The Arctis Pro GameDAC will send audio to the Arctis 3
Back when I reviewed the Arctis Pro + GameDAC, I wondered if the GameDAC would send audio to other non-pro Arctis headsets.
I worried that since the Arctis Pro headset connects to the DAC via a USB-derived cable, they'd have some kind of headset check to make sure you only use the Arctis Pro headset.
It's frustrating that the GameDAC doesn't have a 3.5mm jack for connecting to any headset, though I bet this was also by design and to assist with their entire system getting a hi-res certification. By limiting the connectivity, they're "guaranteeing" you a quality experience...while also kind of screwing you.
Well fortunately, they didn't totally limit your headset options.
If you've got an Arctis 3, 5, or 7 lying around, those should totally work with the GameDAC.
I realize that this is a stupid thing to even test.
If you've already purchased the GameDAC, you probably already have an Arctis Pro since they're bundled together, and to my knowledge the DAC is not currently available as a standalone purchase. But what if your headset breaks and you don't want to pay the $170 it costs for a new one?
Well, you could totally just spend $79 on an Arctis 3, because I plugged one into the GameDAC and it worked with the audio and mic monitoring features just fine.
In a way I'm kind of relieved that the GameDAC doesn't do some kind of handshake with the headset to make sure you're using the "right" one...but this also throws into sharp relief how goofy it is to use this USB connection. Yes, it allows them to power the lights on the Arctis Pro headset...but there's no real reason to not include a 3.5mm jack as a backup, right? Or for folks that want to use the GameDAC as a platform for other headsets.
Steelseries could sell this as a standalone product and indoctrinate people into their system if it had a standard jack.
The Arctis Pro is still overkill for the vast majority of gamers, objectively. Its hi-res audio support is for a limited subset of audiophiles...who will probably be more interested in different equipment anyway. Its gaming features are undeniably great, but also at the very top end of the market price-wise. It's a great all-in-one endgame sort of solution, and I'm glad it's finding some success...but it's still the epitome of a luxury device. There's no denying it has great audio performance at its core, but its extras are hard to recommend to anyone who wasn't immediately enthused on seeing they were available.
That said I use mine every week...something I never saw coming. And a local store has them flying off the shelves.