakers so you’ll also have to invest in a receiver as well, not to mention find a place to put that receiver in your PC desk setup.

And, when considering other computer speaker systems like the Logitech Z906, which goes for $399 (399€, AU$649), the Arena 9 has a leg up just from being a newer release, having launched in August of 2022. Digital audio inputs for the Z906 are limited to optical audio (no USB), a port that you won’t find on a lot of computers, especially gaming laptops. And, you miss out on features like Bluetooth as well.

  •  Value: 4 / 5

SteelSeries Arena 9 at a gaming desk setup

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

SteelSeries Arena 9: Design

  • Lots of speakers and lots of connectivity on hand
  • RGB lighting is bright but limited

For whatever reason, PC speaker brands like to shape their speakers in a somewhat cylindrical, almost alien egg-type shape. And, the SteelSeries Arena 9 speakers, not including the subwoofer, are no different. All the speakers also come in matte-black hard plastic enclosures, traits they share with just about every other computer speaker.

There are a total of 6 speaker cabinets in the Arena 9 setup. A dual-driver center speaker, as well as two tiltable front speakers, form the main part of your audio experience. A downward-firing subwoofer provides that extended low-end. And, two rear speakers, one for the left and one for the right, turn the system into a surround sound experience. The rear left and right speakers are all wall-mountable as well. Since this is a 5.1 system, make sure you have a place to put those rear speakers. Otherwise, you won't be able to take advantage of that surround sound.

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

The SteelSeries Arena 9 also comes with a control pod that provides almost all of your interactivity with the speaker system. It has two buttons on its circular OLED display to either go back in a menu or accept an entry (or press enter) as well as an enclosure that also functions as a scroll or volume wheel. It’s through this control pod that you can adjust the volume on-the-fly, choose audio inputs as well as pair Bluetooth devices, play around with EQ, and select some RGB lighting effects.

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

You do have some  EQ on hand through the control pod but you can only cycle through six different presets. You have the usual options like bass boost, bass cut, or a high-mid boost appropriately called “Excite”, among others. You can customize one custom setting where you can adjust a 10-band EQ. For more EQ fine-tuning, you’ll have to go through the SteelSeries GG Engine and its Sonar add-on (discussed below) which we highly recommend.

When it comes to RGB lighting, the Arena 9 is not going to give you the most nuanced light show. There are only 4 lighting zones in total and those are only individually customizable on certain settings. The front left and right speakers each have RGB trim around their base as well as a large single zone on the upper back part of their enclosures. 

And, while they get plenty bright, you can’t do a deep dive as you would with other gaming peripherals. There are just four lighting settings available: Steady, Breathe, Color Shift, and Visualizer. You can pick up to six colors for the first two settings, adjust the speed for Breathe and Color Shift, and adjust the brightness on all of them. You can individualize colors and even effects a little further through the SteelSeries GG Engine. Though the RGB lighting could be a bit more robust, the Visualizer setting which is essentially reactive lighting is pretty cool.

Lastly, connectivity on the Arena 9 is just about everything a gamer needs. Not only is USB connectivity on hand with an included cable, but also optical audio and optical audio passthrough, Bluetooth, and an Aux 3.5mm input if you need to go analog (or plug in a different source). There’s also a headphone jack on the control pod that lets you switch from speakers to headphones. You can use the control pod’s menu to go between the two without having to unplug anything.

  • Design: 4.5 / 5 

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

SteelSeries Arena 9: Performance

  • The sound quality is impressively detailed and fun to listen to
  • The app is very customizable and powerful once you've updated it


It doesn’t matter what speakers or headsets can do if they don’t sound good. Luckily, the SteelSeries Arena 9 is not only plenty loud but it has a fun and engaging sound quality. It’s not quite audiophile level as there’s a mid-high boost which makes everything sound more exciting but also a little too rich in that frequency range. To be fair though, it’s mostly noticeable with music. Regarding the rest of the frequency range, the bass is powerful. Since the subwoofer has a physical dial on the back, you can adjust the bass response to your heart’s content. The mids are generally well-balanced outside of that mid-high boost mentioned above. And, the highs are nice and crisp.

