SteelSeries Alias Pro Review – IGN

SteelSeries Alias and Alias Pro: The New Wave of Gaming Microphones

There’s no shortage of gaming microphones these days, so it takes a lot for a new mic to stand out. That’s exactly what SteelSeries has done with its new Alias (USB) and Alias Pro (XLR). These microphones are all-in-one-solutions for burgeoning content creators interested in taking their streams or podcasts to the next level of quality. You’ll need to dig a bit deeper than some of the competition, but they’re remarkably solid, great sounding, great looking microphones that only get better when paired with their Sonar software.

Photos and Design

The Alias and Alias Pro hold the distinction of being two of the most stylish microphones on the market. Their pill-shaped bodies are trimmed in dark gray fabric with bits of exposed grille on the top and sides. The Alias Pro’s front is unbroken except for a small logo on the bottom while the standard Alias has a small control panel with a gain knob and mute button. Looks may not count for much when it comes to a microphone, but if it’s going to be sharing screen space on your facecam, it’s nice to know that it will look good without drawing unneeded attention.


SteelSeries sent over both versions for me to test, so I’ll be referring to both throughout this review. Their biggest differences have to do with their connectivity. The Alias connects over USB while the Alias Pro uses XLR and comes with its own audio interface called a Stream Mixer to connect to your computer. The sound is exactly the same, to a point, so unless you’re planning to use a mixer, you’re safe to choose whichever option works best for you.

Where it counts, both microphones are exactly the same. Both feature large 1-inch/25mm condenser capsules, roughly three times that of those in the classic Blue Yeti. Both feature the same frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz and offer high-resolution 24-bit/48kHz sampling (transmission) to your PC. Apart from the control panel on the front of the normal Alias, both look the same with matching desk stands and shock mounts, and each comes with an adapter to mount the mic on a boom arm. Both are side-address and use a single cardioid pick-up pattern.

One of the headline features is its large diaphragm microphone. Its 1-inch capsule is substantially larger than much of the competition, including the Blue Yeti, HyperX QuadCast, and Elgato Wave:3. While size alone doesn’t necessarily mean that the microphone will sound better, its increased surface area is better able to capture lower frequencies, lending more body and authority to your voice. It’s the same size, in fact, as a number of professional studio microphones like the RODE NT-1 or Audio-Technica AT4040. The Alias Pro does have a few extra tricks up its sleeve. Since it’s an XLR microphone, it’s able to grow with you in a way a USB microphone like the Alias can’t. That simple connection allows it to connect to a wide range of professional audio gear, like a dedicated, multi-channel mixer or hardware-based FX. If you fall in love with it, you won’t have to leave it behind just because you evolve your setup. Also since it’s an XLR microphone, exactly none of the processing is happening on the microphone itself. It simply houses the large condenser capsule that captures your voice and sends that through to the Stream Mixer, which handles the conversion back into 1s and 0s for interpretation by your PC. The Stream Mixer provides the phantom power the Alias Pro needs to run and has a much more powerful preamp than the standard Alias, which houses everything in the mic body. The Pro can get substantially louder as a result and is easier to use a greater distance away from your face. The Stream Mixer looks like a simple audio interface at first but offers a rather unique trick of its own: programmable inputs. Its 4 x 2-inch angled face is easy to fit onto any desk and adjust on the fly. There are two buttons and two dials, one pair dedicated to controlling the level of the mic (gain and microphone mute). The other two are programmable, allowing you to fade in or mute additional audio channels, like your game or voice chat. This is useful but not completely necessary if you’re comfortable setting things up in software. I’ll delve more into this in the next section, but with Sonar, you can mix and route five separate audio channels and have full control over the volumes of each. Fading sources in is definitely smoother with the knob and doesn’t force you to Alt+Tab from your game to do it, so it’s the more practical solution if you don’t mind paying for the convenience. The Stream Mixer also acts as a visual meter for your audio levels. A ring around the gain dial illuminates green, yellow, or red to indicate when you’re at a reasonable volume. It’s not as exact as a multi-light or digital reader, but can tell you at a glance if you’re clipping (red). Tapping either mute button turns them red (or any other color you choose). There’s also a down-firing LED strip that casts an underglow on your desk for a bit of optional flair.

The Alias, on the other hand, has a few tricks of its own. It can match volume levels to what I would consider reasonable for most users. I was able to set it down on a desk and get a very reasonable volume up to 18 inches away, which is about as far as you’re likely to have it anyhow. Anything within that range sounds exactly the same, so you’re not sacrificing audio quality opting for one over the other – which is remarkable considering that it’s $150 less than the Pro model.

It also has a built-in meter that illuminates behind the fabric. It’s actually more functional than the dial on the Alias Pro as it scales up five vertical LEDs instead of a single green when it detects any sound, no matter how quiet. The mute button is also touch sensitive, so you won’t get that “chunk” sound from that comes with clicky mute buttons. When you do, a red “X” lights up behind the fabric. There’s also a ring of RGB LEDs along the bottom, so you still get some customizable flair.

Both mics seem well-built, but I admit that I expected a little more from how they feel in the hand. They seem to be mostly made of plastic, outside of the grille and the shock mount, and they aren’t particularly heavy. Given that they’re likely to sit on your desk or boom arm and stay there, this isn’t a big drawback, but I would have expected them to feel a bit more substantial given the price and competition.

It’s also worth noting that the Alias Pro and Stream Mixer don’t have to be used together. Since the Pro is an XLR microphone, it can connect to any other XLR device (like the mixer I mentioned earlier). The Stream Mixer is already ready to be matched with any other condenser microphone and a good number of dynamic mics, too, and will be fully compatible with the Sonar software suite. In a conversation with the project manager and audio engineer ahead of this review, he mentioned that even the gain-hungry Shure SM7B will work with it if you don’t mind turning the gain up all the way. It’s a powerful little interface.


The Alias and Alias Pro both use Sonar, a free software available for download from SteelSeries’ official website. With it, you can access powerful customization tools like an equalizer and AI-enhanced noise suppressor. It also…