Razer Kraken (2019)
Gaming Headset (Wired)
The Razer Kraken is the company’s most well-known wired gaming headset and over the years has been available in a variety of different configurations and versions. In terms of features, build, and functionality this new version - simply dubbed the Razer Kraken - represents a no-frills rendition of the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition
we saw late last year. A model rework and update that improved the overall shape and comfort with a switch to oval cushions in addition to some of the underlying hardware. And by no-frills this cheaper alternative does away with the PC-specific THX Spatial Audio dongle of the Tournament Edition that allowed for tuning and immersion suited for the competitive scene. Instead what we have is a simple 3.5mm setup compatible with a wide range of platforms.
- Driver: Custom-tuned 50 mm Drivers
- Frequency response: 12 Hz – 28 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- Microphone: Unidirectional
- Microphone Frequency: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
Although the removal of the additional THX dongle means less surround functionality out of the box, as mentioned in the introduction the new Razer Kraken for 2019 features the same overall build quality and hardware. Which means the same high quality 50 mm drivers found in the Tournament Edition, providing impressive bass response and overall clarity. The increased frequency response of 12 Hz – 28 kHz also plays into the Kraken as a multi-platform all-in-one solution perfectly capable to be used whilst playing games, listening to music, or watching a movie.
Overall out-of-the-box balance is weighted towards a chunky bass sound with a crisp high-end, as has been the case with most Razer headsets we’ve tested, but the sound is eminently tweakable and versatile in its ability to work across multiple inputs. As a standard 3.5mm pair of headphones, without the option to fine tune audio the Kraken has a sound that feels very much in line with modern game and movie soundtracks, so additional EQ manipulation as a necessity
is mostly limited to the realm of music.
Design and Comfort
Weighing in at 322 grams, where the Kraken excels and feels in-step with more premium offerings comes from the excellent build quality and lightweight aluminium frame. Where on top of that we’ve got the most comfortable and durable headband/ear cushion combo in the Kraken’s multi-year history. Switching out the circular cup shape for an oval one not only has the benefit of feeling more natural when worn, but the soft leather and memory foam that factors in glasses is exceptionally well-designed and suited for long sessions too. Whether or not the “cooling gel-infused ear cushions to reduce heat build-up” is one of the main reasons for this, or simple market-speak, is anyone’s guess. But the result is the same, the new Razer Kraken offers a marked improvement – comfort-wise – over previous versions. And it’s one of the main reasons it’s price point and overall compatibility across any number of platforms or devices make it something you’d gladly take on-the-go in addition to leaving on a desk or coffee table.
Even though the new shape features enough change over older Razer headsets to feel different the overall look is still very much in-line with the hardware maker’s gaming headset design philosophy and the inclusion of the company’s well-word retractable microphone and durable braided cabling all point to a certain level of quality that we’ve come to expect – especially for something in this price range.
When testing headsets, we usually go-to a wide range of varying titles to get a clear picture, so to speak, of the audio. For the new Kraken that was no different, and in testing the same line-up of games as we did with the recent Tournament Edition - DOOM, Battlefield V, Frostpunk, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – the results were immediately impressive. Without dedicated USB support for PC though we did notice a downgrade in overall quality between connecting the Kraken to a dedicated audio port on an external audio controller versus via the motherboard. As was in using various software surround options that can vary in quality. This is worth pointing out simply because the new Kraken’s versatility and increased frequency response over previous models can and will sound better with a dedicated interface. That said, we loved being able to have them double as a pair of music headphones that we could take on-the-go. Even though we kind of wished that Razer implemented some form of noise-cancelling, which would also benefit the headset when connected to a Nintendo Switch.
In the end it’s hard to fault the new Razer Kraken, the overall sound quality is great, and the new design is the company’s most comfortable and durable so far. Great value for money, and a gaming headset that loves nothing more that going from a PC to a console to a phone to a laptop sitting on a flat surface in an airport.