While listening to music such as the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s new single provided a robust and powerful sound, it wasn’t until loading Kena: Bridge of Spirits that we realized how detailed the sound quality is. The game has a lot of interesting high-end audio information and the speakers let us hear every chime and twinkling sound as clear and detailed as any time we struck down an enemy.

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

When considering a 5.1 sound system, the sound stage and the resultant sound imaging have to be on point. And, the Arena 9 does a generally fantastic job of immersing us into whatever media we’re consuming or playing. We were able to get full three-dimensional audio in Cyberpunk 2077, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, and Psychonauts 2 to name a few. Elements were easy to pinpoint whether they were NPCs or environmental elements. However, unlike virtual surround sound, you must be aware of your speaker placement. Going back to Kena: Bridge of Spirits, we were moving the camera in circles while standing in one spot. While doing so, the rush of a waterfall would transition from one speaker to another but disappear for brief moments. Once we adjusted the rear speaker placements (they weren’t pointed directly at our ears), we achieved a seamless speaker-to-speaker transition.

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

However, we did have one issue with the surround sound aspect of the Arena 9s that was easily fixed with a firmware update. The only way we could achieve audio from all the speakers with anything other than games was to use the "upmix" feature. It's a great sounding feature that sends the audio from the front speakers to the rear for an immersive and overwhelming experience. Unfortunately, it's still a stereo image. To fix the issue, we had to delete and reinstall the SteelSeries GG Engine. 

Why mention this? If you already have SteelSeries products, just be aware that you might have to go through a similar process to get the Arena 9s to show up on your app. Otherwise, you won't be able to get certain media in 5.1 surround sound and you won't be able to use some of the features of the SteelSeries GG Engine and the Sonar Add-on without losing that surround sound functionality.

And, the Sonar Add-on is worth the trouble. It offers a parametric EQ, something that you don't generally find in consumer EQ products and apps. If you're not familiar, parametric EQs are very customizable and therefore very powerful for shaping audio to your taste. With the one in Sonar, you can boost or cut frequencies by up to 12 decibels and at whichever frequencies you want. You can also control  how wide or narrow a boost or cut is via a Q control. There is a “Smart Volume” setting which compresses the audio signal so nothing is too loud or quiet, a great feature when using the speakers late at night.

Even without the Sonar add-on, the SteelSeries GG Engine offers plenty of customizability including a 10 band EQ with presets mirroring the ones available through the control pod, the ability to adjust when the RGB lighting and LED on the control pod turn off, toggle the upmix feature, and even adjust the volume of all the individual speakers.

  •  Performance: 4.8 / 5

Should I buy the SteelSeries Arena 9?

Buy it if...

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Also consider

SteelSeries Arena 9: Report card

  • First reviewed August 2022

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

Logitech Z407 Bluetooth Computer Speakers with Subwoofer review
11:43 pm | January 4, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Mics & Speakers Peripherals & Accessories | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: January 2021
• Still on sale
• Launch price: $79 / £79 / AU$149
• Official price now: $119.99 / £119.99 / AU$249.95

Update: February 2024. Three years after our initial review, the Logitech Z407 remains the best computer speakers you can buy - even though they've actually increased in price since we originally reviewed them. How come? For a start, the computer speaker market doesn't move quite as fast as others, so we've not seen any speakers that beat the Logitech Z407 when it comes to quality and affordability. Also, the Logitech Z407 were so good, especially when it came to room-shaking bass, that they remain an excellent set of speakers to hook up to your computer, even after all these years. Logitech used to have a great reputation for making excellent computer speakers, and products like the Z407 are why. They sound great and are built to last.

Two-minute review

The Logitech Z407 is somewhat of a rarity. Even now, if you want an excellent set of computer speakers, chances are you’ll have to spend a little more than $100/£100. Spend less, and you’re likely to end up with ones that sound middling at best.

Once in a while though, we are treated with more than decent computer speakers that not only look great but sound great as well. And, the Logitech Z407 is one such peripheral.

