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Nahimic vs. Sonar: Which Audio Software Should You Pick?

SteelSeries has two audio apps, Nahimic and Sonar. Which one is more suitable for you? Read on to learn about their unique advantages.

Our two audio apps fundamentally address different needs from different angles, whether you want to make sure every beat, footstep, whisper, and explosion resonates with unrivaled clarity and intensity. Or, perhaps you're looking for a single-click solution to optimize different games, music, and movie scenes. We'll dive into the differences between Sonar and Nahimic to see which one is better for you.

When it comes to accessing these powerful audio apps, the availability and installation process differ.

Nahimic comes preinstalled on selected partner PCs, including esteemed brands like MSI and Lenovo LEGION, ensuring convenience right out of the box. However, it is not possible to download Nahimic independently.

Sonar offers a flexible and accessible solution. It is available as a free download directly from the SteelSeries website, granting everyone the opportunity to experience its benefits. Regardless of the brand or type of headset you own, It provides flexibility to users.

Sonar EQ

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Sonar, provides advanced parametric 10-band equalizer settings, giving you more flexibility and control over your audio adjustments.

Nahimic offers pre-tuned settings for PC internal speakers and the ability to manually adjust audio using a graphic 10-band equalizer.

Presets make it easy to get optimal sound without knowing anything about equalizer settings. Not a sound engineer? No worries, both Nahimic and Sonar come with various EQ presets that make it easy to use the power of these sound apps.

Sonar presets

Nahimic stands out with its intelligent EQ feature, Smart Profile, that auto-selects the right profile for you depending on what app you’re using right now. Its EQ presets cater to various multimedia — movie, music, and game genres, providing an optimized audio experience for racing games, FPS titles, and more.

Sonar stands out by having presets for its Parametric EQ which offer a much more precise level of tuning to highlight key in game sounds like footsteps. Game presets for CS:GO, Fortnite, Valorant and more make it easy to use the power of the Parametric EQ to gain a competitive advantage.

Sonar and Nahimic EQ presets

Mixer panel allows individual control over various audio tracks for personalized adjustments and enhanced audio balance. ChatMix enables clear communication by fine-tuning the volume balance between game audio and voice chat, ensuring nothing important gets lost in the mix during intense gaming sessions.

Nahimic simplifies the process by automatically mixing audio without requiring manual input. However, it does not have a dedicated mixer panel like Sonar.

Sonar takes audio control to the next level with its comprehensive mixer panel. With separate mixing options for Game, Chat, Media, Aux, and Mic, you have the power to fine-tune the volume of each track individually. This level of control allows you to precisely balance the audio according to your preferences. There are also custom audio presets for games like Diablo IV and Destiny 2, created in cooperation with the developers of those titles.

Additionally, Sonar's ChatMix feature adds another layer of convenience. It empowers you to precisely adjust how loud your game should be versus your friends’ mics, so you don’t have to worry about mishearing precious in-game callouts (or jokes).

Mic audio presets

Microphone and voice quality is incredibly important for gaming.

Nahimic provides basic equalizer settings and effects for microphone optimization.

Sonar takes it a step further with the incorporation of ClearCast AI technology and noise reduction features. This ensures exceptional microphone quality, allowing your voice to shine with clarity and precision. So if you're looking for a way to reduce microphone noise, this is it.

7.1 Surround Sound for PC

7.1 Surround sound aims to provide an immersive audio experience. Both software solutions support up to 7.1 virtual surround sound, immersing you in a rich audio environment.

Nahimic takes a personalized approach, offering profiles based on HRTF for an individualized audio experience.

Sonar allows customization of speaker position, distance, and performance/immersion tuning.

Sonar and Nahimic features

Nahimic takes audio enhancement to the next level with its array of additional offerings designed to enrich your gaming experience.

Sound Tracker provides on-screen visuals of sound sources, enhancing your positional awareness and giving you a competitive edge.

Easy Surround creates a realistic and immersive audio experience by utilizing any Bluetooth speaker as a rear speaker in combination with your front speaker. This unique functionality allows for a more immersive audio setup.

Sound Sharing allows audio distribution between two headsets at the same for a unique way to experience audio together with a friend or partner.

Sonar for Streamers

Sonar also has a Sonar for Streamers mode (currently in beta) to empower streamers with enhanced control over their audio, ensuring high-quality and immersive sound for their audience.

This mode includes a specialized streaming mixer, offering streamers personalized/stream mix options and precise audio routing controls. With these tools at your disposal, you can fine-tune your audio setup to create the perfect streaming experience for your viewers.

Now, here's the real question: Nahimic or Sonar? well, both Nahimic and Sonar excel in delivering top-notch audio quality, elevating your gaming sessions to new heights. It is up to you to use Nahimic or Sonar depending on your expectations and your needs in different situations: Nahimic offers a convenient preinstalled option with EQ presets, intelligent EQ, and additional features like Sound Tacker, Sound Sharing, and Easy Surround. The bottom of that Nahimic page includes a handy comparison chart between the two softwares.

On the other hand, Sonar provides a downloadable solution with game-specific EQ presets, precise equalizer controls for individual tracks, a dedicated mixer panel, ChatMix to balance game and chat audio in real time, and advanced microphone performance. You can easily switch between each software without any problem.

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