SteelSeries’ first desktop speakers include a 5.1-channel USB model

The gaming audio market has been focused on headphones for years, allowing you to rely on familiar brands like Logitech and Klipsch if you prefer speakers. However, SteelSeries thinks it can turn things around. It introduces its first line of desktop speakers, Arena, and promises some standout features aimed at gamers. The flagship Arena 9 (pictured in the middle) is heralded as the first gaming speaker setup to offer 5.1-channel surround sound over USB. There’s still a 3.5mm jack if you want it, but you won’t need a nest of cables to immerse yourself in gaming on a PC, Mac, or PlayStation. You can also expect synchronized RGB lighting.

All models also tout the first “professional-grade” parametric EQ aimed at gamers via the Sonar Audio Software Suite, SteelSeries claims. While we remain wary of the company’s boasts, this could come in handy if you’re more interested in blasts of precise sound than nuanced music.

The other two Arena models aren’t quite as elaborate, but might make more sense if price or desk space are concerns. The entry-level Arena 3 (shown right) is a simple two-speaker offering with four-inch fiber cone drivers and Bluetooth audio support. Buy the 2.1-channel Arena 7 (left) and you’ll get a subwoofer, optional USB audio, and RGB lighting.

The SteelSeries speakers are available now with prices starting at $150 for the Arena 3, $330 for the Arena 7, and $600 for the Arena 9. You can also purchase a $100 Arena wireless microphone with a cardioid noise-canceling microphone to provide voice chat. no need to put on a headset None of these prices are trivial, but SteelSeries is clearly betting that it will pay more for speakers built more for Call of Duty than Claude Debussy.

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