Steelseries carries a strong reputation amongst gamers with a history of quality accessories, headsets, and speakers. Now it’s heading into the world of microphones and has marked its arrival with a pair of challengers, the USB Alias and the XLR Alias Pro.
It’s a busy industry though, and a hard one to break into when a number of established brands already produce some of the best microphones for streamers and gamers. This sort of product has an audience that demands quality at accessible prices. To stand out Steelseries is taking a new approach and including the full kit in the box; microphone, stand, and audio interface.
$329.99/£319.99 gets you everything you need for an XLR microphone setup here, but is it a setup worth having?
The SteelSeries Alias Pro is about as simple as you can get in terms of a microphone design while still managing to look the part. The microphone body is identical in size and shape to the USB SteelSeries Alias, a flat-faced black pill that owns a distinctive style without straying too far from tradition. Things are more paired back on the Alias Pro though, there are no buttons, dials, or RGB - just a single XLR output on the back. It’s neat, tidy and pleasant.
Despite the ‘Pro’ label, the more expensive of the two Alias microphones still arrives with a fully plastic body behind the upholstered front panel. It looks and feels fine so it’s far from a real problem, but I have to admit it is a little underwhelming for something with "pro" in its name. Even the thinnest aluminium veneer would have bumped the premium vibe up a few notches and added a clear point of difference on a microphone that costs nearly double that of its namesake.
The Alias Pro includes the same stand and shock mount as the USB variant though I’ve no complaints over this being shared between the two. It does everything you need a stand to do and does it with a classy elegance. The rubberized base carries enough width and weight to remain in place even while I fiddled about with the Alias Pro’s position and XLR cable. As with the standard Alias, however, you’re limited to just a vertical orientation with no way to mount the Alias Pro horizontally on its stand. The top of the microphone reaches 23cm and is prone to that problem where it eats into the bottom of a monitor when standing on one of the best gaming desks. Being able to twist side to side would be a very welcome option, especially as an upgrade from the USB model. Of course, if you want to do away with the stand SteelSeries includes an adapter that’ll be compatible with nearly any mic arm on the market.
Unique to the SteelSeries Alias Pro is the included XLR Stream Mixer that acts as a combined audio interface and mini customizable control center. This little desktop companion achieves a lot in a compact footprint measuring just 11cm by 9cm and also brings a little RGB flair to the setup as a whole. The angled top is home to two large, backlit mute buttons and two dials - one for mic gain and one that’s mappable.
The buttons are responsive without being prone to accidental touches and the two dials are spaced far enough apart to not encroach on each other. For such a compact area I'm glad to say that nothing feels cramped. The LED ring around the mic gain dial also reflects your input levels and bounces between green, yellow, and red as your volume changes. It’s nice to have but nowhere near as impactful as the hidden LEDs on the body of the Alias and I didn’t notice that most of the time.
The back of the Stream Mixer is home to an XLR input with a 3.5mm headphone monitoring jack hiding on the side too. They both do their job but it’s the dual USB-C ports that are what put the "pro" in Alias Pro. They allow creators running a dual-PC setup to output their audio to two destinations simultaneously with no extra hassle or software needed. It’s a simple solution that works well, however, the two ports are tightly tucked together underneath the XLR cable so things can get fiddly.
In an age where brands do their best to include as little as possible in the box, it’s great to see SteelSeries offer up more with the Alias Pro. Not only does the Pro include the stand, shock mount, and Stream Mixer but also an XLR cable and two USB-C to USB-A cables. The result is a genuine all-in-one purchase that even rivals the RODE Streamer X in terms of value. Everything you need to go from nothing to live is in the box, and that’s worthy of recognition.
The SteelSeries Alias Pro is interesting because despite being an XLR microphone, it’s about as plug-and-play as you can get. The setup process was incredibly simple and despite a few more connections it was no more difficult to get going than with a USB microphone. That makes it a particularly inviting bundle for new streamers or those looking to step up from USB only.
The large, one-inch capsule tucked inside the SteelSeries Alias Pro is identical to the one you’ll find in the USB Alias, so unsurprisingly the Pro delivers the same excellent sound as its cheaper sibling. Even without additional filters or processing my voice was clear and carried an overall quality and depth in line with some of the best XLR mics out there. Throughout testing, I was impressed with the Alias Pro’s natural profile which meant my recordings sounded like you were in the room with me rather than carrying an overly produced studio vibe.
Steelseries’ choice to go the condenser route for the Alias range is a clever one. Condenser microphones can often sound a little distant and roomy, but this isn’t something I experienced with the Alias, or indeed the Alias Pro. While you do lose some of that intense proximity of a dynamic microphone, you gain a large pickup area which meant I experienced no drop in audio quality as I moved to and fro during streams.
While the Alias Pro sounds great out of the box, the Steelseries Sonar app really unlocks its true form. Most creators will get away with choosing one of the included presets, though if you want to get granular I found the click-and-drag interface simple to use, even for audio novices.
Sonar also offers ClearCast AI noise cancellation which did an incredible job, even at lower intensity levels. This is one of the best noise cancellation solutions I’ve tested and on par with what Nvidia Broadcast is capable of. It stripped out a range of background annoyances including fans and keyboard noise without impacting vocal performance, and it’s CPU powered which puts less demand on one of the best graphics cards.
Should you buy the SteelSeries Alias Pro?
If this review has sounded repetitive when compared to our review of the USB Alias, it's because both mics are highly recommendable, and do so many of the same things well. This is both the strongest and weakest thing about both SteelSeries siblings. Which one is right for you will really come down to your setup and how much money you have at your disposal.
Even though its simple USB counterpart offers more ease for plug and play, the Alias Pro is still a recommendable mic for new streamers thanks to its all-in-one offering. For more seasoned creators looking to make the XLR switch, the SteelSeries Alias Pro includes everything you need in the box, so it's a clear choice for that buyer too. The unique approach to including everything in the one box is a clever idea and across the board each item is high quality and plays its part well.
The large one-inch condenser capsule delivers clean, natural audio and is well supported by the SteelSeries Sonar apps’ bag of tricks. The question is, at $329.99/£319.99, do you need the Pro model when there's a cheaper alternative that does almost the exact same job? Well, that's up to you, but this is still a damn good mic.
How we tested the SteelSeries Alias Pro
I used the full SteelSeries Alias Pro bundle in my gaming and streaming setup. It was used as my primary audio device for Twitch streaming, Discord calls, and dedicated audio testing. Throughout I used it both on the included stand and attached to an Elgato Wave Arm using the supplied cables and SteelSeries Sonar software.
For more on how we test the latest audio equipment, take a look at our hardware policy.