Well, they recommend it for headsets that are between 16–80 ohm impedance due to its relatively modest output power level, and instead of adding a 3.5mm jack to the new standalone model, they instead just built this little dongle adapter that they also sell as a standalone item to convert the existing port.

It’s a quality DAC/amp, but it’s at its best with the Arctis Pro because you don’t have to use an additional dongle, it’s exactly power-matched to provide the right volume, and it allows you to control the RGB lights.

At the $129.99 price point the standalone GameDAC goes for, you can find all sorts of other quality amplifiers, and many of them will have the juice to run anything from sensitive IEMs to 600 ohm studio headphones.

The GameDAC is a little more limited in what it will effectively power, and although its internal components are solid, it was designed to work best alongside the Steelseries headset family.

DTS Headphone: X is coming soon to the Windows Sonic platform as a cheap paid download…and you can use Windows Sonic or Razer Surround for free right now, or Dolby Atmos for 15 dollars, and odds are good your motherboard audio isn’t so noisy that its ruining your headset experience right now.

If you’re on console then the GameDAC is more of an upgrade, especially on PS4 since it’ll properly route chat audio and give you surround support without buying one of Sony’s headsets, through the optical connection.

I’m not saying the GameDAC isn’t going to be a bit better than what your current setup is now if you’re on PC, but its full featureset is only unlocked if you also have a Steelseries headset, with their RGB lights and hi-res audio drivers.

It’s hard for me to say you should run out and spend money on it without considering cheaper options first.

Written by

I do radio voice work by day, and write by day and night. I studied film and production. I love audio, design, and music. Also video games.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store