Razer Kraken 7.1 V2
The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 provides an immersive surround sound gaming experience, one where you can clearly tell which direction sounds are coming from - with the 7.1 in the name referring to, you guessed it, surround sound. Testing the headset playing a few different online shooters like the recently released LawBreakers and Blizzard’s Overwatch, the sounds in question were mostly of the bullet, grunt, and team firefight variety. Even when utilising the headset’s seamless chat functionality, the separation of sound is impressive. And thanks to calibration and EQ software everything can be adjusted for the better. Because out of the box, the default calibration for the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 is a little bass-heavy.
With the 7.1 in the title referring to the fact that the Kraken has been designed as a surround sound headset, the V2 notes that this is the latest version of the Kraken from Razer. Technically speaking the biggest difference this time around is the implementation of 50mm drivers. In audio terms, the bigger the driver on headphones the bigger and more dynamic the sound. Of course, there’s more to it than that, which is why you can find any number of headsets on the market supporting this feature that can sound very different. With the new Kraken headsets, the 50mm drivers result in a booming and very impressive sound right off the bat. Albeit, one that is heavy on the bass.
Things improve thanks to the always impressive Razer Synapse software, which handles all the calibration and EQ functionality for the Kraken. Here lowering the bass and adjusting the parameters (with presets that are weirdly named after musical styles like Jazz, Rock, and Techno) reveal the Kraken to be quite capable in the mid and high range frequencies. Especially in 7.1 mode, where channel separation and directional audio works wonders in amplifying stereo inputs, frequency response, and clarity.
The second thing to note, is that the Kraken 7.1 V2 is a USB-only headset, which means that it’s platform and software dependant.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Frequency response: 12 Hz – 28 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ω @ 1 kHz
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz): 123 dB
- Input power: 30 mW (Max)
- Drivers: 50mm, with Neodymium magnets
- Inner ear cup diameter: 56 mm.
- Connection type: Digital USB
- Cable length: 2 metres.
- Approx weight: 346 grams.
- Frequency response: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
- Signal-to-noise ratio: > 55 dB
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz): -38 ± 3 dB
- Pick-up pattern: Unidirectional
Comfortable and Durable
Technical stuff aside, the soft ear cushion design of the Kraken 7.1 V2 and the durable aluminium frame are what make this headset stand out from the crowd. When taking the price into consideration (and you can quite easily find a pair for a lot cheaper than the RRP), the look and feel and overall robust design of the new Kraken put it in the league of more expensive headsets. Soft ear cushions, and we’re talking about super soft and super comfortable ear cushions here, aren’t all that common in the gaming headset market. Which is something that we’ve always felt to be a little strange. The idea of a gaming headset is to provide an audio solution for someone who games. A lot. Which means that the Kraken 7.1 V2 marketing line of being able to wear the headset for extended periods of play, rings true.
Really, the only downside with the Kraken in terms of aesthetics is that it’s chunky. Which is something that a lot of gaming headsets have in common. Thanks to the Kraken 7.1 V2’s large (and soft, let’s not forget that) cushions, this is the sort of headset that will stand out because you’ll look like a helicopter pilot from the 1970s when wearing them. A dope helicopter pilot thanks to the adjustable Razer Chroma lighting effects. But this is only a minor complaint, because the overall Kraken 7.1 V2 build quality is exceptional. Treated well, this is the sort of kit that will last you a long time.
The bass-heavy out of the box sound of the Kraken works better with games than it does with movies and music. As a gaming headset, the Kraken 7.1 V2 comes recommended first and foremost for its gaming performance. Here the 7.1 surround sound works well in amplifying aspects of games that would otherwise be lost when playing in stereo. And with directional sound, being able to instantly tell the where a sound is coming from makes playing a competitive online game with this sort of headset a must. And with the Razer Synapse software everything can be adjusted and fine-tuned for every game you fire up, right down to the voice mix and microphone levels. Which, are surprisingly clear and just-about broadcast quality.
If we were to lob a complaint at the Kraken it would be the fact that all calibration has to be conducted via the Razer Synapse app. Want to mute your mic, alt-tab. Want to adjust the levels, alt-tab. It’s somewhat frustrating when you’ve gotten used to having some tactile control over volume and voice controls with dials, buttons, and wheels connected to a headset. But, this is something that dies down once you’ve setup a particular game or other application. Speaking of other applications, the Kraken is also a fine headset for watching movies and listening to music. Where other bass-heavy headsets lose just about all the finer detail the Kraken can be calibrated for respectable movie and music performance which is also another definite plus.