Almost all gaming peripherals manufacturers have their own software bundles nowadays, and it can be hard to see whether or not a certain piece of software is worth it. In this article, we’ll go over SteelSeries’ GG software and its features so that you can see how it can be beneficial to your gaming experience and/or workflow.
SteelSeries’ GG is a software bundle that houses different components, and in this article we’ll go over the main components and features of SteelSeries GG.
Something that’s quite unique when it comes to these gaming software packets is that large parts of SteelSeries’ GG software are agnostic. This means that you don’t even need a SteelSeries peripheral in order for it to work. Sonar, for example, will work with any gaming headset. This means that, if you like the features that you’re about to read about in this article, you can just download the software and get to using it without having to go out and buy SteelSeries gear.
What is SteelSeries Sonar?
SteelSeries Sonar is the brand’s audio software suite. It comes with a large amount of tweakable parameters so that you can get the audio experience that your game/situation requires.
For starters, Sonar gives you the ability to mix and master your game, chat, and microphone levels separately. This is all handled by easy-to-use sliders that allow you to adjust your audio devices in a flash. This is handy for obvious reasons: sometimes your friends might be a bit too loud, for example, and you might want to turn them down when you’re really focusing on the game. On the other hand, you might want to lower the game volume a bit and raise your teammates’ chat volume when you’re just playing a casual game and hanging out. Sonar allows you to easily do this.
Sonar also offers the ability to tweak the sound profiles coming out of the different channels. You can not only tweak the sound of your game audio, but also the sound of your chat, as well as customize the parameters of your microphone. In short, Sonar not only lets you tweak the sound of your main audio source (game, stream, …) but also the sound of your chat and microphone.
The possibilities are quite large, and SteelSeries Sonar offers a wide range of presets with pre-configured equalizer setups for games such as CS:GO, Fortnite, Apex Legends, VALORANT, Overwatch 2, and so on. In addition to that, there’s also a large selection of media equalizers to choose from. As an example, you have the option to go for Movie: Clear Dialogs or Movie: Immersion, and there’s a variety of music presets to match the genre you’re listening to or your personal preferences.
There are also pro player presets, with a preset made by VALORANT pro babybay, and one made by CS:GO professional Twistzz, for example. This is always nice to see, as it allows you to hear the game through the ears of that specific game’s highest tier players, so hopefully SteelSeries has more of these player presets planned for the future.
These presets are merely a starting point, however. Sonar allows you to further customize the equalizer profiles so that it matches your preferences exactly. Additionally, you can turn on Spatial Audio to get that immersive virtual surround sound. This is not something that we recommend for competitive gaming (all virtual surround options can change the positional audio of a game slightly; that’s not something you want if you’re a competitive gamer) but it is a nice option to have for when you’re viewing content or relaxing in a story-driven game.
You can also adjust the gain of your audio and turn on Smart Volume, which is basically a compressor that keeps the volume within certain ranges so that explosion aren’t insufferably loud while conversations are too quiet.
In short: Sonar allows you to select different sound profiles to match your specific situation, be that listening to your favorite EDM track or sweating it out in your favorite competitive game.
Just as with your game audio, you can also tweak the chat audio. Contrary to setting up game-specific audio profiles, tweaking the chat sound will not give you any competitive advantages, but it can be a tremendous quality of life booster. We all have that one friend with a subar mic that puts out a nasal, high-pitched tone, and Sonar allows you to tweak that to some extent. We say ‘to some extent’ because a lot will obviously depend on the quality of the mic that your mates are using (you can’t make a $5 integrated mic sound like a streaming-grade external microphone, for example) but it’s a handy feature to make long gaming sessions less grating.
In addition to offering multiple tweakable EQ profiles (such as Less Nasal, Clarity, Deep Voice, and so on) Sonar also comes with ClearCast AI Noise Cancellation. This AI solution removes any non-vocal sounds from the mix so that you can focus on the game without hearing your friend’s dog barking in the background, for example. Smart Sound is also available in the Chat and Microphone tabs, but here it’s renamed to Smart Voice. Enabling this will ensure that chat levels stay within certain parameters, so that your screaming teammate won’t cause any jumpscares, to give a quick example.
Anyone who games with people who use an open mic will know why the ability to tweak your chat sounds and remove background noises can come in incredibly handy.
Every voice is different, and in order to make your voice sound as clear and natural as it can be, it’s handy to have a microphone EQ. Someone with a very deep voice will want different microphone settings compared to someone with a high pitched voice, for example. Sonar allows you to choose from a number of presets including Clarity High Pitch, Clarity Low Pitch, Balanced, and so on. Obviously you can also create a completely customized EQ pattern.
ClearCast’s AI Noise Cancellation not only works for your teammates (as explained in the previous section) but also for your microphone. Turning it on will have an AI eliminate background noises, and if that doesn’t work to your satisfaction there’s also a noise reduction section and a noise gate section (which will cut off your mic when it’s below a certain volume). Do note that these features are not enabled if you’re using ClearCast AI Noise Cancellation since that will handle these things automatically.
Finally, Smart Voice is also available for your microphone. Enabling this will ensure that your voice never gets overly loud or quiet.
The ability to tweak the way your own voice sounds isn’t something that will give you any immediate benefits, but your teammates, coworkers, and friends will greatly appreciate it if you find a profile that matches your voice.
Why Should You Use SteelSeries Sonar?
