The gaming audio market has focused on headphones for years, leaving you to rely on familiar brands like Logitech and Klipsch if you prefer speakers. SteelSeries thinks it can shake things up, though. It's introducing its first desktop speaker line, Arena, and promising a few standout features aimed at gamers. The flagship Arena 9 (pictured at middle) is billed as the first gaming speaker setup to deliver 5.1-channel surround sound through USB. There's still a 3.5mm jack if you like, but you won't need a nest of wires to immerse yourself in games on a PC, Mac or PlayStation. You can expect synced RGB lighting, too.
All models also tout the first "pro-grade" parametric EQ aimed at gamers through the Sonar Audio Software Suite, SteelSeries claims. While we'd remain cautious about the company's boasts, this might prove useful if you're more interested in accurate-sounding explosions than nuanced music.
The other two Arena models aren't quite as elaborate, but could make more sense if price or desk space are concerns. The entry Arena 3 (shown at 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.
SteelSeries' speakers are available now with prices of $150 for the Arena 3, $330 for the Arena 7 and $600 for the Arena 9. You can also buy a $100 Arena Wireless Mic with a cardioid, noise-cancelling microphone to provide voice chat without donning a headset. None of these prices are trivial, but SteelSeries is clearly betting that you'll pay extra for speakers built more for Call of Duty than Claude Debussy.