To some, audio quality matters little, beyond something that isn’t objectively awful to listen to. If all you want is something that sounds good enough to pass without comment in your next Discord chat or remote meeting, there are plenty of microphones that’ll do the job just fine.

When you’re looking to take things to a more professional sounding level however, perhaps for your next stream or podcast, then things can get very complicated, very quickly. Suddenly you’re in a world of polar patterns, XLR cables, pre-amp adjustments, compression sliders and all sorts of terminology that can make your head spin, and that’s before you plug in your first cable.

SteelSeries reckons it has the answer. Enter, the SteelSeries Alias Pro, the companion microphone to the regular SteelSeries Alias. With an MSRP of $330/£320 it’s playing with some big names, as our current favourite gaming microphone, the Shure MV7, comes in at a similar price range. Better be good then, ey?

Unlike its little brother, the Pro version ditches the front mounted controls and the internal amplification for a separate mains powered XLR control and amp unit called the Stream Mixer, which features two rear mounted USB Type-C ports complete with two Type-C to Type-A cables, a dedicated line-out, and a rear XLR connection, also with included cable. 

SteelSeries Alias Pro specs

(Image credit: Andy Edser)

Polar patterns: Cardioid
Connectivity: XLR to USB dual PC connectivity via Stream Mixer
Recording Sample Rate: 24-bit 96kHz
Frequency response: 50–20,000Hz
Features: Included XLR Stream Mixer and preamp, +48V phantom power, programmable dials and buttons, SteelSeries Sonar software
Price:  $330/£320

All this connectivity is designed to allow you to use the Stream Mixer to interface with multiple inputs and outputs, including two PCs at once for those streaming and recording on separate systems, along with XLR connectivity that allows you to connect to a separate mixer or use a different XLR based mic altogether. 

48V phantom power is included, meaning the preamp here should have no problem powering other XLR mics from another manufacturer should you wish to use the Stream Mixer with something other than what’s included here. 

Beyond all those extra connectivity options, the Stream Mixer is a compact and well-built little interface with two RGB-rimmed buttons, and two dials. The left button acts as a dedicated mic mute, while the right can be assigned to various functions within the software.

As for those dials, the smaller of the two is dedicated to gain adjustment, while the larger can be programmed for all sorts of uses, including volume adjustment or adjusting specific fader. Unlike the standard Alias with its built in lights, for the Pro the LED ring around the gain knob acts as a meter, so red for clipping, yellow for near, and green for within usual range, and the two buttons also change colour when pressed so you can easily tell when you’re muted.

(Image credit: Andy Edser)

Just like the regular Alias, the Alias Pro makes use of the excellent Sonar audio interface software, which once again recognised my connected input and output devices with the minimal amount of fuss. It had no problem distinguishing and identifying two PCs connected to the interface, meaning if you were looking to setup a separate laptop for streaming, the Stream Mixer has you covered with the minimum of hassle.

There’s a lot of customisation here within the software if you want it, including RGB lighting setups and dial customisation. When it comes to the audio features, the ClearCast AI noise cancellation is of particular note, as it helped me tame the increased gain provided by the preamp while still keeping a good signal level, along with a simple but powerful compressor reduced to a single slider and an easy to use EQ with some well thought out presets.

In a desktop position using the included mount, it didn’t take long before I had a sound very similar to the regular Alias, as they both make use of a 1-inch/25mm capsule with a 50Hz to 20kHz cardioid pick up pattern that has no problem capturing good quality audio at a reasonable range.

However, SteelSeries also provided me with one of its Alias Boom Arms to play with, currently priced at just under $100/£80, and it’s here that the Alias Pro came into its own. In a close mic position it really didn’t take me long to get an excellent result.

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(Image credit: Andy Edser)

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(Image credit: Andy Edser)

It’s not that the Alias Pro is bad at distance recording compared to its little brother, in fact far from it. However, when pairing it with the boom arm to bring it close up and experimenting with the Sonar EQ, suddenly the qualities of that external preamp came into sharp relief. 

I recorded a few clips of both the Alias Pro on its desk mount and in a close mic configuration on the boom arm, and a reference clip of a microphone I know very well, the Shure MV7, also on a boom arm at an identical distance.

I left the Shure unprocessed and raw as a baseline (bear in mind, when you buy one, all you get is the mic and some relatively blunt software), whereas the Alias on the boom arm is using the Sonar EQ, noise reduction and compression.

Buy if…

✅ You’re looking for something more than a desktop microphone: For a lot of gamers, a simple cardioid condenser mic on your desk is all you really need. If you want to take things to the next level though, that’s where the Alias Pro really shines.

If you want to test the waters of studio sound, but don’t know where to start: The Stream Mixer is a powerful preamp wrapped up in a compact and easy to use package, and given the flexibility on offer is likely to be all you need in an interface for some time.

If you just want to get streaming without the hassle: Setting up streaming audio, especially with multiple inputs and outputs, can be a head-scratching task. The Alias Pro with its Sonar software makes it much easier.

Don’t buy if…

If you’re on a tight budget: Yep, it’s costly, and there’s no getting round it.

If you’re not going to invest in a boom arm: While I’d pick something cheaper than the SteelSeries Boom Arm here, you’re going to want something similar to really get the most out of that preamp and mic combo.

Thanks to that preamp, a closer configuration and the flexibility of the Sonar software, the Alias Pro is capable of a very warm yet still detailed sound that’d be perfect for a podcast or audiobook recording, and great for a professional sounding stream. 

Of course, the Shure MV7 is capable of a similar tone when EQ’d and processed, but bear in mind you’d need to do a fair bit of fiddling with some plugins to make that happen, whereas the Sonar software and Stream Mix interface included here makes it easy.

You’re going to want a boom arm like the Alias version I used here for the best results though, and that gets expensive pretty quickly. For what its worth, while the SteelSeries Boom Arm is high-quality and robust, I would be tempted to buy a cheaper arm and save a bit of cash as there are plenty of options on the market that do the same job for less, and the screw-in socket on the back of the microphone itself is a default size that should connect to most of them.

For comparison, a Shure MV7 in combination with a decent audio interface/preamp, some plugins and a suitable arm will cost you similar money to the SteelSeries Pro and corresponding arm, and many might prefer to lean towards the Shure brand when it comes to spending that much cash on a studio-like audio setup, no matter how much fiddling you’d need to do.

Still, where the SteelSeries Alias Pro really makes sense is as a leaping off point into the realms of studio sound. The versatility of the preamp, the power of the flexible yet easy to understand software and the qualities of that capsule come shining through with very little messing around, meaning that you can get the sort of audio normally reserved for professional setups quickly and easily.

That’s something of an impressive feat. Good audio is subjective, of course, but I can’t deny that with the SteelSeries Pro in front of you, a great result is tantalisingly close with just a few simple steps. Beyond that, the customisation is there to set up the Stream Mixer with just about every input and output you can think of, dialled in to its easy to use controls. It just makes the experience much, much smoother than a regular studio setup, and for that, I have to tip my hat.

I reckon when it comes to pure sonic chops from the mic itself, the Shure MV7 still just about has it, but honestly, the Alias Pro’s preamp makes it a surprisingly close run thing.

Yep, it’s still pricey. But for studio-like sound with much less hassle, I reckon it’s worth it. Quality audio gear often costs, it’s true, but here you can at least ditch the usual audio headaches and get on with the business of capturing great sound with ease.

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