It’s important to understand that audio is extremely vital in competitive games. In some gaming communities it’s a bit of a meme to label obvious cheaters as people who ‘just have a good gaming headset’ but as with many jokes there’s an element of truth to it: having a good audio solution can feel like cheating.
Whether you’re playing CS:GO, where hearing the exact position of that accidental enemy footstep in a 1v1 clutch scenario can make or break a round (or match) or you’re playing something a lot more hectic like Overwatch 2, where hearing an enemy DPS hero sneaking up behind your team can mean the difference between landing that fight-winning sleep dart or getting wiped out by an enemy ultimate: audio is an element to gaming that you should not underestimate.
Knowing this, it’s not hard to see where the value of SteelSeries Sonar lies. Having the ability to tweak your audio so that it matches your specific game can literally be the difference maker in some matches. Having the right audio parameters means that you might hear a crucial reloading sound in a hectic fight that you otherwise wouldn’t have heard, and that’s just one example of how incredibly important audio is in competitive gaming.
Of course a good audio engine with great positional audio isn’t something that’s specific to SteelSeries, but Sonar is without a doubt one of the most expansive and easy to use audio software suites we’ve seen so far, and the fact that it comes packed with so many QoL features that can make your and your teammates’ lives easier is the cherry on top. We strongly recommend you to give SteelSeries Sonar a try, as you don’t need a SteelSeries headset in order to use it and the software is free to download.
What is SteelSeries Moments?
SteelSeries Moments is the brand’s gameplay/highlight capturing tool, and it’s also included in SteelSeries GG. Its functionality is similar to NVIDIA Shadowplay and, to a lesser extent, OBS and the likes. Moments allows you to record and share gameplay clips by means of a recording program that’s always running (if you have it turned on, that is) in the background with minimal performance impact.
Moments allows you to press a hotkey to capture gameplay moments even after they’ve happened so that you’re not using up large amounts of disk space by recording every single second of gameplay. This method also allows for easier filing and storing of specific gameplay clips since you don’t have to wade through hours of gameplay videos to find one specific clutch or special moment.
How does SteelSeries Moments Work?
The moment you enable Moments, the software is constantly running in the background. It uses a section of your GPU that’s used for video encoding, so it doesn’t impact your performance or gameplay in a noticeable way. Once you press your chosen hotkey combination, the software will save a clip of your gameplay. You can choose if those clips should include microphone inputs and so on in the settings.
Moments assigns a higher bitrate to clips where there’s a lot of action happening on the screen and a lower bitrate to clips where there’s less going on so that recorded clips don’t take up too much space and are always clear and crisp. There is also a feature that allows it to automatically save certain highlights (kills, assists, …) without you having to press the hotkey combination, but that functionality only works in certain games.
Recorded clips get saved to an in-app gallery with easy file management tools such as the ability to tag, rename, export, and favorite clips. It’s also possible to make rudimentary edits to recorded clips within SteelSeries’ GG software.
Clips can easily be uploaded to YouTube, Gfycat, Twitter, Discord, Reddit, and Facebook.
Why Should You Use SteelSeries Moments?
SteelSeries moments perhaps doesn’t have as many immediately tangible gameplay benefits like Sonar does, but if you’re someone who likes to share gameplay clips it’s one of the best options out there. The way Moments handles and stores files is a big upgrade from most similar products, and features like the autorecording of relevant gameplay moments (in compatible games) are great for people who like to share highlight reels, or for players who want to get their gameplay reviewed by teammates or coaches.
SteelSeries Moments is one of the most user-friendly recording programs out there, so if you’re someone who likes to share funny fails or clutch kills it can be a good idea to check this software out.
What is SteelSeries Engine?
SteelSeries Engine is SteelSeries’ gear configuration tool. This section of SteelSeries GG lists your SteelSeries products and allows you to configure them to your liking. In Engine, you can change the RGB, record macros, change the DPI of your mouse, … Obviously this will only work with SteelSeries devices.
SteelSeries Engine Apps
Aside from housing the ‘regular configuration options’ for your SteelSeries gear, Engine also has an ‘apps’ section that houses applications that interact with your SteelSeries peripherals. You can set up your keyboard to flash when someone joins your Discord server with the Discord app, for example. Or you can have your mouse’s RGB lighting flash upon getting a headshot in CS:GO, or have your your lighting turn off when you’re dead in League of Legends, or … There’s a wide variety of apps out there for SteelSeries Engine, and the catalogue is ever-expanding.
SteelSeries GG Giveaways
The giveaways tab of SteelSeries GG houses a bunch of giveaways, ranging from free small ingame content packs to beta access keys, full games, and more. It can pay off to check out the Giveaways tab every once in a while to see if there are any extra goodies available for your favorite games, but otherwise this is a completely optional tab that you can choose to completely ignore.
Is SteelSeries GG Worth It?
Whether or not SteelSeries GG is worth it for you personally will -obviously- depend on your personal preferences, but we really like it so far. Moments is quickly becoming our favorite way to capture gameplay clips and share them with our friends, and Sonar is an extremely expansive and easy to use audio software kit that can definitely improve your gameplay if you take a bit of time out of your day to set it up (or take a bit less time out of your day and just choose one of the preconfigured EQ settings) and then we didn’t even mention the QoL improvements that it can bring to the table, such as tuning out annoying background noises at your friend’s house.
Given the fact that it’s free and that components like Sonar are agnostic (meaning you don’t need SteelSeries gear to use them) we definitely encourage you to check it out for yourself. SteelSeries GG is still in beta, but it’s already one of the best ‘gaming software hubs’ out there if you ask us.