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When The Aesthetics Trump Sound Quality - Gaming? Yes. Music? No.
on 28 April 2018
First of all I want to say I am not being sponsored by any company to say anything in this review. I paid full price for the Razer Kraken Pro V2 PewDiePie Edition. As a music enthusiast, gamer and Sound Designer/Mixer for film I own a lot of headphones at varying price points. Ones I have similar in this price range are the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro and HyperX Cloud II. So how do the Razer Krakens compare?
The microphone is very sub par. It will do in a pinch for skype calls or casual in game voice chatting, but do not expect studio quality by any means. It's a nice add on I suppose, but very much a gimmick. If you're even semi serious about sound, which you should be, good sound is very important! (I mean you want your teammates to understand you!) you'll at least invest in a £50 USB microphone such as the Snowball. Even the HyperX Cloud II's microphone sounds a lot better, plus it's removable. A step up from that would be a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 with a Rode NT1-A. Amazing professional studio quality for around £200.
I have a rather small head, around 55-56cm. If anything I found the fit to be too loose, moving my head up and down there was quite a bit of unwanted movement, even at the smallest setting which does not happen with my other headphones. As for long periods of listening time it holds up, Although they might seem quite large, the headset itself is lightweight and has been comfortable, not pressing on my ears at all. The ear cushions are not the greatest quality but do an okay job. They are wipe clean which is a bonus, if you expect to sweat during your games.
Build Quality / Features
The cups are made of a nice metal, but it still doesn't feel quite as solid as my current headphones. It feels like one or two drops onto hard floor and they'd be in pieces. So I'll be watching where I'm sitting with these guys and making sure I don't leave them on my seat. The 3.5mm cord is also quite flimsy, it is braided but very cheaply. I like the red jack on the end, very noticable. Cable could also be longer but it does come with a splitter for extension and mic/sound dividing. Aesthetically, The colour on the pewdiepie version is vibrant and a real eye catcher. Can imagine it would look great in streams or youtube vids. While I'm not really a pewdiepie fan, I really like red and it certainly is red!
Straight out of the box the sound is very boomy, it's going to need some serious EQ tweaking before it sounds optimal. I like to have clear, crisp highs and distinguishable mids, even if it means sacrificing a little bass. But these feel stodgy, the bass is overpowering and the mids sound like they're coming from another room. I have heard a lot worse, but for the price, you can buy a LOT better if it's sound quality you're after. They are not best suited for mixing applications or for enjoying hi-fi audio/music. If you're willing to put the time in to tweak the EQ then they'll suffice for gaming and of course will beat any laptop speakers out the park.
Comparing all the headphones mentioned. You can clearly see how thin the Razer cable is compared with the others. The other headphones also have a swivel function, allowing them to turn inwards, this leads for a lot better comfort.
I'm quite disappointed in all honesty. I expected better build quality and much better sound than what I got. My HyperX Cloud II headset will still be my go-to in terms of gaming, despite now having owned 2 pairs (they break after a year, mainly my fault for putting them through too much stress), but they are so good I keep buying them!). The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros will forever be my music mixing/listening headphones.
As for these, the only thing stopping me from returning them is the colour. So I'll keep them as a backup for streaming. All in all, if you have £80, buy the Hyper X Cloud II and save some extra for a microphone.