Logitech Z407

(Image credit: Future)

This fairly new release from Logitech has surprised us in many ways, delivering a powerful sound, rumbling bass, several connectivity options, and a nifty wireless dial for only $79 (£79, AU$149). 

For that same price, the older Edifier M3200 is slightly less powerful and doesn’t offer Bluetooth connectivity. Meanwhile, the 2019-released Creative T100 may boast satellites that offer the same level of audio power, but doesn’t have a subwoofer, is slightly bigger, and costs $20/£20 more – which makes the Z407 a better value. 

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Logitech Z407

(Image credit: Future)

That value starts in design. At 7.87 x 3.70 x 3.35 inches (satellites) with a 9.45 x 9.21 x 7.09-inch sub, the Logitech Z407 is small enough to fit perfectly on a small desk. The speakers also sport a smart look, with capsule-shaped satellites and a dark gray finish that makes it a classy addition to work and creative setups. And, it has an overall rigid build that should see it last several years.

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Logitech Z407

(Image credit: Future)
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Logitech Z407

(Image credit: Future)
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Logitech Z407

(Image credit: Future)

The Logitech Z407 is also versatile. The removable satellite stands may be attached in two ways so you can either have a horizontal or an upright setup. It also has a wireless control dial with a 20-meter range, and three connectivity options – Bluetooth, micro USB, and the 3.5 mm – which further boosts its versatility.

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Logitech Z407

(Image credit: Future)
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Logitech Z407

(Image credit: Future)

The wireless dial may be confusing at first, especially because not all media apps offer full support: Spotify does, but Apple TV on Mac doesn’t support the skip or forward functionality while Netflix on Windows won’t even let you rewind with it. On top of that, it may take you a bit to figure out whether you’re controlling the volume or the bass level as you’re essentially using the same physical dial for both.

We’re not saying it’s convoluted, just that it’s not as straightforward as most people (aka those who won’t bother reading the manual) would prefer. However, once you do get used to how the dial works, it’ll feel like an extension of the arm.

Logitech Z407

(Image credit: Future)

Just because there’s wireless connectivity, doesn’t mean you’ll be going cable-free with these speakers. The satellites themselves need to be connected to the sub via RCA cables. However, you still have the option to connect the system to your computer or device via Bluetooth, which means that the clutter can stay behind your desk where it belongs. 

Since the Bluetooth connectivity is pretty darn good and up to par with the 3.5mm option, you can stick with it for convenience and still get excellent, lag-free audio. For slightly higher quality sound, the micro USB connection seems to have a bit more high end and detail.

Logitech Z407

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to audio quality, the Logitech Z407 gets right what so many cheaper computer speakers fail to do. In fact, for a computer speaker system this compact, it blasts out surprisingly hefty audio in terms of quality and volume.

Its sound may be slightly lacking in detail and its sub can overpower the rest of the frequencies when it’s at a higher volume (though a simple turn of the dial should fix it right up). However, the  Logitech Z407 still sounds impressive. 

Unlike other affordable speakers out there that tend to bump up their bass and high end, which typically make them sound harsh and easily fatiguing, this offering from Logitech is mid-focused, allowing it to produce a richer, warmer sound. The subwoofer has a lot of power for its size, with a down-firing driver that gives it a whole lot of rumble. Trust us: even at a lower bass level, you will hear AND feel this sub.

You'll get decent separation when you’re sitting directly in front of it, which is where you’re meant to experience computer speakers. However, there’s no virtual surround sound feature here so you're really only experiencing 2.1 audio, which means that you’ll hear things from the left, the right, and somewhere in between… but that’s about it. 

As a result, it may not be immersive enough for hardcore gamers. If you’re looking for something that will help you game better, you’re better off with a gaming headset with surround sound features. 

Still, the Logitech Z407 boasts plenty of rumble and produces terrific sound quality that will satisfy most gamers as well as users looking to consume media – whether that’s music or movies. And, its added perk of being versatile will benefit every type of user.

Logitech Z407

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

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