SOLVED: How to Increase Sidetone Volume on Arctis 5, Arctis 7, Arctis 7+ and Pro Wireless Headsets
Quick tips on how to fix a common problem with the Steelseries Arctis Headsets: low sidetone volume. Even setting the sidetone volume to high/maximum in the Steelseries Engine software does not provide a loud enough Sidetone effect for most people.
Sidetone Volume is too Quiet Even When Set to High
This is a problem that is definitely present on the latest Steelseries Arctis 7 and Arctis 5 Wireless Headsets. I have seen some mention that it may also be an issue on the Arctis Pro and maybe some other headsets, including possibly the wired ones. The solutions below should work for all of these models. I can verify they definitely are working for my Steelseries Arctis 7 Wireless.
How to Make Sidetone Louder on Arctis Headsets?
Below are the only actions you can take to increase the sidetone volume. Anything else would require SteelSeries to issue software or firmware updates.
- Turn up the volume dial on the Headset itself to maximum. This increases all volume, including the Sidetone effect.
- In the Steelseries Engine software, make sure “Mic Sidetone” is set to the highest setting and make sure that config is active.
- Turn the volume dial on the headset to maximum and leave it there!
- I repeated this because I know some people may have glossed over step 1 thinking it was too basic. Yes in order to have decent sidetone, you’ll need to crank the volume dial on the headset to maximum. Plan to never touch it again and adjust volume in your applications instead.
- Make sure the Mute button on the headset is toggled off. When the headset mic is muted, sidetone is turned off.
Test It, Then Lower Volume in Your App or OS:
Now that the sidetone is set to the highest possible, test it out and judge for yourself if it meets your expectations. I found it was acceptable now, though I’m not happy with needing to jump through the following hoops:
- You’ll need to lower the volume in your applications and/or operating system (Windows/MacOS) to compensate for the loud headset volume. I know this is not ideal, but unless Steelseries makes some changes to their software, it is a necessary hassle if you want good sidetone.
- Adjust the “ChatMix Dial” on the headset to be more toward chat and less toward game.
- You can use the “ChatMix Dial” as your new volume dial. Sidetone will stay at maximum, but you can lower your game or music volume using this dial. This will only work well if you aren’t using voicechat outputted through the secondary “ArctisChat” device.
- The “ChatMix” dial is different from the regular volume dial. It is found on the right ear cup on the Arctis 7 Wireless. Slide the dial down (toward the symbol of the person.) Not all models may have this mixer dial.
If You Don’t Hear Any Sidetone Effect at All:
- Make sure you’ve downloaded and installed the Steelseries Engine software. Be sure the sidetone setting there is on and is set to High. (Usually it is disabled by default when you first set up the headphones.)
- Make sure your microphone is working and is not muted. Most models have a mute button on one of the earcups. Also make sure the microphone is working in general by using the “Live Test” in the Steelseries Engine software, or try out any other voice chat program that has a microphone test, like Skype or Discord.
- If your microphone is not working at all, check that your wireless transmitter dongle is plugged in and recognized by Windows. Then go into the Windows Audio control panel and make sure the Arctis Chat is set as the default communication device and Arctis Game is set as your default audio device. Also make sure that whatever game or application you’re using has those input and output devices set correctly as well.
Did this Article Help?
I hope this helps! When I first got my Steelseries Arctis 7 Wireless Headset, this was a major annoyance. After a lot of troubleshooting and researching I found that the above steps were an acceptable fix. I couldn’t find any information about this, so I thought this article may help others.
If this helped you, it’s greatly appreciated if you shop on Amazon after using an Amazon link on this site like the one above this paragraph. As always, any questions or comments are welcome in the comments section below!
An Overview on Sidetone
Many people find it distracting to talk without being able to hear their own voice. Open-ear headphones are great to avoid this problem, but there aren’t any open-ear wireless headsets on the market because the microphone would pick up the sound from your headphones. Sidetone is a feature designed to fix this for closed-ear headsets, but Steelseries has the sidetone volume tuned extremely low on the Arctis headsets.
I suspect Steelseries has sidetone set low to avoid bad reviews related to the minor but noticeable ambient background hiss that sidetone often causes. The software should really allow you to increase the sidetone volume about 3 to 5 times louder than it currently does. This is a software issue that Steelseries could easily fix with an update to their Engine software.
Other Options for Sidetone in Wireless Gaming Headsets
For now, you can do the above steps which worked well enough for me to decide not to return my Arctis 7 headset. You may also feel free to contact Steelseries – @SteelSeries on Twitter – to complain and ask them to update the Engine software to allow for louder Sidetone settings.
Perhaps if they had an “extreme” setting for sidetone volume, with a notice saying that it may cause extra background hiss would prevent customer complaints while allowing sidetone to actually work as it should.
Alternately, you could try out a different wireless headset. From my reading, the Logitech G933 Wireless Headset appears to have a good sidetone effect that doesn’t require any fiddling.